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March 29, 2017

Puerto Rico

2017 Plebiscite Draft Ballot Released

Source: Puerto Rico Report | 2017 Plebiscite Draft Ballot Released The Puerto Rico State Elections Commissions has released a draft ballot for status referendum to be held on June 11, 2017. The ballot begins with “Instructions for the Voter” in both English and Spanish.  The English instructions inform voters that they “can only choose and

Rossello Asks Fellow Governors for Support

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Rossello Asks Fellow Governors for Support Click to enlarge. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló has sent letters to the governors of several states asking for their help in persuading their state delegations in Congress to help address the rapidly approaching drop in federal health care funding for Puerto Rico, known as

Honoring Carmen Delgado Votaw

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Honoring Carmen Delgado Votaw On the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives last week, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) honored Carmen Delgado Votaw, whom he called a “civil and human rights giant and passionate participant in the global women’s rights activist community.” Delgado Votaw was born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico,

Witnesses Announced for March 22 Hearing on PREPA

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Witnesses Announced for March 22 Hearing on PREPA The Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives has released its list of witnesses for its oversight hearing, “The Status of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Restructuring Support Agreement,” which will be held at

Governor Rossello Takes Action

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Governor Rossello Takes Action “The PNP has taken the right steps in its first 2 months,” according to Alerta Progresista. Alerta Progresista describes its organization as “the largest social media political movement in Puerto Rico.” They’ve compiled a report off all the actions the new government of Puerto Rico has

51st State: Whose Legacy?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | 51st State: Whose Legacy? by Howard Hills, author of Citizens Without a State Maybe the real lesson of the 2016 election is that change in federal law and policy is constant, but the words of the U.S. Constitution alone are the permanent legacy of American federalism. Presidents and their legacies

Rosselló’s Office Vows to Keep Fighting for Medicaid Funding

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Rosselló’s Office Vows to Keep Fighting for Medicaid Funding Recognizing that healthcare funding for Puerto Rico was not included in federal legislation introduced last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s top aide in Washington, D.C. has vowed to continue to fight for critical resources. “It

House Subcommittee Announces Hearing on PREPA Restructuring Support Agreement

Source: Puerto Rico Report | House Subcommittee Announces Hearing on PREPA Restructuring Support Agreement The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs has announced an oversight hearing on the status of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) restructuring support agreement. The hearing will be help on Wednesday, March 22 at 10

PROMESA Board Approves Amended Fiscal Plan

Source: Puerto Rico Report | PROMESA Board Approves Amended Fiscal Plan Updated at 3/13  1:51 pm Puerto Rico’s fiscal board, created through the enactment of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), voted unanimously this morning to certify Puerto Rico Governor Ricky Rossello’s fiscal plan, provided that two amendments are made. One amendment

Enhanced Commonwealth and Free Association

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Enhanced Commonwealth and Free Association For many years, Puerto Rico’s Popular Democratic Party (PDP) favored an “enhanced commonwealth” status. The party’s official statement about what that enhanced commonwealth might look like found a national platform in the “Puerto Rico-United States Bilateral Pact of Non-territorial Permanent Union and Guaranteed Citizenship Act,” a bill introduced by

Is Puerto Rico Like Hong Kong?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Is Puerto Rico Like Hong Kong? Alex Lo wrote an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post suggesting that the U.S. government has no right to say China interferes with Hong Kong. Lo’s support for this position is a comparison of Hong Kong and Puerto Rico. The comments about

Does the U.S. Want Statehood for Puerto Rico?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Does the U.S. Want Statehood for Puerto Rico? The upcoming Puerto Rico plebiscite, scheduled for June 11, focuses on the question of whether Puerto Rican voters want statehood or independence/free association. Following the vote, Congress should take action to make the preferred status official. How do the people of the

González-Colón Marks The 100th Anniversary of Puerto Rico’s U.S. Citizenship

Source: Puerto Rico Report | González-Colón Marks The 100th Anniversary of Puerto Rico’s U.S. Citizenship Early this morning in the House of Representatives, Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon made a statement recognizing Puerto Rico’s one hundredth anniversary of U.S. citizenship. “I would like to seek equality for millions of citizens living in Puerto Rico,”

FL Congresswoman Murphy Endorses Statehood for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | FL Congresswoman Murphy Endorses Statehood for Puerto Rico Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy (D) joined Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to support Puerto Rico statehood. “A century ago today, a federal law granted U.S. citizenship to individuals born in Puerto Rico,” said the

Governor Submits Alternative Fiscal Plan

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Governor Submits Alternative Fiscal Plan Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello (New Progressive Party) submitted a 10-year fiscal adjustment plan to Puerto Rico’s federally-imposed Financial Oversight and Management Board just before the midnight deadline last night. It begins by calculating the budget gap over the decade at $55.2 billion versus the

Happy Centenary, Puerto Rico!

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Happy Centenary, Puerto Rico! President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act, the law that gave Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship, on March 2, 1917.  That makes March 2, 2017, the 100 year anniversary of Puerto Rican citizenship in the United States. Everyone born in Puerto Rico is a U.S. citizen by

HUBZones and Puerto Rico: A Work in Progress

Source: Puerto Rico Report | HUBZones and Puerto Rico: A Work in Progress In the summer of 2016, more than 82% of Puerto Rico was declared a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone): all of the municipalities of Adjuntas, Coamo, Culebra, Jayuya, Las Marías, Maricao, Salinas, Santa Isabel, Utuado and Vieques plus significant parts of all

Former Governor Alejandro García Padilla: Citizen of the U.S. or Spain?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Former Governor Alejandro García Padilla: Citizen of the U.S. or Spain?   Alejandro García Padilla (Popular Democratic Party), the former governor of Puerto Rico, is a U.S. citizen, as are all people born in Puerto Rico. According to recent press reports, García Padilla is now also a Spanish citizen. This raises an interesting question: Can an individual

New Data on Puerto Rican Migration to the States

Source: Puerto Rico Report | New Data on Puerto Rican Migration to the States A new report on migration for 2015 from the Puerto Rico Statistics Institute shows that people are still moving from the Island to the States in record numbers: 89 millions people made the move in 2015. The result was a net

Trump Order Could Change the Rules for Free Associates States

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Trump Order Could Change the Rules for Free Associates States President Trump is planning a new executive order on the subject of immigration, according to drafts shared by the Washington Post. The major focus of these new drafts: to “ensure the US does not welcome individuals who are likely to

CNE discusses Puerto Rico’s Economy, Announces Plans for New Growth Commission

Source: Puerto Rico Report | CNE discusses Puerto Rico’s Economy, Announces Plans for New Growth Commission Miguel “Mike” Soto-Class, a Puerto Rican economist and founder of the Center for a New Economy (CNE), an independent, non-partisan think-tank devoted to developing a “new economy” for Puerto Rico, discussed the territory’s fiscal and economic situation at a

Honoring the Life of Congressman Robert Garcia

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Honoring the Life of Congressman Robert Garcia Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, spoke in memory of former Congressman Robert Garcia on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday. “I rise today as Puerto Rico’s sole elected representative in Congress to speak about a great man who gave

Controversial Gutierrez Proposal Contradicts Puerto Rican Law

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Controversial Gutierrez Proposal Contradicts Puerto Rican Law Rep. Luis Gutierrez has introduced legislation to hold a new plebiscite in Puerto Rico that recognizes “the U.S. territory’s sovereign nationhood” and enables voters to choose between independence or free association as the island’s new political status. “The colonial relationship with the United States

Puerto Rico’s Choices: Statehood or Independence

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico’s Choices: Statehood or Independence The new referendum law enacted by the Puerto Rico Legislature and signed by Governor Ricardo Rossello defines the political status options for the ballot as statehood or independence. Whether independence in the future will be with or without possible agreement on a treaty alliance

The Legal Reality of Free Association

Source: Puerto Rico Report | The Legal Reality of Free Association As Puerto Rico prepares to vote on status options in its first federally-funded plebiscite, it’s important to make sure that voters fully understand the three status options. The first vote, planned for June 2017, will be between statehood and independence. If independence wins the

Senate Bipartisanship on Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Senate Bipartisanship on Puerto Rico On the floor of the U.S. Senate this morning, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had kind words for Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as the Senate paused from its acrimony to recognize Sen. Hatch for being the longest serving Republican senator in history. Leader

Long Road to Economic Recovery Forecast for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Long Road to Economic Recovery Forecast for Puerto Rico Puerto Rico’s economy may not be as large as it was in 2006 until 2034, according to a new study by a prominent economic consulting firm. The territory’s economy has shrunk by about a fifth since the spring of 2006. The

Plebiscite Bill Passes, Defining Options

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Plebiscite Bill Passes, Defining Options A proposal to hold a status plebiscite vote on June 11, 2017 has been enacted into law in Puerto Rico. The stated goals of the new law are to establish the “[i]mmediate decolonization of Puerto Rico,” and implement a 2014 federal law that provides $2.5 million to

Puerto Rico to Vote on Status on June 11

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico to Vote on Status on June 11 Governor Ricardo Rossello (New Progressive Party/PNP) is expected to sign into law as early as today a bill that he supported which would hold a plebiscite in the islands between statehood and nationhood under a 2014 Federal law. The Legislative Assembly

The Sovereign Free Association Option on the Plebiscite Ballot

Source: Puerto Rico Report | The Sovereign Free Association Option on the Plebiscite Ballot In 2012, the following option was on the Puerto Rico plebiscite ballot: (III) Sovereign Free Associated State: Puerto Rico should adopt a status outside of the Territory Clause of the Constitution of the United States that recognizes the sovereignty of the

Commonwealth Status: A History of Rejection by the U.S.

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Commonwealth Status: A History of Rejection by the U.S. Puerto Rico’s pro-“commonwealth” political party is pushing to include a “commonwealth” option on the ballot of a plebiscite that the territory’s legislature is scheduling to take place on June 11, 2017.  Legislation to authorize the plebiscite is advancing through the Puerto Rican legislature.

Puerto Rico Senate Bill Takes a Step Forward, Opponents Insist on Rejected “Commonwealth” Option

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico Senate Bill Takes a Step Forward, Opponents Insist on Rejected “Commonwealth” Option The Puerto Rico Senate has approved legislation to hold a plebiscite on June 11, 2017 to determine Puerto Rico’s status.  There will be two options on the  ballot: statehood and independence. The Senate proposal, which was given

Consideration of Puerto Rico Senate’s Status Bill Postponed

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Consideration of Puerto Rico Senate’s Status Bill Postponed The Puerto Rico Senate has delayed consideration of legislation calling for a federally-sponsored referendum on Puerto Rico’s political status. The bill, called “The Law for the Immediate Decolonization of Puerto Rico (S.B. 51), ” was introduced by Thomas Rivera Schatz, President of the Puerto Rico

Financial Board to Meet Saturday

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Financial Board to Meet Saturday   The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico has announced that it will meet this Saturday at 8:30 AM Atlantic Standard Time at the Fajardo, Puerto Rico resort — distant from the populous San Juan metropolitan area — at which it has met previously.

President Trump Keeps Silent on Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | President Trump Keeps Silent on Puerto Rico According to a report in Caribbean Business, President Trump met with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello at Trump Towers. Spokespeople for both Trump and Rossello say that the meeting never happened. Trump’s Treasury Secretary nominee, Steve Mnuchin, answered questions from Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Trump Nominee Pledges Bipartisan Solution to Puerto Rico Problems

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Trump Nominee Pledges Bipartisan Solution to Puerto Rico Problems During his nomination hearing today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin told a Democratic Senator that with respect to the territory’s challenges, “we need to figure out a bipartisan solution.” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) used

Can Statehood Wait?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Can Statehood Wait? The Sun Sentinel, a news site from Pal Beach, Florida, recently posted an editorial titled, “Puerto Rican statehood can wait; economy can’t.” The Sentinel led the piece off with a snappy pronouncement: “Puerto Rico should shed its status as a U.S. territory, either by becoming the 51st

Governor Rossello Responds to PROMESA Board

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Governor Rossello Responds to PROMESA Board Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló sent a letter this week to PROMESA Board Chairman José Carrión outlining the actions he has taken so far and the actions he plans to take to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. Rossello’s letter began with a list of

Puerto Rico’s Debt Is a Human Rights Issue, Says U.N. Expert

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico’s Debt Is a Human Rights Issue, Says U.N. Expert Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky and several more independent experts from the United Nations requested an invitation from the United States last fall to visit Puerto Rico on a fact-finding trip. Their concerns have now been made public in a statement

New Puerto Rico Status Vote

Source: Puerto Rico Report | New Puerto Rico Status Vote In 2014, Washington approved a $2.5 million appropriation for a new status plebiscite in Puerto Rico, the first federally funded vote on the Island’s status. Former governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla promised to hold the plebiscite in 2016, but this did not take place. Now, the

Gonzalez-Colon Acts to Avoid Medicaid ‘Cliff’; Proposes Medicare B Equality for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Gonzalez-Colon Acts to Avoid Medicaid ‘Cliff’; Proposes Medicare B Equality for Puerto Rico Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) introduced two bills to promote health care equality for Puerto Rico during her first day as the U.S. territory’s Resident Commissioner. Her Medicaid proposal (H.R. 259) seeks to prevent the territory from losing nearly

New CRS Report Issued on Puerto Rico Status

Source: Puerto Rico Report | New CRS Report Issued on Puerto Rico Status The Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan governmental resource for Members of Congress, has released a new report on Puerto Rico’s political status. The central thesis of the report appears to be that status has been an element of every discussion, action, and failure

Gonzalez Introduces Statehood Bill

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Gonzalez Introduces Statehood Bill Just one day after becoming Resident Commissioner, Jenniffer Gonzalez (R-PR) has introduced legislation that would automatically make Puerto Rico a state by 2025 if voters in Puerto Rico ratify this choice in a vote sanctioned by the federal government. The legislation calls for a vote between statehood

Congress’s Responsibility on Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Congress’s Responsibility on Puerto Rico On the floor of the United States Senate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was clear: “The United States of America should not treat Puerto Rico as a colony. We cannot and must not take away the democratic rights of the 3.5 million Americans of Puerto Rico and give virtually all power

Statehood for Puerto Rico in 2017?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Statehood for Puerto Rico in 2017? Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States for more than a century, longer than any other territory has had to wait for statehood. Statehood supporters in Puerto Rico think this may be the year for a change in Puerto Rico’s status.

Top Stories of All Time

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Top Stories of All Time As we move into a new year, a year which we believe will be full of excitement for Puerto Rico, we looked back on the stories we’ve shared at this website over the years. Here are the most popular stories we’ve published: Is Puerto Rico

Top 10 Stories of 2016

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Top 10 Stories of 2016 A lot happened in Puerto Rico in 2016. Lots of discussions and actions about Puerto Rico took place in the States, too. The Puerto Rico Report was here to report on all of it. What were the most popular stories in 2016? Here they are

6 Things People Think Trump Said about Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | 6 Things People Think Trump Said about Puerto Rico A number of statements about Puerto Rico have been attributed to Donald Trump, but most have been fake news. Here are a few of the things Trump was reported to have said about Puerto Rico: That Palestinians should be moved to

Democracy 101: Why Committee “Votes” Don’t Make Non-Voting Territorial Representatives “Voting Members” of Congress

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Democracy 101: Why Committee “Votes” Don’t Make Non-Voting Territorial Representatives “Voting Members” of Congress As we recently noted, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) is advocating thaT the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico be allowed to cast votes in the House when it constitutes itself as the Committee of the

Board, Gov-Elect Change Puerto Rico Fiscal Plan

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Board, Gov-Elect Change Puerto Rico Fiscal Plan Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board members and New Progressive Party (PNP) leaders elected last month to take over the reins of the territorial government early next month made clear earlier this week their intent to, first, adopt a more fiscal adjustment

Dem Whip Steny H. Hoyer Requests Vote for Territorial Delegates

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Dem Whip Steny H. Hoyer Requests Vote for Territorial Delegates House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) sent a letter to House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) asking that the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, as well as the other non-voting delegates from the other territories and Washington D.C.,

Congressional Task Force Urges Quick Action on Medicaid, Highlights Inequalities Between Puerto Rico and States

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Congressional Task Force Urges Quick Action on Medicaid, Highlights Inequalities Between Puerto Rico and States The Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico has released its final report, recommending legislation in early 2017 to address an impending Medicaid “cliff” on the island as well as an expansion of the

PROMESA Board Prescribes Fiscal Remedies

Source: Puerto Rico Report | PROMESA Board Prescribes Fiscal Remedies The Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board today wrote Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla and Governor-Elect Ricardo Rossello with its initial fiscal prescriptions for the territorial government. The Board disclosed that it will adhere to its previously-determined schedule of beginning conversations with creditors this week

Incoming Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Confident about Relationship with Trump

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Incoming Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Confident about Relationship with Trump Jenniffer González, the new Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, is confident that the time is ripe for statehood for Puerto Rico, according to an interview with Caribbean Business. Gonzalez, along with incoming governor Ricardo Rosselló, intends to work aggressively for