DC moves on with proposal to implement Tennessee Plan
On May 6 2016, the New Columbia Statehood Commission released a draft constitution for the District of Columbia. The releasing of the Constitution follows in the leadership of mayor Muriel Bowser, a strong proponent of statehood for DC. Since taking office. Bowser has fought hard for the US territory to become the 51st state as she plans for DC to take the necessary steps to become the next state in the upcoming years.
Today the New Columbia Statehood Comm. will vote to approve draft constitution for the State of the New Columbia. pic.twitter.com/PI8D4kUWX0
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) May 6, 2016
The usual path to statehood requires a vote and approval from Congress, however it is clear that Bowser plans to take a different path. Throughout American history territories have taken shortcuts to gain statehood, such as Tennessee in 1796. Tennessee was the first territory to become a state and took a shortened process to statehood, which other territories have followed such as Alaska in 1959, and has since been named the “Tennessee Plan”.
The “Tennessee Plan”, describes a course of actions a territory can take to expedite the statehood process. This process includes establishing and ratifying a constitution and creating necessary governing means such as selection of delegates and representatives.
DC has made headway on these goals already. This November, the district will be holding a referendum to see if a majority of its residents want to push for statehood. This referendum is expected to pass easily, and pave the way for DC to move along with its plan for statehood following the Tennessee Plan. Bowser hopes that the referendum during an election year will become national news, and gain traction making DC statehood a top priority for the next President and Congress.
DC has been fighting hard for statehood over the last 25 years and it appears the territory may be close to becoming the 51st state. DC has pointed out that their current territory situation is unfair as they are not represented in the US legislature, face unfair taxes and face unfair interstate commerce rules.
If DC is to become a state following the Tennessee plan this could be groundbreaking for not just residents of the District of Columbia, but for other US Territories as well such as Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico wouldl likely attempt to follow suit to become the 52nd state.