Language in America - Puerto Rican Statehood
English-language issue is whether Puerto Rico, a
self-governing territory, should become a State. Puerto
Ricans have been citizens of the United States since
U.S.C. § 734. Yet more than two-thirds of the
islands inhabitants do not speak English. Source: Karl Ross,
"Puerto Rico Law Embraces English," The
Washington Post, January 30, 1993, P. A4
In 1998, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 856, a bill to make Puerto Rico a State. Proponents of Statehood spent millions of dollars on lobbyists, pollsters and public relations firms to promote passage, yet the surprisingly close vote was 209 in favor and 208 against. The one-vote margin blocked Senate consideration of similar legislation.
In December 1998, the pro-Statehood government of Puerto Rico held another voter plebiscite on statehood. Puerto Ricos voters rejected statehood. This is the third rejection of statehood in the last seven years.
In January 2000, President Clinton proposed a fourth statehood vote in Puerto Rico.