Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) today introduced the Puerto Rico Status Act, legislation establishing a process for the people of Puerto Rico to determine the future of the island’s political status.
“The people of Puerto Rico deserve the right to decide their own future, and I’m proud to introduce this commonsense legislation supporting a transparent, democratic process for the island,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I will continue working to provide Puerto Ricans with opportunities to grow and strengthen their economy and communities.”
The Puerto Rico Status Act was drafted with extensive input from elected government officials in Puerto Rico; citizenship, immigration, and constitutional law experts; and many residents of the island. Specifically, the Puerto Rico Status Act would:
- Authorize a federally-sponsored referendum to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status;
- Outline the transition to and implementation of a non-territory status for Puerto Rico chosen by a majority of Puerto Rican voters—such as Statehood, Independence, or Sovereignty in Free Association with the U.S.
U.S. Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Jenniffer González Colón have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation has previously passed the House with bipartisan support.
The first and only Latina elected to the U.S. Senate, Senator Cortez Masto is committed to raising awareness about the needs of people in Puerto Rico. She has supported federal relief for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of devastating natural disasters and has pressed FEMA on their preparedness plans to protect Puerto Rico and the U.S. Islands during hurricane season.