HR 4901: Now What?

HR 4901, the Puerto Rico Admissions Act of 2019, begins with a list of background facts that explain why Congress should admit Puerto Rico as a state.

Then the bill goes into detail on what the admission of Puerto Rico will look like.

Getting ready for statehood

Territories wanting to become states must have a state constitution. In the past, many territories have had to work on their constitution after their Admissions Act was filed. Puerto Rico already has a constitution which was approved by Congress.  The bill just specifies that this is the case, so nothing more needs to be done in this area.

Territories often have had a vote on becoming a state. The Congressional Research Office says, “If Congress chose to alter Puerto Rico’s political status, it could do so through statute regardless of whether a plebiscite were held or what sentiment such a vote revealed.” In fact, Puerto Rico has had a number of plebiscites. The last two, held in 2012 and 2017, have resulted in a win for statehood. Bill 4901 calls for a new plebiscite in 2020 with a single question on the ballot: “Do you approve Puerto Rico’s admission as a State of the Union on equal footing with all other States? Yes___ No ___.” This is the same question Hawaii and Alaska asked when they became states.

The bill then outlines a plan to certify the results and, if statehood wins again, to elect representatives to Congress.

Presidential Proclamation

Once these matters are concluded, the President of the United States will proclaim Puerto Rico a state. The president who accomplishes this will earn place in history for doing so.

At that moment, Puerto Rico will be the 51st State of the Union.

The act holds that the boundaries of Puerto Rico will be the same as they are now, that the elected officials in office at that time will remain in office, and that local laws will continue to be enforced as they currently are.

The 51st state

There are already 50 states. 32 of them were territories before they became states. We have plenty of history to look at if we want to know how territories change when they become states.

We can expect that Puerto Rico will have greater economic opportunity and greater prosperity. That is likely to begin as soon as the Admission Act passes.

A state has more power than a territory. Congress directly governs territories, but states have rights and powers of their own. Puerto Rico will have far more control over its own affairs as a state than it has ever had as a territory.

Congress will vote on the bill. Puerto Rico has no voting members in Congress. Puerto Rico’s only representative in the federal government has to stand by while others vote on the bill she introduced. If you live in one of the 50 current states, please tell your congressperson to vote for HR 4901.

9 Comments

John Morales

#PR51 unión permanente.. Ya es hora definir status..okay’ thanks,. Gby

Reply
Miguel Torres

I’m asking The United States Congress, The President, The Vice President, to settle this political mess once and for all and to keep in mind that History will be the judge of all this, it is clear that Puerto Rico has earned statehood and has proven that for over 120 years lets strengthen the Union by adding that star to our flag we have earned it.

Reply
Evelyn Laureano-Osorio

Since 1898 we are a territirry of USA , we have been american citizens since 1952 . Our young man go to USA wars to defense the nation. We want to improve our country to balance those multiple federal benefits to our citizens. We are a multicultural land , as the World is in general in a road to improve population wellbeing. We respect biodiversity and we need justice. The time has beenpassed and we need a definition to be state51. There is no more time to go to any other status since our neighboors in the Caribean and PR population still in this XXI century are still under the poverty level, around (46%). We need a new Puerto Rico stable and in progress gor next generations.
Im respectfully prefer statehood to Puerto Rico, I believe state 51st is the best option in contemporary social and economic Global condtions.
Thanks,
Evelyn Laureano.

Reply
Jose A. Justiniano

I believe that statehood is the best option for the country that I love so much
Puerto Rico.

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.