New Columbia Statehood Commission Members Vote for New DC Statehood Plan
(Washington, DC) – The New Columbia Statehood Commission met April 21, 2016, and voted on a new plan designed to reinvigorate the DC statehood effort. The proposal, announced by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser at the Emancipation Day Breakfast on April 15, would put a DC statehood advisory referendum on the November 8, 2016 ballot. The Commission is composed of Mayor Muriel Bowser, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, U.S. Senator Paul Strauss, U.S. Senator Michael D. Brown, and U.S. Representative Franklin Garcia. All five Commission Members enthusiastically endorsed the new plan.
The plan’s essential elements are to revive the “Tennessee Plan” as a means to achieve DC statehood. The specific steps include:
- Holding a Constitutional Convention at which the Commission will present a draft constitution and elicit feedback from the general public on a revised constitution. The current New Columbia State Constitution has not been updated since 1987.
- Fixing Set Boundaries to ensure that an appropriate Federal District area remains intact to serve as the nation’s capital, as established in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution.
- Putting an Advisory Referendum on the Ballot requesting DC voters to answer a question in four parts: (1) Do you want to become the 51st state?; (2) Do you ratify the state constitution?; (3) Do you approve of the boundaries?; and (4) Do you commit to a representative form of government?
As part of the effort to support this ambitious program, the Commission is currently seeking input from the general public to participate on specific committees and working groups. Currently five committees have been identified, including: All 8 Wards; All Americans for DC Statehood; Cleveland/Philadelphia Conventions; Communications; and Advocacy.
A meeting of the New Columbia Statehood Commission is next scheduled for 3:30 pm on April 29, 2016, in Room G-09 of the John A. Wilson Building, located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.