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September 21, 2014

Posts in "DC Statehood"

September 15, 2014

D.C. Statehood Hearing Explores Other Options

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Carper, left, chaired Monday’s hearing on D.C. statehood options. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Washington, D.C. residents crowded into a hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building Monday to witness the first hearing on D.C. statehood in two decades, though enacting statehood in the 113th Congress is not likely anytime soon.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, facilitated the hearing, fulfilling a promise that the Senate would consider D.C. statehood in the fall.

But at the end of the hearing, Carper searched for viable solutions other than statehood, asking the second round of panelists, “What should we be able to agree to?” Full story

September 10, 2014

Panelists Selected for D.C. Statehood Hearing

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Rivlin will testify on D.C. statehood. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:37 p.m. | Expect humanitarian and fiscal arguments for why the District of Columbia should become the 51st state during next week’s Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the issue.

The witness list for the first hearing on D.C. statehood in more than two decades includes local elected officials, constitutional law experts, a civil rights leader and senior Brookings Institution fellow Alice Rivlin, the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office and an expert on fiscal policy.

Full story

September 8, 2014

Senate Panel Sets D.C. Statehood Hearing for Next Week

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D.C. statehood advocates will be flocking to the Capitol on Sept. 15. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It took more than a year, but D.C. statehood advocates are finally getting the hearing that Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Thomas R. Carper promised.

The Delaware Democrat will hold a full committee hearing Sept. 15 on his “New Columbia Admission Act,” a bill that would unite the eight wards of the city into a full-fledged state, excluding federal landmarks such as the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court. Carper introduced the measure in January 2013 and six months later tweeted about a fall 2013 hearing on statehood.

During the August recess, there had been whispers among local activists that a mid-September hearing was in the works and committee aides confirmed a tentative time frame to CQ Roll Call. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., who has been pushing statehood legislation since she came to Congress in 1991, trumpeted news of the hearing in a Monday afternoon statement. Full story

September 3, 2014

Flash! Adobe Accused of Discriminating Against D.C. Residents (Updated)

Updated 7:25 p.m. | Multinational computer software company Adobe is being accused of discriminating against District of Columbia residents.

When a D.C. business owner tried to register for “Adobe Day” at a tech conference in Portland, Ore., the person found the District of Columbia excluded from the drop-down menu of states. With no option for the District, it was impossible to input a local address.

The business owner logged his complaint with shadow Sen. Paul Strauss, a Democrat whose top priority is getting the District some recognition from Congress. Strauss took to Twitter to rail against Adobe.

The District experienced similar treatment in early August from Push for Pizza, a smartphone app designed to streamline pie orders. After a backlash, the company briefly tried to correct the problem by having D.C. residents input Maryland or Virginia. That solution drew more criticism, so the folks at Push for Pizza updated the app.

“It’s bad enough when a new Pizza app discriminates, but Adobe is a serious company and should know better!” Strauss told CQ Roll Call. He added, ”Who do they think they are? The TSA!?!”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., has been tangoing with the Transportation Safety Administration over the validity of District of Columbia licenses. TSA agents at Arizona and Florida airports caused commotion earlier this year when they failed to recognize the city’s identification cards as legitimate ID.

Adobe’s tech team reached out to CQ Roll Call via Twitter shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday to say the error was brought to their attention “moments before” Strauss’ tweets and said a correction to the event registration page “is in motion.”

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August 22, 2014

Lights May Go Out on Capitol Dome Friday Night

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The Dome may go dark tonight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Don’t be alarmed if the lights flicker outside the Capitol Dome Friday night. The enduring beacon of freedom isn’t dead — it’s undergoing regular maintenance.

The Architect of the Capitol is cautioning that brief power outages may occur as the agency performs planned maintenance to the electrical systems in the building. AOC spokeswoman Laura Condeluci assured CQ Roll Call the work is not related to the Dome restoration project, which has picked up pace during the August recess.

AOC electricians are responsible for thousands of miles of wiring and more than 100,000 light fixtures across Capitol Hill, according to the agency. Because many of the historic buildings on campus, including the Capitol, were built before electricity, they require continuous modernization and upgrades.

Full story

August 14, 2014

Statehood Push: Take Over D.C. Prisons, Save Money

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D.C. statehood activists wonder how the District would handle its criminal justice system if it becomes the 51st state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Coming up with a practical plan for management of the Washington, D.C.’s courts and prisons could be a great way to sell GOP deficit hawks on making it the 51st state, advocates pitching statehood for D.C. believe.

They’ll have their chance at an upcoming Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.

Pro-statehood activist Josh Burch says they don’t yet have the answer to a “$600 million question” about how the District would take back control and payment for its criminal justice system, presently paid for by all American taxpayers and run by the federal government.

“I think it’s a really legitimate question,” Burch told CQ Roll Call.

Full story

August 4, 2014

C-SPAN Caller Tells Norton D.C. Belongs in Congress’ Hands (Video)

The District of Columbia’s “No Taxation Without Representation” license plates can apparently be quite jolting to tourists, but perhaps not in the way advocates hope.

An Oklahoma woman who identified herself as “Donna” called in to C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program Friday griping about a three-day family vacation to the District and the many things that “appalled” her family, including the license plates.

Donna told Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., that she saw alcoholics, people sleeping on the streets and that her family “couldn’t find a park bench to sit on” because of the large homeless population.

“The world comes to Washington, D.C., and we were embarrassed, just totally embarrassed, at what liberalism has done to Washington, D.C., and it’s only a very small place — it should be put back into the hands of Congress to manage,” Donna said. She concluded that “liberalism is just devastating our capital,” before being cut short by the host. Full story

July 23, 2014

For D.C. Statehood Activists, Obama’s Actions Leave ‘a Lot to Be Desired’

dcvote 08 033011 1 440x294 For D.C. Statehood Activists, Obamas Actions Leave a Lot to Be Desired

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When voters elected Barack Obama in 2008, District of Columbia residents were thrilled to see a senator who backed a bill to give them voting rights in Congress head to the White House.

Midway through his second term, however, many ardent supporters of the D.C.’s longtime quest for greater autonomy are less optimistic about the prospects of Obama aiding their cause. The District still doesn’t have budget autonomy or legislative autonomy, meaning local laws are still vulnerable to interference from members of Congress.

“His actions over the last six years leave a lot to be desired,” Josh Burch, a Brookland resident who heads the group Neighbors United for DC Statehood, said in a recent interview with CQ Roll Call. Burch and other activists were pleased to hear the president declare his full-fledged support for D.C. statehood during a town hall meeting in Northwest Washington, but there is still a gap between the sentiment and concrete steps toward statehood. Full story

July 22, 2014

D.C. Residents Keep Facing Questions About Identification

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One form of D.C. ID should be enough, according to Norton. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A District of Columbia driver’s license should be enough identification to allow citizens to board a plane or enter a federal building, according to federal and local officials. So how come there’s so much confusion on the topic?

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., plans to meet with top Transportation Security Administration officials soon to clear up continuing problems D.C. residents face when trying to use their District-issued licenses for identification.

The issue is coming to a head at the nation’s airports and as states attempt to comply with the REAL ID act, which aims to set minimum security standards for forms of identification that are used to enter federal buildings and travel in a federally regulated manner.  Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:01 p.m.
DC Statehood

July 17, 2014

Scarce Prospects for Senate Shooting Down D.C. Gun Control

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Alfred Durham, prepare for a news conference in Rayburn on a House passed amendment by Rep. Thomas Massie’s, R-Ky., that would “block D.C. from enforcing its local gun laws, as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services and General Services Appropriations bill,” July 17, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., is optimistic about Senate support for an appropriations rider that would dismantle local gun laws in the District of Columbia, but he doubts the chamber will consider the measure.

“Twenty rank-and-file Democrats in the House voted for the amendment, and I know Democrats in the Senate would vote for the amendment,” Massie said in an email to CQ Roll Call. “But I suspect that Harry Reid will do everything he can to prevent that vote from happening.”

The Senate majority leader’s office did not respond to questions about Massie’s pro-gun proposal, which would make D.C. perhaps the most permissive jurisdiction in the nation. Neither did some of the vulnerable red-state Democratic senators on the Appropriations Committee who are up for re-election in November — Alaska’s Mark Begich and Louisiana’s Mary L. Landrieu — who have also advocated greater autonomy for the District. Full story

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