Florida Senate - 2018                                     SM 940
       By Senator Rodriguez
       37-01203-18                                            2018940__
    1                           Senate Memorial                         
    2         A memorial to the Congress of the United States,
    3         urging Congress to apply law and policy in Puerto Rico
    4         without discrimination or inequality and to
    5         incorporate the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico into the
    6         United States.
    8         WHEREAS, since 1898, the United States has administered the
    9  islands of Puerto Rico and its population as an unincorporated
   10  territory of the United States, and
   11         WHEREAS, less than two years after acceding to sole and
   12  exclusive sovereignty over the islands of Puerto Rico, in 1900
   13  the United States Congress enacted the law known as the Foraker
   14  Act, providing a civilian government for the territory, and
   15         WHEREAS, in the Insular Cases, the United States Supreme
   16  Court recognized that the United States Constitution applies
   17  within the unincorporated territories of the United States, but
   18  the scope of such application was less than the full guarantees
   19  of individual liberty accorded to those residing in states or
   20  incorporated territories of the Union, and
   21         WHEREAS, in 1917, the United States Congress enacted the
   22  Jones-Shafroth Act, providing for greater self-government and
   23  granting United States citizenship to all residents of Puerto
   24  Rico, and
   25         WHEREAS, in the decision Balzac v. People of Porto Rico,
   26  the United States Supreme Court reiterated the holding of the
   27  Insular Cases and ruled that the United States Constitution
   28  applied only in part in the unincorporated territories, thus
   29  affirming the denial of right to trial by jury to the petitioner
   30  in that case, and
   31         WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in Balzac also
   32  found that incorporation into the United States was a key step
   33  to statehood for any territory, and the incorporation could only
   34  be accomplished by express congressional declaration or by
   35  “implication so strong as to exclude any other view,” and
   36         WHEREAS, in 1950, Congress authorized the people of Puerto
   37  Rico to conduct a constitutional convention for the purpose of
   38  developing a constitution providing for more complete self
   39  government by Puerto Rico, requiring such constitution to
   40  provide both a republican form of government and a bill of
   41  rights, and
   42         WHEREAS, requiring a republican form of government to each
   43  state is a duty of the United States Congress under Article IV,
   44  section 4 of the United States Constitution, and
   45         WHEREAS, pursuant to the authority granted by the United
   46  States Congress, the people of Puerto Rico met in convention and
   47  drafted a constitution meeting the requirements of the 1950 act,
   48  and the United States Congress approved the Constitution of the
   49  Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1952, and
   50         WHEREAS, the territorial histories of other states such as
   51  Louisiana, Alaska, and Hawaii demonstrate a similar progress of
   52  self-government, from early congressional acts establishing
   53  basic civil government, to a more formally structured government
   54  conducted by the people of the particular territory, and
   55  eventually approval of an official state constitution, and
   56         WHEREAS, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto
   57  Rico was approved before congressional approval of the proposed
   58  state constitutions for Alaska and Hawaii, and the subsequent
   59  admission of those states into the Union, and
   60         WHEREAS, the granting of United States citizenship to the
   61  people of Puerto Rico, requiring their self-governing
   62  constitution to provide for a republican form of government and
   63  a bill of rights, admitting residents of Puerto Rico into the
   64  Armed Forces of the United States in which they have bravely and
   65  honorably defended the United States as duty has required,
   66  integrating all aspects of the economy of Puerto Rico into the
   67  greater economy of the United States, and evolving the Puerto
   68  Rico laws and judicial system from their Spanish origins into
   69  provisions and process consistent with the laws and
   70  jurisprudence of the United States, creates the strong and clear
   71  implication that Puerto Rico de facto has been incorporated into
   72  the United States, and
   73         WHEREAS, citizens of the United States residing in Puerto
   74  Rico currently are not entitled to the same treatment under
   75  certain federal laws, such as the provision of Supplemental
   76  Security Income from the Social Security Administration, as are
   77  other citizens of the United States residing in the several
   78  states of the Union, and
   79         WHEREAS, the denial of equal treatment of United States
   80  citizens residing in Puerto Rico under certain federal laws is
   81  justified solely on the basis that Puerto Rico is not
   82  incorporated into the United States despite over one hundred
   83  years of assimilation into the culture, economy, and political
   84  process of the United States, and
   85         WHEREAS, the recent catastrophic impacts to Puerto Rico of
   86  Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the federal response to the
   87  resulting humanitarian crisis, demonstrate a compelling need for
   88  the incorporation of Puerto Rico into the United States so that
   89  responses to natural disasters in Puerto Rico have the same
   90  priority and are conducted on the same basis as federal
   91  responses to natural disasters elsewhere in the United States,
   92  and
   93         WHEREAS, integration into the United States, while
   94  necessary to move towards statehood, will not automatically
   95  confer statehood on Puerto Rico, NOW, THEREFORE,
   97  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   99         That the United States Congress is urged to incorporate the
  100  territory and resident United States citizens of Puerto Rico
  101  into the United States and to apply all law and policy in Puerto
  102  Rico on the same basis as in a state of the union without
  103  discrimination or inequality.
  104         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State dispatch
  105  copies of this memorial to the President of the United States,
  106  the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the
  107  United States House of Representatives, and each member of the
  108  Florida delegation to the United States Congress.