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Feb 22
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What to Do for D.C. Statehood this month! E-mail

Statehood Bills Gain Cosponsors in Congress

It only takes Congress passing a single law to admit the residential and commercial parts of the current District of Columbia as the 51st state. To do this, it is up to us to educate the members of Congress on why it is a an American issue that all Americans should have the right to self-government and the rights that flow from that. That will only happen if we educate the members of Congress and their constituents and ask them to lobby their Senators and Representative on our behalf. Americans should not be denied the most fundamental right - LIBERTY - merely because of their residence in the capital of world's oldest democracy!

On March 2, 2017, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced H.R. 1291, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, in the House of Representatives with a record number of cosponsors - 116! There are now 141 cosponsors, the largest number ever to cosponsor a D.C. statehood bill.

On May 5, 2017, Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) introduced S. 1278 with 18 original cosponsors.  There are now 19 cosponsors.

Unfortunately, two of our original cosponsors, one in the House (Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and one in the Senate (Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), have resigned from Congress. We need to get their successors cosponsoring the statehood bill.

Help us educate members of Congress and get more cosponsors. There will be Congressional lobby day on April 16, 2018, D.C. Emancipation Day, D.C.'s one local holiday. Bo Shuff of DC Vote will be organizing the lobby day. If you would like to join us, please contact Ann Loikow ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), Elinor Hart ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Josh Burch ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

For more details about the House and Senate bills and their cosponsors, go to "Statehood Bills" under the "How Can I Help?" menu on the right of this home page.

Beacuse D.C. is a colony, Congress continues to meddle in D.C. affairs in a way it can't in a state's affairs, focusing on D.C.'s Death with Dignity Act, our gun laws and using local tax money to subsidize poor women's abortions and aid to immigrants facing deportation. For more information, see articles below.

D.C. Voters Overwhelmingly Approved the "Advisory Referendum" on Statehood

On November 8, 2016, District voters overwhelmingly voted for statehood with 87% (or 244,134) of those voting on the referendum approving it and 13% (40,779) opposing it. 26,154 voters (8.4%) either did not vote on the referendum or otherwise spoiled their ballot. D.C. voter turnout was very high in this election with over sixty-five percent of registered D.C. voters voting!

By approving the referendum the voters advised the D.C. Council to petition Congress to approve an admission act. This is the first time since 1982, when they ratified the 1982 constitution, that District voters have had a chance to vote for statehood.

The text of the referendum was:

"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."

For a discussion of the referendum, see What's the Advisory Referendum on Our Ballot? by David Jonas Bardin below.

Mayor's Statehood Initiative and the D.C. Council's Actions

The "Statehood Constitutional Convention" organized by the Mayor through the New Columbia Statehood Commission had a 3 day - only 10-12 hour total - "convention." Laura Fuchs, a D.C. civics teacher, testified at the opening session on June 13, 2016 and pointedly noted that this was really a "townhall meeting," not a "convention", and that "citizens" were not "delegates" when they had no authority and no vote over the content of the constitution. Only the members of the New Columbia Statehood Commission (the Mayor, Chairman of the Council, and 3 members of our statehood Congressional delegation) had a vote. The Commission amended and approved the constitution on June 28, 2016.

For more on the Mayor's 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.

At the request of the Mayor, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson introduced Bill No. 21-826, the "Constitution of the State of New Columbia Approval Amendment Act of 2016." The Council held two public hearings on the bill. The first was on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 and the second was on Thursday, October 6, 2016. Video of the September 27, 2016 hearing can be found at

Chairman Mendelson announced at the end of the October 6, 2016 hearing that he had introduced a resolution, PR21-0913, the "Constitution and Boundaries for the State of New Columbia Approval Resolution of 2016," on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. The resolution contained the text of the constitution as approved by the Statehood Commission on June 28, 2016.

However, instead of the boundary between the new state and the federal district approved by the Statehood Commission on June 28, 2016, and then amended by it in two places on September 14, 2016, the metes and bounds of the boundary were those proposed by John Loikow, a professional geographer and cartographer, who had analyzed the boundary approved by the Statehood Commission and prepared a commentary of the proposed metes and bounds, the issues some parts raised, and offered alternative wording. To see the boundary he proposed, go to Boundary Between the Seat of Federal Government and the New State below.

On October 18, 2016, the Council marked up PR21-0913, instead of Bill 21-826. As a result, only one reading (vote) on the resolution, instead of two, was required. The original resolution can be found at: http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/36406/PR21-0902-Introduction.pdf.

The Council also made a number of amendments to the Constitution. Among the significant changes the Council made was to change the proposed name of the state, after only a couple of minutes discussion, from New Columbia, which had been chosen by the 1982 Constitutional Convention and approved by the voters, to "The State of Washington, Douglas Commonwealth." For the problems with this name change, see the article on "Why We Need A Real Constitutional Convention" below.

The constitution as amended by the Council can be found at http://statehood.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/statehood/publication/attachments/Pre-enrolled-Constitution.pdf and also as the "Pre-enrolled Version of the Constitution Approved October 18, 2016" below.

See the articles below on the Council's action on July 12, 2016 to approve the referendum language, the hearings on September 27 and October 6, 2016, and the Council's action on October 18, 2016 to approve Resolution PR21-0913, which includes new metes and bounds and name. See D.C. Council Passes Resolution on State Boundary and Constitution below for press coverage of the Council's action on the resolution.

The Office of Planning subsequently amended the boundaries (after the referendum) and their boundaries were transmitted to D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton for inclusion in her 2017 statehood bill, H.R. 1291

Support the effort to convene a true constitutional convention, with elected delegates, as soon as possible.

Now it is up to the people of D.C. to push the Council to call for a real constitutional convention with elected delegates as soon as possible. (See the Ward 3 Democratic Committee's January 26, 2017 resolution below.) This takes time, including time to plan the convention and do adequate preparatory work on the issues, how other states are organized and what are the best practices.

The people of D.C. need to urge the D.C. Council to put funding for a constitutional convention in the budget, as well as funding for the necessary feasibility studies and analyses on what would happen when we become a state.

We also need to begin the process of coordinating with the Federal government on boundaries and how to return local agencies and functions, such as our courts and criminal justice system, including our criminal prosecutors, to the new state. In particular, we need to get the Council to to work with Delegate Norton on recreating a local parole board and transferring the parole function from the U.S. Parole Commission back to D.C. The current authorization for the U.S. Parole Commission to handle this function for D.C. expires in November 2018. Citizens need to urge the Council to pass a law setting up a D.C. Parole Commission and request the transfer. Given that the short timeframe, the Council should ask Delegate Norton to introduce a bill amending the appropriate federal statutes and setting a 1-2 year transition period. If we wish to become a state, we need to start acting like a state. Defederalizing our local criminal justice system is an appropriate and necessary way to start.

See article below on the November 30, 2017 Forum on Defederalizing D.C.'s Criminal Justice System.

In addition, we need to look at how to revise our land use planning and zoning functions, which are now handled by joint Federal and D.C. entities, and transfer them to the new state. There is a lot of work that we need to get started on now! Please contact your Council Members and get them to fund the planning proces and transfer of these functions.

Listen to "Shadow Politics" with D.C. Sen. Michael Brown Sunday 7 p.m.

D.C. Senator Michael D. Brown with special Co-Host Kathleen Gomez has a weekly internet radio talk show on BBSRadio.com (station #2) on Sundays from 7 to 8 p.m. EDT. The call-in numbers are: 888-429-5471 (toll free US/Canada); 530-413-9537 (line 1); 530-763-1594 (line 2); 530-763-1594(line 3); 530-763-0341 (line 4); SKYPE: BBSRadio2.

For more information, see articles below.

District residents and supporters of D.C. statehood need to continue the momentum.  Besides participating in this month's events as listed above, below are ways you can help get Congress to admit the State of New Columbia as the 51st state:

1. If you have family and friends around the country who are citizens of a state please ask them to call their Senators and  Representative to support D.C. statehood and  co-sponsor the statehood bill. It you would like to help in the effort to get Congressional co-sponsors, email us at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

2. Please get any organization to which you belong -- citizen and civic associations, political committees, labor unions, clubs, veterans groups and any other activist group -- to endorse D.C. statehood and to send a letter to that effect to the President and Congress. Many of these groups are part of national organizations. We need to get the local chapters endorsing statehood and then get them to put statehood on the agenda of their national parent organization.

3. If you are a D.C. resident, please join the effort to get a true constitutional convention and demand that the Council properly fund our elected statehood delegation.

Please help us in any or all of these ways.  With your help, the over 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia can regain the right to self-government that Congress took away from us over two centuries ago! D.C. Statehood now!

D.C. Statehood - Yes We Can!

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