A group of lawmakers is looking to give Puerto Ricans the opportunity to decide if the island becomes a state, Axios reported.
Members of Congress were in San Juan over the weekend for public hearings on a bill called The Puerto Rico State Act.
The bill, which has not been introduced, would set a date for a binding referendum on statehood for November 2023.
It would give Puerto Ricans the opportunity to decide if they want statehood, independence, or an independence that keeps certain ties to the U.S.
Six referendums have been held on statehood for Puerto Rico, but none has been binding. The most recent came in November when 52% of voters said Puerto Rico should become a state.
"There is a general understanding that legacies have to change and that the legacy of Puerto Rico being a colony for 124 years is a legacy that has to change,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., is quoted by Bloomberg. Grijalva was one of the lawmakers who traveled to Puerto Rico for the hearing.
Axios noted that Puerto Ricans have fought for years for statehood. Still, the congressional lawmaker has not decided when to introduce the proposed legislation.
Last year, a bill was introduced aimed at paving the way for Puerto Rico to become a state.
According to Axios, the proposed legislation had outlined the process for Puerto Rico’s admission into the U.S. Voters in Puerto Rico would have had to ratify statehood in a yes-or-no referendum.
Historically, Republican leaders have resisted past attempts to allow Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., to become states.
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