Puerto Rico enacts Tennessee Plan into law
Governor Ricardo Rosselló recently signed House Bill 876, beginning the process known as the Tennessee Plan. The Tennessee Plan allows lobbying in Washington, D.C. by a committee of seven US Senators and Representatives. This step was made by the Puerto Rican government in the direction of statehood, with the committee tasked with encouraging their coworkers in Congress to support the creation of the 51st state. The senators and representatives have yet to be selected for the committee.
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) June 5, 2017
The Tennessee Plan came into the political system in 1796, when the residents of the “Territory of the United States, South of the River Ohio,” decided that they were tired of waiting to become a state and took matters into their own hands. They took a vote, voting for immediate statehood, and elected a new state government. They sent representatives to Congress, some of whom were welcomed more warmly than others. Their plan was successful. Congress passed a bill beginning a quickened admittance process to the territory, and Tennessee became a state a few months later.
Following the win by Tennessee, six other now-states have followed a similar plan: Michigan, Iowa, California, Oregon, Kansas, and Alaska. New Mexico was unsuccessful in their attempt at the Tennessee plan; they became a state many decades later, after following the system set up in the Northwest Ordinance.
With Puerto Rico passing the Tennessee Plan into law, there may soon be a seventh state to add to the “successful” category. Resistance to statehood remains strong, but this step is a major one for the statehood camp and the Rossello administration.