Puerto Rico is working on resolving its political status. For years the future of the island has been under discussion. There have been many attempts to resolve the status and now actions are being taken to resolve the issue. Frank H. Murkowski, President of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Democrat Senator for Hawaii, Daniel Akaka, and John Kyl, Republican Senator for Arizona visited Puerto Rico during three days. The purpose of the visit was to gather information. The three senators met with delegations from the three major political parties in Puerto Rico between Thursday and Saturday (March 13- March 15 1997).
Murkowski said he would take the information he and his colleagues gathered during their trip, including a brief on the islands economy back to his committee for consideration. The senators discussed that defining Puerto Ricos status is a difficult and complicated process because they want to do it fairly. The San Juan Star of march 16, 1997 quoted Kyl as saying ,"We want to take everybodys point of view into proper account."
The parties have until March 31 to submit to Congress for consideration their definitions of the status choices.
In addition Larry Craig and Bob Graham plan to file their bipartisan version of a Puerto Rico- US Status bill in the Senate Wednesday. Craig, a Republican from Idaho, and Graham, a Democrat from Florida, are members of the senate Energy and Natural resources Committee chaired by Sen. Frank Murkowski, who confirmed the measure could be filed this week.
Murkowski did not endorse the bill, which is expected to be similar to the Young bill already under consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives. Public hearings on the Young bill are slated to begin in Washington on Wednesday, March 19, 1997.
Various alternatives are available now according to Senator Kyl. They include: work on the Young Bill that has been submitted and make any necessary amendments, work with the project presented by Craig or present a separate legislation.
Everything is being done to resolve the status issue by the year 2000.