WASHINGTON (AP) — District of Columbia lawmakers have voted to put a statehood referendum on the ballot in November.

Tuesday’s unanimous vote by the D.C. Council is part of Democratic 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 also give the Council authority to write the constitution for the “state of New Columbia.”

While lawmakers praised the referendum effort, independent Council member David Grosso sounded a note of caution. He said earlier Tuesday that the referendum won’t influence Congress and will give people “false hope” unless it’s backed by a major public-relations campaign at a cost of $100 million or more.


Ben Nuckols

Associated Press