AP NEWS

Bipartisan bill introduced to make Puerto Rico the 51st state

June 28, 2018 GMT

Puerto Rico is one step closer to becoming the 51st state this week, as the commonwealth’s non-voting representative introduced a statehood bill Wednesday that enjoys backing from members of both sides of the aisle.

Del. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon’s Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018 already has 36 additional co-sponsors, 22 Republicans and 15 Democrats.

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Florida Democrat, stood by the bill on the House floor Wednesday, as she pledged her support for it to pass.

“Puerto Rico has earned its star on the American flag,” she said.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, also pledged his support, releasing a statement in both English and Spanish saying, “I support the right of our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico to seek admission to the union as a state.”

The bill would create a bipartisan task force to report to both the legislative and executive branches which laws would need to change in order to allow Puerto Ricos transition to statehood, AP reports. The panel would also suggest economic provisions to assist in the transition.

As Ms. Gonzalez said in a tweet, statehood for Puerto Rico is ultimately about equality for the island’s residents:

Now is the time. Statehood is nothing else than Equality; and this Admission Act provides the means to put into effect the values of Democracy and Respect upon which our Nation is built. pic.twitter.com/9bb21aopqX Jenniffer Gonzlez (@RepJenniffer) June 28, 2018