(UnitedVoice.com) – The District of Columbia is a unique area, and not just because it is where the US federal government is located. While it is a large city, it’s governed more like a state. The District Council, made up of partisan lawmakers like states, has the power to enact laws. However, Congress has to approve all of the legislation the city enacts.
Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill that targets one of the city’s controversial laws that the Council passed last year.
Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022
In November 2022, the District Council passed the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022 (RCCA). The legislation overhauled the city’s criminal code, which was more than a century old. The passage of the bill came 16 years after work started to allegedly modernize the code.
The RCCA eliminates mandatory minimums for criminal offenses, expands the Second Look Amendment Act to cover inmates who were sentenced when they were 25 or older, allows jury trials for misdemeanors, and reduces some of the harshest penalties for crimes.
Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) vetoed the RCCA in January 2023, but the Council overrode the veto. Most of the new law takes effect in 2025, but some of the other measures will go into effect by 2030. Unless the House of Representatives is successful in its latest effort.
House Targets DC
On February 9, the US House exercised the power given to them by the Enclave Clause of the Constitution. Federal lawmakers passed a resolution of disapproval with the intention of blocking the RCCA. The vote was bipartisan, 250 to 173, including 31 Democrats who joined House Republicans in voting for the legislation.
The passage of the measure was a blow to the city. Such a resolution to overturn a DC law has not advanced in Congress since 2015, and before that, it hadn’t happened since the 1980s.
On the same day the House passed the legislation, Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) suffered an attack in her DC apartment building. Around 7:10 a.m., the lawmaker noticed a man in the lobby of her building. She spoke a pleasantry to him and then got into an elevator. The man followed her, punched her in the face, and grabbed her by the neck. The lawmaker threw hot coffee onto the attacker and then ran away.
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) told DC News Now, “Clearly, crime after crime is on the rise here in [DC] Yet, the [DC] Council’s bill will only make matters worse.”
The legislation now has to go through the Senate, and President Joe Biden will have to sign it.
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