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Bill for Territories to Supply Statues for National Statuary Hall

Rep. Michael San Nicolas (D-GU) of Guam has introduced HR 5820, a bill allowing the U.S. territories to display statues in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.

National Statuary Hall

The National Statuary Hall contains statues of prominent Americans from each of the States. Standing Bear represents Nebraska, Junipero Serra represents California, and Thomas Edison represents Ohio. Each State has two statues, one in the Hall itself and the other elsewhere in the Capitol. A statue of Rosa Parks is in the Hall but does not represent any particular State and is not considered part of the collection.

Apart from Rosa Parks, all the other statues have been commissioned and paid for by the individual States. The States then give the statues to the collection.

Not only States

Washington, D.C. has one statue, Frederick Douglass, in the Hall. D.C. began to fight for the right to add statues in 1973, when a bill was introduced to allow D.C. to give two statues to the collection. The bill did not pass; nor did other bills over the years. D.C. went ahead and commissioned two statues: one of Frederick Douglass and the other of architect Pierre L’Enfant. In 2012, a bill was approved which allowed just one statue to be taken into the collection.

There are currently no statues representing any of the U.S. territories. A previous bill, introduced in 2005 by American Samoa’s representative, Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS), did not pass. The wording of that bill was, “To permit each of the territories of the United States to provide and furnish a statue honoring a citizen of the territory to be placed in Statuary Hall in the same manner as statues honoring citizens of the States are placed in Statuary Hall.”

The bill was reintroduced in 2005 and 2009, but did not pass on either occasion.

Statues must be made of either marble or bronze, and materials sourced in the United States are preferred. The guidelines for the statues state that sources in U.S. territories or possessions are considered U.S.-sourced.

HR 5820

The new bill has been introduced in the House and referred to the House Committee on House Administration. If the bill passes in the House, it must also pass in the Senate, and then be signed by the president in order to become a law.

It has one co-sponsor, Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-MP).

Read the bill.

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