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February 27, 2015

Posts in "DC Council"

February 25, 2015

D.C. Stands Up to Congress on Marijuana Legalization (Updated)

Updated 5:41 p.m. | As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the District of Columbia will legalize marijuana, despite warnings from two congressional Republicans that doing so would break the law and could lead to possible prison time for D.C. officials.

“Our government is prepared to implement and enforce Initiative 71 in the District of Columbia,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a briefing Wednesday, where D.C. officials presented a united front against congressional opposition. Bowser was joined by District Attorney General Karl Racine, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier and eight members of the D.C. Council, including Chairman Phil Mendelson. Full story

February 18, 2015

Fate of D.C. Budget Autonomy Case Uncertain

Bowser filed a motion to pause the case, so she could review her position. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowser filed a motion to pause the case, so she could review her position. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The ongoing case over a law granting the District of Columbia control over its local budget could be stalled as the mayor solidifies her position, raising questions about the future of the case.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, in conjunction with Attorney General Karl A. Racine, the District’s first elected attorney general, filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 13 asking that the case pitting the mayor’s office against the D.C. Council be paused for 30 days so the mayor could review her position. Judges have yet to rule on the motion. Full story

February 9, 2015

Hearing or Discussion? D.C. Council Event Underscores Marijuana Dispute With Congress

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Though some legal confusion surrounds the fate of the District of Columbia’s marijuana legalization initiative, the D.C. Council defied Congress Monday by discussing a system to regulate the tax and sale of marijuana.

As if to underscore the legal issues surrounding the matter, the D.C. Council held a roundtable discussion  not a formal hearing  on the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015,” which would set up a structure to regulate selling and taxing marijuana. The legislation has essentially zero chance of becoming law soon, because Congress passed an appropriations rider as part of its year-end spending package barring D.C. from using federal and local funds to enact any legislation to reduce penalties for marijuana possession, use or distribution. Full story

January 30, 2015

5 Potential Scenarios for D.C.’s Marijuana Initiative

What's next for marijuana in D.C.? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What’s next for marijuana in D.C.? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The ongoing battle over the District of Columbia’s marijuana policy is currently at a standstill, but several scenarios over the coming weeks could alter its fate.

In November, 70 percent of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71, legalizing the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana. But Congress moved to block the initiative by attaching a rider to the year-end spending package barring federal and local funds from being used “to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or reduce penalties associated with the possession, use or distribution.” Full story

January 2, 2015

Muriel Bowser, D.C. Reps Focused on Statehood Despite GOP Congress

Norton and Bowser called for a renewed D.C. statehood effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Norton and Bowser called for a renewed D.C. statehood effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The District of Columbia has a new mayor, and she is redoubling the effort to make sure D.C. becomes the 51st state.

“I said we’d forge a new path for statehood and full democracy in the District of Columbia – and today we launch an amped up federal and regional presence from the mayor’s office,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said after she took the oath of office Friday. Full story

December 1, 2014

D.C. Concealed Carry Fight Could Provoke Congress, Contempt of Court

Rand Paul has fired multiple shots at D.C.'s gun laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul has fired multiple shots at D.C.’s gun laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On Tuesday, the D.C. Council will consider a more permanent version of the emergency measure that revived the city’s long-standing concealed carry law. That bill turned D.C. into a “may-issue jurisdiction,” where authorities have discretion over who may carry and where they are allowed.

At the same time, a pro-gun lawyer is on a mission to achieve what Second Amendment proponents in Congress have tried to do since the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller ruling: Wipe out the city’s restrictions on carrying handguns.

Attorney Alan Gura argues the city’s plan for issuing concealed carry permits does not meet the requirements set forth by Judge Frederick Scullin in the July 26 ruling that declared the D.C.’s ban on carrying handguns unconstitutional. Gura has asked the court to hold the city in contempt. Full story

November 26, 2014

Marion Barry to Be Memorialized With Citywide Procession, Public Viewing

(Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly File Photo)

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The District of Columbia plans to bid farewell to its “mayor for life” over the course of three days, with a procession through all eight wards of the city and a massive celebration at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Tens of thousands are expected to attend the Dec. 6 viewing and memorial service for Marion Barry, the former four-term mayor and Ward 8 councilmember who died Sunday at age 78. President Barack Obama’s name may even appear on the guest list, organizers suggested Wednesday.

Mayor Vincent Gray declared Barry the most iconic figure in the history of the District of Columbia, then quipped, “and remember, that includes the federal government also.” He recalled Barry’s pride in 2008, when he saw Obama receive the Democratic nomination in Denver. “He saw everything that he had stood for, and everything he had tried to do embodied in this African-American man being nominated to be the president of the United States,” Gray said.

Barry will lie in repose in the John A. Wilson Building for 24 hours, beginning at 9 a.m. on Dec. 4. The last person bestowed with that honor was Barry’s ex-wife, Effi Barry, in 2007. A brief service will honor his contributions as an important civic leader in the decades after Home Rule, who served 16 years as mayor and 16 years on the D.C. Council.

“His passing is hard on the institution,” D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Wednesday.  District employees will be allowed up to two hours of administrative leave on Thursday to visit the closed casket.

Barry’s body will be transported through the city on Dec. 5, along a route yet to be determined, to one of the churches he regularly attended. The Temple of Praise on Southern Avenue Southeast will host a musical and video tribute from 3 to 6 p.m., followed by a community memorial service from 6 to 9 p.m.

The convention center viewing begins at 8 a.m. on Dec. 6, with a memorial service to follow at 11 a.m. A private burial will follow.

Related:

Marion Barry, 4-Term Mayor and D.C. Councilmember, Dies at 78

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By Hannah Hess Posted at 2:27 p.m.
DC Council, DC Mayor

November 23, 2014

Marion Barry, 4-Term Mayor and D.C. Councilmember, Dies at 78

A "Thank You" card to Marion Barry sits on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building, DC's City Hall, on Sunday morning, Nov. 23, 2014 houses the Executive Office of the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A “Thank You” card to Marion Barry sits on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building, DC’s City Hall, on Nov. 23. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former D.C. Mayor and Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry died Sunday at the age of 78.

Barry’s family did not indicate the cause of his death in a statement released Sunday morning, but said Barry passed away at United Medical Center early Sunday after having previously been hospitalized at Howard University Hospital on Saturday.

“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray said in a statement. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.” Full story

November 7, 2014

Not Everyone Loves the New Columbia Statehood Commission

D.C. Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown, right,  fears his office is being "nickeled and dimed." (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

D.C. Shadow Sen. Michael D. Brown, right, fears his office is being “nickeled and dimed.” (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Shadow Sen. Michael D. Brown fears legislation packaged as an effort to streamline the statehood movement will effectively turn the District of Columbia’s two shadow senators and shadow representative into “employees” of the D.C. government, instead of elected officials.

For the past eight years, Brown has effectively served as a pro bono statehood lobbyist with no voting power in Congress. In that time, he believes the debate has shifted from whether the District becomes the 51st state to when. Brown is proud of the progress a New Columbia statehood bill with a record number of sponsors has made in Congress, and warns “interfering with the movement is not going to help it.”

Leaders in the executive and legislative branches of the District government say they are trying to bring coherence and new resources to the unpaid statehood delegation. The trio currently works out of a small office in the basement of the John A. Wilson building, with no salary, and no formal coordination with Mayor Vincent Gray or the 13 members of the D.C. Council. Full story

November 5, 2014

D.C. Faces Statehood, Marijuana Challenges With Republican Congress

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., with Norton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican wave didn’t crash in the District of Columbia, but that doesn’t mean the victors won’t have to contend with the GOP Congress.

As local Democrat Muriel Bowser celebrated a double-digit victory in the mayoral contest over independent challenger David Catania, she also took time to speak with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., about the makeup of the House and Senate.

Bowser has promised statehood and legislative autonomy would both be priorities when working with Capitol Hill, and told CQ Roll Call she supported the D.C. Council’s attempt to force Mayor Vincent Gray and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt to comply with the local Budget Autonomy Act via the court system.

“Well I supported the council’s action in that,” Bowser said Tuesday. “I would expect that to be my policy as well.”

That might put her at odds with the newly elected top lawyer in the District, though. Voters chose veteran attorney Karl A. Racine to serve as the city’s first elected attorney general, who said the lawsuit is “not a winning case” during an Oct. 23 debate. The former associate White House counsel under President Bill Clinton defeated Paul Zukerberg, the attorney who appealed to the courts to get the race on the ballot, and three other candidates who also ran as Democrats. Full story

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