Council 101: Understanding the Legislative Process

March 10, 2015 -- Perhaps no civics education tool in American history is as fondly remembered as the Schoolhouse Rock segment “I’m Just A Bill.” In that video, the boy tells Bill “you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.” For what it’s worth, Bill’s journey, as laid out in the video, makes the District’s legislative process seem like a cakewalk. This is not the District government’s doing. Our local legislative process starts off quite similar to the one laid out by Schoolhouse Rock, but is actually easier, since the District’s legislature has just one house (unicameral), as opposed to the bicameral, two-house Congress. Where things become complicated is when Congress becomes involved. Our goal here is to describe the District’s legislative process, itself inherently complicated, with as much clarity as possible. Schoolhouse Rock we are not, but we do hope to shed some light on what, through no fault of our own, is unfortunately a somewhat opaque process. Read More »

Third Legislative Meeting Largely Consensus-Driven

March 5, 2015 --  Read More »

Council closed today due to forecasted snow storm

March 5, 2015 -- The Council is closed today, due to the forecasted snow storm. Read More »

Third Legislative Meeting Largely Consensus-Driven

March 4, 2015 -- March’s regularly-scheduled Legislative Meeting didn’t just go out like a lamb, it also came in like one. While still early in the Council Period (meaning that introductions of new legislation still greatly outpaced binding votes), an early trend of consensus seemed to emerge. Read More »

Emergency measures for the March 3, 2015 Legislative Meeting

February 27, 2015 --  Read More »

DC Council: Closed due to inclement weather

February 17, 2015 --  Read More »

Accolades for FY 2015 Council budget, tax reform package continue to mount

February 9, 2015 -- Last summer, when the Council passed the $12.7 billion Fiscal Year 2015 budget, it included what some saw as an unexpected element: the most substantive tax reform in decades. In reality, this reform was no surprise, having its roots in the recommendations of a Tax Revision Commission headed by former Mayor Anthony Williams. In assembling the tax package, a careful balance had to be struck—the tax reductions had to be substantial enough to constitute real relief to District residents and businesses, guided by progressive principles to help those most in need, while not triggering worries in the financial markets that the District was abandoning the balanced budgets and fiscal restraint that have become the trademark of our municipal finances over the past decade and a half. In the months that have followed the passage of the budget, praise for the tax reforms have poured in from a number of important sources. As we prepare to enter the budget process for the next Fiscal Year, we wanted to take this opportunity to look back on some of the positive feedback we have received. Read More »

Second Legislative Meeting marks calm before the budget season storm

February 5, 2015 -- Council Period 21 is still young, barely a month old, and the light agenda at the recent Second Legislative Meeting reflects this. With few exceptions, legislation that was not approved by the Council prior to the end of a two-year Council Period did not survive the transition to the new Council Period. Because of this, the introduction of new legislation is the lifeblood of the early months of a new Council Period. Newly introduced legislation is the “raw material” of the legislative process, and necessary to “prime the pump” for future legislative action. Read More »

Emergency Measures for February 3, 2015 Legislative Meeting

January 29, 2015 --  Read More »

Notice of meeting on projected budget shortfall

January 21, 2015 -- The Council will meet to discuss the projected budget shortfall on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 10AM in the Chairman’s Conference Room. Please contact, Nyasha Smith, Secretary to the Council, with any questions: (202) 724-8080. Read More »

Performance oversight and budget hearing season to begin soon

January 21, 2015 -- With the biennial inauguration of new councilmembers and reorganization of Council committees now behind us, the annual rites of the Council can begin. First up in the annual progression is the release of the calendar of performance oversight and budget hearings. The release of this schedule kicks off weeks of hearings that constitute an annual checkup on how each District office and agency is performing, and how these same offices and agencies should be funded in the next fiscal year. Read More »

Notice of meeting with NTSB Acting Chairman

January 20, 2015 -- Acting Chairman Hart of the National Transportation Safety Board will be meeting with Councilmembers about last week’s WMATA incident. The meeting will occur tomorrow, Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 2:30 P.M. in the Chairman’s Conference Room. Read More »

First Legislative Meeting provides an opportunity to take closer look at introductions

January 9, 2015 -- In general, most legislative meetings have agendas that include multiple sections: first votes, second votes, temporary legislation, emergency legislation, ceremonial resolutions, etc. In an upcoming post, we will attempt to describe each category as understandably as possible. However, since virtually no legislation introduced in one Council Period survives to the following Council Period, the first Legislative Meeting of this Council Period was dominated by one category of action: the introduction of new legislation. Read More »

Council 101: Understanding the Council, by the numbers

January 5, 2015 -- The Council meeting held on January 6 was the First Legislative Meeting of Council Period 21. Let’s take a step back to explore some of these terms, which we and others possibly use too glibly, without ever explaining exactly what is meant by them. Read More »

Initial look at Council Period 21 includes reduced number of committees, shuffling of jurisdictions

December 19, 2014 -- In a preliminary look at how the Council will be organized in Council Period 21 (2015-2017), the number of committees will be reduced from ten (nine plus the Committee of the Whole) in Council Period 20 to eight (seven plus the Committee of the Whole) in Council Period 21.  Read More »

Final Legislative Meeting of 2014 sees soccer stadium approval, heartfelt farewells to outgoing CMs

December 19, 2014 -- In the final meeting of Council Period 20 (which began in January of 2013 and will end when newly-elected Councilmembers are sworn in on January 2), consensus and camaraderie were on display. Read More »

Council Period 21 Administrative Meeting to be held tomorrow

December 18, 2014 -- Chairman Mendelson is calling an Administrative Meeting tomorrow (Friday, December 19) at 11AM in the Chairman’s Conference Room. At this meeting, the Chairman intends to discuss matters related to Council Period 21. Read More »

Emergency Measures for the December 17 Legislative Meeting

December 11, 2014 --  Read More »

Second-to-last meeting of 2014 yields progress on numerous long-standing issues

December 4, 2014 -- In a legislative system where all permanent legislation requires two votes within a single two-year Council period in order to become law, the most recent Council session marked two critical milestones. It represented one of the final opportunities for councilmembers to introduce new legislation, and the second-to-last chance for a bill proposing a permanent change in law to receive the necessary second reading (vote). Read More »

Updated information on funeral arrangements for Marion Barry

December 3, 2014 -- Please note the following updated information regarding the funeral arrangements for Marion Barry. Read More »

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