D.C. Statehood Rally Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1-5:30 p.m.
As part of the "Breaking Through Power" Conference, on Wdnesday, September 28, 2016, from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. there will be a D.C. statehood rally and conference at the D.A.R. Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW, Washington, D.C. This is the schedule:
D.C. Statehood - Why and What It Takes
1:05 pm - 1:25 pm Why Now is the Time for Statehood
(invited) Mayor Muriel Bowser & D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson
1:25 pm - 1:35 pm Getting Statehood through Congress—Strategy and Resources
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Olmes Norton
1:35 pm - 2:05 pm The Case for Statehood—Ending the Colony
D.C. Senator Michael Brown and D.C. Reprsentative Franklin Garcia, Mark Plotkin, Moderator
2:05 pm - 2:55 pm Mobilizing for Action in The District of Columbia and the Nation—When, How and With What
Rev. Grayson hagler, Plymouth UCC, Keshini Ladduwahetty, Chairperson, DC for Democracy, Anise Jenkins, Stand Up! Free DC!, Scot McLarty, DC Statehood Green Party, Josh Burch, Neighbors United for DC Statehood
2:55 pm - 3:15 pm Building Support for Democracy with the D.C. Establishment
Anthony William, former D.C. Mayor & Executive Director Federal City Council
3:15 pm - 3:45 pm Voter Suppression
Hillary Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Director
3:45 pm - 4:15 pm The Best D.C. Constitution, The US Constitution and D.C. Statehood
Betsy Cavendish, D.C. General Counsel (to Mayor); Alan Morrison, Professor, GWU School of Law
4:15 pm - 4:45 pm Making Statehood a Presidential Priority—Mobilizing for Statehood Nationwide
(Invited) Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
4:45 pm - 5:30 pm The Winning Strategy—And a Proclamation
D.C. Council's "Advisory Referendum" on Statehood
The D.C. Council ignored citizens' request that the November referendum be a questions of statehood yes or no and not require D.C. voters to sign a blank check and ratify "a Consitution of the State of New Columbia to be adopted by the Council...."
The referendum language approved by the Council is:
"To ask the voters on November 8, 2016, through an advisory referendum, if the Council should petition Congress to enact a statehood admission act to admit the State of New Columbia to the Union. Advising the Council to approve this proposal would establish that the citizens of the District of Columbia ("District") (1) agree that the District should be admitted to the union as the State of New Columbia; (2) approve a Constitution of the State of New Columbia to be adopted by the Council; (3) approve the State of New Columbia's boundaries, as adopted by the New Columbia Statehood Commission on June 28, 2016; and (4) agree that the State of New Columbia shall guarantee an elected representative form of government."
D.C. voters have to vote for all 4 items as a unit. In order to amend the constitution approved by New Columbia Statehood Commission on June 28, 2016, District residents will have to convince the Council to amend it.
Register and testify at Council Hearings Sept. 27 and October 6!
At the request of the Mayor, Chairman Mendelson introduced Bill No. 21-826, the "Constitution of the State of New Columbia Approval Amendment Act of 2016." The Council has scheduled two public hearings on the bill,. The first is at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 and the second is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2016. To testify, call Evan Cash at 202-724-8196 or email him at
. Witnesses will be allowed 5 minutes, or less if there is a large number of witnesses. Written statements can be submitted to the Committee of the Whole, Council of the District of Columbia, Suite 410, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004, before 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, 2016.
The Council only has about seven weeks between when the members return in mid-September from their summer recess and the election. In that period, they must hold the hearings, markup the bill which includes the Statehood Commission's constitution, and hold two readings and votes on the bill, which must be two weeks apart. In addition, there needs to be time to print the constitution and make it widely available to the voters so they can have any idea what it is before they are voting on.
This is a tall order for Council Members who have not really been involved in the process so far. In addition, there is very little time for the public to really have much input. We need your help to educate the Council. Please read the constitution and comment at the hearings. The constitution can be obtained online at http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/36236/B21-0826-Introduction.pdf (Bill 21-0826) or through the Legislative Services Division (Room 10) of the Secretary of the Council's Office. Printed copies may also be available at D.C. libraries.
If you or any organization you belong to would like someone to come speak to you about the bill, please email
. The bill contains the text of the constitution and the version of the bill the Council approves will be the constitution to which the referendum on refers.
Statehood activists want to see the Council amend section 2 of the bill to amend the amendment provision in Article VII, section 3 of the Constitution, which now only allows the new House of Delegates to amend the Constitution, to allow the voters to propose amendments to the Constitution by proposing that a constitutional convention be held or through the initiative process. In all cases, an amendment proposed by the House of Delegates, a constitutinal convention or an initiative must be subsequently approved by the voters.
In addition, we would like the Council to amend the bill to provide that within 90 days of the passage of Bill 21-826, the Mayor and Council shall establish a procedure for electing representatives from all eight wards to a constitutional convention and provide adequate time and resources for them to perform their duties.
We also want to make sure that the admission act approved by Congress provides for a referendum to approve the constitution and boundaries referenced in the act, which may or may not be revised by Congress, subsequent to Congress' approval of the admission act but before the President proclaims that New Columbia is admitted as a state. This second referndum is requied by the bills now before Congress. However, a new Congress will convene in January 2017 and a new "New Columbia Admission Act" willl have to be introduced in both houses at that time.
See articles below on the Council's action on July 12, 2016 to approve the referendum language.
Mayor's Statehood Initiative
The "Statehood Constitutional Convention" organized by the Mayor through the New Columbia Statehood Commission finished its 3 day - 10-12 hour total! - "convention" Saturday, June 18, 2016. A D.C. civics teacher testified at the pening session on June 13 and pointedly noted that this was really a "townhall meeting," not a "convention", and that "citizens" are not "delegates" when no authority and no vote over the content of the constitution has been delegated to them. Only the members of the New Columbia Statehood Commission (the Mayor, Chairman of the Council, and 3 members of our statehood Congressional delegation) have a vote. The Commission amended and approved the constitution on June 28, 2016. The Council will consider a resolution on the referendum on July 12.
For more on the effort and the "convention," see "The Mayor's initiative and D.C.'s statehood constitutions," "Reactions to othe 'Constitutional Convention," and "Public Comments on Draft Statehood Constitution" below.
Educate Congress and Get Co-Sponsors for the New Columbia Admission Act