Washington, DC

From Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office yesterday:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (D-DC) bill to make the District of Columbia the 51st state was passed today in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, moving her statehood bill to the House floor for expected final passage. Norton is already working with more than 100 national organizations with records of getting bills passed in the Senate.

“For such a historic achievement for the District of Columbia, the only message I can convey is gratitude,” Norton said. “Thank you, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), for your extraordinarily skillful and patient leadership, always with fairness to both sides. Thank you, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who appeared at an earlier press conference with Chairwoman Maloney and me, for your longtime leadership on statehood, democracy, and legislation for the District. Thank you to our more than 220 cosponsors and Committee Members who stood with the disenfranchised people of the District today. Above all, thank you District residents for turning out in large numbers to once again demand equality in the Congress. We have only one last hill to climb in the House – onward to the House floor!”

Norton’s bill would make most of the present-day District of Columbia into the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, with the remaining territory designated as the nation’s capital. Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayne Vota

“Dear PoPville,

Now that the Senate, which in no way represents 700,000 DC residents, has abdicated its responsibility, why do we continue to pay taxes? Curious to see whether we can have a healthy debate on this.”

Ed. Note: From a press release:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) announced today at a press conference that Norton’s bill to make D.C. the 51st state, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act (H.R. 51), will be voted on in the Committee at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 11. This vote will be the first congressional vote on the D.C. statehood bill since Norton got the first-ever House floor vote in 1993. Once passed by the Committee, H.R. 51 will be ready for a vote on the House floor. Passing bills on the House floor requires 218 votes. Norton’s bill has 224 cosponsors.

Norton says she is particularly grateful to Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney for her support, particularly in granting Norton’s request that the Committee vote occur on February 11, the week of the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln freed D.C.’s slaves before issuing the Emancipation Proclamation for all other slaves in the United States. Frederick Douglass was a longtime D.C. resident who fought tirelessly for full and equal rights for D.C. residents.

Norton’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below. Read More

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From an email:

“I just finished a film short, Downloading Statehood, which builds on my DC/Adapters project (an archive of the ways that folks in the District use and adapt our flag). Downloading Statehood points to our flag, but really it’s about encouraging more people to play with the graphic design of the flag — but specifically as a way to advocate for DC statehood.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee at a hearing on the Washington, DC Admission Act (H.R. 51), the first House hearing on DC statehood in over 25 years. H.R. 51 has been cosponsored by a record 219 Members.

Below is the Mayor’s full testimony, as prepared for delivery.

Chairman Cummings, Ranking Member Jordan, and all members of this esteemed Committee, thank you for hosting this historic hearing on H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, to make Washington, DC the 51st state.

I want to especially thank our Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has championed equality for DC for her entire tenure, while skillfully delivering jobs, opportunity and greater self-determination.

I am Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, DC, and I am honored to be here today to ask Congress to act upon the request of my residents to admit Washington, DC to join the United States of America as the 51st state.

I was born in Washington, DC, and generations of my family — through no choice of our own — have been denied the fundamental right promised to all Americans: the right to full representation in the Congress guaranteed by statehood.

Over the years, there have been a lot of arguments against statehood. Read More

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From the Mayor’s Office:

“Today, ahead of Thursday’s historic House hearing on the DC statehood bill (H.R. 51), Mayor Bowser launched a new DC statehood commercial, featuring DC veteran Antoinette Scott. The commercial, which is already airing in Washington, DC, Kentucky, and South Carolina, is part of the Bowser Administration’s education campaign to make more Americans aware of the injustices happening in the nation’s capital due to our lack of statehood. Read More

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From the Washington Post:

“I have been hesitant in past years to call for statehood for the District because I believed that we could achieve voting rights for its residents without having to take the politically difficult steps statehood would entail…

I now believe the only path to ensuring its representation is through statehood. Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Elvert Barnes

Following on the heels of yesterday’s progress in the Senate.

From a press release:

“The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) applauded the passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives today, marking the first time in American history either chamber of Congress has endorsed statehood for the District of Columbia. H.R. 1, a pro-democracy bill that includes numerous findings to expand democracy in the United States, contains extensive findings supporting statehood for D.C. This achievement builds on Norton’s work to make D.C the 51st state and sets the stage for consideration of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have both strongly endorsed D.C. statehood, and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has committed to holding a hearing and markup of H.R. 51 this year. Read More

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From a press release:

“On the 54th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and following reports of voter suppression in the 2018 elections that disproportionally targeted communities of color, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today announced his voting rights and democracy reform priorities in the new Congress and beyond: the restoration of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), nationwide automatic voter registration, and D.C. Statehood. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder to gut the Voting Rights Act of 1965’s critical preclearance provisions that allowed the federal government to prevent states with a history of discrimination from changing their voting rules without preapproval, states across the country have passed laws that impede voters and limit access to the ballot box for communities across the country. These policies have disproportionally impacted people of color, young people, and the poor. Leader Schumer has a record of criticizing the roll-back of critical voting rights and has regularly advocated for federal safeguards for elections, including co-sponsoring the Martin Luther King Jr. Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act of 2002, which provided states with grants to study election infrastructure and acquire technology to prevent discriminatory election practices. Read More

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dc license plate
Photo by PoPville flickr user Doug Duvall

From a press release:

“At today’s DC Council legislative meeting, Councilmember Charles Allen introduced the End Taxation Without Representation Amendment Act of 2016 to update the District’s standard motor vehicle license plates.

In 2000, the District of Columbia added the phrase “Taxation Without Representation” to DC license plates as a way to raise awareness about the disenfranchisement of our residents. This phrase, while recognizable, lacks a call to action. The residents of the District of Columbia fulfill all obligations of citizenship, yet Congress continually denies us the accompanying rights and privileges. Read More

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