U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla. has co-sponsored a bill to make Puerto Rico the 51st state.
H.R. 4901, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act, would require a "Statehood Yes-No" vote by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for the island. This is the same precedent established for the admission process of Alaska and Hawaii.
The legislation is sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jenniffer González Colón, R-P.R., and Jose Serrano, D-N.Y.
“The people of Puerto Rico have already twice requested to become a state,” said Waltz on Tuesday. “It is time for the citizens of Puerto Rico to be able to have the same rights and privileges as American citizens and I hope my colleagues will support this measure.”
Since 1917, more than 200,000 American citizens from Puerto Rico have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, serving in every conflict since World War I. More than 10,000 active duty military personnel from Puerto Rico currently serve across the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Florida native Waltz, whose 6th congressional district includes Flagler and Volusia counties as well as portions of Lake and St. Johns counties, is a combat-decorated Green Beret.
“This historic bill places us on a path towards the political equality that our people deserve,” said González Colón. “The American citizens of Puerto Rico will have the opportunity to participate in a federally-sponsored vote and be asked the following question: ‘Should Puerto Rico be admitted as a State of the Union, yes or no?’. This is similar to what happened in Alaska and Hawaii, which is what ultimately makes this legislation different.”
Allison Nielsen, who has worked as a reporter for Sunshine State News, is spokesperson for Rep. Waltz.