Statehood won the last plebiscite, but Congress must take action to make Puerto Rico a state. That means a new statehood bill must be introduced into Congress.
Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colon announced that she is preparing a new statehood bill. The last admission bill, HR 4901, expired at the end of the last Congress. With a new Congress in place, any bills that did not get resolved last year must be reintroduced.
“We are at the best moment in the history of Puerto Rico to become a state,” Gonzalez-Colon told Metro Puerto Rico.
Metro Puerto Rico reports that Gonzalez-Colon its currently seeking cosponsors for the bill.
What’s a cosponsor?
Representatives in Congress are known as legislators or lawmakers. This reflects the fact that making laws is one of the most important jobs our representatives have. New laws begin with a bill in Congress, a proposed law.
Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, the representative in Congress for Puerto Rico, cannot cast a deciding vote in Congress, but she can introduce bills in Congress.
However, only about 4% of bills ever become laws. The great majority of bills which are introduced, never become laws.
One way to increase the chances of a bill becoming a law is to add cosponsors: other representatives who support the new bill. This shows support for the bill. It demonstrates the popularity of the bill and encourages others to vote for it.
Members of Congress try to gather cosponsors before they introduce the bill. Then once the bill is introduced, they try to gather more cosponsors.
We can help
Once the new bill is introduced, citizens can ask their representatives to cosponsor the bill. We can thank those who have cosponsored the bill — and those who did so in the past.
When our representatives see that their constituents are for the bill, they will take it seriously. Wherever we live, we can thank our legislators who support the bill, and ask them to do so again.
We can also explain to our representatives why we are asking them to support the bill.
For example, Reps Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy of Florida cosponsored the last admissions bill for Puerto Rico. Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona did so, and so did Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada. All of these people — and many more — deserve our thanks and encouragement.