Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today announced she will host a press conference with District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and a coalition of national organizations to protect D.C.’s local laws during the upcoming fiscal year 2017 appropriations process on Monday, May 9, 2015, at 2:30 p.m., in 234 Cannon House Office Building. National organizations have been instrumental in alerting the constituents of members of the House and Senate about protecting D.C.’s local laws.
The speaking representatives from national organizations will be: Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Louise Melling, Deputy Legal Director and Director of Center for Liberty, American Civil Liberties Union; Brian Malte, Senior National Policy Director, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; Kaitlyn Boecker, Policy Coordinator, Drug Policy Alliance; and Kimberly Perry, Executive Director, DC Vote.
Thus far in the 114th Congress, there have been significant attacks on D.C. home rule:
D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act
- The House voted on and passed the first D.C. disapproval resolution since 1991. The resolution was introduced by Representative Diane Black (R-TN) to disapprove the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees, their spouses or their dependents based on constitutionally protected reproductive health decisions. The RHNDA disapproval resolution was introduced in the Senate by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), but it was never taken up, and therefore RHNDA went into effect on May 2, 2015. The House Appropriations Committee-passed fiscal year 2016 D.C. Appropriations bill prohibited D.C. from enforcing RHNDA. The fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill did not block enforcement of RHNDA. However, RHNDA is still significant at risk. The Heritage Foundation’s fiscal year 2017 budget blueprint for Congress calls for RHNDA to be blocked or overturned.
D.C. Human Rights Amendment Act
- Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) introduced a resolution to disapprove another D.C. anti-discrimination law, the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), which repealed a congressionally imposed provision that permits schools in D.C. to deny LGBT students equal access to school facilities and services. Working with a national coalition of LGBT and human rights organizations, Norton was successful in preventing even the consideration of the HRAA disapproval resolution in either chamber, and HRAA went into effect on May 2, 2015. However, the Heritage Foundation’s fiscal year 2017 budget blueprint for Congress calls for HRAA to be blocked or overturned.
D.C. Gun Safety Laws
- Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Jim (R-OH) introduced the National Rifle Association (NRA)-backed D.C. gun bill (S. 874/H.R. 1701), which would wipe out almost all of D.C.’s local gun safety laws, including its ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines and its registration requirements, and would prohibit D.C. from passing gun laws in the future, making the District one of the most permissive gun jurisdictions in the country. Rubio introduced the bill shortly before he announced his bid for presidency. After introducing his bill, Rubio’s NRA rating was upgraded from a B-plus to an A, a rare non-election year action.
- Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced an amendment to the Senate’s budget reconciliation bill to wipe out D.C.’s gun laws and some federal gun laws. The Senate voted it down. Paul subsequently introduced it as standalone bill, the Defend Our Capital Act of 2015 (S. 2359).
- Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced the DC Personal Protection Reciprocity Act (H.R. 4348) to force D.C. to recognize out-of-state permits to carry concealed guns, regardless of the standards those states use for issuing permits.
- Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015 (S. 582/H.R. 7), which would, among other things, permanently prohibit the D.C. government from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women, prohibit D.C. government employees from providing abortions, prohibit abortions in D.C. government facilities, and define the D.C. government as part of the federal government for purposes of abortion. H.R. 7 passed the House.
- Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) introduced the Safer DC Act of 2015 (H.R. 3165), which would overturn a D.C. law that limits the circumstances under which the District will cooperate with federal immigration officials, including detention and gathering and disseminating information about a person’s immigration status. The bill has not been taken up.
- Representative Tom Price (R-GA) introduced the Federal Employee Rights Act (H.R. 4461), which would, among other things, prohibit the D.C. government from deducting union dues from employee paychecks. The bill has not been taken up.
- Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Educational Freedom Accounts Act (S. 2455/H.R. 4426), which would require D.C. to use its local funds to pay for K-12 private school tuition. The bill has not been taken up by either chamber. The current congressionally-imposed D.C. voucher program uses only federal funds.