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July 29, 2014

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July 17, 2014

D.C. Could Become Nation’s Most Permissive Gun Jurisdiction, Under House Proposal (Video)

massie 056 050714 440x292 D.C. Could Become Nations Most Permissive Gun Jurisdiction, Under House Proposal (Video)

Massie is wading into the District’s gun laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of Congress’ most outspoken libertarians is the latest member to try to overturn the District of Columbia’s local gun laws. If successful, his proposal would make the District, home to cabinet officials, dignitaries from around the world and the president perhaps the most permissive gun jurisdiction in the country.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who in June rallied a bipartisan majority around an amendment to end warrantless collection of Americans’ online activities, attached language prohibiting D.C. from enforcing local firearm restrictions to the House bill funding the District.

“Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller that struck down the D.C. handgun ban, as well as the unconstitutional gunlock provision, it is still difficult for D.C. residents to exercise their God-given right to bear arms,” Massie said Wednesday on the floor. “Congress has the authority to legislate in this area pursuant to article I, section 8, clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the authority to ‘exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever’ over the District of Columbia.”

In a move decried as an assault on Home Rule, Massie tried to wield that authority Tuesday night with a similar amendment, but the measure was ruled out of order due to a procedural flaw. To the outrage of Mayor Vincent Gray and the D.C. Council, he tried again on Wednesday and the House adopted the gun rider 241-181, with the support of 20 Democrats. Full story

June 24, 2014

D.C.’s Yoga Tax Lives, Despite Catania’s Attempt to Kill It

catania 030 060714 440x311 D.C.s Yoga Tax Lives, Despite Catanias Attempt to Kill It

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

To the outrage of many yoga and fitness buffs around Capitol Hill, a new 5.75 percent tax on health club services, including gym memberships, survived a D.C. Council vote on Tuesday.

A crowd of tax opponents sporting neon yellow T-shirts cheered Councilmember David Catania’s introduction of an amendment to the city’s budget that would have killed what he called a “counterproductive” and “wrongheaded” measure that burdens healthy behavior.

The applause that filled the packed chamber was quickly hushed by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who spoke in favor of the “yoga tax,” and predicted the fitness industry would fare just fine. Sales taxes on alcohol and restaurants haven’t slowed D.C.’s dining boom, Mendelson said.┬áIn the end, Catania’s amendment was defeated by a 9-4 vote. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:31 p.m.

April 24, 2014

The Chronic Countdown: D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Could Be Final by Mid-July

420 Rally 03 042011 440x325 The Chronic Countdown: D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Could Be Final by Mid July

(Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Unless Congress steps in, possession of pot in the nation’s capital will become a civil offense this summer, with penalties similar to a parking ticket.

Exact timing depends on when each chamber chooses to adjourn for breaks, but the marijuana decriminalization bill’s layover on Capitol Hill will likely end in mid- to late-July. After that, getting busted with one ounce or less of the drug would result in a fine of $25. The criminal offense currently carries up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

So if Capitol Hill wants to harsh Washington’s mellow, lawmakers have about three months to act. Full story

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