Retiring Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will be introducing a bill to bring private school vouchers back to the District. The program first started under Mayor Williams in 2004, under the orders of the then-Republican-leaning 108th Congress. Shortly after the 2008 elections, when the Democrats retook not just the Senate and House, but the White House as well, the Congress put a stop to the program that for four years sent students from DCPS to private schools.
courtesy of CSPAN
Like many DCers, I’ve watched a Congressional hearing or two either for work or… well, for work. I mean, who watches hearings for fun? When I heard that Stephen Colbert would be coming to Washington (ahead of his March to Keep Fear Alive) to testify in character before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security; I knew that it would be a hearing many would be tuning in for. He was called upon to talk about the issue of illegal migrant farm workers in the US after hosting several interviews and segments on the issue on his show, The Colbert Report.
The legalization of medical marijuana in DC continues to be an issue for those supporting the cause. According to the Washington Post, “Nine out of 13 council members are co-sponsoring the bill that would make the city the 15th jurisdiction in the country to offer the option to the chronically ill.”
There are two problems that need to find resolution before the District can take the fight for medical marijuana any further — logistics and Congress.
The amendment to Initiative 59 states that the legalization of medical marijuana in DC would require five dispensaries city-wide. Each dispensary would supply a months worth of marijuana to registered patients as prescribed by their respective physicians.
But — no matter the logistical dilemmas or support weighing in on both the pro and con side of the bill — Congress will have the final word on the matter. WaPo says that advocates appear to be the most concerned about getting the bill passed and untouched by Congress.
This wouldn’t be the first time Congress put their foot down. Back in 1998, voters approved the initiative. It was Congress who blocked it.
It’s been 11 years since anyone has looked at the issue, but DC is on its way toward legalizing medical marijuana pending the passing of a federal bill.
A huge government funding bill in Congress will make or break the future of medical marijuana usage in DC. An agreement must be reached between the entire House and the entire Senate in order for it to pass, and neither chamber can amend the proposed bill.
Back in 1998, DC voters did approve the use and possession of medical marijuana but congressional Republicans placed a provision in form of a funding bill to block this approval. And — until this year’s funding bill — that provision has continued to exist in all official documents attempting to pass medical marijuana as legal.
The Washington Post wrote Sunday about the Obama administration’s intent to push Congress to implement a large change in how subway safety is regulated and enforced across the country by DOT. Currently, the feds really have no power to set regulations what so ever on subway systems due to a 1965 law passed by Congress that was intended to prevent the government from inhibiting transit growth. Subway safety is typically overseen by a state level agency or, in Metro’s case, an independent Tri-State committee (which the Post notes has exactly zero employees). DOT doesn’t even have the power to make Metro comply with NTSB recommendations today.
It comes as no surprise that this move was triggered by the awful Metro crash in June and the many, many safety incidents that have plagued Metro this year. Our subway system is the second largest in the country, but it is definitely the one that has the most direct effect on Capitol Hill – it moves the majority of Hill staffers to and from work everyday.