In a Press Conference, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner and Florida Congressman Darren Soto announced the new Puerto Rico Statehood Bill. Sen. Martin Heinrich will work on the companion bill for the Senate. Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez, Rep. Darren Soto, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Val Demings, Rep. Don Young, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, Rep. Maria Salazar, and Rep. Stephanie Murphy spoke in English and in Spanish, explaining the importance of the bill.
They made the important points that Puerto Rico has voted for statehood, that the bill will be ratified on the Island, and that Congress has a responsibility to offer statehood to Puerto Rico.
Click the photo below to see the video on Facebook.
“Today we commemorate the 104th anniversary of the granting of American citizenship to the people of Puerto Rico,” the governor said. “This past November 3rd, in a straightforward process, a clear majority of Puerto Ricans declared in no uncertain terms that they want equality and no longer consent to being second class citizens.”
Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon and Rep. Darren Soto will introduce the new Puerto Rico statehood bill in the House of Representatives. Sen. Martin Heinrich will introduce a companion new Puerto Rico statehood bill in the Senate. Both Houses must vote for the bills before the new law goes to President Biden for his signature.
The House bill currently has about 50 cosponsors. They include Reps. Don Bacon, Joyce Beatty, Ami Bera, Gus Bilirakis, Sanford Bishop, Andrew Garbarino, and many more. As expected, they are a bipartisan group including Republicans like Mario Diaz-Balart and Democrats like Anthony Brown.
As time goes on, we hope to see many more cosponsors. We hope that you will ask your representatives to join the list of cosponsors.
The new bill includes “Findings” — that is, the reasons Puerto Rico should be admitted as a state. These reasons include the fact that Puerto Rico has democratically voted for statehood and officially requested it, that the territory has democratically rejected its current status, the fact that Puerto Rico is more thoroughly integrated into the United States than any territory previously requesting statehood, and the inequality caused by territorial status.
It specifies that the current territory’s boundaries will not change and points out that Puerto Rico’s Constitution has already been approved by Congress. It calls for proclamations by the governor and the president. It calls for ratification of the bill by the people of Puerto Rico, and for admission as a state if the people again vote for statehood.
After admission, Puerto Rico will elect senators and congressional representatives.
“We are following exactly the same steps…as Alaska and Hawaii,” said Gonzalez-Colon. “We don’t want to invent a new process.”
Congress must vote on the bill before Puerto Rico can be admitted. However, that vote will lead directly to admission of Puerto Rico as a state.
How to support the new Puerto Rico statehood bill
Ask your representatives to support the new bill. They could cosponsor it, or just vote for it.
Ask your friends and families to do the same!
Share information about statehood on social media and in your daily life. Research shows that people who know more about statehood are more likely to support it. There are still a lot of misconceptions, and Congress needs help getting educated on the subject.
Statehood is closer than ever before. Let’s make the final push together.