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Statehood
Republicans in House Again Threaten D.C.'s Gun Laws E-mail

Republicans in the House of Representatives are again trying to impose their will on the District of Columbia and do to the people of D.C. what they can't or won't do to their own constituents. Once again, riders to the District's budget may be used to impose Congressional Republicans' desires regarding certain hot button issues on Amricans who have no voice because they are a colony, not a state.

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The District is about to declare its independence — from Congress E-mail

The Washington Post published on Emancipation Day, celebrated this year on April 15, 2016 (as April 16 is a Saturday), a extensive piece by reporter Aaron Davis on the District of Columbia's efforts to gain the right to self-government through statehood and all the related rights that statehood grants, such as control over its state and local budget and legislation, as well as voting representation in Congress and an unrestricted vote for President. To find out more, click on read more.

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Iowa Congressman's Tweet Causes Stir E-mail

Washington Post reporter Perry Stein reported on March 23, 2016, that Iowa Congressman Rod Blum, a Republican from Iowa who is on the House Committee with jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, tweeted "Washington DC is booming. Tower cranes everywhere. Being built on the backs of US taxpayers. DC needs a recession."  This did not go down well with D.C. residents. For the full story, click on read more.

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Sen. Thomas Carper Introduces D.C. Statehood Bill June 25, 2015 E-mail
On June 25, 2015, Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) introduced the New Columbia Admission Act, a companion bill to H.R. 317 which D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced on January 13, 2015. The Senate bill, like the House bill, has a record number of original cosponsors. Senator Carper's press release can be found here.
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Norton Promises Fight with National Implications to Maintain D.C. Marijuana Reform Law E-mail

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton issued the following press release Tuesday, February 24, 2015, regarding the Initiative 71, the marijuana legalization initiative:

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Benjamin Fritsch – o: 202-225-8050, c: 202-225-8143                                                                                          February 24, 2015


Norton Promises Fight with National Implications to Maintain D.C. Marijuana Reform Law

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she sees no reason why the end of the 30-day congressional review period for the District of Columbia’s self-executing marijuana legalization initiative, Initiative 71, on Wednesday should be eventful if Members attend to their own business and principles.  The initiative takes effect on Thursday.  Norton said that it would be “unseemly and arbitrary” for Congress to try to interfere again with the most restrictive marijuana legalization law in the country while other jurisdictions continue to enact far more permissive reform laws.

“If the Republican Congress, which can’t decide to how keep open one of its premier security agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, wants to pick a fight with the District over our local marijuana reform law, a fight is what they will get,” said Norton.  “Pot is de facto legal among young people, except for people of color here and around the country.  The people of the District of Columbia voted overwhelmingly for Initiative 71 when they learned that virtually only people of color end up with drug arrests for possession of marijuana.  It is well worth a fight to retain a local law with racial justice as its centerpiece.”

Although the Republican-led House claimed it had blocked marijuana legalization with a rider in the fiscal year 2015 Omnibus appropriations bill, which was signed into law in December, Norton found a flaw in the language.  The language in the final bill had been changed from D.C. may not “enact or carry out” any law, rule or regulation to legalize marijuana to D.C. cannot “enact” any law, rule or regulation to legalize marijuana.  However, the Initiative had already been enacted by voters in November and required no additional enactments to implement.  Norton’s interpretation that the Omnibus does not prohibit D.C. from implementing the Initiative was later supported by lawyers in the District, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), and House D.C. Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY).

Norton also successfully beat back Republican efforts to block D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization law in the omnibus.
Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, all D.C. legislation, including initiatives, must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect.  A bill takes effect at the expiration of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted into law during that period.  Norton has prevented a disapproval resolution from being enacted into law since 1991.

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