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Path to Statehood

Path to Statehood:

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the New Columbia Statehood Commission decided to pursue statehood through what is known as the “Tennessee Plan.” Under the Tennessee Plan, the prospective state’s electorate votes on statehood and ratifies a constitution, without an enabling act, and then uses this as a basis to petition Congress for admission. This approach was pioneered by Tennessee in 1796 and used by Michigan, Iowa, California, Oregon, Kansas, and Alaska to gain admission to the Union.

DC voters opted to satisfy the following four conditions for Statehood prior to filing an enabling act with Congress:

  • Residents affirmed the desire to become a state, and 86% of voters supported the Washington, DC Admission Act.
  • Ratified a State Constitution.
  • Established new state boundaries, which would preserve a smaller federal district required by the Constitution
  • Committed to a republican form of government that is representative, with elected officials including the election of United States Senators and Representatives on equal footing with the other states in the Union.

Under the Tennessee Plan a bill must pass the US House of Representatives and US Senate and then must be signed by the President of the United States.

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