DC Council Votes to Put Statehood Referendum on Ballot

D.C. residents may will get to vote in November on whether to make the District the 51st state.

D.C. lawmakers have voted to put a referendum on statehood on the ballot in November.

Tuesday's unanimous vote by the D.C. Council is part of Mayor Muriel Bowser's strategy to pursue the "Tennessee model" for statehood. Tennessee became a state after it crafted its own constitution and then was admitted into the union by Congress.

If approved, the referendum would give the Council authority to write the constitution for the "State of New Columbia." D.C. leaders released a draft of the constitution in May.

While lawmakers praised the referendum effort, Council Member David Grosso sounded a note of caution. He said earlier Tuesday that the referendum will not influence Congress and will give people "false hope" unless it is backed by a major public-relations campaign at a cost of $100 million or more.

Bowser asked the Democratic National Committee to include statehood in the party's platform in June, and the party included the issue in a draft of the party's platform.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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