Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flag Might Get a 51st Star

It has been reported  that today the House will vote on whether or not Puerto Rico will become the 52st state of the United States of America.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory since 1898. It is self-governing, but depends on Washington in matters of defense, monetary policy, immigration and customs. It's citizens cannot vote however in Presidential elections or in Congressional elections and this is based on Article One and Two of the U.S. Constitution.

Here's the inside scoop:

The bill,if passed, will require Puerto Rico to hold an election on a referendum asking it’s citizens, “Do you want to maintain the status quo?” Notice that it does not mention statehood.

In the past 40 years, Puerto Rico has voted three times on the question of becoming a state. Each time they voted it down. In 1998, voters were given four choices, A) statehood, B) sovereignty, C) modified commonwealth or D) None of the above. Option D got the majority. In 1967 and 1993, only options A, B and C were on the ballots. The options of independence or a modified commonwealth usually get only about 3% of the vote in 1998. Statehood got 46.6% and 46.7% in 1993 and 1998, only 39% in 1967.

The current drive is being pushed by the Democrats to placate to the Latino voters.  If Puerto Rico does vote NO on the referendum detailed in HR2499, the next step would be to elect six representatives and two senators. A further vote for statehood may not necessarily be needed, thanks to the “Tennessee Plan”.
Tennessee, and later Alaska, entered the union by electing members for the House and Senate without applying to Congress for statehood. The elected officials just went to Washington, D.C. and demanded to be seated, and they were! In June of 2009, the United Nations Committee on Decolonization drafted a resolution calling for the United States to enact a process to change the current status of Puerto Rico. The Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 30-8 in July, 2009 and passed HR 2499 – The Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009. If the citizens of Puerto Rico like their tax-free status and vote Yes on the referendum, HR2499 requires subsequent votes every eight years. I guess the Democrats want mandatory votes until they get it right!

This is not about helping out Puerto Ricans, it is not about being nice, it is about shoring up a voting block that will not likely dissipate for decades.

Thanks to

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