S3231, a companion bill for the Puerto Rico Status Act HR2757, has been introduced n the Senate. The bill starts with 20 original cosponsors, a record-breaking number for Puerto Rico status bills.
These are the senators cosponsoring the bill:
- Sen. Tammy Baldwin [D-WI]
- Sen. Michael F. Bennet [D-CO]
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D-CT]
- Sen. Cory A. Booker [D-NJ]
- Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. [D-PA]
- Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto [D-NV]
- Sen. John Fetterman [D-PA]
- Sen. John W. Hickenlooper [D-CO]
- Sen. Ben Ray Lujan [D-NM]
- Sen. Edward J. Markey [D-MA]
- Sen. Jeff Merkley [D-OR]
- Sen. Christopher Murphy [D-CT]
- Sen. Patty Murray [D-WA]
- Sen. Alex Padilla [D-CA]
- Sen. Jack Reed [D-RI]
- Sen. Bernard Sanders [I-VT]
- Sen. Brian Schatz [D-HI]
- Sen. Chris Van Hollen [D-MD]
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]
- Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR]
If you live in a state, you have two senators. Residents of Puerto Rico have none, so people living in the states need to help make sure that this bill passes in the Senate. The Puerto Rico Status Act passed in the House last year. This year, we must pass these bills in the House and the Senate. Please ask your senator to cosponsor the bill.
If your senator is already cosponsoring, please thank them!
What’s in the bill?
S3231 calls for a referendum in Puerto Rico to choose among three status options.
The first is independence, which will end U.S. sovereignty over Puerto Rico and separate the Island from the United States entirely. Puerto Ricans who currently have U.S. citizenship could keep it for life, “by entitlement or election,” but being born in Puerto Rico would no longer lead to U.S. citizenship.
The second is “sovereign free association,” which is defined in this way: “Puerto Rico is a sovereign nation that has full authority and responsibility over its territory and population under a constitution of its own adoption which shall be the supreme law of the nation.” As with independence, current citizens of the United States could maintain their citizenship for life. Children of U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico would also be citizens, for the length of the initial Compact of Free Association to be negotiated with the United States. The relationship of free association can be ended by either party at any time; Puerto Rico would then be an independent nation.
The third is statehood, which would be identical to statehood for all the current 50 states. U.S. citizenship is guaranteed under statehood. “United States citizenship of those born in Puerto Rico is recognized, protected, and secured under the United States Constitution in the same way such citizenship is for all United States citizens born in the other States.” The U.S. Constitution will apply in full.
The bill goes on to describe the plebiscite, voter education, and the implementation of the change in status. We will examine these elements more fully in future posts.