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Nov 21
Tuesday
Free DC! - Statehood Now!
Legislative Limitations
D.C. Delegate Norton Seeks to remove House Budget riders E-mail

On September 14, 2017, the House approved the fiscal year 2018 D.C. Appropriations bill which contains five anti-home rule riders where Congress is legislating only because D.C. is not a state and Congress is our unelected state legislature. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton released a press release describing her efforts to remove these riders. The riders seek to overturn D.C. Council legislation and prevent implementation of legislation regarding 5 home rule issues. The bill would repeal the District's Death with Dignity Act and the Budget Autonomy Act and block D.C. from spending local tax monies on abortion services for low-income women, taxing and regulating marijuana sales, and implementing the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. Congress must pass the appropriations act by December 8, 2017.

Norton noted that “House Republicans express endless love of local control of local affairs, their central party principle, except when it comes to the District of Columbia. They preach the constitutional principle of federalism, yet use the big foot of the federal government to undemocratically overturn and block local D.C. policies they disagree with, solely on a political basis."

 

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House seeks to overturn DC reproductive discrimination ban E-mail

Washington Post reporter Jenna Portnoy reports on the latest efforts by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to meddle in local D.C. affairs by attaching riders to the D.C. Appropriations Act. In particular, she discusses Rep. Gary Palmer's (R-AL) amendment to the D.C. appropriation bill to block D.C. from using local funds to implement the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. Other local D.C. laws targeted by House Republicans are the Death with Dignity Act and the law regarding legalization and regulation of marjiuana sales. Because D.C. is not a state, its local/state level government budget must be approved by Congress which allows Congress to amend or overturn D.C. laws and to prescribe how the District government spends locally raised tax funds.

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D.C.'s "Flushable Wipes" Law Survives E-mail
In 2016, the District of Columbia Council passed a law banning certain "flushable wipes" that do not dissolve and clog the District's pipes and filtration equipment. Maryland Congressman Andy Harris (R) tried to overturn the ban, but did not get support for his amendment and withdrew it during the House Appropriations Committee's markup on July 14, 2017. The issue is discussed in a July 5, 2017 artixle in the Current Newspaper.
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Congressional Meddling in DC FY 2018 budget Part 2 E-mail

The House appropriations Committee marked up the FY 2018 budget for the District of Columbia on July 14, 2017. D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton issued a press release on July 18, after the Committee released its budget resolution. She called out Republicans for their "bright light hypocrisy" in treating the District of Columbia differently from state and local governments. The bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee would prohibit D.C. from using local funds on marijuana rules and regulations and abortions for low-income residents and would repeal the D.C. Death with Dignity law and budget autonomy referendum.

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D.C. Delegate Asks the President for Courtesy of Consultation on Federal Law Enforcement Officials E-mail

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton issued a press release on March 27, 2017, releasing a letter she sent to President Turmp requesting that he extend her the courtesy of consulting on the appointment of the U.S. Attorney, federal district court judges and other Senate-confirmed federal law enforcement officials in the District of Columbia—the same courtesy extended to her by President George W. Bush. Her press release and letter emphasize how the District of Columbia is handicapped by having its criminal justice system under total Federal control.  These documents clearly indicate why D.C. should be a state so that like other Americans, the people of D.C. could run their local/state legal system and have those running it accountable to them.

The people of D.C. also need to urge our Mayor, Council, and Attorney General to start planning for the return of these functions to the new state and even possibly the return of some of them even before Congress admits us as the 51st state. Funding for such planning needs to be included in the District’s 2018 budget. Please contact the Council ASAP to urge them to include funding for feasiblity studies and planning on how to implement statehood. A state government is different from a colonial government where the power rests in entities outside the citizens' control. We need to get started on in-depth planning for statehood now if we want to show Congress we are ready to become a state. See the resolution of the Ward 3 Democratic Committee in the next article.

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