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June 25, 2017

Puerto Rico

Current Bills on Puerto Rico Status

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico has held its referendum on political status, and statehood won. But that doesn’t mean that Puerto Rico is now a state. The process of becoming a state requires a law, and laws begin in the U.S. Congress. There are currently several bills which have been introduced or in…

The Vote in Puerto Rico’s June 11 Political Status Plebiscite: Analysis

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico’s most recent plebiscite, held June 11, had a very clear outcome: 97% of voters chose statehood from the territory’s three status options (nationhood in addition to territory status and statehood). The islands’ political factions supporting nationhood and an unprecedented “Commonwealth status” that Federal officials have said is impossible…

Congress Continues to Influence Puerto Rico Financial Board

Source: Puerto Rico Report The Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB), created by the PROMESA law, has been the subject of a number of complaints and concerns from members of the U.S. Congress. There have also been complaints about the board directed to the U.S. Congress. On June 15, Congressman Rob Bishop…

DNC Chair Tom Perez Endorses Statehood

Source: Puerto Rico Report Tom Perez, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, has endorsed statehood for Puerto Rico. As first reported in Politico, Perez has issued a statement that he believes Puerto Ricans should have the same rights as those on the mainland and that his personal view is that statehood is the…

Washington DC Reacts to Puerto Rico Statehood Vote

Source: Puerto Rico Report As results of the June 11 plebiscite vote have reached Washington this week, a number of congressional leaders have made statements or joined Gov. Rosselló in his visit to the nation’s capital. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a former chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the…

97% Vote for Statehood

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico has chosen to become the 51st State of the Union. Statehood won yesterday’s plebiscite by a landslide: 97% of votes cast favored statehood.  Among the other two options on the ballot, the current territorial status received 1.3% of the vote and independence/free association had 1.5% of voter support.…

U.S. Congress Shows Bipartisan Support for Puerto Rico Status Vote

Source: Puerto Rico Report Puerto Rico’s plebiscite is on Congress’s radar screen based on the comments of several members in recent days, who are urging strong participation in today’s vote. “Puerto Ricans will have an opportunity this weekend to choose the future status of their island,” said House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) in…

Blogger Takes on Arguments against Statehood

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Blogger Takes on Arguments against Statehood As the June 11 plebiscite draws near, press and social media coverage of Puerto Rico’s status have increased.  One recent blog post on the topic comes from attorney John E. Mudd, who has taken on arguments against Puerto Rico statehood. “We all know,” he begins,

Gov. Rossello’s New Path Forward

Source: Puerto Rico Report With the 2017 status referendum vote just days away, statehood is expected to win in spite of calls for a boycott. If statehood is once again the majority position, Gov. Rossello will send a delegation to Washington in the move known as the Tennessee Plan, which helped not just Tennessee…

New Polls on Puerto Rico Status

Source: Puerto Rico Report | New Polls on Puerto Rico Status Two new polls on Puerto Rico status are being conducted in the run up to the 2017 referendum. The Tylt, a website that gives readers a chance to vote in simple yes-or-no polls, asked whether Puerto Rico should become the 51st state. As of

Inequality in Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Inequality in Puerto Rico   In 1980, the Supreme Court famously said that Congress may treat Puerto Rico differently from states as long as there is a rational basis for its actions.  The case was Harris v. Rosario, and the holding meant that Congress could set a lower level of

How to Guarantee U.S. Citizenship after the Plebiscite

Source: Puerto Rico Report | How to Guarantee U.S. Citizenship after the Plebiscite The ballot for the June 11th status referendum in Puerto Rico originally informed voters that future U.S. citizenship was guaranteed only under statehood. The Department of Justice disapproved this wording. In the Department’s view, the status quo — Puerto Rico is currently

Oscar Lopez Parade Controversy

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Oscar Lopez Parade Controversy The 60th national Puerto Rican Day Parade is scheduled for June 11th, the same day as the status referendum vote in Puerto Rico. The parade will take place on Fifth Avenue in New York, a State which has been home to a significant number of people of

Puerto Rico Leaders Meet with Members of Congress, Call for Action

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico Leaders Meet with Members of Congress, Call for Action A delegation from Puerto Rico including Governor Ricardo Rosselló, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón and Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz met with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Michael S. Lee (R-UT),  House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), and

Puerto Rican Veterans Leaving the Island

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rican Veterans Leaving the Island In the current controversies about the best approach to economic growth for Puerto Rico, one topic comes up frequently but also gets sidelined easily: the number of Puerto Ricans leaving the Island for a State. On Memorial Day, some observers are noticing the connection

Trump Budget Increases Puerto Rico Medicaid by $600 Million

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Trump Budget Increases Puerto Rico Medicaid by 0 Million President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget proposal to increase Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico to essentially continue it at the current level was a surprise that raises bigger questions. The proposal calls for Medicaid funding of $1,592.694,000 during the year that begins

MacArthur Introduces Puerto Rico Task Force Economic Empowerment Act

Source: Puerto Rico Report | MacArthur Introduces Puerto Rico Task Force Economic Empowerment Act Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) has introduced HR 2429, the Puerto Rico Task Force Economic Empowerment Act, in the House of Representatives. The comprehensive bill includes measures designed to “support businesses in Puerto Rico, improve health funding for Puerto Rico, and promote

Velázquez Introduces Puerto Rico Small Business Assistance Act

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Velázquez Introduces Puerto Rico Small Business Assistance Act Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), who is the lead Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, has introduced a new bill, “The Puerto Rico Small Business Assistance Act,” designed to spur small business growth and entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico.” “We’ve seen time

Puerto Rico Debt Syllabus

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico Debt Syllabus The Puerto Rico Debt Syllabus is collection of links to articles, websites, and multimedia on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. It was recently launched by the Unpayable Debt Working Group.It constitutes an impressive storehouse of references for teachers of geography, economics, digital literacy, and critical thinking. The

Trump Administration Calls for Pro-Growth Economic Policies for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Trump Administration Calls for Pro-Growth Economic Policies for Puerto Rico The Trump Administration’s Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the recent federal omnibus spending legislation (Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017) includes a section on the new administration’s position on Puerto Rico. First, noting the legislation’s inclusion of close to $300

Senators and Board Discuss PROMESA

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Senators and Board Discuss PROMESA On April 7, two U.S. Senators, Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), wrote a letter to the PROMESA fiscal oversight management board [FOMB] expressing concern that the Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico is not compliant with the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability

Can Federal Courts Decide Territorial Status?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Can Federal Courts Decide Territorial Status? After “We the People Project” (WTTP) lost its case seeking a judicial declaration redefining territorial citizenship rights, WTPP founder and leader Neil Weare was undaunted. He displayed intrepid political spin skills by insisting repudiation of his legal theory by the federal judiciary in the

Bankruptcy for Puerto Rico?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Bankruptcy for Puerto Rico? Last week, the PROMESA oversight board commenced a federal restructuring initiative under Title III of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) in the U.S. District Court of the District of Puerto Rico. Prior to the filing, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced that his

Can Puerto Rico Have Equality Without Statehood?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Can Puerto Rico Have Equality Without Statehood? Territorial rights activist Neil Weare has been raising funds from donors in the U.S. territories since 2013 for “We the People Project” (WTPP). As founder and President of WTPP, Mr. Weare uses the non-profit’s funds to bring lawsuits on behalf of carefully selected

American Enterprise Institute Examines Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Crisis

Source: Puerto Rico Report | American Enterprise Institute Examines Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Crisis As Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló petitioned the fiscal oversight board today for relief under Title III of PROMESA (which the board of approved), the American Enterprise Institute was hosting a conference titled “Puerto Rico’s ongoing economic crisis.” The discussion on economic reform options

House Passes U.S. Territories Investor Protection Act

Source: Puerto Rico Report | House Passes U.S. Territories Investor Protection Act The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday to require investment companies located in Puerto Rico and other U.S. possessions to adhere to federal registration requirements imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Current law exempts such companies from registration requirements with the

What Is a Plebiscite?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | What Is a Plebiscite? Puerto Rico is planning a plebiscite for June 11, 2017. So what is a plebiscite? What is a plebiscite? A plebiscite is a direct vote by registered voters on an important legal or political question. The word comes from French and before that from the Latin

Puerto Rico to Receive $296 million in Medicaid Funding

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico to Receive 6 million in Medicaid Funding Congress is expected to pass this week legislation that provides $296 million for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program. The proposal, which was released early this morning, is scheduled for a vote before the House of Representatives on Wednesday.  A Senate vote could

Puerto Rico’s Ballot Boycott

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico’s Ballot Boycott A number of “commonwealth” and independence supporters have announced their intention to ask their supporters to boycott the June 2017 vote on Puerto Rico’s political status. Governor Rossello responded to the U.S. Department of Justice’s objections to the original ballot by making a series of changes:

Puerto Rico Plebiscites: Past and Present

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico Plebiscites: Past and Present Over the years, Puerto Rico has held several plebiscites asking voters their choice about the type of relationship they would like with the U.S.  The ballot options on the plebiscites have been different, but they include statehood, independence and often a “Commonwealth” option. The Past

English Translation of Puerto Rico’s New Plebiscite Law Released

Source: Puerto Rico Report | English Translation of Puerto Rico’s New Plebiscite Law Released The Puerto Rican government quickly responded to federal concerns with Puerto Rico’s upcoming plebiscite ballot.  Only days after receiving a letter from the U.S. Justice Department noting suggested changes to the ballot and related materials, the Puerto Rico legislature passed and

Trump Tweets on Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Trump Tweets on Puerto Rico President Trump has finally spoken out on Puerto Rico — in a pair of tweets: “The Democrats want to shut government if we don’t bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!” “Democrats are trying to bailout insurance

Gov Rossello Promotes Fiscal Responsibility and Statehood in Heritage Foundation Speech

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Gov Rossello Promotes Fiscal Responsibility and Statehood in Heritage Foundation Speech Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello delivered a speech at the Heritage Foundation today that highlighted his nascent government’s early record of accomplishment and ended with a commitment to push for self determination – and ultimately statehood – for the

House Dem Whip Steny Hoyer’s Statement on Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | House Dem Whip Steny Hoyer’s Statement on Puerto Rico   I was disappointed that the Justice Department chose to interfere in Puerto Rico’s planned referendum on statehood.  By doing so, the Trump Administration is demonstrating exactly why a majority of Puerto Ricans voted five years ago for a change in

Revised Puerto Rico Plebiscite Ballot

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Revised Puerto Rico Plebiscite Ballot The original ballot for the June 2017 vote on Puerto Rico’s political status was rejected by the U.S. Department of Justice. Governor Rossello and other members of the Puerto Rico government have amended the ballot to meet the requirements of the DOJ. The new ballot

Puerto Rico’s Three Status Options

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico’s Three Status Options In 2014, the U.S. government approved funding for a new status vote in Puerto Rico — if the U.S. Department of Justice agreed that the options on the ballot were constitutional. A proposal was made for an up or down vote on statehood for Puerto

Harvard Revisits the Insular Cases

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Harvard Revisits the Insular Cases The Harvard Law Review is re-examining the Insular Cases — the cases from the early 20th century which still dictate the fate of the unincorporated island territories of the United States. For Puerto Rico, the renewed look at the historic legal cases could make a

Justice Department Explains Rejection of Plebiscite Ballot

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Justice Department Explains Rejection of Plebiscite Ballot In a letter sent to Governor Rosselló yesterday, the United States Department of Justice cited “multiple considerations” in rejecting the Puerto Rican government’s proposed ballot for its status referendum planned for June 11, 2017. Writing for the Department, Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana

Puerto Rico Plebiscite Will Include Choice to Remain a U.S. Territory

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico Plebiscite Will Include Choice to Remain a U.S. Territory Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced this evening that the Puerto Rican government would proceed with the June 11th plebiscite despite the refusal of the U.S. Department of Justice to authorize the ballot without giving voters the option to remain a U.S.

Puerto Rico Republican Leaders Clarify “Commonwealth” Option in Letters to U.S. Attorney General

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Rico Republican Leaders Clarify “Commonwealth” Option in Letters to U.S. Attorney General Puerto Rico Republican leaders have written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions offering guidance, a historic perspective and a forceful recommendation to exclude a “Commonwealth” option from the ballot for Puerto Rico’s upcoming plebiscite vote on June 11th.

Young Republicans Support Statehood for Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Young Republicans Support Statehood for Puerto Rico The Young Republican National Federation passed a resolution supporting statehood for Puerto Rico at the organization’s Spring 2017 meeting in Boston last weekend. The resolution began by acknowledging that the national Republican Party platform includes language that “support[s] the right of the United States

Sports Sovereignty and Puerto Rico

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Sports Sovereignty and Puerto Rico Puerto Rico, as a territory of the United States, has no sovereignty as a political entity. The Supreme Court confirmed this in 2016, ruling in several cases that Puerto Rico continues to be under the rule of the Territorial Clause, which gives complete power over

Current Territorial Status Not Democratic Choice For Plebiscite Ballot

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Current Territorial Status Not Democratic Choice For Plebiscite Ballot A letter requesting that the U.S. Attorney General withhold certification of the ballot for a federally sponsored political status plebiscite in the territory has been signed by eight members of the U.S. Senate, where the 3.3 million U.S. citizens of Puerto

OPIC for Puerto Rico?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | OPIC for Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico Senator José Nadal Power (“Commonwealth” party) is advocating changes in federal law to re-purpose the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to help Puerto Rico out of its current debt crisis and related economic woes. OPIC is a federal government agency that promotes U.S.

Puerto Ricans Better Off in States

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Puerto Ricans Better Off in States The Pew Research Center has reported some new information on the economic reality of life for Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico and in the States. Currently, more Puerto Ricans live on the U.S. mainland than in Puerto Rico. But the financial position of people

Health Care, the Marshall Islands, and Free Association

Source: Puerto Rico Report | Health Care, the Marshall Islands, and Free Association Free Association is one of the options in the upcoming status vote in Puerto Rico. It is included as a possible form of independence. Since Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States for more than a century and was

A COFA for Puerto Rico?

Source: Puerto Rico Report | A COFA for Puerto Rico? When Puerto Rico votes on June 11th to end its status as a United States territory, one of the options on the ballot will be nationhood with two variations: independence or free association.  This is how the current draft ballot, which is awaiting approval from

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