Just one day after becoming Resident Commissioner, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) has introduced legislation that would automatically make Puerto Rico a state by 2025 if voters in Puerto Rico ratify this choice in a vote sanctioned by the federal government.
The legislation calls for a vote between statehood and independence under the terms of a law Congress enacted in 2014. If the people of Puerto Rico choose statehood, they would be able to vote for President of the United States, two Senators and a full House delegation in the 2024 election.
The size of the House of Representatives would increase to accommodate the new Puerto Rican representatives; no House seats would be taken from existing state delegations.
Equal treatment under federal laws would be phased in by 2025, and the President would be required to issue a proclamation declaring that Puerto Rico is admitted to the Union on “equal footing” with the other states.
Local laws would remain in effect.
The Gonzalez-Colon proposal notes that Puerto Rico is “treated as a State for the purposes of most laws but is not treated equally with the States under dozens of statutes, including some providing for major health and other programs for individuals with critical needs and in a number of revenue measures.”
The legislation further holds that the “limitations of, and treatment under, territory status has left Puerto Rico under-developed and substantially contributed to its economy being weak for four decades and in depression for the last one.”
Recognizing the mass migration from Puerto Rico to states in recent years, the bill states that “[e]quality within the Nation is required for a healthy American economy and essential for Puerto Rico’s social and economic health as well as for basic reasons of democracy” and that “Puerto Ricans have contributed greatly to the Nation in all fields of endeavor both in war and in peace.”
Read the full text of the legislation here.