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Author: Lindsey Essaff

Luis Gutierrez introduces bill to force independence on Puerto Rico

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D) of the 4th District of Illinois has introduced a bill, HR 900, that would put an end to Puerto Rico’s territorial status, but not through statehood. The bill includes only independence options: free association, and complete independence. Free association differs from complete independence in a few ways. If chosen, the Compact of Free Association will be determined by the two countries, and is therefore not set permanently. However, based on other contracts the United States has with their current free associated states, it can be expected for the US to maintain defensive capabilities, some economic...

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Puerto Ricans to vote on whether they prefer statehood or independence

On June 11, Puerto Ricans will vote once more on whether they would like to become a state, or become independent from the United States. This follows a 2012 referendum, sponsored by the Puerto Rican government, in which the majority vote was for statehood. Seventy-eight percent of registered voters participated in the plebiscite, with 61% voting in favor of statehood. In 2014, the US government authorized a second plebiscite, this one federally sponsored, with $2.5 million set aside to fund it. This federally sponsored vote is now making its way to actual fruition, around three years later. This plebiscite...

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House Joint Resolution 19 and the long struggle to reform the electoral college

Currently, there’s a large amount of focus on certain United States bills (ie, House Bill 175: ObamaCare Repeal Act) but less on others, like United States House Joint Resolution 19, which proposes an end to the electoral college via constitutional amendment. The electoral college has been on shaky ground before. Springing into existence in 1787, the college was created to insulate the Executive Branch from the masses, creating one last point at which a faction-driven president-elect, or someone picked by a majority that would be likely to oppress the minority, could be stopped. It also allowed for more power...

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Puerto Rico’s labor reform law, explained

The Puerto Rico Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act, also known as House Bill No. 453 and Senate Bill No. 212, has been signed into law, following several weeks of contentious debate. After passing the House on January 14th, the bill made its way to the Senate, where it was amended before being passed. The law amends numerous past Puerto Rican labor laws, such as Act 180 of May 27, 1998; Act 379 of May 15, 1948; Act 148 of June 30, 1969; Act 80-1976; and Act 427-2000. Amending these acts will have numerous effects on the way employees and...

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