The United States annexed the Republic of Hawaii; Congress then established a territorial government.
The Senate passed the Hawaii statehood bill. The House approved the bill the following day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on March 18, 1959, and the citizens of Hawaii approved statehood on June 27. By presidential proclamation, Hawaii became the 50th state in the Union on August 21, 1959.
Hawaii's first senators, Hiram Fong and Oren Long, both of Honolulu, took the oath of office and were seated. The senators then drew lots to determine their class assignments. Fong, a Chinese American and the first U.S. senator of Asian descent, drew Class 1, with a term to expire January 3, 1965. Long drew Class 3, with a term to expire January 3, 1963. On the same day, in the House of Representatives, future senator Daniel Inouye was seated as Hawaii's first representative.
Statues of King Kamehameha, who unified the Hawaiian islands, sculpted by Thomas R. Gould, and Father Damien, who ran a leper colony, sculpted by Marisol Escobar, were installed in the Capitol as Hawaii's contributions to the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Noting that most government agencies, departments, and offices had their own official flag while the United States Senate did not, Daniel Inouye proposed that the Senate commission an official flag using the design of the Senate seal. The matter was referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration, and by 1988 a flag had been created.
Daniel Inouye was appointed chairman of the Senate's Iran-Contra investigation. The Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and Nicaraguan Opposition held joint public hearings with a special House committee from May 5 to August 3, 1987. The committees issued their final report on November 18, 1987.
By voice vote, the Senate passed H.R. 442. Supported by senators Spark Matsunaga and Daniel Inouye, the original House bill was named for the 442nd Army Regimental Combat Team, which was composed of Japanese Americans who fought in World War II. Signed into law on August 10, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 offered a national apology for the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II and made restitution to the internees.
Daniel Inouye became chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, serving until 2009, when he became chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations He chaired that committee until his death on December 17, 2012.
Mazie Hirono of Honolulu became the first woman elected to represent Hawaii in the United States Senate.