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May 27, 2015

Posts in "DC Council"

May 27, 2015

Bowser, Council Score D.C. Budget Autonomy Victory

Bowser's motion to dismiss the budget autonomy case appeal was granted Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowser’s motion to dismiss the budget autonomy case appeal was granted Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council scored a victory Wednesday in the ongoing court case surrounding a law granting D.C. more control over its local budget.

On the same day the D.C. Council debated the District’s budget, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted Bowser’s motion to dismiss the case’s appeal, which centered around a dispute between the D.C. Council and Bowser’s predecessor, Vincent Gray. Full story

May 12, 2015

D.C. Officials Break Ground on ‘Capitol Crossing’

D.C. officials break ground on Capitol Crossing project. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call).

D.C. officials break ground on the Capitol Crossing project. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

Donning construction hats displaying a blue Capitol Dome, District of Columbia officials gathered under a tent adjacent to Interstate 395 Tuesday to break ground on the Capitol Crossing project.

The $1.3 billion project, privately funded by Property Group Partners, will install five mixed-use buildings over the next four years in what is now just air above I-395. The project includes housing, restaurant, office and retail space, as well as new interstate entrance and exit ramps. Full story

April 30, 2015

House Votes to Block D.C. Law

Norton said the resolution was "a double whammy." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Norton said the resolution was “a double whammy.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a largely symbolic move, the House voted mostly down party lines late Thursday night to block a District of Columbia bill that D.C. officials say would combat workplace discrimination.

A corps of mainly Republicans passed a joint resolution of disapproval 228-192, aimed at the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, which dictated that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their reproductive health decisions. Conservatives argued the act could force employers to violate their religious beliefs. Full story

April 8, 2015

National Watchdog Group Jumps Into D.C. Budget Autonomy Case

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton criticized the D.C. mayor and council. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton accused the D.C. mayor and council of playing “corrupt political games.” (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Judicial Watch, a national watchdog group, has inserted itself into the District of Columbia court case surrounding the Budget Autonomy Act, arguing the mayor and the District Council are wrong to support the act and are playing “corrupt political games.” Full story

April 7, 2015

Bowser and Racine Still at Odds in Budget Autonomy Case

Bowser doesn't agree with the city's elected attorney general about the Budget Autonomy Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowser doesn’t agree with the city’s elected attorney general about the Budget Autonomy Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The standoff between District of Columbia officials over the Budget Autonomy Act continued this week, with parties solidifying their positions in court filings and exposing a rift between the mayor and the attorney general.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently deviated from her predecessor, arguing that the act is legal, and has since filed a motion to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the case should be dismissed. The case centered on a disagreement between two branches of D.C. government about the Budget Autonomy Act granting D.C. more control over its locally raised funds. Full story

March 31, 2015

Bowser Bans Travel to Indiana Over Religious Freedom Law

Mayor Muriel Bowser

Bowser banned official travel to Indiana Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed an executive order Tuesday prohibiting D.C. officials and employees from approving official travel to Indiana in response to the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The RFRA bars laws that would inhibit a person, religious institution or business from following one’s religious beliefs. But critics say the law opens the door for discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Full story

March 26, 2015

Mendelson to Lankford: D.C. Bills Don’t Violate Religious Freedom

Mendelson, left, sent a letter to Lankford arguing the bills do not violate religious freedom. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mendelson, left, sent a letter to Lankford arguing the bills do not violate religious freedom. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced resolutions of disapproval to block two District of Columbia bills from becoming law, the D.C. Council chairman took his argument in support of the bills directly to Lankford.

“There is no intent on our part to violate the rights of others, such as freedom of religion,” Council Chairman Phil Mendelson wrote in a two-page letter sent to Lankford on March 20. Full story

March 16, 2015

Bowser Says D.C. Budget Autonomy Case Is Moot

Bowser said the Budget Autonomy Act is valid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowser said the Budget Autonomy Act is valid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday said an ongoing case over a law granting D.C. control over its local budget is moot, deviating from her predecessor and throwing the future of the case into question.

Bowser filed her response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit after requesting the case be put on hold so she could solidify her position, as it began before she took office in January.

“Mayor Muriel Bowser hereby informs this court that her position differs from that of her predecessor,” Bowser’s lawyers wrote in her response. “She believes the Budget Autonomy Act is valid and, absent a judgment restraining her actions, intends to comply with its requirements. Mayor Bowser submits that, accordingly, there is no longer a live controversy between the council and the mayor.”

The case centers on a disagreement between two branches of D.C. government about the Budget Autonomy Act granting D.C. control over its locally raised funds. The act passed the council (when Bowser was a member) and was approved by District voters in April 2013. It took effect after passing a congressional review period last January, but the D.C. executive and legislative branches differed over whether it was actually legal.

Former Mayor Vincent C. Gray and then-Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan argued it could not move forward because Congress has control over D.C.’s budget. In May, a judge struck down the budget autonomy law, siding with Gray, but the council appealed the decision — that’s the case currently in question.

Though Bowser has argued the case is moot because the mayor’s office no longer disagrees with the council, Karl A. Racine, the District’s first elected attorney general, has taken the opposite position. Racine has said the act is not legal. The other party in the case, Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt, agreed, and previously warned the referendum could violate the law.

The CFO is technically member of the executive branch, but he acts independently of the mayor’s office. Racine, who represents DeWitt in the case, said in a statement Monday evening that the CFO and Racine maintain their position that the act is illegal, pointing to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s ruling that the act was invalid.

“CFO DeWitt and I agree with Judge Sullivan and regretfully conclude that the Budget Autonomy Act is unlawful and cannot be enforced by the District,” Racie said. “Judge Sullivan, in his 47-page ruling on the case, said that, although he was very sympathetic to the Budget Autonomy Act’s purpose, the Act was simply not legally sound. My independent review of the case confirmed that Judge Sullivan’s conclusion is correct under law, and the CFO and the Office of the Attorney General look forward to a timely final decision in the case.”

In addition to stating her position, Bowser also requested permission to file a suggestion of mootness and a motion to dismiss the appeal by March 23. During the case’s oral arguments in October, Judge Patricia A. Millett questioned whether a new administration would render the case moot, which budget autonomy activists took as a positive sign that the court was open to the possibility.

Related:

Fate of D.C. Budget Autonomy Case Uncertain

Could Nov. 4 Results Render D.C.’s Budget Autonomy Case Moot?

D.C. Budget Autonomy Ruling Is Just the Beginning of Local Control Fight

D.C. Budget Autonomy Amicus Brief Takes Slap at Congress

D.C. Council to Mayor: See You in Court

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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D.C. Responds to Marijuana Investigation

Mayor Muriel Bowser

Bowser’s office sent a legal brief to Congress last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The District of Columbia government is in the process of responding to a congressional investigation into the enactment and implementation of the voter-passed marijuana legalization initiative.

According to a spokesperson for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the committee staff received a response from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on March 11 outlining the District’s position on the initiative. The committee also received a number of documents, but noted it is only a fraction of the documents it expects to obtain from the D.C. government.

Full story

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

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