Norton Introduces Bill to Give D.C. Mayor Local Authority Over D.C. National Guard, Same Authority State and Territorial Governors Have Over Their Guards
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced her bill to give the District of Columbia home-rule authority over the D.C. National Guard. Norton’s bill continues her “Free and Equal D.C.” series, a set of bills she will introduce as part of her strategy to give the District expanded home rule and equality while simultaneously pursuing statehood. The District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act would give the D.C. mayor the authority that the chief executive of states and territories have over their Guards. Norton said the mayor has unique law enforcement knowledge about the District, which puts him or her in the best position to deploy the Guard for local purposes. The mayor would be able to deploy the D.C. National Guard during local emergencies, including natural disasters and civil disturbances unrelated to national or homeland security, after consultation with the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard. The President of the United States would retain authority over federal matters. Currently, the President controls the D.C. National Guard for both federal and local purposes.
“The District of Columbia mayor is the chief executive for our jurisdiction and has the best knowledge and most reliable expertise about when to deploy our National Guard for local emergencies,” Norton said. “My bill simply gives the District’s chief executive the same authority afforded to governors of states and the territories over their Guards. The President would still retain authority over the Guard for federal matters, the same as in the states and territories. Our bill would afford D.C. a critical element of full home rule as we simultaneously fight for statehood.”