The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that a "Save D.C. Home Rule" press conference with national groups whose issues have been attacked in the past by using the District of Columbia as a vehicle will be held on Monday, May 19, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. in 2203 Rayburn House Office Building. The national organizations -- American Civil Liberties Union (speaker TBA), NARAL Pro-Choice America (Leslie McGorman, Senior Policy Representative), Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (Jon Lowy, Legal Director), AIDS United (William McColl, Political Director), and DC Vote (Kimberly Perry, Executive Director) -- will discuss their intentions to use their nationwide networks, along with a network of 100 like-minded organizations, to contact members of the House and Senate appropriations committees to protect D.C.'s right to spend its local funds without congressional interference in the upcoming fiscal year 2015 D.C. appropriations bill.
House Republican leadership has sent recent memos to their caucus encouraging the use of policy riders on fiscal year 2015 appropriations bills.
The focus of the press conference will be to alert members of the House and Senate that D.C. has allies to help prevent anti-local government amendments to D.C.'s laws on marijuana, gun safety, needle exchange, and reproductive rights.
Thus far in the 113th Congress, there have been significant attacks on D.C.
The most recent attack on D.C. home rule was a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing that singled out D.C.'s marijuana decriminalization bill -- but none of the 18 states that have already decriminalized marijuana -- immediately followed by an announcement by Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) that he is interested in introducing a disapproval resolution to overturn the local legislation. The hearing came four years after Norton succeeded in her 11-year fight to remove the Republican-led appropriations rider that prohibited the District from legalizing medical marijuana.
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) reintroduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7/S. 946), which would, among other things, make permanent law the annual abortion rider that prohibits the District from spending its local funds on abortions for low-income women. This bill passed the House.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) filed an amendment to the Senate budget resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that Congress should pass a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columba, and he reintroduced his stand-alone D.C. abortion ban bill, which has 34 cosponsors, to do just that. Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) reintroduced his companion D.C. abortion ban bill, which was defeated on the House floor last Congress, but has since expanded it to a nationwide ban.
Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has introduced only four bills this Congress, introduced a bill (H.R.3689) that would eliminate all of the District's gun safety laws and make the District one of the most permissive gun jurisdictions in the country.
Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced a stand-alone resolution expressing the sense of the House that active duty military personnel in D.C. should be exempt from D.C.'s gun laws, but not those of any other jurisdiction. He got his bill added as an amendment to the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, but Norton successfully got it removed from the enacted bill.
On the first day of the 112th Congress, House Republicans took away the District's vote in the Committee of the Whole, despite a federal appeals court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the vote.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) filed amendments to the D.C. budget autonomy bill to allow D.C. residents to carry concealed handguns, to allow non-D.C. residents with state-issued concealed carry permits to carry guns in D.C., and to allow any firearm purchased in another state, including an assault weapon, to be carried in D.C. The bill did not move forward.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) filed an amendment in the House Judiciary Committee to allow non-D.C. residents with state-issued concealed carry permits to carry guns in D.C. The amendment was defeated in committee.
The House's version of the fiscal year 2013 Defense Authorization bill contained a provision expressing the Sense of Congress that active duty military personnel in D.C. should be exempt from D.C.'s gun laws, but not those of any other jurisdiction. Norton got the provision removed from the final bill.
The NRA-backed D.C. gun bill, which would have made the District of Columbia one of the most permissive gun jurisdictions in the country, and forced the D.C. House Voting Rights bill to be pulled from the House floor, got 174 cosponsors, but it did not go to the floor for a vote.
Republicans re-imposed the ban on the use federal funds for needle exchange, but their efforts to re-impose the ban on D.C.'s use of its local funds for needle exchange were defeated.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3), introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), sought to permanently bar the District from spending its local funds on abortions for low-income women, and, for the purposes of abortion, define the District of Columbia as part of the federal government. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee denied the Congresswoman the opportunity to testify on H.R. 3, a courtesy traditionally granted to a Member, even though the District was uniquely affected by the legislation. The bill passed in the House, but was not taken up in the Senate.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks in only one jurisdiction, the District of Columba. Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced the companion. It was defeated on the House floor. Franks, as chair of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, also denied the Congresswoman the opportunity to testify on the D.C. abortion ban bill.
The fiscal year 2011 budget deal agreed to by the administration, House Republicans and Senate Democrats re-imposed the prohibition Democrats removed in the 111th Congress on the District's use of its local funds for abortions for low-income women and established a new D.C. private school voucher program.