The controversial bill HR 2499 has passed the House of Representatives. Before being passed, it was amended, to remove one of the more objectionable features of the Bill.
The bill now calls for two referendums in Puerto Rico. In the first, the people of Puerto Rico are asked to choose between:
Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of political status.
Puerto Rico should have a different political status.
If the people choose a different political status, then another referendum is held, where they are presented with the following choices:
Independence: Puerto Rico should become fully independent from the United States.
Sovereignty in Association with the United States: Puerto Rico and the United States should form a political association between sovereign nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution.
Statehood: Puerto Rico should be admitted as a State of the Union.
Commonwealth: Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of political status.
The amendment was to add the fourth choice, which would seem to render the first referendum useless. This addition does seem to eliminate the problem where those people who wish to maintain the current status lose their voice in the first referendum. However, I remain suspicious. Why have two referendums, at the expense of the people of Puerto Rico, when it is clear that the peoples' answer could be determined in one?
Now that the bill has passed the House, it goes to the Senate. According to Govtrack, the Senate will be considering their own version of this bill (but no bill number has been created, as of yet). I urge all of you to watch this closely!