Norton Introduces District of Columbia Special Elections Home Rule Act

Aug 12, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) yesterday introduced the District of Columbia Special Elections Home Rule Act, which would give the District complete authority to set the date of special elections for local offices, as other jurisdictions already have. The bill simply removes a limitation on the District that is not only inconsistent with the self-government authority otherwise granted by the Home Rule Act, but is also counterproductive. This bill would strengthen the District’s home-rule authority and does not require statehood.  

“The Home Rule Act originally required the Board of Elections to hold special elections on the first Tuesday 114 days from when the vacancy occurred,” Norton said. “This inflexibility led to special elections being held on religious holidays and has forced the District to hold a special election separate from an upcoming general election, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra election costs. A 2012 law I authored requires the Board to hold a special election on a Tuesday occurring between 70 and 174 days after the vacancy. My new bill would provide even greater flexibility for the District.”

Pending statehood, Norton has introduced the following bills to expand D.C. home rule and equality this Congress.

  • The District of Columbia Paperwork Reduction Act (H.R. 735) would eliminate the congressional review period for D.C. bills.
  • The District of Columbia Local Prosecutor Home Rule Act (H.R. 917) would allow the District to prosecute all crimes committed under its local laws. Currently, the U.S. Attorney for the District prosecutes almost all crimes committed by adults under local D.C. law.
  • The District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 1090) would give the D.C. Mayor the authority to deploy the D.C. National Guard. Unlike governors of the states, and even territories, the District’s chief executive officer cannot deploy its Guard.
  • bill to require the Library of Congress to install the D.C. seal in the Main Reading Room of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress (H.R. 1318). Currently, the stained-glass windows contain the seals of all states and territories that existed when the building was constructed, except for the D.C. seal, which was readily available at the time and should have been depicted.
  • The District of Columbia Home Rule Clemency Act (H.R. 1378) would give the District exclusive authority, like the states and territories, to grant clemency to offenders convicted under its local laws. Currently, this authority is exercised in D.C. by the President.
  • The District of Columbia Home Rule Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 1408) would eliminate the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to the District.
  • The District of Columbia Zoning Commission Home Rule Act (H.R. 1538) would give D.C. the authority to appoint all members of the Commission.
  • The National Capital Planning Commission District of Columbia Home Rule Act (H.R. 1797) would remove the authority of the NCPC to review the development of D.C.-owned land.
  • The District of Columbia Courts Home Rule Act (H.R. 2769) would give D.C. authority over the jurisdiction and organization of the local D.C. courts.
  • The District of Columbia Police Home Rule Act (H.R. 3092) would eliminate the president’s authority to federalize the local D.C. police department.
  • A bill to permit the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of the Mayor of the District (H.R. 3283).
  • The Commission of Fine Arts District of Columbia Home Rule Act (H.R. 3365) would remove the authority of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to review development of District-owned parks and buildings, as well as development of certain private property in D.C.
  • The D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment Home Rule Act (H.R. 3581) would give the District the authority to appoint all members of the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment , except when the Board is performing functions regarding an application by a foreign mission with respect to a chancery.
  • The District of Columbia Federal Officials Residency Equality Act (H.R. 3785) would require certain federal officials who serve the District to live in the District.
  • The District of Columbia Bridges Home Rule Act (H.R. 4136) would repeal a federal law that makes it a crime for a person in D.C. to obstruct any bridge connecting D.C. and Virginia.
  • The McIntire-Stennis Act District of Columbia Equality Act (H.R. 4885) would make D.C. eligible for federal forestry funds.
  • The District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer Salary Home Rule Act (H.R. 6158) would give D.C. the authority to set the maximum salary for the D.C. CFO.