Gonzalez Colon introduces statehood bill

by | Jan 6, 2017 | Bocaítos | Comments

The new Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, Jenniffer González Colón (R, NPP) wasted no time in filing her first bill. The measure calls for a status referendum, leaving voters to choose between statehood and independence. Unlike previous similar bills, this one would commit the Congress to admit Puerto Rico as a state, if voters so choose, by 2025.

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.”

Labeled HR 260 the bill has no cosponsors, and if history is to be followed, will have very little chance of getting enacted. This is where González Colón’s skills as a lawmaker in the Republican majority will come into play.