New Columbia Statehood Commission Meeting, 6/28/16
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New Columbia Statehood Commission Meeting, 6/28/16

September 23, 2019


>>MAYOR: GOOD AFTERNOON,
EVERYBODY. GOOD EVENING I SHOULD SAY.
I’M MURIEL BOWSER, THE MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C., THE BEST CITY
IN THE WORLD, SOON TO BE THE 51st STATE. [APPLAUSE] AND I AM CALLING TO ORDER THIS
SCHEDULED MEETING OF THE NEW COLUMBIA STATEHOOD COMMISSION.
I WOULD LIKE TO RECOGNIZE THE CO-CHAIRMAN PHIL MENDELSON AND
MEMBERS, SENATOR PAUL STRAUSS, SENATOR MICHAEL BROWN AND
REPRESENTATIVE FRANKLIN GARCIA. SO ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THE
COMMISSION ARE PRESENT. WE HAVE CIRCULATED A DRAFT OF
THE AGENDA WHICH IS BEFORE THE MEMBERS.
AND I WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST ONE AMENDMENT TO THE AGENDA.
FOLLOWING ROMAN NUMERAL II, I WOULD LIKE TO INCLUDE A
DISCUSSION BY SECTION OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION AND BY
SECTION OF THE PUBLIC COMMENTS. IS THERE ANY OBJECTION TO THAT
ADDITION? OKAY.
HEARING NONE, THE AGENDA IS SO CHANGED.
LET ME THANK EVERYBODY FOR THEIR PARTICIPATION IN DRAFTING THE
CONSTITUTION FOR OUR NEW STATE AND PREPARING TO TAKE THAT
MESSAGE ALL OVER THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND INDEED THE ENTIRE
NATION. I WANT TO THANK ALL THE MEMBERS
OF THE WORKING GROUP AND THE LEGAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND ALL
OF THE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO TOOK TIME OUT ON FRIDAY NIGHT,
ON SATURDAYS TO MAKE COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT.
AND I THINK THAT WE HAVE — OUT OF ALL OF THOSE COMMENTS AND OUT
OF ALL OF THAT DISCUSSION, WE HAVE FOUND THAT THERE ARE
SEVERAL BUCKETS THAT WE REALLY WANT TO DRILL DOWN ON AND
CONTINUE TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT. AND I LOOK FORWARD TO DOING THAT
WITH MY FELLOW COMMISSIONERS TONIGHT.
SO WITH THAT, LET ME TURN TO THE FIRST ITEM ON THE AGENDA, AND
THAT’S TO HEAR FROM ALL OF THE COMMISSIONERS.
CHAIRMAN MENDELSON.>>I DON’T HAVE ANY OPENING
REMARKS TO MAKE. I WILL SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE
COUNCIL PROCESS AT THE END OF THE MEETING.
AND I LOOK FORWARD TO THE DISCUSSION THIS EVENING.
THANK YOU.>>MAYOR: THANK YOU.
SENATOR STRAUSS.>>THANK YOU, MADAM MAYOR.
IT’S A PRIVILEGE TO BE HERE TONIGHT.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS STRUCK ME THROUGHOUT THIS
PROCESS IS THE ENTHUSIASM THE DISTRICT RESIDENTS, BOTH IN AND
OUT OF POLITICAL LIFE HAVE HAD FOR THIS PROCESS AND THE
ENTHUSIASM THAT THIS HAS GENERATED.
WE HAVE RECEIVED A LOT OF COMMENTS.
IT IS EXCITING TO SEE THE PUBLIC ENGAGED.
AND AS I WAS REREADING SOME OF THE EARLIER DRAFTS OF THE
CONSTITUTION, I CAME ACROSS — I RE-FAMILIARIZED MYSELF WITH THE
AMENDMENT PROCESS THAT THE DELEGATES TO THE FIRST
CONSTITUTION PUT INTO THE 1982 VERSION.
AND UNDER THAT ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION, THOSE DELEGATES
GAVE TO THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THE EXPRESS
AUTHORITY TO MAKE AMENDMENTS TO THE ’82 CONSTITUTION PRIOR —
>>MAYOR: SPEAK INTO THE MICROPHONE, PLEASE.
>>AND SO THE COUNCIL ENACTED THAT IN 1987.
AND A LOT HAS CHANGED SINCE THEN.
ONE THING SADLY HASN’T. WE STILL DON’T HAVE THE FULL
DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS THAT 1982 CONSTITUTION ENVISIONED FOR THE
CITIZENS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
AND SO AS OUR COMMUNITY HAS GROWN AND OUR INSTITUTIONS HAVE
DEVELOPED, WE NEED A NEW CONSTITUTION THAT WILL REFLECT
THE CHANGES THAT WE HAVE. AND MANY OF THE CONCERNS I HAVE
HAD ABOUT THE ACCELERATED NATURE OF THIS PROCESS, WHETHER OR NOT
PEOPLE WOULD ENGAGE AND PARTICIPATE HAVE BEEN ABATED AS
I HAVE SAT THERE AND SEEN COMMENTS COME IN FROM ALL OVER
THE COMMUNITY AND EVEN AS I WAS COMING HERE TODAY, THE LEVEL OF
INPUT AND CALLS THAT I GOT FROM CITIZENS WANTING TO MAKE SURE
THAT WE HAD READ THEIR COMMENTS, HEARD IT.
THIS HAS BEEN A PROCESS WHERE THE CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT HAS
EXCEEDED EVEN THE AMBITIOUS HOPES THAT I THINK WE HAD WHEN
WE BEGAN IT. AND I LOOK FORWARD TO MOVING
FORWARD A DOCUMENT TONIGHT HAVING THE COUNCIL PASS IT.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVING THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
QUICKLY ADOPT IT SO THAT WE CAN TAKE OUR RIGHTFUL PLACE IN THE
AMERICAN REPUBLIC AS FULL AND EQUAL CITIZENS.
THANK YOU, MADAM MAYOR, FOR KICKING THIS PROCESS OFF.
THANK YOU, CHAIRMAN MENDELSON, FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP AND VISION
IN CREATING THE NEW COLUMBIA STATEHOOD COMMISSION.
AND I WANT TO THANK ALL OF OUR COLLEAGUES AND STAFF AND
VOLUNTEERS WHO HAVE PUT IN MORE HOURS THAN WE THOUGHT WE WOULD
HAVE OVER THE SUMMER TO MAKE THIS PROCESS THE SUCCESS I THINK
IT HAS BEEN. THANK YOU.
>>MAYOR: THANK YOU, SENATOR. AND SENATOR BROWN.
>>THANK YOU, MADAM MAYOR. I AGREE WITH MY COLLEAGUE,
SENATOR STRAUSS. THIS HAS BEEN AN AMAZING
PROCESS, SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED.
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I HAVE HEARD FROM MANY OF THE
ACTIVISTS. I HAVE DONE EVERYTHING I CAN,
EVEN THOUGH I’M A VOLUNTEER AT THIS PROCESS.
I HAVE READ ALL FOUR CONSTITUTIONS.
I HAVE READ EVERY COMMENT THAT’S BEEN SUBMITTED.
I HAVE TRIED TO FAITHFULLY FULFILL THE OBLIGATION THAT’S
BEEN PUT UPON ME. I KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT
CONSTITUTIONS, I’M THINKING ABOUT STARTING MY OWN COUNTRY.
THE FIRST OFFICIAL ACT, OF COURSE, WILL BE TO BUILD A WALL
SPECIFICALLY TO KEEP DONALD TRUMP OUT. [LAUGHTER] BUT SERIOUSLY, I KNOW THAT THERE
HAVE BEEN A LOT OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE PROCESS.
AND, YOU KNOW, IT HAS — HAS IT GONE QUICKLY?
YES. HAS IT BEEN ABSOLUTELY INCLUSIVE
AND AS COLLABORATIVE AS IT COULD HAVE BEEN?
NO. BUT WE NEED A CONSTITUTION TO
BECOME A STATE. AND THIS CONSTITUTION I CAN TELL
YOU IS A BETTER CONSTITUTION THAN THE CONSTITUTION WE HAVE.
AND IT’S MORE DEMOCRATIC BECAUSE WE HAVE LISTENED TO EVERY
COMMENT. AND THERE’S BEEN MORE THAN —
WELL, KAREN ZOLLGOOD ON OUR STAFF TELLS US 90 CHANGES MADE IN RESPONSE TO THE COMMENTS WE
HAVE RECEIVED. SO IS IT PERFECT?
NO. BUT IT’S BETTER THAN THE
DOCUMENT WE HAVE. AND I HOPE WE CAN MOVE IT
FORWARD AND KEEP THIS ON TRACK. THANK YOU.
>>MAYOR: THANK YOU. REPRESENTATIVE GARCIA.
>>THANK YOU, MADAM CHAIR. I TOO WANT TO THANK THE OTHER
MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION FOR GETTING US WHERE WE ARE TODAY.
ON APRIL 21st, UNDER THE VISION AND LEADERSHIP OF OUR
MAYOR, WE LAID OUT A VERY AGGRESSIVE AND AMBITIOUS
TIMELINE TO REVIVE THE TENNESSEE PLAN.
AND IF EVERYTHING GOES AS PLANNED, THIS WILL GO TO THE
CITY COUNCIL AND THEN SUBSEQUENTLY TO THE BOARD OF
ELECTIONS. AND THE VOTERS WILL HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO SAY WHETHER THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHOULD BE A
STATE. WE HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY WITH
THE NEW PRESIDENT COMING UP AND THE 115th CONGRESS ACTIVATED,
HOPEFULLY A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS, TO BECOME THE 51st STATE.
AND I HOPE THAT WE ARE READY AND WE CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT
OPPORTUNITY. I THANK YOU, MADAM CHAIR.
>>MAYOR: THANK YOU, MR. REPRESENTATIVE.
AND SO WITH THAT, ALL OF THE MEMBERS — AND I APOLOGIZE FOR
THIS NOT SOUNDING TOO WELL. MAYBE THAT’S A LITTLE BIT
BETTER. TO ALL THE MEMBERS HAVE BEFORE
THEM A REPORT ABOUT THE ANALYSIS AND THE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ARE
NOW BEFORE THE STATEHOOD COMMISSION.
IT IS ENTITLED CONSTITUTION COMMISSION REPORT.
YOU ALSO HAVE THE UPDATED DRAFT OF THE CONSTITUTION.
AND YOU RECEIVED TO REVIEW BOTH A FINAL COPY AND A RED-LINED
COPY. AND YOU ALSO HAVE THE PUBLIC
COMMENT LOG WHICH HAS BEEN POSTED ON THE COMMISSION’S
WEBSITE. IT HAS BEEN UPDATED AFTER EVERY
PUBLIC MEETING. AND THE FINAL COMMENT LOG IS
BEFORE YOU AS WELL. AND I WOULD ENTERTAIN A MOTION
TO ACCEPT THESE DOCUMENTS FOR THE COMMISSION’S CONSIDERATION.
>>SO MOVED.>>MAYOR: IT’S A MOTION?>>SO MOVED.>>MAYOR: AND?>>SECOND.>>MAYOR: ALL THOSE IN FAVOR
SAY — ANY DISCUSSION ON THAT? DISCUSSION, DISCUSSION, ALL IN
FAVOR, SAY AYE. ANY NAYS?
THE AYES HAVE IT AND THE DOCUMENTS ARE ACCEPTED BY A
UNANIMOUS VOTE. SO LET ME NOW TURN TO THE
SECTIONS WHERE NEW ITEM 3 TO DISCUSS THE COMMENTS.
SO PART OF THE — WE RECEIVED A LOT OF COMMENTS ON WHETHER —
WELL, ACTUALLY I’LL GO THROUGH THE SECTIONS AND THEN WE WILL GO
TO GENERAL COMMENTS AT THE END. SO WE RECEIVED A LOT OF COMMENTS
AROUND THE BILL OF RIGHTS, WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE BILL
OF RIGHTS, DID WE NEED A BILL OF RIGHTS, SHOULD THE BILL OF
RIGHTS REPEAT AS WHAT IS IN THE FIRST DRAFT AND SECOND DRAFT,
THE FEDERAL BILL OF RIGHTS. SHOULD WE REMOVE SOME THINGS?
SHOULD WE, YOU KNOW, ADD OTHER THINGS?
AND SO, YOU KNOW, WHAT IS BEFORE THE MEMBERS IS TO INCLUDE A BILL
OF RIGHTS AND TO MIRROR THE FEDERAL BILL OF RIGHTS.
AND I WANTED TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND FIRST TO SEE IF THE MEMBERS HAD
ANY COMMENTS THAT THEY WANT TO PUT ON THE RECORD, BUT ALSO
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ALAN MORRISON WHO IS A PROFESSOR AT G.W. AND
HAS PARTICIPATED IN OUR LEGAL COMMITTEE WOULD BE HAPPY TO
OFFER SOME COMMENTS.>>WELL, MADAM MAYOR, I THINK WE NEED A BILL OF RIGHTS.
I THINK THAT THIS IS OUR OPPORTUNITY WHEN SETTING FORTH
THE PRIORITIES AS A NEW STATE TO SPEAK TO THE STATE THAT WE NEED
TO BE. I THINK WE NEED A BILL OF RIGHTS
AND I THINK IT NEEDS TO BE EXPANDED.
>>CHAIR: OKAY. ANY FURTHER.
PROFESSOR MORRISON, DID YOU WANT TO ADD ANYTHING?
IF SO, THERE’S A MICROPHONE HERE.>>THANK YOU, MEMBERS OF THE
COMMISSION. AS FAR AS THE QUESTION ABOUT EXPANSION IS CONCERNED, WE HAVE
LAID OUT SOME CONSIDERATIONS AND IT’S A JUDGMENT FOR THE
COMMISSION AS TO WHETHER EXPANDING THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS
SENSIBLE. OF COURSE, WE REALIZE THAT
NOTHING PREVENTS THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES FROM CREATING NEW
RIGHTS, EXPANDING ADDITIONAL RIGHTS.
AND THE QUESTION BEFORE THE COMMISSION IS, SHOULD WE PUT
THEM IN THE CONSTITUTION? AND IF SO, DO WE KNOW ENOUGH NOW
TO BE ABLE TO CAREFULLY DEFINE THEM IN A WAY THAT WILL BE
PROTECTING EVERYONE FOREVER? AND THAT’S THE QUESTION FOR THE
COMMISSION. SO THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER
WE SHOULD HAVE EXPANDED RIGHTS BUT WHETHER IT SHOULD BE PART OF
THE CONSTITUTION.>>MAYOR: THANK YOU. ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS? THERE WERE A LOT OF COMMENTS
MADE ABOUT GOALS THAT WE HAVE IN THE DISTRICT, SOME OF WHICH ARE,
YOU KNOW, CODIFIED IN OUR LAW AND PROTECTED IN OUR LAW.
OTHERS ARE ASPIRATIONS OF OUR CITY.
AND WHAT WE WERE CAREFUL TO DO IS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE BILL OF
RIGHTS, LIKE THE FEDERAL BILL OF RIGHTS DOES, LIMITS THE POWER OF
THE STATE AND DOESN’T ENCROACH ON OUR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.
AND SO I FELT STRONGLY, EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS
THAT WERE MENTIONED THAT I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD
PROTECT IN OUR NEW STATE — THEY ARE PROBABLY BETTER HANDLED BY
STATUTE. AND SO THAT IS WHY I WILL VOTE
TO MAINTAIN WHAT WAS IN THE FIRST DRAFT WITH THE 10 BILL OF
RIGHTS, THE 10 PROTECTIONS. ANY FURTHER COMMENTS?
OKAY.>>ARE WE VOTING ON THE LANGUAGE
NOW? OR ARE WE JUST PRESENTING AND
ACCEPTING COMMENTS FROM THE LEGAL COMMITTEE ON THAT SECTION?
>>MAYOR: WE ARE TAKING ANY COMMENTS.
AND WE WILL TAKE A VOTE ON THE CONSTITUTION.
WHAT I HAVE HEARD SO FAR REPRESENTS NO CHANGE IN WHAT IS
IN THE DRAFT.>>IN THE DRAFT ACTUALLY WE HAD CIRCULATED A PROPOSED AMENDMENT
THAT HAD BEEN DISCUSSED. SO JUST IN TERMS OF SPECIFICALLY
IN TERMS OF SECTION 4, THERE WAS A VERSION OF THE DRAFT —
NOT CIRCULATED, BUT IT LOOKED LIKE THERE WERE SOME COMMENTS
THAT HAD SUGGESTED ON THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL, WHAT WOULD LOOK
LIKE CONSTITUTIONALIZING A STATUTE CALLED THE MISDEMEANOR
STREAMLINING ACT WHICH DENIES THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL TO
THOSE WHO ARE FACING LESS THAN 180 DAYS IN PRISON.
AND I HAD SOME CONCERNS ABOUT PUTTING THAT IN OUR
CONSTITUTION. AND I THOUGHT WE SHOULD STICK
WITH THE 1987 VERSION OR THE ORIGINAL DRAFT LANGUAGE SO THAT
THE RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY JURY, IF YOU ARE LOOKING AT EVEN FIVE AND
A HALF MONTHS, WHICH I THINK SOME WOULD FIND IS SUBSTANTIAL
DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY WOULD BE PROTECTED.
AND THEN I WAS ALSO COMMITTED TO KEEPING ON THE ACCESS TO CIVIL
JUSTICE THE ORIGINAL JURISDICTIONAL AMOUNT AND NOT
DOING ANYTHING TO RESTRICT THAT. I THINK WHILE JURY TRIALS ARE
RARE AND ISSUES OF SMALL-CLAIMS COURT AND THINGS LIKE THAT, THEY
HAVE BECOME IMPORTANT IN SOME OF THE OTHER BRANCHES SUCH AS
LANDLORD-TENANT COURT WHERE THE DOLLAR AMOUNT CONTROVERSY MAY
NOT BE LARGE, BUT THOSE ISSUES ARE OFTEN IMPORTANT TO THE
LITIGANTS WHO ARE THERE. SO AGAIN, I SAW SOME DRAFTS IN
WHICH ACCESS TO JURIES WOULD HAVE BEEN RESTRICTED UNDER OUR
BILL OF RIGHTS, AND WOULD HAVE — I THINK WE SHOULD GO
BACK TO THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE THAT WOULD NOT HAVE RESTRICTED
JURIES BUT PROTECTED THOSE RIGHTS.
>>WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO RESPOND?>>MAYOR: PLEASE.
>>UNDER NO VERSION OF THE AMENDMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN
PROPOSED WOULD THE JURY TRIAL BE RESTRICTED.
SO THAT IF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES WANTED TO HAVE JURY
TRIALS IN SMALL-CLAIMS COURT, LANDLORD-TENANT COURT THEY COULD
OR IN MISDEMEANOR OR TRAFFIC OFFENSES THEY COULD.
THE QUESTION IS AS WRITTEN AND ADOPTED FROM THE FEDERAL
CONSTITUTION IN A CIVIL CASE OVER $20 WHICH, OF COURSE, WAS
WRITTEN IN 1787, NOT 2016, AND IN ALL FEDERAL CRIMINAL CASES,
NO MISDEMEANOR EXCEPTED THERE IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO A JURY
TRIAL. AND THE PROPONENTS OF THAT
CHANGE BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULDN’T TIE THE HANDS OF THE HOUSE OF
DELEGATES AND REQUIRE IT TO HAVE A JURY TRIAL IN ALL THESE CASES,
BUT THERE WOULD BE NOTHING THAT WOULD PREVENT A INJURE TRIAL IN
ANY CASE, EVEN CASES THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HEARD AT EQUITY.
AND THAT’S BEEN THE PRACTICE IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM FOR YEARS.
SO IT’S NOT THAT THEY ARE BEING DENIED.
IT’S JUST THAT THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE FORCED SO THEY WOULD
HAVE TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TOWN THE ROAD IF YOU, FOR
EXAMPLE, DECIDED NO MORE JURY TRIALS IN LANDLORD-TENANT OR
SMALL-CLAIMS COURT. AND WE FELT IT WAS BETTER NOT TO
LOCK IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES.>>SO UNDER THE CURRENT
LANGUAGE, I GUESS THE RED-LINED DRAFT THAT I GOT, IT LOOKED LIKE
THERE WAS LANGUAGE THAT WOULD ONLY GUARANTEE JURY TRIALS IN
CRIMINAL CASES WHERE THE DEPRECATION OF LIBERTY EXCEEDED
180 DAYS.>>THAT’S CORRECT. AND THAT’S THE FEDERAL
CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARD AS WELL. AND NOTHING PREVENTS THE HOUSE
FROM HAVING A JURY TRIAL IN ANY CASE THEY WANT TO ORDER IT.
BUT, OF COURSE, THAT COSTS MONEY AND IT TAKES TIME AND TAKES
JURORS AWAY FROM OTHER PEOPLE. SO WE THOUGHT THAT WAS A MATTER
BEST LEFT FOR THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES RATHER THAN
CONSTITUTIONALIZING IT FOR EVERY ONE OF THESE CASES.>>MAYOR: SO IS YOUR QUESTION, PAUL, DOES IT CHANGE A RIGHT
THAT IS IN CURRENT LAW OR CURRENT CHARTER?>>I THINK IN CURRENT LAW THE RIGHT BY STATUTE IS CURTAILED.
I DON’T KNOW THAT WE WANT TO CONSTITUTIONALIZE OR MEMORIALIZE
THAT STATUTE. I THINK IT’S INACCURATE TO SAY
THERE AREN’T JURY TRIALS IN EQUITY OR IN SMALL-CLAIMS COURT
OR LANDLORD-TENANT COURT. I THINK THEY EXIST.>>IN ANY EVENT, THE CURRENT CONSTITUTION AND FEDERAL CURRENT
DRAFT SAYS THAT COMMON LAW, SO EQUITY WOULDN’T BE INCLUDED IN
THAT. BUT THAT’S A MATTER OF
INTERPRETATION. AND THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER
THERE ARE JURY TRIALS NOW, BUT WHETHER WE SHOULD LOCK IN THE
NEW STATE TO HAVE TO HAVE JURY TRIALS FOREVER WITHOUT HAVING TO
AMEND THE CONSTITUTION. AND I THINK THAT’S THE QUESTION.
IT’S THE LOCK-IN EFFECT THAT CONCERNED THOSE OF US ON THE
LEGAL TEAM.>>AND THIS WAS SOMETHING THE LEGAL COMMITTEE DEBATED?>>ABSOLUTELY.>>MAYOR: OKAY.>>THANK YOU.>>MAYOR: ALL RIGHT. IS THERE AN AMENDMENT, PAUL?>>I DO THINK — I THINK WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO THE
COMMITTEE, I WOULD LIKE TO STRIKE THE LANGUAGE THAT SAYS
180 DAYS. I THINK IF YOU ARE FACING A
DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY OF FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS, THAT IS A
SIGNIFICANT DEPRIVATION. AND I THINK THAT IN AN ABUNDANCE
OF OPTIMISM THAT WE ARE VOTING ON A DOCUMENT THAT WILL SOON BE
CARRYING LEGAL EFFECT, I WOULD MOVE THAT WE STRIKE THE
SIX-MONTH LANGUAGE AND JUST LEAVE THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL
IN CRIMINAL CASES WHERE YOU ARE FACING JAIL TIME BE PRESERVED.>>MAYOR: OKAY. THERE’S A MOTION.
ANY COMMENTS? ANY DISCUSSION?>>MADAM CHAIR.>>MAYOR: YES.>>WHILE I AM — I AM COMPLETELY
SYMPATHETIC TO THE INTENT BEHIND WHAT SENATOR STRAUSS IS MOVING,
I WILL NOT SUPPORT THIS. AND I WILL BE VOTING AGAINST
THIS AMENDMENT TO STRIKE IT. I CHAIRED THE COMMITTEE, THE
COUNCIL’S COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY FOR EIGHT YEARS AND DEALT WITH
THIS ISSUE FIRST HAND AND UP-FRONT.
AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT THERE WAS A DAY — IN FACT, IT WAS A
WEEKEND IN WHICH BETWEEN THE COMMITTEE MARKUP AND THE COUNCIL
VOTE THERE WAS A — WE STRUCK THE LANGUAGE ABOUT 180 DAYS SO
THAT A JURY TRIAL WOULD BE REQUIRED JUST IN MISDEMEANOR
ASSAULT CASES. NOW, THE ISSUE FOR THOSE WHO ARE
HERE WATCHING, UNDER CASE LAW IF THE SENTENCE, THE MAXIMUM
SENTENCE IS 180 DAYS, ONE DOES NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY
JURY. AND IF IT EXCEEDS 180 DAYS,
THAT’S SIX MONTHS OR LONGER, ONE DOES HAVE A RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY
JURY. AND WHAT WE DID IN THE COMMITTEE
MARKUP WAS TO SAY THAT FOR ASSAULT CASES, MISDEMEANOR
ASSAULT, THERE WOULD BE A RIGHT TO TRIAL BY JURY REGARDLESS OF
THE FACT THAT THE SENTENCE WAS NO MORE THAN 180 DAYS.
AND IT BECAME APPARENT IN THE SPACE OF ONE WEEKEND, BETWEEN
FRIDAY AND MONDAY, COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE COURT
AND FROM A LOT OF ATTORNEYS THAT THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WOULD GRIND TO A HALT BECAUSE OF THAT.
WE WOULD SEE FAR FEWER PROSECUTIONS OF MISDEMEANOR
ASSAULTS BECAUSE THEY WOULD BE VERY TIME CONSUMING, VERY TIME
CONSUMING. AND WE WOULD SEE THE NEED FOR
SIGNIFICANTLY EXPANDING THE SUPERIOR COURT WHICH RIGHT NOW I
BELIEVE HAS 60 JUDGES. AND ENLARGING IT IN ORDER TO BE
ABLE TO HANDLE THE CASELOAD OF THE JURY TRIALS THAT WOULD BE
REQUIRED JUST FOR MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT.
SO I THINK THAT THERE’S FLEXIBILITY HERE FOR THE
LEGISLATURE TO ACT BY STATUTE. AND I THINK THAT’S EXACTLY WHY
THIS SHOULD BE LEFT, BECAUSE THERE ARE OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
WHICH ARE NAMELY THAT WE WANT EFFICIENCY IN THE ABILITY OF THE
GOVERNMENT TO PROSECUTE WHERE THERE ARE ALLEGATIONS OF
MISDEMEANOR CRIME. AND PUTTING THIS IN THE
CONSTITUTION WOULD WORK AGAINST THAT.
SO THE INTENT IS GOOD BUT THE EFFECT WOULD BE VERY
REGRETTABLE.>>CAN I ASK MR. MORRISON A
FOLLOW-UP QUESTION?>>MAYOR: SURE.>>IF THE FEDERAL PROVISIONS ARE RESTRICTED TO SIX MONTHS, WHY
WAS THE — THE ORIGINAL 1987 CONSTITUTION, AS I READ IT,
DIDN’T HAVE THAT — DIDN’T GET THAT SPECIFIC WHEN IT CAME TO A
TRIAL BY JURY. SO WHY WOULD WE NEED TO CODIFY
180 DAYS IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS HERE IF WE ARE
REALLY JUST MIRRORING WHAT THE FEDERAL LAW — OR WHAT CURRENT
LAW SAYS?>>I’M NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND THE
QUESTION.>>YOU PROBABLY NEED TO USE THE
MICROPHONE.>>THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION IS A
GUARANTEE IN THE FEDERAL COURTS SO IT DOESN’T APPLY TO THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. I’M NOT QUITE SURE I UNDERSTAND
THE QUESTION. I THINK THE CONCERN IS — AND
CHAIRMAN MENDELSON HAS EXPRESSED IT — IS THAT WE ARE FORCING THE
HAND OF THE LEGISLATURE TO PROVIDE FOR JURY TRIALS IN ALL
CRIMINAL CASES. AND SINCE THE FEDERAL
CONSTITUTION HAS BEEN INTERPRETED TO REQUIRE A JURY
TRIAL IN STATES, ONLY WHERE THERE’S OVER 180 DAYS IN PRISON,
THE MANY STATES HAVE DECIDED NOT TO HAVE JURY TRIALS.
AND THE SUPREME COURT HAS UPHELD IT.
WE THOUGHT WE WOULD BRING THIS IN LINE SINCE WE’RE TRYING TO BE
LIKE OTHER CASES.>>THANK YOU.>>MAYOR: OKAY.
SO THERE’S A MOTION. AND I WILL SAY THAT I’M
PERSUADED BY THE COMMENTS I HEARD FROM CHAIRMAN MENDELSON
AND PROFESSOR MORRISON ABOUT HAVING MORE FLEXIBILITY OF
DEALING WITH THIS BY STATUTE. SO I WOULDN’T BE SUPPORTIVE OF
IT. I’M WONDERING, SENATOR, IF THIS
IS A MATTER THAT WE CAN PULL BACK PRESENTLY AND MOVE ON TO
ANOTHER ARTICLE. WOULD YOU LIKE TO WITHDRAW IT?
>>ABSOLUTELY, MADAM MAYOR. I WILL WITHDRAW IT AT THIS TIME.>>MADAM CHAIRMAN.>>MAYOR: YES.>>I’D LIKE TO PROPOSE A MOTION
AS WELL.>>MAYOR: OKAY.>>I THINK THAT WE SHOULD
INCLUDE THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION WHICH MANY STATES HAVE, THE
RIGHT TO VOTE. IF THERE’S ANY CONSTITUTION IN
AMERICA THAT SHOULD HAVE A RIGHT TO VOTE, I THINK IT’S THE
CONSTITUTION OF NEW COLUMBIA, ESPECIALLY SINCE WE HAVE ATTACKS
ON THE ’64 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT AND THE ’65 VOTER RIGHTS ACT.
I ALSO THINK AS A LEADER IN AMERICA ON LGBTQ RIGHTS, THAT WE
SHOULD ALSO MAKE THAT PART OF OUR BILL OF RIGHTS BECAUSE I
THINK OUR COMMUNITY FIRMLY STANDS ON THE PRINCIPLE OF
EQUALITY. SO I WOULD MAKE A MOTION THAT
THOSE THREE ISSUES, THOSE THREE THINGS ARE INCLUDED IN THE BILL
OF RIGHTS.>>MAYOR: THANK YOU.
THERE’S A MOTION. DISCUSSION? DISCUSSION? DISCUSSION?
I WILL SPEAK TO THAT. AND I AGREE WITH ALL OF THE
THINGS YOU JUST SAID, EXCEPT FOR EXPANDING THE BILL OF RIGHTS AT THIS TIME BECAUSE I’M SURE IF I
SCANNED THE ROOM, THAT THERE WOULD BE OTHER THINGS AND EVEN
OTHER THINGS THAT CAME UP FROM OUR COMMENTERS ABOUT WHAT TO
ADD. AND AS I SAID AT THE START OF MY
COMMENTS, THAT’S WHY I’M GOING TO STICK WITH THE PROTECTIONS
THAT ARE LISTED IN THESE DRAFTS. ANY OTHER COMMENTS?
COMMENTS? MR. CHAIRMAN.
>>YES. LET’S START WITH THE FIRST POINT WHICH IS THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION.
I VIEW THE BILL OF RIGHTS AS BEING A LIMITATION ON THE POWERS
OF GOVERNMENT. AND I THINK THAT YOUR PROPOSAL,
SENATOR, GOES IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.
AND THAT IS, IT’S ASPIRATIONAL FOR WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD
DO. I DON’T THINK THAT’S APPROPRIATE
IN A BILL OF RIGHTS. I LOOK AT LANGUAGE — NOW, YOU
DIDN’T PROPOSE SPECIFIC LANGUAGE, BUT WE RECEIVED SOME
TALK — NOT TALKING POINTS, BUT I GUESS DISCUSSION BRIEFS.
AND WHAT IT SAYS WITH REGARD TO RIGHT TO EDUCATION IS, FOR
INSTANCE, THE STATE OF NEW COLUMBIA SHALL PROVIDE FOR A
SYSTEM OF HIGH QUALITY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.
WELL, WHAT EXACTLY DOES THAT MEAN?
SO IF MY DAUGHTER GOES TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL WHERE THE PARCC
SCORES ARE NOT RICH, DOES THAT MEAN THEN THAT I GET TO SUE THE
GOVERNMENT BECAUSE IT IS NOT PROVIDING A, QUOTE, HIGH QUALITY
PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION? AND I’M NOT SURE WHAT THE BILL
OF RIGHTS SHOULD BE ABOUT. THAT SHOULD BE WHAT IS LEFT TO
THE LEGISLATURE AND THE EXECUTIVE TO PUT INTO LAW.
THAT’S WHERE POLICY SHOULD BE. AGAIN, IT’S ASPIRATIONAL.
IT’S NOT A LIMITATION ON THE GOVERNMENT.
THAT’S WHAT THE BILL OF RIGHTS IN THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION
IS — IT’S LIMITATIONS ON THE POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT.
SO I THINK THAT WHILE WHAT YOU ARE SUGGESTING IS LAUDATORY, I
THINK IT ASKS FOR QUESTION.>>I WOULD ARGUE WITH THAT, CHAIRMAN MENDELSON, THAT I THINK
THE BILL OF RIGHTS WAS PUT IN TO GUARANTEE ACCORDING TO THE
FEDERALISTS, TO GUARANTEE THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE.
I THINK THE RIGHT, THE FIRST AMENDMENT DOESN’T LIMIT THE
GOVERNMENT IN INTERFERING WITH YOUR RIGHT TO SPEAK.
I THINK IT GUARANTEES YOU THE RIGHT TO SPEAK AND THE RIGHT TO
ASSOCIATE WITH WHO YOU WANT AND THE FREEDOM OF THE RELIGION.
I DON’T THINK IT LIMITS THE GOVERNMENT.
I THINK IT EMPOWERS THE INDIVIDUAL.
AND THAT’S ALL I WOULD SAY THERE.
I MEAN I THINK WE HAVE A BASIC DISAGREEMENT ON THAT.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. FURTHER COMMENTS?>>I WORRY THAT WE WOULD BE MAKING THE MISTAKES THAT OUR
ORIGINAL CRAFTERS OF OUR CONSTITUTION MADE WHEN WE
DEVIATED FROM WHAT WAS NECESSARY AND YIELDED TOO GREATLY TO OUR
ASPIRATIONAL HOPES TO WHAT WE HOPE OUR NEW STATE WOULD BE.
MY GOAL IS TO COME UP WITH A STRUCTURE OF A GOVERNMENT IN A
NEW FREE AND SOVEREIGN STATE PROVIDE FOR A QUALITY EDUCATION
FOR ALL OF ITS CITIZENS AND PROVIDE ALL OF THE ASPIRATIONAL
GOALS YOU SPOKE ABOUT. I THINK THE BEST WAY TO DO THAT
IS BY RESTRICTING THE BILL OF RIGHTS TO THOSE TOPICS THAT WERE
TRADITIONALLY COVERED UNDER FEDERAL LAW AND BY OTHER STATE
CONSTITUTIONS. I REGRET NOT TO BE ABLE TO
SUPPORT MY COLLEAGUE ON HIS AMENDMENT.>>MAYOR: FURTHER COMMENTS? FURTHER COMMENTS?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO PROCEED WITH A VOTE, SENATOR?>>YES, PLEASE.>>MAYOR: SO THERE’S A MOTION ON
THE TABLE TO ADD THREE ADDITIONAL RIGHTS TO THE BILL OF
RIGHTS. ALL IN FAVOR, SAY AYE.
THOSE OPPOSED, SAY NAY. THE NAYS HAVE IT.
AND THE AMENDMENT FAILS. ANYTHING FURTHER ON THE BILL OF
RIGHTS? OKAY.
WE WILL MOVE ON TO ARTICLE 1 OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION WHICH
FOCUSES ON THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH.
THE DRAFT WAS PRESENTED ON MAY 6th AND THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
CLOSELY MIRRORS THE CURRENT STRUCTURE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE NEW HOUSE OF DELEGATES WOULD
BE A UNICAMERAL LEGISLATURE CONSISTING OF 13 MEMBERS
INCLUDING A SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, FOUR AT-LARGE MEMBERS AND
EIGHT MEMBERS ELECTED FROM INDIVIDUAL LEGISLATIVE
DISTRICTS. THE TERM OF OFFICE FOR DELEGATES
WOULD BE FOUR YEARS. THE LEGISLATIVE POWER OF THE NEW
STATE WOULD BE VESTED IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES AND WOULD
EXTEND TO ALL RIGHTFUL SUBJECTS OF LEGISLATION WITHIN THE STATE.
IN ADDITION, ARTICLE 1 WOULD MAINTAIN THE CURRENT ADVISORY
NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION STRUCTURE, INCLUDING THE POWERS
OF THE ANCs INCLUDED IN CURRENT LAW.
I’M PLEASED THAT JOHN BOUKER IS HERE WHO IS A PARTNER AT ARANT
FOX WHO WOULD BE AN TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS RELATED TO ARTICLE
1. BUT LET ME NOW OPEN UP FOR ANY
DISCUSSION.>>WELL, AGAIN, MADAM CHAIRMAN,
I THINK THE ONE COMMENT THAT WE HAVE HEARD MOST DURING THIS
COMMENT PERIOD AND DURING THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION AND
DURING THE COMMENTS SUBMITTED TO THE COMMISSION IS THAT THE SIZE
OF THE LEGISLATURE IS TOO SMALL. I THINK WHEN WE LOOK AT
LEGISLATURES AROUND THE COUNTRY, WE SEE THAT THE SMALLEST IS A
UNICAMERAL LEGISLATURE IN NEBRASKA.
AND IT HAS 40 MEMBERS. TWO STATES — I’M SORRY.
49. I STAND CORRECTED.
I THINK THE TWO STATES THAT ARE SMALLER IN POPULATION THAN THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WYOMING AND VERMONT, HAVE 90 AND 45
DELEGATES. SO I THINK THAT 13 DELEGATES IS
WOEFULLY INADEQUATE. AND I PROPOSE THAT WE GO WITH
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION AND HAVE A HOUSE OF DELEGATES THAT’S 25
MEMBERS.>>MAYOR: OKAY. THANK YOU.
ANY FURTHER COMMENTS?>>ONE OF THE THINGS WE HEARD
WHEN WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE LEGISLATURE — AND
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT’S ALWAYS BOTHERED ME WHEN CRITICS HAVE
STATED FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND HAVE ARGUED THE
CASE IS THAT WE ARE TOO SMALL GEOGRAPHICALLY TO BE A STATE.
AND THAT OUR STATE JUST DOESN’T LOOK LIKE OTHER STATES.
BECAUSE WE ARE SMALL GEOGRAPHICALLY AND WE ALL KNOW
THAT — IF YOU DON’T KNOW, YOU SHOULD.
OUR POPULATION EXCEEDS TWO STATES AND ROUGHLY COMPARABLE TO
OTHER STATES AND WE MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR STATEHOOD.
PRESUMABLY, THAT’S WHY WE ARE ALL IN THIS ROOM.
I THINK THERE ARE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN US AND THE STATE OF
NEBRASKA, IN THAT, ONE, ANY CITIZEN CAN GET FROM THE
FARTHEST CORNER OF OUR NEW STATE TO THE CAPITOL BUILDING OF OUR
NEW STATE, EVEN WITH THE WORST TRAFFIC, EVEN WITH THE METRO
SYSTEM IN NEED OF VAST REPAIR, PROBABLY WITHIN AN HOUR OR SO
AND CAN AVAIL THEMSELVES AND MAKE THEMSELVES PRESENT AT THE
LEGISLATURE. AND I THINK THAT WHEN WE LOOK AT
AND COMPARE OURSELVES TO OUR STATES WITH SMALL POPULATIONS,
WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THERE ARE SOME FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURAL
DIFFERENCES THAT MEAN THAT MAYBE NEBRASKA OR EVEN VERMONT OR
WYOMING AREN’T EXACTLY THE BEST MODELS, DESPITE OUR
COMPARABILITY IN POPULATION SIZE.
I DON’T KNOW THAT WE NEED TO BE GUIDED BY A LARGE LEGISLATURE.
I HAVE CONCERNS THAT OUR CRITICS, IF WE EXPAND TOO MUCH,
WILL ATTACK US FOR USING STATEHOOD AS A WAY OF RAISING
PEOPLE’S TAXES, CREATING A LOT OF JOBS FOR POLITICIANS.
THAT BEING SAID, AT THE RISK OF SOUNDING SUPERSTITIOUS, I DON’T
KNOW THAT 13 HAS BEEN THE LUCKIEST NUMBER ALL THE TIME.
I DON’T KNOW THAT I AM NECESSARILY COMMITTED TO
MAINTAINING THAT NUMBER, BUT I DO HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT WHOLESALE
SAYING NEBRASKA DOES THIS, NEW HAMPSHIRE DOES THIS.
I THINK WE SHOULD FEEL FREE TO HAVE A STATE GOVERNMENT THAT
REFLECTS US AS AN URBAN JURISDICTION AND THE REALITY
THAT THE CLOSE GEOGRAPHICAL PROXIMITY THAT WE HAVE TO ONE ANOTHER GIVES US THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING ABLE TO GATHER THE WAY
THOSE WITH SMALLER POPULATIONS CAN’T.
I AM NOT UNMINDFUL IT HAS BEEN PROBABLY THE MOST DISCUSSED ITEM
AND I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING MORE DISCUSSION.
>>MAYOR: THANK YOU. SO I WANTED TO JUMP IN.
AND I APPRECIATE ALL OF THE COMMENTS.
AND CERTAINLY, I DO AGREE THAT IT IS — THERE ARE PROBABLY TWO
TOP COMMENTS THAT WE GOT. AND THIS IS I THINK THE BIGGEST.
AS A STATE, WON’T WE NEED MORE PEOPLE TO HELP US GOVERN THE
STATE? AND DON’T THE PEOPLE OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WANT MORE DEMOCRACY?
AND IS 13 PEOPLE ENOUGH TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BUDGET AND
ALL THE LAWS OF THE NEW STATE? SO I APPROACHED THIS WITH A LOT
OF CONCERN BECAUSE I KNOW THAT THE RECOMMENDATION THAT I’M
ABOUT TO PUT TO THE MEMBERS — THERE ARE VIEWS ON ALL SIDES.
SO I APPROACHED THIS KNOWING THAT PEOPLE WANT MORE DEMOCRACY,
AND KNOWING ALSO THAT WE NEED MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR POLITICAL
TALENT TO GROW IN OUR NEW STATE. AND HAVING A LARGER LEGISLATURE
WOULD BE ONE SUCH WAY THAT WE COULD DO THAT.
I AM ALSO, LIKE THE SENATOR SAID, MINDFUL OF MAKING SURE
THAT WE AREN’T BALLOONING OUR GOVERNMENT.
THAT IS NOT THE POINT OF STATEHOOD.
THE POINT OF STATEHOOD IS FOR US TO GET OUR TWO SENATORS AND TO GET OUR FAIR SHARE IN THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES AS WELL. SO WHAT I SUGGEST IS SOMEWHAT OF
A COMPROMISE FROM WHAT THE PEOPLE WANTED IN ’82, WHAT THE
COUNCIL DECIDED IN ’87 AND EVEN WHAT WE HAVE CONSIDERED AMONG
THE COMMISSIONERS. AND HAVING HAD CONVERSATIONS
WITH EVERYBODY HERE, I KNOW THAT THERE MAY NOT BE A UNANIMITY OF
OPINION, BUT THAT IS WHAT WE WILL STRIVE FOR.
THAT IS WHAT WE WILL STRIVE FOR TODAY.
SO WHAT I WOULD MOVE, AN ADJUSTMENT TO WHAT THE SENATOR
HAS ALREADY SPOKEN ABOUT AND AN ADJUSTMENT TO WHAT WAS APPROVED
BY THE COUNCIL BACK IN ’87 WHICH WAS 25 MEMBERS, I WANT TO MOVE
THAT WE AMEND THE DRAFT TO SAY THAT THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES
WOULD BE A 21 MEMBER BODY, HAVING TWO MEMBERS FROM EACH
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT, FOUR AT-LARGE MEMBERS AND AN AT-LARGE
CHAIRMAN. OR NOT CHAIRMAN, BUT SPEAKER.
>>MADAM MAYOR, I WOULD SECOND YOUR MOTION.
>>MAYOR: DISCUSSION? DISCUSSION? DISCUSSION?>>AT SOME POINT, I HAVE TO
SPEAK UP ON THIS. I’M IN A BIT OF AN AWKWARD SPOT
ON THIS. THE CONSTITUTION IS GOING TO BE
APPROVED, WE ASSUME AND HOPE, TONIGHT BY THE COMMISSION AND
THEN SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL. THE COUNCIL HAS NOT WEIGHED IN
ON THIS AT ALL. AND HERE WE ARE DISCUSSING A
MATTER THAT’S FUNDAMENTAL TO THE COUNCIL, EVEN THOUGH THE COUNCIL
WOULD BECOME THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES.
SO INASMUCH AS I AM THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COUNCIL
HERE ON THE COMMISSION, I CAN’T ADVOCATE A CHANGE THAT I HAVE NO
SENSE WHERE COUNCILMEMBERS ARE OTHER THAN A COMMENT THAT WAS
MADE THIS MORNING IF WE ARE TO HAVE A STATE LEGISLATURE, THEN
WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE CITY FUNCTIONS AND A CITY
FUNCTION REQUIRES A SMALLER LEGISLATURE.
NOW, I SAT THROUGH THE THREE DAYS OF THE CONVENTION.
AND I RECALL THAT THERE WERE FOLKS WHO ARGUED TO INCREASE THE
SIZE OF THE LEGISLATURE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ONE WITNESS,
AND ARGUED FOR A LARGER LEGISLATURE FOR REASONS SUCH AS
IT WOULD BE MORE DEMOCRATIC. AND I WOULD ARGUE THAT SIZE IS
NOT MORE OR LESS DEMOCRATIC. WHAT IS FUNDAMENTAL TO WHETHER
WE ARE DEMOCRATIC OR REPRESENTATIONAL IS THAT WE ARE
ELECTED. NOT THE NUMBER OF US.
THERE WERE SOME WHO ARGUED WE NEED A LARGER LEGISLATURE
BECAUSE THEN WE WILL BE LESS CORRUPT.
THAT DOESN’T FOLLOW AT ALL. THERE WERE FOLKS WHO WERE SORT
OF IN THE SAME VAIN SAYING, WELL, YOU KNOW, IF WE HAVE A
MORE REPRESENTATIVE — IF WE HAVE A LARGER LEGISLATURE, WE
HAVE A MORE REPRESENTATIONAL LEGISLATURE AND A MORE
DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATURE AND, THEREFORE, A BETTER LEGISLATURE
IN TERMS OF REFLECTING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
OF COURSE, THAT’S KIND OF SUBJECTIVE.
BUT I WOULD NOTE THAT THE LEGISLATURE THAT WE HAVE, MANY
ARGUE — AND IN FACT, I HEARD MANY ARGUE TODAY WHEN THEY
DIDN’T LIKE LEGISLATION PENDING BEFORE THE COUNCIL THAT WE HAVE
PERHAPS THE MOST PROGRESSIVE PUBLIC POLICIES IN THE COUNTRY.
AND I DON’T KNOW THAT THAT’S SO AS CERTAIN IF WE HAVE A LARGER
LEGISLATURE. THE ROLE OF A LEGISLATURE IS, I
THINK, CRITICAL IN THE FUNCTION OF CHECKS AND BALANCES IN A
GOVERNMENT. YOU HAVE A CHECK ON THE
EXECUTIVE. A LARGER LEGISLATURE AT SOME
POINT IN TERMS OF SIZE BECOMES A CHECK ON ITSELF.
THE MOST OBVIOUS EXAMPLE THERE WOULD BE THE CONGRESS AND THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. ACTUALLY, BOTH BRANCHES OF THE
CONGRESS. OBVIOUSLY, NOBODY IS PROPOSING
ANYTHING OF THAT SIZE. BUT IT MAKES THE POINT THAT
LARGER BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT TO MANAGE AND, THEREFORE, BECOMES
MORE DIFFICULT IN TERMS OF PERFORMING THE ROLE OF CHECKS
AND BALANCES THAT I THINK IS MOST CRITICAL IN A WELL
FUNCTIONING GOVERNMENT. WHEN WE LOOK AT OTHER STATES AND
WE LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THEIR LEGISLATURES, WE ARE TALKING
ABOUT VERY DIFFERENT LEGISLATURES.
AND WE’RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING JURISDICTIONALLY
THAT’S VERY DIFFERENT IN TERMS OF GEOGRAPHY.
AND DOES GEOGRAPHY REALLY MATTER?
WELL, IF YOU THINK OF ALMOST ANY STATE, IN FACT, EVERY STATE
WHICH HAS A RURAL AREA AND URBAN AREA AND PROBABLY HAS MULTIPLE
URBAN AREAS, YOU WOULDN’T WANT A MEMBER WHO IS REPRESENTING A
LARGE CITY AS WELL AS ALL OF THE FARMS IN THE WEST PART OF THE
STATE. IT MAKES SENSE THAT YOU WOULD
HAVE MORE LEGISLATORS NOT BECAUSE OF THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE,
BUT THE AMOUNT OF TERRITORY THAT THEY HAVE TO COVER.
MY POINT BEING THAT IT’S VERY — IT BECOMES VERY DIFFICULT
QUICKLY TO MAKE THAT COMPARISON. BUT TO ME, WHAT’S FUNDAMENTAL IS
THAT WE DON’T BECOME MORE EFFICIENT AND WE DON’T BECOME
ANY MORE REPRESENTATIONAL IF WE BECOME LARGER.
AND IN ANY EVENT, THIS IS A MATTER THAT I CANNOT TELL YOU
WHERE THE COUNCIL IS. AND SO OTHER THAN WHAT HAS BEEN
PENDING SINCE THIS DRAFT WAS FIRST PUT OUT, I CAN’T SUPPORT.
>>MAYOR: SENATOR.>>I WOULD ONLY SAY WHEN IT
COMES TO SIZE, I THINK SIZE IS IMPORTANT.
AND THIS IS WHY I DON’T WANT TO GO WITH THE ’82 SUGGESTION THAT
WE HAVE 40 MEMBERS. BUT SIZE IS A LIMITING FACTOR.
IN ALASKA, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU HAVE A LARGER STATE THAN EVERY STATE
ON THE EAST COAST GAINED, YET YOU HAVE A SINGLE MEMBER OF
CONGRESS. IT’S BASED ON POPULATION.
IT’S NOT BASED ON THE SIZE OF THE TERRITORY.
AND WE HAVE POPULATION THAT WOULD SUPPORT, I THINK, A
25-PERSON LEGISLATURE. AND WHEN IT COMES, THE ONE PLACE
I DISAGREE WITH CHAIRMAN MENDELSON IS I HAVE WORKED IN
LOCAL POLITICS AND I HAVE WORKED IN NATIONAL POLITICS.
NATIONAL POLITICS IS LESS CORRUPT.
IT’S HARDER TO CORRUPT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BECAUSE
THERE’S MORE PEOPLE IN IT. AND IT’S HARDER TO REACH OUT.
IT’S A LOT EASIER WHEN EVERYBODY KNOWS EACH OTHER TO HAVE
CORRUPTION. SO I THINK IT IS A FOIL AGAINST
CORRUPTION.>>IF I MAY.
>>MAYOR: REPRESENTATIVE GARCIA.>>YEAH, MADAM CHAIR, I TOO
CONCUR WITH SENATOR BROWN AND WILL SUPPORT THE 25 NUMBER.
I THINK THE LOGIC BEHIND THAT WAS IT WOULD BE TWO MEMBERS PER
WARD AND THEN EIGHT AT-LARGE AND A CHAIR.
AND I HOPE THAT AS WE MOVE FORWARD, THAT EVERY MEMBER OF
THE CITY COUNCIL HAS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO COME BEFORE THE
COMMITTEE AT VARIOUS TIMES AND, YOU KNOW, PROVIDE INPUT.
AND SO I’M HOPING THAT WE’RE NOT IN THE PROCESS OF DECIDING
TONIGHT THAT WE’RE NOT GIVING PREFERENCE TO ANY PARTICULAR
GROUP OVER WHAT MOST PEOPLE WANT, WHICH I THINK OVER AND
OVER WE HAVE SEEN THAT THE SIZE OF THE LEGISLATURE IS ONE OF THE
MAIN THINGS THAT EVERYBODY HAS COMMENTED.
AND I THINK 25 OR EVEN 21 — BUT I THINK THE 25 IS A BETTER
NUMBER. FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAVE NEVER HAD A
MEMBER OF THE LATINO COMMUNITY BE ON THE COUNCIL.
AND I THINK THAT INCREASING THE NUMBER WOULD ACTUALLY INCREASE
THE ODDS OF EVENTUALLY HAVING A MEMBER OF THE LATINO COMMUNITY
BE A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL. [APPLAUSE]>>TO THOSE WHO HAVE — THIS IS A PROCESS WHERE I AM ADVOCATING
FOR WHAT I HOPE WILL BE A UNITED COMMUNITY, SOLVING ITS PROBLEMS
AGAINST THE REAL LEGISLATURE THAT’S BEEN A PROBLEM.
AND IT’S NOT THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
IT’S THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.
SO OUR GOAL HERE IS TO FIND A STRATEGY THAT WILL GET RID OF
THE 535 SUPERFLUOUS MEMBERS OF OUR LEGISLATURE THAT HAVE NO
BUSINESS INTERFERING IN OUR POLICY, HAVE NO BUSINESS
INTERFERING WITH OUR LAWS AND COME UP WITH A STRUCTURE THAT
WILL WORK FOR US. I DON’T THINK THAT THE ATTACKS
ON THE COUNCIL FOR INTEGRITY OR FUNCTIONALITY, BASED ON ITS
COMPOSITION ARE IN ANY WAY APPROPRIATE.
THANK THAT THIS IS THE PROPER FORUM FOR FOLKS WHO HAVE ANY
GRIEVANCES ON PARTICULAR LEGISLATION OR THINGS THAT ARE
MOVING THERE TO ADDRESS THEM. THIS IS OUR CHANCE TO COME UP
WITH A STRUCTURE THAT WILL HELP US FUNCTION AS A STATE.
I THINK THE BOWSER COMPROMISE FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD HAS
SOME MERIT IN THAT IT GIVES EACH ELECTORAL DISTRICT TWO MEMBERS,
JUST AS EACH STATE GETS TWO SENATORS, BUT DOES NOT
ESSENTIALLY CREATE WHAT I FEAR WOULD BE A DE FACTO UPPER HOUSE
OF NINE ADDITIONAL ELECTED CITYWIDE MEMBERS.
IT REMAINS AN ODD NUMBER. AND I THINK IT’S CONSISTENT WITH
THE GOAL OF A LIMITING THE TRANSITION TO WHAT MAY
ABSOLUTELY BE NECESSARY. AND WHILE I CERTAINLY HEARD MANY
PEOPLE SPEAK TO THE SIZE OF THE LEGISLATURE, I THINK IT’S A
LITTLE INACCURATE TO SAY EVERYBODY WHO CAME BEFORE US
MADE THAT THEIR NUMBER ONE CONCERN.
IT WAS A LOUD CONCERN. BUT I DON’T NECESSARILY THINK
THAT IT WAS THE OVERWHELMING ONE PER SE.
>>MAYOR: ALL RIGHT. SO THE LAST THING I’LL SAY ABOUT
THIS IS THAT I HOPE THAT EVERYBODY IS VIEWING THIS FROM A
LENS OF A FUTURE COUNCIL AND A FUTURE GOVERNOR AND A FUTURE
THIS, THAT WE’RE NOT DECIDING ON OUR OWN POSITIONS.
THAT WE ARE DECIDING WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN IN OUR NEW
STATE, WHOEVER THE OFFICIALS ARE.
AND SO I JUST THINK THAT POINT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER.
I THINK THAT WE WILL ALL BE JUDGED BY THAT, BY OUR
WILLINGNESS TO FIGURE OUT HOW OUR NEW STATE WILL BEST
FUNCTION. LIKEWISE, I THINK PEOPLE WILL
JUDGE US IF IT LOOKS LIKE WE ARE ONLY TRYING TO PROTECT OUR OWN
POWER. AND SO I JUST ASK THAT EVERYBODY
THINK ABOUT THAT BOTH NOW AND IN THE FUTURE DELIBERATIONS.
AND I WANT TO PUT THE FINE POINT ON IT THAT WE WERE ALL PRETTY
MINDFUL OF HAVING A STREAMLINED DOCUMENT AND ADVANCING A VERY
PRUDENT PLAN. AND I THINK WITH THE MOTION
THAT’S ON THE TABLE IS FOR 21 MEMBERS.
I ASK MYSELF THE QUESTION I ASK ALL THE OTHER MOVERS OF THE
AMENDMENT. DO I WANT TO WITHDRAW IT SO THAT
WE CAN GET TO UNANIMITY? BUT I DO THINK IT’S IMPORTANT
BECAUSE TO BE RESPONSIVE TO THE REQUESTS FOR MORE DEMOCRACY AND
ALSO MY FIRM BELIEF THAT WE COULD ACTUALLY DO THE WORK OF A
$13 BILLION CURRENTLY ENTITY WITH MORE PEOPLE.
AND WE COULD BETTER DEVELOP TALENT IN OUR CITY WITH MORE
POSITIONS. SO WITH THAT, I’M GOING TO CALL
FOR A VOTE ON THE MOTION. ALL THOSE IN FAVOR, SAY AYE.
ANY OPPOSED. NO?
BROWN?>>NO.
I’M AYE.>>MAYOR: SO THE MOTION — THE
AMENDMENT PASSES. AND ARTICLE 1 WILL BE CHANGED. [APPLAUSE] I DO HAVE TO ASK FOR ORDER.
I DO HAVE TO ASK FOR ORDER. ARTICLE 1 WILL BE AMENDED TO
REFLECT THE SIZE OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES BEING 21 MEMBERS, TWO
FROM EACH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT AND FOUR AT-LARGE MEMBERS,
INCLUDING THE AT-LARGE ELECTED PRESIDENT, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES.
MOVING ON TO ARTICLE 2, THE EXECUTIVE.
ARTICLE 2 SETS OUT THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE
BRANCH, INCLUDING THOSE OF THE GOVERNOR, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,
THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND THE BOARD OF EDUCATION.
THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION RELEASED BY THE COMMISSION IN MAY WAS
DESIGNED TO REFLECT THE CURRENT MAKEUP OF THE DISTRICT
GOVERNMENT IN KEEPING WITH THE FIRST GUIDING PRINCIPLE ADOPTED
BY THE COMMISSION. AND SO WITH THAT, I WOULD LIKE
TO RECOGNIZE THAT SHELLY BRODERICK WOULD BE HAPPY TO —
OH, YOU ARE NUMBER 3. WE ARE ON NUMBER 2.
WHO’S NUMBER 2? WALTER SMITH, YOU ARE NUMBER 2.
WALTER, DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH CHANGES?
OKAY. COMMISSIONERS?
>>AGAIN, MADAM CHAIR, I’M FOR AN ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD.
I DON’T THINK IT SHOULD BE AN ADVISORY BOARD.
I THINK IT SHOULD BE ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE.
IT IS SINGLY THE OLDEST ELECTED OFFICE IN THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA. BEFORE WE HAD ANY RIGHTS, WE HAD
RIGHTS TO ELECT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS.
I THINK TO HAVE AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL BOARD IS IMPORTANT TO THE
QUALITY OF EDUCATION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
SO I WOULD MOVE THAT WE AMEND ARTICLE 2, SECTION 7 TO SAY OUR
SCHOOL BOARD IS ELECTED AND NOT ADVISORY.
>>I THINK — AS I READ THE DOCUMENT, I THINK IT PROVIDES
CURRENTLY FOR AN ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD.
IN FACT, IF ANYTHING, IT CONSTITUTIONALIZES AN ELECTED
SCHOOL BOARD WHERE ONE IS NOW PRIMARILY A CREATOR OF STATUTE.
SO I AGREE WITH YOU, SENATOR, BUT I THINK THAT, AS I READ IT,
THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION SHALL CONSIST OF ONE MEMBER
ELECTED FROM EACH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT AND ONE MEMBER ELECTED
AT LARGE. I THINK THE ONLY CHANGE WAS WE
CHANGED THE NUMBER 9 TO ONE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT WHICH MAKES
SENSE IN CASE WE EVER CHANGE THE NUMBER OF LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS.
SO IT ALLOWS FLEXIBILITY. BUT I THINK HOWEVER MANY NUMBER
OF LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS WE HAVE, THE LANGUAGE THAT’S
CURRENTLY BEFORE US SAYS THAT THERE WILL BE AN ELECTED SCHOOL
BOARD AND EACH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT WILL HAVE ONE MEMBER AS
WELL AS AN AT-LARGE NUMBER. SO I SUPPORT YOUR SENTIMENT, BUT
I DON’T THINK WE NEED AN AMENDMENT.
I THINK THE LANGUAGE PROVIDES FOR AN ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD.
AND I THINK THAT ELEVATING THAT ELECTED STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
WHICH IS CURRENTLY A STATUTORY OFFICE TO A CONSTITUTIONAL ONE
DEMONSTRATES OUR COMMITMENT NOT JUST TO QUALITY EDUCATION BUT TO
DEMOCRACY AS WAY OF GUIDING OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.>>WELL, I STAND CORRECTED, SENATOR.
BUT I WILL SAY THAT THE POINT I WAS TRYING TO MAKE WAS UNDER THE
POWERS OF THE ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD, IT SAYS THE STATE BOARD
OF EDUCATION SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ADVISING THE
GOVERNOR ON EDUCATIONAL MATTERS. I DON’T THINK IT SHOULD BE AN
ADVISORY BOARD. I THINK THEY SHOULD HAVE THE
POWER TO MAKE DECISIONS ON THEIR OWN.
THAT WAS THE POINT I WAS TRYING TO MAKE.
I’M NOT A LAWYER. I’M SORRY I MISSPOKE.
>>MAYOR: IF I MIGHT ADD, I THINK THE CONSTITUTION REFLECTS
WHAT’S IN THE CURRENT LAW, SO WE’RE NOT CHANGING THE POWERS OF
THE STATE BOARD. BUT AS THE SENATOR SAID, THEY
ARE BEING MEMORIALIZED IN THE CONSTITUTION WHEREAS NOW IT ONLY
RESIDES IN THE STATUTE. IS THAT A MOTION?
OR IS THAT A COMMENT?>>THAT WAS A COMMENT.>>MAYOR: OKAY.
ALL RIGHT. ANY OTHER COMMENTS ON THE
EXECUTIVE? WE RECEIVED A LOT OF COMMENTS
ABOUT THE POWERS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND YOUR RED-LINED
VERSION REFLECTS ADDITIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION OUTLINING THOSE
POWERS. WE RECEIVED A LOT OF
SUGGESTIONS — WELL, NOT A LOT. WE RECEIVED SUGGESTIONS RELATED
TO THE ADDITION OF A NEW POSITION IN THE STATE GOVERNMENT
OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR. I THINK THE COMMISSIONERS
ELECTED NOT TO ADVANCE THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS IN TRYING TO
MAINTAIN A STREAMLINED GOVERNMENT.
AND THAT IS LIKEWISE THE CASE FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE AND
TREASURER. ANY FURTHER COMMENTS ON THE
EXECUTIVE? SO I HAVE RECORDED NO CHANGES TO
THAT ARTICLE. ALL RIGHT.
THE NEXT ARTICLE IS THE JUDICIAL BRANCH.
AND SHELLY BRODERICK IS AVAILABLE TO MAKE ANY COMMENTS
OR ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE JUDICIAL BRANCH.
QUESTIONS, COMMENTS? DEAN BRODERICK, WHY DON’T YOU
JUST SAY A COUPLE OF THINGS ABOUT WHAT’S REFLECTED IN OUR
DRAFT?>>AND ACTUALLY, I’M ASSUMING
THAT THERE HAS BEEN SOME CONSULTATION WITH MEMBERS OF OUR
JUDICIARY AS WELL.>>I DON’T KNOW.
I DIDN’T PERSONALLY. BUT BASICALLY WHAT WE DID IS PUT
FORWARD WHAT WE NOW HAVE IN PLACE WITH A COUPLE OF CHANGES.
ONE IS THAT, OF COURSE, THE PRESIDENT WON’T BE APPOINTING
THE MAYOR WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE COUNCIL — OR THE
HOUSE OF DELEGATES, EXCUSE ME. THE GOVERNOR AND THE HOUSE OF
DELEGATES. I CAN GET THERE.
AND I CAN’T WAIT TO GET THERE. THE GOVERNOR WILL APPOINT AS
OPPOSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
AND THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES WILL CONFIRM.
WE ALSO DID ADD THE FLEXIBILITY, BUT NOT A REQUIREMENT TO ADD
ADDITIONAL COURTS. SO OFTEN THE COURTS HAVE STATED
THE NEED FOR INTERMEDIARY APPELLATE COURT.
WE’RE NOT REQUIRING IT BUT LEFT OPEN THE FLEXIBILITY FOR THE
LEGISLATURE AND THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES TO MAKE THAT CHANGE.
WE CONTINUED WITH A JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION AND
DISABILITIES AND TENURE COMMISSION FOR BOTH THE
PROVIDING APPOINTMENTS — RECOMMENDATIONS AND FOR THE
OPPORTUNITY TO REAPPOINT OR REMOVE VERY MUCH WHAT IS IN
PLACE TODAY. AND THOSE WERE, I THINK, THE
BIGGEST PIECES.>>MAYOR: OKAY.
ANY QUESTIONS?>>AS I UNDERSTAND IT, JUST TO
BE CLEAR, THIS CONSTITUTION AND THE LANGUAGE WRITTEN WILL PROVIDE FOR ABSOLUTE CONTINUITY OF PROCESS ONCE WE BECOME A
STATE.>>THAT’S CORRECT.>>SO IF YOU HAVE A CASE
CURRENTLY PENDING IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DISMISS IT AND REINTRODUCE IT IN
THE STATE COURT OF NEW COLUMBIA. THAT TRANSITION WILL BE A SMOOTH
ONE. THE CURRENT MEMBERS OF OUR
INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY WILL CONTINUE AND NEW MEMBERS WILL BE
SELECTED IN A SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR APPOINTMENT PROCESS,
EXCEPT THAT WE NO LONGER WILL HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE PRESIDENT
TO PICK SOMEONE. AND WE CERTAINLY WON’T HAVE TO
WAIT FOR THE SENATE TO LET OUR NOMINEES SIT THERE WITHOUT A
HEARING AS THEY DO NOW CREATING VACANCIES.
SO PROBABLY NOWHERE WILL THE ADMINISTRATION — WILL THE
CITIZENS SEE A DRAMATIC DIFFERENCE IN THE APPROVEMENT OF
SERVICES UNDER A FUNCTIONING STATE COURT SYSTEM.>>THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT.>>MAYOR: OKAY, THANK YOU, DEAN
BRODERICK. SO WITH NO FURTHER COMMENTS,
THERE ARE NO AMENDMENTS IN ARTICLE 3.
ARTICLE 4 IS BUDGET AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
THIS ARTICLE IS SIMILAR TO THE PROVISIONS THAT NOW EXIST IN THE
HOME RULE ACT BUT HAS BEEN SIMPLIFIED AND UPDATED TO
ELIMINATE THE ROLE OF CONGRESS IN REVIEWING THE STATE BUDGET
AND PERMIT THE HOUSE TO ESTABLISH THE FISCAL YEAR IT
DETERMINES APPROPRIATE. IT ALSO IS CONSISTENT WITH OUR
GUIDING PRINCIPLES, MINIMIZES UNNECESSARY CHANGE TO PROMOTE
STABILITY AND ENSURE RESPONSIBLE GOVERNANCE.
THIS IS ALSO EXPECTED TO ENCOURAGE STABILITY, MARKET
STABILITY DURING THE TRANSFER TO STATEHOOD AND TO STRENGTHEN THE
OVERALL FINANCIAL HEALTH OF THE NEW STATE.
AND JANET ROBBINS WHO IS THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS PREPARED TO SPEAK TO THIS OR
ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS. I SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED IN THE
SECOND ARTICLE WHEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE EXECUTIVE
BRANCH, THAT THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER REMAINS
INTACT, BUT FOR HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CONGRESS.
SO THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER WOULD BE APPOINTED BY THE
GOVERNOR TO SERVE A SPECIFIED TERM.
AND HE COULD ONLY BE REMOVED FOR CAUSE AND WITH THE CONSENT OF
THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES. SO THIS SECTION IN BUDGET AND
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IS LARGELY SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU ARE FAMILIAR
WITH. ANY FURTHER COMMENTS, QUESTIONS,
AMENDMENTS, CHANGES? OKAY.
HEARING NONE, WE WILL MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ARTICLE.
ARTICLE 4 SHALL PROCEED WITH NO AMENDMENT.
WAS THAT ARTICLE — WHAT ARTICLE WAS THAT?
WHERE IS ARTICLE 5? WHICH SOMEONE 5?
I’M MISSING ONE.>>BORROWING.>>MAYOR: BORROWING. DID WE COVER THOSE TOGETHER?
I SHOULD HAVE SAID WE WERE DOING 4 AND 5.
OKAY. I’M MISSING MY SHEET FOR
BORROWING. OKAY.
HERE WE GO. SO BORROWING, ARTICLE 5, THE
ARTICLE IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE FOR BORROWING BY THE GOVERNMENT
IN WAYS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO THE PROVISIONS FOR BORROWING THAT
ARE CURRENTLY IN THE HOME RULE ACT.
THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE HAVE BEEN BOTH SIMPLIFIED AND
UPDATED TO ACCOMMODATE CHANGES FOR BEING A STATE.
MOST OF THE COMMENTS REGARDING ARTICLE 5 CAME FROM THE OFFICE
OF THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL. THERE WERE COMMENTS FROM OTHERS
THAT ARE ALSO INCLUDED IN YOUR LOG.
COMMENTS, QUESTIONS? CHANGES?
>>MOST OF THE COMMENTS I UNDERSTAND CAME FROM EXPERTS IN
THE CFO’S OFFICE. AND I’M GOING TO DEFER TO THEIR
WISDOM AND EXPERTISE AND ACCEPT WHAT THEY HAVE RECOMMENDED.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. WITH NO FURTHER COMMENTS, THE
ARTICLE 5 IS UNCHANGED. ARTICLE 6, INITIATIVE REFERENDUM
AND RECALL. AND BETSY CAVENDISH IS AVAILABLE
TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS. BETSY, DO YOU WANT TO GIVE A
BRIEF SUMMARY OF WHAT’S HERE?>>GOOD EVENING.
WE MADE A FEW CHANGES AND WE HAVE ONE FURTHER ONE THAT’S NOT
IN THE CHAIRMAN’S MARK. THAT ONE IS THAT IT TAKES 5% OF
THE VOTERS TO PUT A MATTER, AN INITIATIVE OR REFERENDUM ON THE
BALLOT. AND 5% FROM FIVE LEGISLATIVE
DISTRICTS NOW. AND WE SUGGEST TURNING THAT INTO
5% OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS IN A MAJORITY OF THE LEGISLATIVE
DISTRICTS BECAUSE, AS YOU JUST DID NOW, YOU ARE INCREASING THE
SIZE OF THE LEGISLATURE. WE ALSO PURSUANT TO CITIZEN
COMMENTS CLARIFIED THAT WE CAN’T HAVE REFERENDUMS THAT TRY TO
REPEAL ANY MEASURES, CONGRESSIONAL MEASURES TO
STRENGTHEN OUR ANTIDISCRIMINATION LAWS.
AND WE MODIFIED IT TO MAKE SURE THAT PUBLIC RESOURCES AREN’T
SPENT ON RECALLS OF ANC MEMBERS THAT ARE STATE BOARD OF
EDUCATION MEMBERS. AND SOME COMMENTERS SUGGESTED
THAT RECALL EFFORTS BE LIMITED TO ONCE PER TERM.
BUT THE CHAIRMAN’S MARK DID NOT ACCEPT THAT COMMENT ON THE
GROUND THAT NEW FACTS MIGHT ARISE MERITING A SECOND
CONSIDERATION OF A RECALL PETITION.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. ANY QUESTIONS ON INITIATIVE,
REFERENDUM AND RECALL?>>I HAVE A QUESTION.
>>MAYOR: YES.>>MS. CAVENDISH, I’M A LITTLE
CONFUSED. YOU SAID THERE IS ONE SUGGESTION
THAT’S NOT IN THE VERSION BEFORE US?
>>IT’S NOT IN THE RED-LINED. AS WE WERE THINKING ABOUT THE
POSSIBILITY THAT YOU MIGHT EXPAND THE LEGISLATURE, WE
THOUGHT IT MADE SENSE TO SAY A MAJORITY OF THE DISTRICTS, THAT
THEY GET 5% OF THE VOTERS SIGNING TO PUT A MATTER ON THE
BALLOT FROM A MAJORITY OF THE DISTRICTS.>>SO THEN LET ME MOVE TO –>>IT USED TO BE 5/8.>>LET ME MOVE TO HAVE THAT
LANGUAGE IN WHAT WE APPROVE.>>THANK YOU.>>I HAVE A QUESTION AS WELL.
I’M A LITTLE CONFUSED, BETSY. THE INFORMATION THAT’S BEEN
PROVIDED TO ME SAYS THAT THE CURRENT DRAFT OF THE
CONSTITUTION DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR AMENDMENTS TO CITIZENS
INITIATIVES. IS THAT WRONG?
DO WE PROVIDE?>>NO, IT DOESN’T ALLOW FOR
CITIZEN CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS.>>OKAY.>>BUT THERE IS AN INITIATIVE
PROCESS AND A REFERENDUM PROCESS.
BUT CERTAIN TOPICS ARE LIMITED. THERE WERE COMMENTERS WHO
SUGGESTED THAT WE BE ALLOWED TO HAVE CONGRESS SUGGEST ITEMS THAT
RELATE TO APPROPRIATIONS, BUT WE THOUGHT THAT INTRUDED ON THE
LEGISLATIVE AND THE EXECUTIVE. AND AS TO YOUR BIG QUESTION,
SENATOR BROWN, ABOUT CITIZEN INITIATIVES TO AMEND THE
CONSTITUTION, WE THOUGHT THAT WAS A POLITICAL MATTER FOR THE
COMMISSIONERS TO DECIDE AND UNDERSTAND THAT’S ON THE AGENDA
FOR LATER. SO WE DIDN’T MAKE ANY —
WITH REGARD TO THESE RED LINES THAT YOU SEE.
>>DOES THIS CURRENT LANGUAGE MAINTAIN THE SAME PROTECTION WE
HAVE NOW TO MAKE SURE THAT THE INITIATIVE PROCESS RESPECTS THE
PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT AND BY MAJORITY VOTE WE CANNOT
IN ANY WAY IMPEDE –>>ABSOLUTELY.>>OKAY.>>MAYOR: OKAY.
SO I HAVE NOTED ONE CHANGE TO THE DRAFT.
AND WITHOUT OBJECTION, WE WILL INCLUDE THAT CHANGE TO THE
DRAFT. HEARING NO OTHERS, WE WILL MOVE
ON TO ARTICLE 7, WHICH COVERS A NUMBER OF THINGS.
AND RON ROSS WILL BE PREPARED TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT.
SO THE SECTIONS IN THIS ARTICLE INCLUDE OPENNESS AND
TRANSPARENCY, THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CONSTITUTION, THE
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDING PROCEDURE AND THE EFFECTIVE DATE
AND OTHER TRANSITIONAL ISSUES. SO, MR. ROSS, LET ME HAVE YOU
SPEAK TO THIS ARTICLE.>>I’LL SPEAK TO I THINK THREE
PRINCIPAL ISSUES THAT CAME IN FROM COMMENTS.
FIRST, WITH RESPECT TO SECTION 2, THERE ARE A FAIR NUMBER OF
COMMENTS THAT WENT TO THE USAGE OF PARTISAN VERSUS NONPARTISAN.
WE HAVE PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS TO CLARIFY THAT THE USE OF THE
REFERENCE TO PARTISAN VERSUS NONPARTISAN WILL BE USED ONLY IN
DETERMINING WHEN THE NAME OF A POLITICAL PARTY WILL APPEAR NEXT
TO THE NAME OF A CANDIDATE ON A BALLOT.
BUT WILL NOT IN ANY OTHER WAY LIMIT THE AUTHORITY OF THE HOUSE
OF DELEGATES TO ESTABLISH ANY TYPE OF PRIMARY OR RUNOFF
ELECTION. WITH RESPECT TO SECTION 3, THE
PROCEDURE FOR AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION, THERE ARE TWO
ISSUES THAT RECEIVED A LARGE NUMBER OF COMMENTS.
THE FIRST ISSUE WAS WHETHER OR NOT THE BAR HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED
TOO LOW. THAT IS, THE PERCENTAGE OF VOTES
REQUIRED IN ORDER TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION.
AND WE HAVE SUGGESTED RAISING THE REQUIRED VOTE OF THE
LEGISLATURE FROM A MAJORITY TO A 2/3 VOTE.
THE SECOND ISSUE THAT RECEIVED A LARGE NUMBER OF COMMENTS IN THE
PUBLIC MEETINGS AS WELL AS THE ONLINE COMMENTS WHICH WERE
RECEIVED CONCERNED THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE INITIATIVE
PROCESS COULD BE USED AS A MEANS OF AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION ITSELF.
AND THAT, AS PREVIOUSLY REFERENCED, THAT WE DEEMED TO BE
A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE FOR DELIBERATION BY THE
COMMISSIONERS HERE. AND THEN FINALLY, WITH RESPECT
TO THE — ACTUALLY, I’M NOT EVEN SURE THAT RISES TO THE LEVEL.
I’M GOING TO STOP THERE.>>MAYOR: OKAY. SO IS IT CLEAR IN THIS SECTION,
RON, THAT THE CONSTITUTION CAN BE AMENDED BY THE LEGISLATURE?
BY LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE.>>YES.
IN FACT, THE QUESTION WAS WHAT KIND OF A VOTE FROM THE
LEGISLATURE WOULD BE REQUIRED. AND THERE WAS SIGNIFICANT
CONCERN THAT THE THRESHOLD THAT WE HAD SET IN THE INITIAL DRAFT
OF THE CONSTITUTION SIMPLY WASN’T HIGH ENOUGH.
THERE SHOULD BE A HIGHER BAR ACHIEVED.
AT LEAST THAT WAS THE CONSENSUS AND THAT’S THE RECOMMENDATION.
THERE SHOULD BE A HIGHER THRESHOLD FOR PURPOSES OF
AMENDING A CONSTITUTION. AND AGAIN, THAT’S THE
LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. THERE’S A SEPARATE QUESTION WITH
RESPECT TO WHETHER OR NOT AND, IF SO, HOW THE INITIATIVE
PROCESS COULD BE USED TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION.
AND THAT IS AN ISSUE THAT I BELIEVE WE’RE GOING TO HAVE SOME
DISCUSSION HERE FROM THE COMMISSIONERS.
>>LET ME BE CLEAR. THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS IS ONLY
A PROCESS FOR PROPOSING AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION. AND EVEN WHEN THE LEGISLATURE
ACTS TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION, THAT STILL REQUIRES UNDER THIS
SECTION A PUBLIC VOTE OF ALL VOTERS TO RATIFY IT.>>THAT’S CORRECT.>>OKAY.>>MAYOR: BUT IT’S A SIMPLE
MAJORITY VOTE AT THE LEGISLATURE?>>WELL, THE INITIAL DRAFT WENT
OUT SUGGESTING THAT. AND WE ARE PROPOSING HERE — AND
IT SHOULD BE REFLECTED IN YOUR RED-LINE THAT IS NOW A 2/3 VOTE.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. COMMENTS?
>>I WOULD NOTE THAT THE INITIAL DRAFT REFLECTED THE CURRENT LAW
WITH REGARD TO THE HOME RULE ACT.
THAT CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE HOME RULE ACT CAN BE AMENDED BY
ACT OF THE COUNCIL RATIFIED BY A MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS.
AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT — I MEAN THAT’S WHAT WAS IN THE
INITIAL DRAFT HERE. SO WHAT’S BEFORE US NOW IS
ACTUALLY A LITTLE BIT MORE DIFFICULT BECAUSE IT SAYS 2/3 OF
THE VOTERS.>>MAYOR: 2/3 OF THE VOTERS OR
2/3 OF THE LEGISLATURE?>>2/3 OF THE LEGISLATURE.
>>THAT IS CORRECT. IT WAS IN FACT THE CONSENSUS OF
THE LEGAL GROUP THAT THERE SHOULD BE A HIGHER BAR FOR
AMENDING A CONSTITUTION. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT
CHANGING LEGISLATION. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A DOCUMENT
THAT SHOULD, WHILE IT SHOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR AMENDMENT AS THE
FEDERAL AND OTHER STATE CONSTITUTIONS ARE, IT SHOULD NOT
BE AMENDED AS LEGISLATION WOULD BE.
IT SHOULD BE A SENSE OF PERMANENCE TO A CONSTITUTION.
THAT IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT DISTINGUISHES IT FROM MERE
LEGISLATION. AND YET IT IS NOT A FIXED
DOCUMENT. IT HAS TO BE SUBJECT.
THERE WAS DISCUSSION AND WE HAD A FAIR AMOUNT HOW YOU SIMPLY
STRIKE THAT BALANCE. AND THAT’S THE PROPOSAL YOU SEE
REFLECTED.>>MAYOR: WHERE ARE YOU AT THE
2/3?>>I’M FINE WITH THE 2/3.>>MAYOR: SENATOR.>>I THINK IT’S NOT QUITE
ACCURATE TO SAY THAT THE SIMPLE MAJORITY OF THE LEGISLATURE
PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT MAKES AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
BY LEGISLATION. THE BIG STEP FOLLOWING THAT IS
RATIFICATION BY A MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS.
AND ONE OF THE COMMENTS THAT I HAVE MADE TO FOLKS WHO INITIALLY
WERE PERHAPS SKEPTICAL OF THE RAPID AMOUNT OF TIME THAT WE
HAVE TO TRY AND DRAFT THIS AND GET COMMENTS, THIS IS A DOCUMENT
THAT IS A STARTING POINT THAT THE VOTERS WILL HAVE THE CHANCE
TO AMEND AS THEY SEE FIT. THAT THE DELEGATES WILL HAVE A
CHANCE TO AMEND AS THEY SEE FIT. AND SO I DON’T KNOW THAT I’M —
I’M NOT SURE I’M IN SUPPORT OF THE RAISING THE BAR AWAY FROM
WHAT WE HAVE NOW IN THE HOME RULE ACT FROM A SIMPLE MAJORITY
TO A MAJORITY OF VOTERS, TO 2/3 OF THE LEGISLATURE.
I THINK THAT MY INSTINCT IS TO KEEP IT AS A MAJORITY, KNOWING
THAT THAT REALLY IS JUST A VEHICLE FOR LETTING VOTERS MAKE
THE ULTIMATE DECISION. AND I THINK IT’S TELLING THAT
GIVEN OUR HOME RULE CHARTER, WHERE ONLY A MAJORITY OF THE
COUNCIL HAD THE CAPACITY TO AMEND OUR CHARTER, IT HAS BEEN
USED FAIRLY INFREQUENTLY IN OUR TIME.
SO I DON’T KNOW THAT I LIKE THIS VERSION OF THE DRAFT BETTER.
AND I’M CONCERNED ABOUT GOING BACK ON STATEMENTS I HAVE MADE
IN PUBLIC MEETINGS THAT WE HADN’T SET TOO HIGH A BAR ON
AMENDING THIS CONSTITUTION. SO I’M NOT SURE IF THERE WILL BE
MORE DISCUSSION, BUT I CAN SEE THE ARGUMENTS FOR BOTH SIDES.
>>MAYOR: THE 2/3 OF THE LEGISLATURE APPROVING?
>>MY INSTINCT — AND I’M NOT SAYING I CAN’T BE PERSUADED.
I SEE THE BENEFITS. AND I CERTAINLY DON’T WANT US TO
BECOME LIKE SOME STATES WHERE LITERALLY YOU ARE VOTING ON AN
AMENDMENT AND AMENDMENT EVERY YEAR.
BUT THAT HASN’T BEEN THE PRACTICE HERE.
AND I THINK, OBVIOUSLY, IF WE FOUND THAT THE HOUSE OF
DELEGATES WAS JUST GOING CRAZY AND PROPOSING AMENDMENT AFTER
AMENDMENT, WELL, THEN THAT’S EASY TO AMEND.
BUT IF WE FOUND THAT THEY WERE PERHAPS TOO STINGY OR
NOTWITHSTANDING THE COLLECTIVE WISDOM OF ALL OF US UP HERE, WE
GOT SOMETHING WRONG, I’D BE CONCERNED ABOUT SETTING THAT BAR
HIGHER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE. AND IT’S INTERESTING THAT WE’RE
SETTING IT HIGHER THAN IT IS NOW, DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT
HASN’T BEEN TOO COMMONLY — WE HAVEN’T HAD A LOT OF CHARTER
AMENDMENTS.>>MAYOR: SO WHAT I WOULD SAY TO
THAT — AND I DON’T HAVE ANY ISSUE WITH
THE DRAFT THAT’S BEFORE US. THE AMENDMENT PROCESS SHOULD BE
PREDICTABLE. THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT SHOULD BE
EASY. IT SHOULD BE WHEN WE CHANGE THIS
DOCUMENT, IT SHOULD BE THOROUGHLY VETTED.
AND SO I THINK HAVING BEEN ON THE LEGISLATURE WHERE SOME OF
THESE THINGS GO THROUGH, I’D SAY IN HINDSIGHT IT SHOULD REQUIRE A
SUPER MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS TO MOVE IT FORWARD AND, OF COURSE,
THE RATIFICATION OF THE VOTERS. SO I’M GOING TO SPEAK IN SUPPORT
OF THE DRAFT AS IT STANDS. ARE THERE ANY MOTIONS TO CHANGE
IT? HEARING NONE, THIS SECTION WILL BE UNAMENDED.>>MAYOR.>>MAYOR: YES.>>CAN I OFFER ONE THING?>>MAYOR: OF COURSE.>>I’M SORRY.
I DON’T KNOW THAT THIS IS THE APPROPRIATE PLACE TO PUT IT.
BUT THE 1982 CONSTITUTION HAD UNDER THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH —
I DON’T KNOW WHY. A CODE OF ETHICS.
AND I BELIEVE WE SHOULD ADD A CODE OF ETHICS TO THE
CONSTITUTION. AND IT MAY BE REDUNDANT BECAUSE
I THINK THAT MANY OF THE THINGS THAT THE ’82 CONSTITUTION
ATTEMPTED TO ADDRESS HAVE ALREADY BEEN ADDRESSED
LEGISLATIVELY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
BUT I THINK GIVEN THE HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT, THAT WE SHOULD
HAVE A SIMPLE CODE OF ETHICS SIMILAR TO THE ONE THAT WAS IN
THE ’82 CONSTITUTION. AND IF YOU WILL INDULGE ME, I’LL
READ IT QUICKLY. THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES WILL
ENACT CONFLICT OF INTEREST LEGISLATION WHICH SHALL APPLY TO
ALL ELECTED AND APPOINTED STATE AND LOCAL CANDIDATES FOR AND THE
OFFICIALS IN THE LEGISLATIVE AND JUDICIAL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT
AND THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST LEGISLATION SHALL INCLUDE BUT
NOT LIMITED TO REQUIREMENTS FOR MANDATORY ANNUAL DISCLOSURE BY
PUBLIC OFFICIALS OF ECONOMIC INTEREST AND SOURCES OF INCOME.
A DELEGATE WHO HAS A PERSONAL OR PRIVATE INTEREST AS DEFINED BY
LAW AND ANY PROPOSED PENDING BILL SHALL DISCLOSE THIS FACT TO
THE PRESIDING OFFERING AND SHALL NOT BE ABLE TO VOTE ON THAT
BILL. I THINK WE JUST — I THINK WE
HAVE TO AMEND. AND I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE THAT AS
A MOTION.>>MAYOR: OKAY. THERE’S A MOTION ON THE FLOOR TO
ADD A SECTION TO THE BILL OF A CODE OF ETHICS.
>>IF I MAY TO SENATOR BROWN, WHAT DOES THIS ACCOMPLISH SINCE THIS IS LONG STANDING?
>>WHAT IT ACCOMPLISHES IS CODIFIES A SENTIMENT IN THE
DISTRICT THAT WE WON’T TOLERATE CORRUPTION.
THAT WE WON’T TOLERATE THAT WE WANT TO MAKE A BASIC PRINCIPLE
OF OUR GOVERNMENT THAT WE SHOULD HAVE OPEN, TRANSPARENT
GOVERNMENT AND THAT WE HOLD ALL OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO A HIGH
STANDARD.>>MAYOR: RON, YOU WANT TO TALK
ABOUT THE OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY SECTION A BIT MORE?
LET ME PULL IT UP IN ARTICLE 7. WE DO OUTLINE IN THAT ARTICLE, SENATOR — LET ME SEE IF I CAN
FIND THE LANGUAGE IN ARTICLE 7 ABOUT OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY.
SECTION 1 READS THE GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE OF NEW COLUMBIA
SHALL OPERATE ON PRINCIPLES OF OPENNESS, TRANSPARENCY AND
DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION. SPECIFIC OBLIGATIONS REGARDING
PARTICIPATION AND TRANSPARENCY MAY BE ESTABLISHED BY ACT OF THE
HOUSE OF DELEGATES AND ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS OF THE
GOVERNOR.>>WITH RESPECT TO THIS QUESTION
OF WHETHER OR NOT IF WE SHOULD BE EMBODYING AN ETHICS
REQUIREMENT IN THE CONSTITUTION, AGAIN I WOULD TURN TO THE
COMMENTS OF THE CHAIRMAN HERE, THE CO-CHAIRPERSON.
THIS IS REALLY A — IT IS EMBODIED IN CURRENT STATUTORY
LAW. IT IS — THESE ARE IMPORTANT PROVISIONS, BUT THEY TYPICALLY
ARE FOUND IN STATUTORY LAW. I’M NOT AWARE OF A SINGLE STATE
CONSTITUTION THAT INCORPORATES AN ETHICS CODE.
BUT I CAN’T SAY I CAME PREPARED TO SPEAK TO THAT.
>>MAYOR: BUT LET ME JUST JUMP IN BECAUSE FROM WHAT I HEARD YOU
WANT TO HIGHLIGHT WAS THE PRINCIPLES OF OPENNESS AND
TRANSPARENCY AND DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION WHICH CERTAINLY
SPEAK TO YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT ELECTED OFFICIALS BEING
TRANSPARENT.>>YES.>>MAYOR: OKAY.>>YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE GOOD
THINGS ABOUT BEING SHADOW SENATOR, IT WAS HARD TO HAVE A
VOTING RECORD THAT PEOPLE CAN ATTACK YOU ON IN THIS JOB.
ALREADY TONIGHT I HAVE HAD TO VOTE AGAINST EDUCATION AND A
WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER ISSUES THAT I SUPPORT. [LAUGHTER] AND NOW I MIGHT HAVE TO VOTE
AGAINST ETHICS.>>YOU’RE NO LONGER ON THE BP
SHORT LIST.>>BUT I THINK WHAT WE ARE
REALLY DOING HERE IS STANDING UP FOR A PRINCIPLE THAT WE ARE
FORMING A NEW STATE WITH THE CAPACITY TO GOVERN ITSELF.
AND INVESTING IN A HOUSE OF DELEGATES OF PUBLIC TRUST TO
PASS LAWS FOR OUR NEW STATES, WHETHER IT’S ETHICS LAWS,
WHETHER IT’S LAWS TO ENGENDER THE POLICIES OF EDUCATION THAT
WE WANT FOR OUR CHILDREN AND OUR COMMUNITY.
AND I THINK ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE ARE HERE IS THAT THERE
WERE A FEW THINGS — AS MUCH AS I CREDIT THE ASPIRATIONS OF OUR
DELEGATES AND WHAT WILL REALLY BE THE FOUNDING PARENTS, I
GUESS, OF OUR NEW STATE — I THINK IN ’82 THEY GOT A FEW
THINGS WRONG WHICH IS WHY USING THE POWER THAT THE ’82
CONSTITUTION GRANTED THE COUNCIL, IT HAD TO BE AMENDED IN
1987. AND REGRETTABLY, SO MUCH TIME
HAS DONE BY THAT EVEN THE ’87 CONSTITUTION NO LONGER MEETS OUR
CURRENT NEEDS. THAT’S WHY WE ARE HERE NOW.
SO I’M CERTAINLY IN FAVOR OF STRONG ETHICS LAWS.
AND I THINK THE DISTRICT HAS THEM.
I’M CERTAINLY IN FAVOR OF QUALITY EDUCATION AND ALL OF THE
OTHER ASPIRATIONAL GOALS. BUT I THINK THAT IF WE DO OUR
JOB RIGHT TONIGHT, WE’RE GOING TO EMPOWER A HOUSE OF DELEGATES
THAT’S CAPABLE OF PASSING PROPER LAWS FOR THE PEOPLE OF OUR NEW
STATE. ETHICS LAWS BEING AMONG THEM.
AND I THINK THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE KIND OF POLICIES
THAT WE WOULD WANT THAT HOUSE OF DELEGATES TO PASS AND THE TYPE
OF TOOLS THAT WE WANT TO PUT IN REALLY THE SKELETON OF OUR
GOVERNMENT WHICH IS OUR CONSTITUTION.
BUT I THINK WE’RE GOING TO EMPOWER A LEGISLATURE TO PUT
SOME MUSCLE BEHIND THAT ON THOSE SKELETAL BONES TO DO THE JOB
THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE ELECTED TO DO.
>>SENATOR, I THINK THAT’S CORRECT.
THE LEGISLATURE WOULD CLEARLY BE EMPOWERED TO DO SO.
BUT I MIGHT REMIND YOU UNDER THE TERMS OF THIS DOCUMENT ITSELF,
WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW STATE, THAT NEW STATE WILL START OUT WITH
THE VERY STRONG ETHICS LAWS THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN PLACE.
BUT TO YOUR POINT, THAT NEW LEGISLATURE WOULD HAVE EVERY
OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THOSE EVEN STRONGER, ACCORDING TO THIS
DOCUMENT.>>MAYOR: OKAY.
AND FINALLY, IN THIS SECTION, I THINK WE ARE STILL IN THE SAME
SECTION OF THE AMENDMENT PROCESS.
TELL ME WHERE WE ARE WITH THE CITIZEN INITIATIVE TO CHANGE THE
CONSTITUTION AND/OR THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO
CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION.>>OKAY.
THE RECOMMENDATION FROM THE GROUP WAS THAT THE QUESTION OF
THE ABILITY OF CITIZENS ACTING THROUGH INITIATIVES TO AMEND
THIS CONSTITUTION WAS ONE THAT WE HEARD.
IT WAS PUT LOUDLY AND IT WAS PUT TO EVERYONE OFTEN. AND THERE ARE FUNDAMENTAL
CONSIDERATIONS ON BOTH SIDES OF THIS ISSUE.
SOME WHO WERE INCLINED TO PROMOTE OF THE MOST VIGOROUS,
DIRECT FORM OF DEMOCRACY, EMBRACED THE NOTION OF THE
CITIZENS BEING ABLE TO ASSEMBLE AND TO ASSEMBLE A REQUISITE VOTE
AND TO ACT WITHOUT GOING THROUGH A COUNCIL AS A FILTER, BUT TO
ENACT LAW AND IN THIS CASE TO FUNDAMENTALLY ALTER THE
CONSTITUTION. OTHERS, WHILE RESPECTFUL OF THAT
DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLE AND PHILOSOPHY HAD GRAVE CONCERNS
ABOUT SUBJECTING THE CONSTITUTION ITSELF TO THAT
LEVEL OF DIRECT PARTICIPATION. THERE IS A CONCERN PERHAPS
FURTHERED BY THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE THAT YOU ARE
ALWAYS SUBJECT TO A FERVOR THAT CAN PRODUCE TREMENDOUS MOMENTUM,
THAT CAN ENACT LAWS WITHOUT THE FILTER THAT YOU DO GET THROUGH
THE COUNCIL’S PARTICIPATION, THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE’S
PARTICIPATION, I’M SORRY. AND THERE’S REAL CONCERN ABOUT
EXPOSING YOUR CONSTITUTION TO THAT INFLUENCE.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. WHY DON’T YOU SAY SOMETHING
ABOUT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION?>>THE QUESTION OF HAVING A
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, I GUESS WHAT I WOULD SUGGEST IS
THIS AND IT SPEAKS TO AN EARLIER POINT, I BELIEVE.
I HAVE FORGOTTEN WHETHER IT WAS SENATOR STRAUSS OR SENATOR
BROWN. BUT WE HAVE MOVED FORWARD VERY,
VERY RAPIDLY TO TRY TO PUT THIS CONSTITUTION BEFORE THE CITIZENS
OF THE DISTRICT. THIS HAS BEEN A VERY ACCELERATED
PROCESS. BUT I WILL SAY WE HAVE WORKED —
AND BY WE, I MEAN THE COMMITTEE THAT HAS TRIED TO PROVIDE LEGAL
COUNSEL ON THIS, I ALSO MEAN THE COMMISSIONERS HERE AS WELL AS
THE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THIS
PROCESS, I BELIEVE WE HAVE ALL WORKED TERRIBLY HARD.
I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS OUR VIEW THAT WE HAVE A DOCUMENT THAT IS
A FLAWED DOCUMENT. WE FEEL THAT WE HAVE WRESTLED
WITH SERIOUS ISSUES. WE HAVEN’T FULLY RESOLVED THEM.
WE ARE HERE ATTEMPTING TO RESOLVE ADDITIONAL ISSUES.
BUT THE CONSENSUS CERTAINLY OF OUR GROUP WAS WE DO NOT BELIEVE
IT IS NECESSARY TO ASK THE CITIZENS OF THE DISTRICT TO PASS
ON WHAT WE WOULD VIEW AS AN IMPERFECT DOCUMENT TODAY AND
HOLD OUT THE PROMISE THAT WE WILL VERY RAPIDLY PRODUCE A NEW
CONSTITUTION. WE DO BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD
ADOPT A CONSTITUTION THAT IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
A CONSTITUTION MUST BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
BUT WE DON’T FEEL THAT WE ARE BASICALLY JUST OFFERING A MARKER
THAT SHOULD BE REWRITTEN IN THE NEAR OR THE DISTANT FUTURE.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. THAT’S GOOD.
COMMENTS? PHIL?
>>I THINK WE SHOULD LEAVE THE DRAFT AS IT IS BEFORE US.
SO LET ME JUST SPEAK ON A COUPLE OF PROPOSALS.
ONE IS THAT WE SHOULD ALLOW THE CONSTITUTION TO BE AMENDED BY
CITIZEN INITIATIVE. THE REALITY IS THAT WE ARE A
SMALL ENOUGH JURISDICTION GEOGRAPHICALLY THAT IT’S NOT
HARD TO REACH THE LEGISLATORS. AND IF THERE IS A SENTIMENT THAT
THERE NEED TO BE CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION, IT WON’T BE HARD
TO MAKE THAT POINT, TO MAKE THAT CASE TO THE LEGISLATURE.
AND IF IT’S AN OVERWHELMING SUPPORT OR EVEN WE’LL JUST SAY A
BROAD SUPPORT FOR CHANGE TO THE CONSTITUTION, WE’RE JUST OF SUCH
A NATURE GIVEN OUR SIZE THAT — OR RATHER GEOGRAPHICALLY OUR
SIZE, THAT POINT AND CASE CAN BE EASILY MADE TO THE LEGISLATURE.
SO I DON’T THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE THE ABILITY TO AMEND
THROUGH THE INITIATIVE PROCESS. I WOULD ALSO NOTE THAT THE
INITIATIVE PROCESS — AND THIS MAY BE JUST MY OWN PERSONAL
OPINION. BUT THE INITIATIVE PROCESS TODAY
IN 2016 IS NOT THE SAME AS WHAT IT WAS IN THE LATE 1970s WHEN
IT WAS PUT INTO OUR HOME RULE ACT.
AND HOW IT’S CHANGED IS THROUGH CASE LAW.
I BELIEVE IT’S SUPREME COURT DECISIONS, FOLKS WHO ARE
PRESSING ISSUES ON A NATIONAL LEVEL AND AREN’T RESIDENTS OF
THE DISTRICT CAN BE THE NOT JUST FINANCIAL SOURCE, BUT ALSO THE
HUMAN SOURCE, RESOURCE, BEHIND GETTING MEASURES ON THE BALLOT
FOR INITIATIVES. AND SO IT WOULDN’T EVEN
NECESSARILY BE THE VOTERS WHO ARE ARGUING FOR THE CHANGE.
AND WE HAVE SEEN THIS TO A NUMBER OF INITIATIVES IN RECENT
YEARS. SO I THINK THAT WHAT’S PROPOSED
BEFORE US IN THE DRAFT IS ACTUALLY A RELATIVELY EASY
PROCESS TO IMPROVE THE CONSTITUTION IN WAYS THAT WE WILL SEE NEED TO BE MADE.
WITH REGARD TO THE IDEA OF REQUIRING A CONVENTION IN, LET’S
SAY, FIVE YEARS, I THINK THAT’S DESTABILIZING TO THE DOCUMENT
THAT WE HAVE. THE DOCUMENT THAT WE HAVE HAS
GONE THROUGH A LOT ALREADY. A LOT OF ANALYSIS BY PEOPLE WHO
REALLY UNDERSTAND THIS AND THEN A LOT OF PUBLIC DISCUSSION.
THERE’S THE DISCUSSION TONIGHT. AND THEN IT WILL BE PRESENTED TO
THE COUNCIL WHERE THERE WILL BE HEARINGS.
AND THERE SHOULD BE SOME SENSE OF PERMANENCE TO THE
CONSTITUTION WHICH IS TO SAY THAT WE SHOULDN’T ADVERTISE THAT
THIS IS A DOCUMENT THAT’S GOOD FOR FIVE YEARS AND THEN WE WILL
THROW IT UP IN THE AIR AND SEE WHAT NEW WE WANT TO COME UP
WITH. SO I DON’T THINK THAT’S — I
DON’T THINK THAT’S THE BEST APPROACH.
I THINK THAT WHAT WE HAVE BEFORE US IS WORKABLE AND WE SHOULD
STICK WITH IT.>>WELL, I WOULD JUST LIKE TO
SAY THAT IF WE HAVE HEARD THE MOST COMMENTS ON ANYTHING, IT’S
BEEN THIS PROCESS. I DON’T THINK IT’S ABOUT HAVING
A PERFECT OR IMPERFECT DOCUMENT OR EVEN A DOCUMENT THAT NEEDS TO
BE ADJUSTED. I THINK IT’S ABOUT THE PROCESS
ITSELF. AND IT DOESN’T MATTER IF ALL THE
LAWYERS IN THE WILSON BUILDING THINK THIS IS A GREAT DOCUMENT.
IT MAY IN FACT BE. WHAT MATTERS IS WHAT THE VOTERS
THINK. AND THE VOTERS HAVE SAID — [APPLAUSE] TIME AND TIME AGAIN THEY WANT A
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. AND WHETHER THIS PROCESS IS FAIR
OR NOT MAY BE OPEN TO DEBATE. BUT WE HAVE TO ADMIT THAT THIS
IS AN UNUSUAL PROCESS TO HAVE THE FIVE OF US SIT UP HERE AND
DECIDE WHAT’S GOING TO BE IN OUR CONSTITUTION.
SO I THINK THAT THE CONSTITUTION HAS TO HAVE A PROVISION IN IT
THAT SAYS WITHIN FIVE YEARS WE HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
WITH ELECTED DELEGATES AND WE GO THROUGH THE REGULAR PROCESS OF
LOOKING AT THIS CONSTITUTION THAT WE HAVE PASSED AND AMENDING
IT, IF NECESSARY. [APPLAUSE]>>MAYOR: THANK YOU.
I WANT TO PROPOSE ANOTHER APPROACH.
I DO FEEL STRONGLY THAT — I AM PERSUADED BY THE CHAIRMAN’S
COMMENTS AND WHAT WE HAVE HEARD FROM OUR COMMITTEE THAT WE ARE
GOING TO ADVANCE. BELIEVE ME, I WOULDN’T BE VOTING
FOR IT IF I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS A STRUCTURE THAT WOULD SET UP
OUR NEW STATE, PERIOD. AND I ALSO WANT TO LEAVE OPEN
THE POSSIBILITY THAT DURING OUR TRANSITION INTO STATEHOOD, THAT
THERE SHOULD BE A CHECK-IN TO SEE IF THERE ARE SOME THINGS
THAT WE SHOULD CHANGE, THAT WE SHOULD LOOK TO CHANGE.
AND SO WHAT I WANT TO PROPOSE IS LANGUAGE — AND WE’LL WORK OUT
THE DETAILS OF THE LANGUAGE IF THE COMMISSIONERS SUPPORT IT.
AND THAT IS — AND I THINK THAT WE COULD WIN UNANIMITY HERE
WHICH I THINK IS ALSO IMPORTANT. IS THAT THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES
MAY CONVENE A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION AT THE 5th
ANNIVERSARY OF STATEHOOD. THE PRESSURE OF THAT TRIGGER
POINT AND DATE I THINK WOULD HAVE EVERY MEMBER OF THE HOUSE
OF DELEGATES HAVE THE BURDEN OF SAYING WHY THEY SHOULD NOT
CONVENE THAT CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION AT THE 5th
ANNIVERSARY. SO I WANT TO PUT THAT MOTION ON
THE TABLE. IS THERE DISCUSSION?
DISCUSSION? DISCUSSION?
ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. ANY OPPOSED?
THE AYES HAVE IT. DO WE HAVE ANY ELSE FOR YOU,
MR. ROSS? ANY UNDECIDED? IS THAT IT?
YEAH.>>ONE OF THE CONCERNS — LET’S
SAY WE HAD AN INITIATIVE-SPONSORED AMENDMENT
PROCESS. WE TALKED ABOUT THE OTHER
INITIATIVE PROCESS IN WHICH PROTECTIONS EXIST TO KEEP AN
ELECTORAL MAJORITY FROM USING THE INITIATIVE PROCESS TO TAKE
AWAY THE RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY. IF WE WERE TO HAVE A
CITIZEN-SPONSORED INITIATIVE PROCESS, HOW DO WE KNOW THAT
SAME MAJORITY COULDN’T THEN USE THAT SAME PROCESS TO CHANGE THE
CONSTITUTION AND TAKE AWAY THE PROTECTION THAT WE JUST PUT IN
FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY? WOULDN’T THEN THE SAME THING
THAT YOU CAN’T DO BY INITIATIVE NOW, YOU COULD THEN DO BY
AMENDMENT? AND THEN WE WOULD LOSE THE
PROTECTION WE PUT IN OF WHAT WE NOW CALL OUR HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
BUT WOULD PRESUMABLY BE PART OF A NEW STATE PROTECTION.
>>I GUESS I DON’T QUITE UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION BECAUSE
WE ARE PROVIDING THAT INITIATIVE PROCESS, REALLY REFERENDUM —
>>THE CURRENT INITIATIVE PROCESS AND THE ONE WE ARE
PROVIDING IN THIS DOCUMENT WOULD PROTECT THE EXAMPLE MOST CITED
IS THAT WHEN OUR MARRIAGE EQUALITY STATUTE WAS THREATENED
BY AN INITIATIVE SPONSORED LARGELY BY — I’M GOING TO USE
THE TERM OUT-OF-STATE ELEMENTS, THAT WASN’T A PROPER SUBJECT
BECAUSE WE HAD LAWS AND A STRUCTURE IN PLACE TO DO THAT.
IF WE HAD AN INITIATIVE PROCESS THAT COULD THEN CHANGE THE
CONSTITUTION WITHOUT INTERVENTION BY THE LEGISLATIVE
BODY, WOULDN’T THAT RENDER THAT PROTECTION MEANINGLESS?
COULDN’T THAT SAME OUT-OF-STATE LEVEL THEN SPONSOR AN INITIATIVE
THAT MAY REPEAL THAT CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION AND
THEN IT GOES AWAY FOREVER?>>WELL, THE REALITY IS THAT
OBVIOUSLY — NOT SO OBVIOUSLY, BY INITIATIVE OR THROUGH THE
COUNCIL, THERE ARE MEANS OF AMENDING THIS CONSTITUTION.
AND SO THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS THAT WE ARE TRYING
TO EMBODY THAT WOULD IN THIS CASE PREVENT AN INITIATIVE FROM
BEING A VEHICLE FOR REPEALING ANTIDISCRIMINATION LEGISLATION,
THAT PROTECTION COULD ITSELF BE OVERTURNED BY AN AMENDMENT TO
THE CONSTITUTION, IN WHICH CASE YOU WOULDN’T HAVE THAT
PROTECTION. WE’RE ALWAYS IN THAT SCENARIO.
THE QUESTION IS, WILL YOU BE ABLE TO MOUNT SUFFICIENT SUPPORT
FOR THAT? AGAIN, IF YOU ARE NOT
AMENDING — I’D HAVE TO SEE. IF YOU CAN’T AMEND THE
CONSTITUTION ITSELF THROUGH THE INITIATIVE PROCESS, YOU KNOW,
AGAIN THIS IS REALLY ONE FOR THE COMMISSIONERS TO DEBATE.
BUT TO MY MIND, YOU STAND FAR LESS LIKELIHOOD THAT YOU WOULD
SEE THAT KIND OF MOMENTUM PERHAPS FUNDED BY OUT-OF-STATE
MONEY IN SUPPORT OF THAT KIND OF EFFORT.>>MAYOR: OKAY. SO I THINK WE HAVE AMENDED TO
INCLUDE THE SECTION THAT I READ EARLIER.
AND LET ME ALSO BE CLEAR THAT ANY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION,
I’M ASSUMING WE’RE SAYING ANY CHANGES THAT COME FROM THAT
CONVENTION SHOULD ALSO BE RATIFIED BY THE VOTERS.
IS THAT OUR INTENTION?>>ABSOLUTELY.>>YES.>>MAYOR: I’LL HAVE THE STAFF
DRAFT THAT LANGUAGE AND LEAVE THEM WHEN WE VOTE ON IT THE
ABILITY TO INCLUDE THAT LANGUAGE.
OKAY. SO LET’S MOVE ON.
THANK YOU, MR. ROSS. TO THE TRANSFER OF ARTICLE 8,
THE TRANSFER OF OFFICES. AND PROFESSOR ADERSON FRANCOIS
FROM GEORGETOWN IS AVAILABLE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.
SO THE COMMISSION RECEIVED ABOUT FIVE COMMENTS RELATED TO THE
TRANSFER OF OFFICE. ONE COMMENT RELATED TO PENDING
ACTIONS AND PROCEDURES. ONE COMMENT RELATED TO LAWS IN
FORCE AND PRIOR POWERS. AND ONE COMMENT RELATED TO
VOTING RIGHTS. LET ME TURN TO THAT SECTION.
PROFESSOR FRANCOIS, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD BEFORE
WE BEGIN? COMMENTS? COMMENTS? COMMENTS? QUESTIONS?>>AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME,
THERE WAS AN AMENDMENT THAT WE HAD DISCUSSED.
I GUESS NOW WOULD BE THE APPROPRIATE TIME THEN.
AS I WAS COMPARING THE 1982 DOCUMENT TO THE 1987 DOCUMENT, I
HAD NOTICED THAT THE POSITIONS THAT I AND SOME OF MY FELLOW
COMMISSIONERS HOLD WERE MENTIONED AND CODIFIED IN THE
1982 CONSTITUTION. AND I NOTICED THAT THEY WERE
REMOVED FROM THE 1987 VERSION. I AM GOING TO PRESUME, NOT KNOWING THE FULL LEGISLATIVE
HISTORY, THAT ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THE ’87 COUNCIL REMOVED THE
PROVISIONS GOVERNING OUR OFFICES FROM THE ’82 CONSTITUTION THAT
THEY ADOPTED. BECAUSE IN 1987 THEY DID NOT
TECHNICALLY EXIST. BUT WE HAVE BEEN DEBATING THIS
DOCUMENT BECAUSE IT IS IN ESSENCE THE EMBODIMENT OF WHAT
HAS BEEN KNOWN AS THE TENNESSEE PLAN.
AND THE TENNESSEE PLAN, AS WE HAVE ALL HEARD AND SOME OF US
WERE FANS OF EVEN BEFORE WE RECOMMITTED OURSELVES TO THE
PROCESS, WAS STATES DECLARE THEMSELVES TO BE STATES.
THEY PASS THEIR CONSTITUTION. THEY ESTABLISH THEIR BOUNDARIES.
AND BEGINNING IN 1796 AND CONTINUING TO 1956 WHEN THE
TERRITORY OF ALASKA, THE LAST TERRITORY TO USE IT, YOU
PRE-ELECT YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES.
WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY WHY THE VOTERS CREATED THE POSITIONS
THAT I AND MY TWO COLLEAGUES HERE ARE PRIVILEGED TO HOLD.
AND SO I MOVE THIS AMENDMENT, ONE, AT THE RISK OF LOOKING A
LITTLE SELF-SERVING BECAUSE WE’RE INCUMBENTS IN THIS SPOT.
BUT I GUESS IF WE COULD HAVE THE INCUMBENT COUNSEL TALK ABOUT THE
HOUSE OF DELEGATES AND THE INCUMBENT EXECUTIVE TALK ABOUT
THE MAYOR, SOMEBODY OUGHT TO SPEAK UP FOR US.
IT MIGHT AS WELL BE US. AND THAT IS TO SAY THAT THE
SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES ELECT CHOSEN BY THE PEOPLE PRIOR
TO THE STATE OF UNION SHALL SERVE IN CONGRESS UNTIL THEIR
SUCCESSORS HAVE ASSUMED OFFICE. AND IN THE TRADITIONS OF
TENNESSEE, MICHIGAN, CALIFORNIA AND MANY OTHER STATES USING THIS
PLAN, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.
TO PUT THIS IN PERSPECTIVE, THE ’82 CONSTITUTION ACTUALLY SAID
THAT OUR PREDECESSORS AT THE TIME WOULD SERVE UNTIL THE NEXT
GENERAL ELECTION WOULD BE HELD AND THAT EVEN SET A TIME LIMIT
THAT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION WOULDN’T BE HELD UNTIL AFTER THE
EVEN YEAR ELECTION. SO IT ACTUALLY GAVE THOSE
INCUMBENTS A PRETTY LONG TERM. I DON’T THINK WE SHOULD DO THAT.
BUT I DO THINK THAT AS I RE-READ THE ALEXANDER AND THE DAILY CASE
THAT WE HAD, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HURT US IN OUR COURT CASE
AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL WAS THAT THERE WAS A QUESTION OF STANDING
AS WE CHALLENGED OUR REPRESENTATION BEFORE THE
SENATE. AND ONE OF THE WAYS THAT THE
TENNESSEE PLAN WAS SUCCESSFULLY USED BY FIVE OF THE SIX STATES
WHO USED IT WAS IN THE ISSUE OF PERHAPS RAISING CREDENTIALS
CHALLENGES OR OTHER JURISDICTIONS.
SO SINCE WE HAVE EVERY OTHER OFFICE TRANSITIONING AND SINCE
THE ’82 CONSTITUTION AT LEAST MENTIONED THE OFFICES WE NOW
HOLD, I WOULD PROPOSE WE REINSERT JUST THE FIRST
PARAGRAPH OF THE ’82 LANGUAGE AND ALLOW — I ALSO DO THIS
KNOWING FULL WELL THAT ANYTHING THAT’S IN THIS DOCUMENT WOULD BE
SUPERSEDED BY THE ENABLING ACT THAT WOULD ULTIMATELY BE PASSED.
SO IT’S NOT NECESSARILY BINDING ON THE CONGRESS.
BUT I WOULD PROPOSE THAT WE AT LEAST GIVE THE OPTION OF BEING
READY TO BE A STATE AND REINSERT THAT SECTION FROM THE ’82
CONSTITUTION INTO THE PRESENT VERSION.
SO I WOULD MOVE THAT AMENDMENT AND SEE IF THERE ARE ANY
SECONDS.>>I SECOND.>>I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY.
IT AMONG OTHER THINGS EMPOWERS US A LITTLE BIT.
AND WE SURE CAN USE THAT IN THIS JOB.
SO I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY.>>MAYOR: MR. CHAIRMAN.>>WELL, THE DIFFICULTY HERE IS THAT WE HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE,
MR. GARCIA, AND WE ALSO HAVE A CONGRESSWOMAN ELEANOR HOLMES
NORTON. AND SO HOW DO WE RECONCILE THAT
UNLESS THE MAKER OF THE MOTION IS PROPOSING THAT MR. GARCIA
WOULD REPLACE MRS. NORTON? THAT’S ONE DIFFICULTY.
YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE ENABLING ACT WOULD BE THE PLACE
THAT ACTUALLY DEALS WITH THIS. AND SO I’M NOT SURE WHY WE WOULD
WANT TO GET INTO THIS, AND PARTICULARLY THE COMPLICATION
WITH THE DELEGATE, THE CONGRESSWOMAN WHEN THE ENABLING
ACT IS THE PLACE FOR THIS.>>WELL, THE RESPONSE WOULD BE
THAT I THINK WE WANT TO PUT IT IN FOR THE SAME REASON THAT THE
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION PUT IT IN 1982, WHICH IS TO ESTABLISH
SOME CREDIBILITY AND SOME CONTINUITY FOR THESE OFFICES
THAT WERE CREATED BY THE VOTERS. AND I ALSO THINK WE’RE CHANGING
THAT IN THAT THIS WOULD BE ONLY FOR AN INTERIM PERIOD SO THE
ENABLING ACT WOULD BE ABLE TO SET THAT GENERAL ELECTION IN A
NEAR-TERM OR WHENEVER. SO I DON’T THINK WE ARE DOING IT
FOR A VERY LONG TIME. AND SO I ACKNOWLEDGE —
>>SO IF IT’S A VERY LONG TIME, IT’S OKAY TO DEPOSE MRS. NORTON?
>>WELL, ACTUALLY BY TRADITION, THERE’S BEEN NO INSTANCE WHERE
THE DELEGATE ENDED UP UNDER THE TENNESSEE PLAN — WHAT HAPPENED
IN ALASKA, THE DELEGATE ENDED UP TAKING ONE OF THE SENATE
POSITIONS. SO I DON’T THINK THAT CURRENTLY
THE ENABLING ACT WOULD ALLOW FOR THE PROVISION OF THE DELEGATE TO
AUTOMATICALLY — WE DON’T KNOW. WE WON’T BE WRITING THE ENABLING
ACT. SO WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS THAT
UNTIL WE HAD PERMANENT ELECTIONS FOR TWO SENATORS AND
REPRESENTATIVES, THERE WOULD BE VACANCIES.
>>RIGHT.>>AND THIS IS A PROVISION THAT
RECOGNIZES THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AS
PART OF THEIR ASPIRATIONAL GOAL HAD MADE A PROVISION TO FILL
THOSE VACANCIES PENDING A MORE PERMANENT SOLUTION.
THERE IS NOTHING THAT SAYS THE DELEGATE WOULD —
SO I DON’T THINK THAT WE HAVE — WE COULD PROVIDE FOR CONTINUITY
IN TERMS OF THE U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE DELEGATE.
WE CAN’T DO IT IN THIS DOCUMENT. BUT IF THERE IS A DISTINCTION
BETWEEN A DELEGATE TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND A U.S.
REPRESENTATIVE, IS THAT ONE IS ELECTED WITH THE POTENTIAL
RESPONSIBILITIES TO REPRESENT A STATE IN THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE.
AND THE OTHER IS TO REPRESENT A TERRITORY AS A NON-VOTING MEMBER
IN THE CURRENT CHAMBER. SO NOTHING WOULD STOP THE
DELEGATE OR ANYBODY ELSE FOR RUNNING FOR THE POSITIONS THAT
WE NOW HOLD. BUT I THINK THE LANGUAGE — I
THINK THIS LANGUAGE PRESENTS A COMPROMISE IN THAT WE’RE
PRESERVING THE INTENT OF THE ’82 CONSTITUTION WHICH WAS RATIFIED
BY THE VOTERS AND NOT MAKING IT ANY MORE THAN AN OPPORTUNITY TO
FILL A SHORT-TERM VACANCY SO THAT EVERYTHING WE HAVE BEEN
TALKING ABOUT THROUGH THIS PROCESS, BECOMING A STATE, BEING
READY ON DAY ONE AS SOON AS WE’RE ACTING, WE ARE CONTINUING
IN THAT TRADITION. THIS IS FRANKLY ONE OF THE WAYS
THAT VOTERS PRIOR TO THIS PROCESS AND PRIOR TO VOTING ON
THIS CONSTITUTION HAS REAFFIRMED THEIR COMMITMENT TO STATEHOOD —
IS BY VOTING FOR THESE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES ELECT.
AND I THINK THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE ’82 DOCUMENT MINUS THE OTHER
SECTIONS THAT DELAY PERHAPS HOLDING A FIRST ELECTION OR HOW
THE ENABLING ACT WOULD HAVE IT IS A GOOD COMPROMISE TO PRESERVE
BASICALLY THE FUNCTION THAT I WAS ELECTED TO HOLD AND TO GIVE
THIS CONGRESS, FOR WHOM WE WILL THEN HAVE TO ADVOCATE FOR, THE
CREDIBILITY OF BEING AN ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE ON BEHALF OF OUR
OWN CONSTITUENTS.>>I’M CONFUSED.
AND I REALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU SAID IN RESPONSE TO THE
QUESTION THAT I ASKED. IF WE WERE TO APPROVE THE
AMENDMENT YOU ARE SUGGESTING, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO
CONGRESSWOMAN NORTON?>>THE SAME THING THAT WOULD
HAPPEN TO CONGRESSWOMAN NORTON TO CURRENTLY HOLDS THE POSITION
RIGHT NOW, IN THAT ANYBODY WHO HOLDS A POSITION, THE NON-VOTING
POSITION IN CONGRESS WOULD HAVE TO RUN FOR ONE OF THE NEW SEATS.>>AND IN THE MEANTIME, WHO HAS
THE SEAT?>>THE WAY THE 1982 LANGUAGE
READS –>>THIS IS TOO COMPLICATED.
WOULD MR. GARCIA TAKE THE PLACE OF MRS. NORTON?
>>UNDER THIS LANGUAGE, IF HE’S THE INCUMBENT, YES.
>>HE IS THE INCUMBENT. WE ARE HOPING THAT CONGRESS WILL
TAKE THIS UP NEXT JANUARY.>>RIGHT.>>OKAY. HE WILL BE THE INCUMBENT NEXT JANUARY.
THE EFFECT OF YOUR AMENDMENT IS THAT MRS. NORTON WOULD BE
UNSEATED.>>I THINK THE EFFECT –>>THAT’S A YES OR A NO.>>NO. MY AMENDMENT DOES NOT UNSEAT THE
DELEGATE. THE DELEGATE WOULD NOT BE
AUTOMATICALLY — UNLESS OTHERWISE SUPERCEDED BY THE
ENABLING ACT, THERE’S NO PROVISION IN THIS DOCUMENT THAT
WOULD IN ANY WAY PROVIDE FOR CONTINUITY OF REPRESENTATION OF
THE NEW STATE IN CONGRESS.>>BUT YOUR AMENDMENT DOES
PROVIDE FOR CONTINUITY. AND IT SAYS THAT THE THREE OF
YOU AT THIS TABLE WOULD ASSUME THE OFFICES OF REPRESENTATIVE
AND SENATOR. CORRECT?
>>YES.>>OKAY.
IF MR. GARCIA ASSUMES THE OFFICE OF REPRESENTATIVE, THEN
MRS. NORTON IS UNSEATED, CORRECT?
>>MRS. NORTON IS UNSEATED AS A MATTER OF COURSE AS A NON-VOTING
DELEGATE BY THE ADMISSION OF THE NEW STATE.>>RIGHT.>>BUT YES. SO THIS IS NOT A — THE ’82
LANGUAGE THAT WE ARE REINSTATING BACK DOES NOT IN ANY WAY UNSEAT
DELEGATE NORTON. THAT POSITION IS ABOLISHED BY
THE ADMISSION OF THE NEW STATE.>>ABSOLUTELY THAT’S NOT ADDRESSED IN THE ENABLING ACT?
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DELEGATE PENDING THE ELECTION?>>IT MAY OR MAY NOT BE
ADDRESSED IN THE ENABLING ACT. REGRETTABLY, THERE WILL BE
NOBODY REPRESENTING THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AS A VOTING MEMBER
WHO WILL BE ABLE TO VOTE ON THE ENABLING ACT UNTIL WE ARE A NEW
STATE. SO WE WON’T BE CRAFTING THE
ENABLING ACT. AND IF, IN FACT, THOSE WHO DO
WRITE THE ENABLING ACT FIND THAT A PROBLEM, THEY CAN CORRECT
THAT. BUT WE HAVE NO PROVISION IN THE
INTERIM. WE WOULD BE A NEW STATE
UNREPRESENTED UNTIL THOSE ELECTIONS COULD BE SCHEDULED.>>MAYOR: SO LET ME JUST STEP
BACK FROM THIS BECAUSE I THINK THAT THE SENATOR IS RIGHT —
THAT WHEN WE BECOME A STATE, WE NO LONGER HAVE A DELEGATE.
AND THE DELEGATE — AND WHOEVER WOULD BECOME THE REPRESENTATIVE
WOULD HAVE TO RUN. I THINK WHAT THAT SAYS IS THAT
THESE SEATS — NOBODY HAS RUN FOR THE SEATS THAT WE HAVE IN
THE NEW STATE. WE DON’T HAVE A VOTING HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVE MEMBER, SO THE DELEGATE — EVEN THOUGH HOW MANY
TIMES SHE’S BEEN ELECTED — WOULD HAVE TO RUN FOR THAT
POSITION BECAUSE NOBODY IN THE DISTRICT HAS EVER RUN FOR THAT
POSITION. SIMILARLY — AND I SAY THIS WITH
ALL DUE RESPECT. NO ONE HAS VOTED FOR A SENATOR
IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AND I WOULD FEEL VERY
UNCOMFORTABLE SAYING TO THE VOTERS AT THE SAME TIME I’M
ASKING THEM FOR STATEHOOD ALSO TELLING THEM WHO THEIR SENATOR
IS BECAUSE NOBODY HAS VOTED FOR SENATORS.
I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SAY. NOBODY HAS VOTED FOR GOVERNOR
EITHER, RIGHT. BUT PEOPLE HAVE VOTED FOR THE
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF OUR JURISDICTION.
PEOPLE HAVE VOTED FOR OUR LEGISLATURES.
AND THE FUNCTIONS OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CALL IT MAYOR OR CALL
IT GOVERNOR, IS SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME.
SO I WOULD NOT HAVE THE SAME HESITANCE.
BUT WE DON’T — THESE FEDERAL POSITIONS THAT WE’RE ASKING FOR
IN A STATE DON’T EXIST PRESENTLY.
AND NOBODY IN THE DISTRICT HAS VOTED FOR THEM BEFORE.
SO WHAT I WOULD ASK THE DELEGATION WITH ALL DUE RESPECT
IS TO PUT THE NEEDS OF ADVANCING STATEHOOD AHEAD OF THIS
AMENDMENT. AND WITH MY COMMITMENT THAT WE
WILL ADDRESS IT EARNESTLY IN OUR SUGGESTIONS AS WE HELP CRAFT THE
ADMISSIONS LEGISLATION.>>MADAM CHAIR, IF I MAY.
>>MAYOR: YES.>>AND I BEG TO DIFFER GREATLY,
MADAM CHAIR. I DID RUN FOR THE U.S.
REPRESENTATIVE AS IT IS CALLED. BUT I DO GO AROUND THE NATION
PREACHING THAT I AM THE UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SO I DON’T KNOW IF YOU THINK
THESE ARE FICTITIOUS POSITIONS. I HOPE THAT THAT’S NOT THE CASE.
I DID BECOME THE FIRST ELECTED LATINO IN THE CITY.
AND I DO BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE PUTTING PEOPLE TO THIS
POSITION. SO AS I UNDERSTOOD IT ALWAYS,
ONCE WE BECOME A STATE, THE POSITION OF SHADOW CONGRESS
PERSON GETS ELEVATED TO BEING THE MEMBER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES. THAT’S HOW I HAVE ALWAYS
UNDERSTOOD IT. AND SO, YOU KNOW, THE DELEGATE
GETS TO RERUN, THAT WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE, IT’S A DIFFERENT
POSITION ALTOGETHER. SO I WILL DEFINITELY BE
SUPPORTING THAT AMENDMENT.>>WELL, YEAH.
AND LET ME ADD TO THAT. YOU KNOW, WE NEED TO BE SERIOUS
ABOUT THESE POSITIONS. IF YOU THINK THAT WE’RE
UNQUALIFIED TO TRANSCEND TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, THEN PUT
UP CANDIDATES THAT YOU THINK ARE QUALIFIED.
IT’S TIME FOR US TO DECIDE WHETHER WE WANT TO BE SERIOUS
ABOUT STATEHOOD OR NOT. THIS IS THE TENNESSEE PLAN.
THIS IS THE WAY THAT IT’S ALWAYS HAPPENED.
FOR US TO NOT PUT IN THIS PROVISION WOULD ACTUALLY BE AN
ABERRATION TO WHAT’S GONE ON THE SIX TIMES THAT THIS PLAN HAS
BEEN SUCCESSFUL. AND LET’S FACE IT, FOLKS.
WE HAVE BEEN AT THIS FOR 215 YEARS.
AND THE ONLY THING THAT HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL THAT WE CAN POINT TO
IS THE TENNESSEE PLAN. THAT’S WORKED TIME AND TIME
AGAIN. SO I THINK THAT WE NEED TO
EMPOWER THESE POSITIONS. THIS IS CERTAINLY ONE WAY TO DO
IT. AND AS SENATOR STRAUSS POINTS
OUT, IT’S A TEMPORARY POSITION. AND WHOEVER TAKES THOSE
POSITIONS WILL HAVE TO RUN IN AN ELECTION.
>>MAYOR: LET ME ASK PROFESSOR FRANCOIS TO TALK ABOUT ANY LEGAL
IMPLICATIONS AS IT RELATES TO THE SEATING OF THE NEW SENATORS,
AS WELL AS HOW HAVE WE DEALT WITH THE VACANCY IN THE OFFICE
OF THE SENATOR?>>MICROPHONE, PLEASE.>>I THINK THE IMPLICATIONS HAVE ALREADY BEEN DISCUSSED.
FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, WHAT HAPPENS IS THIS OFFICE WILL
BE A FUNCTION OF WHAT CONGRESS DECIDES.
SO IT’S ALL A MATTER OF WHAT THE ENABLING ACT OR ADMISSIONS ACT
PROVIDES.>>MAYOR: HAS CONGRESS IN THE
CASES THAT YOU REFERENCED SEATED THE SENATORS?>>YES.>>MAYOR: HAVE THEY REFUSED TO
SEAT THE SENATORS?>>INITIALLY THEY HAVE.
ULTIMATELY IN THE CASE OF THE PRIOR EXAMPLES IN TENNESSEE
SPECIFICALLY, IN MICHIGAN, IN OREGON AND IN CALIFORNIA, THE
SENATE WENT ON TO EVENTUALLY ACCEPT AND SEAT THOSE SENATORS.>>WHAT DOES EVENTUALLY MEAN?>>HUH?>>WHAT DOES EVENTUALLY MEAN?>>WHEN THEY WERE ADMITTED AT
STATES. UPON STATEHOOD.>>WHEN THEY BECAME A STATE.>>UPON STATEHOOD, THEY WERE
ADMITTED AND SWORN AS SENATORS WITHOUT HAVING TO RUN AGAIN.
IN THE QUESTION OF ALASKA, THEY CALLED FOR A NEW ELECTION AND
DID NOT SEAT THE ALASKA DELEGATION IN ADVANCE.
SO IN FIVE OUT OF THE SIX CASES, THEY DID.
THIS LANGUAGE DOES NOT BIND CONGRESS.
OBVIOUSLY, WE CAN’T. SO THEY WOULD HAVE THE
DISCRETION UNDER THE ENABLING ACT TO DO SO.
BUT IN THE ABSENCE OF THIS LANGUAGE, HERE’S WHAT CONGRESS
IS NOT EMPOWERED TO DO. WE WOULD BE A STATE FOR HOWEVER
LONG A PERIOD OF TIME UNTIL THOSE NEW ELECTIONS COULD BE
HELD, THAT WOULD IN FACT BE UNREPRESENTED IN THAT BODY.
THERE WOULD BE NOBODY THERE. WHETHER IT’S 30 DAYS, 60 DAYS,
90 DAYS. LEGISLATION WOULD BE ONGOING.
AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THAT HAS BEEN WITHOUT A VOTE IN
CONGRESS FOR OVER 200 YEARS WOULD HAVE TO GO WITHOUT VOTING
REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS FOR HOWEVER MANY ADDITIONAL DAYS
UNTIL NEW ELECTIONS COULD BE HELD.
AND SO THIS ACT WOULD ALLOW — THIS LANGUAGE WOULD AT LEAST
PERMISSIVELY GIVE CONGRESS THE AUTHORITY TO SEAT PEOPLE WHO
HAVE BEEN ELECTED. I RESPECTLY DISAGREE.
TO THE OFFICES OF SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE.
NOW, IF CONGRESS REFUSED TO DO THAT, OUR CONSTITUTION HERE DOES
NOT SUPERCEDE THE LEGAL POWER OF THE ENABLING ACT.
BUT IT IS AN ESSENTIAL POLICY STATEMENT THAT WOULD THEN GO TO
THE VOTERS. AND FRANKLY, IT WAS THAT INITIAL
POLICY STATEMENT THAT CREATED THESE OFFICES.
THESE OFFICES WERE CREATED BY THE STATEHOOD INITIATIVE WHEN WE
FIRST ENACTED THE TENNESSEE PLAN.
AND SO I WOULD SIMPLY NOT — AND WHILE IT LOOKS SELF-SERVING,
THE REALITY IS I WOULD NOT BE FAITHFUL TO THE OFFICE THAT I
HOLD OR TO THE VOTERS THAT ELECTED ME IF I DID NOT AT LEAST
REINSERT THIS ORIGINAL LANGUAGE IN THERE SO THAT WE WOULD
SHORTEN THE TIME IN WHICH THE DISTRICT WOULD BE UNREPRESENTED.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. PHIL.
>>YES. I HAVE SEVERAL QUESTIONS FOR THE
PROFESSOR, IF I MAY. FIRST OF ALL, IS IT CORRECT THAT
THE ENABLING ACT WILL DETERMINE THIS ISSUE?>>YES.
IN OTHER WORDS, THIS IS NOT REALLY A QUESTION, BUT A POLICY
QUESTION. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS
REGARDLESS OF WHAT LANGUAGE WE ADOPT HERE, THE ENABLING ACT
ITSELF WILL DETERMINE THE ISSUE. CONGRESS CAN ACCEPT IT OR NOT.
>>AND THE ENABLING ACT, THE ENABLING ACT COULD SPECIFY THAT
THE THREE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES WHO ARE HERE AT
THIS TABLE, THE REPRESENT AND THE TWO SENATORS, THE ENABLING
ACT COULD SPECIFY THAT THEY WILL HAVE THE SEATS PENDING AN
ELECTION? IS THAT CORRECT?>>ARE YOU ASKING ME WHETHER OR
NOT IN THE ABSENCE OF THE AMENDMENT CONGRESS ITSELF ON ITS
OWN COULD INSERT LANGUAGE INTO THE ENABLING ACT SAYING THAT THE
CURRENT MEMBERS SHOULD SERVE UNTIL AN ELECTION?>>YES.>>I’M NOT SURE.>>YOU’RE NOT SURE.>>WHAT I AM SURE ABOUT IS THAT
IF THE LANGUAGE IS INSERTED, CONGRESS HAS THE OPTION TO
ACCEPT IT OR REJECT IT. IF THE QUESTION IS SUPPOSING THE
LANGUAGE IS NOT ACCEPTED, THAT DRAFT REMAINS AS IT IS, CAN
CONGRESS IN RESPONSE INSERT ITS OWN LANGUAGE IN THE ENABLING ACT
TO SAY THAT THE CURRENT MEMBERS WOULD SERVE UNTIL THE ELECTION,
THAT I’M NOT SURE ABOUT.>>NOW, WITH REGARD TO
TENNESSEE, THEY HAD THE SO-CALLED SHADOW
REPRESENTATIVES.>>YEAH.>>AND THEN TENNESSEE WAS
ADMITTED.>>UH-HUH.>>WERE THE SHADOWS SEATED?>>I THINK AT SOME POINT, YES.>>NO.
NOT AT SOME POINT. WERE THEY SEATED ON ADMISSION?
>>YES.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>MR. MENDELSON, THEY WERE.>>WELL, SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE
SAID NO TO ME. SO THAT’S WHY I’M ASKING THE
QUESTION. ARE THERE OTHERS IN THE AUDIENCE
WHO KNOW AND DISAGREE?>>READ THE ENCYCLOPEDIA.>>THEY WERE SEATED.>>MAYOR: MAY I JUST ASK
EVERYBODY — I KNOW THAT — ORDER, PLEASE.
I JUST — MAY I JUST ASK EVERYBODY —
I WILL BE HAPPY TO CALL ON ANY MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION OR ANY
MEMBERS OF THE LEGAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE THAT CAN ADVISE THE
COMMISSION. AND I RECOGNIZE THAT IT’S AN
AWKWARD DISCUSSION. BUT PLEASE REMEMBER DECORUM.
>>WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER STATES? DID CONGRESS SEAT EACH OF THOSE
SHADOWS?>>YES.
WHAT THE SENATOR HAS DISCUSSED IS ACCURATE.
SOME OF THEM WERE SEATED. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THEM WERE
SEATED EVENTUALLY.>>WHAT DOES EVENTUALLY MEAN?>>MEANING SOME OF THEM WERE NOT AUTOMATIC.
THERE WAS A PERIOD OF TIME.>>AS IN AN ELECTION?>>I’M SORRY.>>AS IN AN ELECTION?>>I BELIEVE SOME OF THEM WERE
SEATED PRIOR TO AN ELECTION.>>SOME, BUT NOT ALL?>>NOT ALL.
NOT AS FAR AS I KNOW.>>THE TENNESSEE PLAN DOESN’T
CALL FOR THIS AMENDMENT SPECIFICALLY?
>>THE TENNESSEE PLAN DOESN’T CALL FOR THE AMENDMENT.
THIS IS REALLY — IF I MAY PUT IT THIS WAY, A POLITICAL
DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE COMMISSION DECIDES TO DO
THIS. BUT THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT THE
TENNESSEE PLAN THAT DEMANDS THAT IT MUST BE DONE.
>>MR. CHAIRMAN, IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE GUIDED BY HISTORICAL
PRECEDENT, THE TENNESSEE PLAN CALLED FOR IT AND WAS FOLLOWED.
AND THOSE SENATORS WERE SEATED. THE CALIFORNIA PLAN, THE
MICHIGAN PLAN, THE OREGON PLAN ALL FOLLOWED THE SAME THING.
THE SOLE EXCEPTION OF THE STATES THAT USED THIS SUCCESSFULLY WAS
ALASKA WHERE THE ENABLING ACT MADE SEPARATE PROVISIONS.
AND FOR A WHILE, THE TERRITORY OF ALASKA WAS A STATE THAT WAS
UNREPRESENTED IN CONGRESS. SO IN FIVE OUT OF THE SIX STATES
THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY GAINED ADMISSION TO THE TENNESSEE PLAN,
ACTUALLY THOSE MEMBERS WERE SEATED PERMANENTLY AS MEMBERS.
I’M NOT PROPOSING THAT. I’M PROPOSING THAT IN THE
INTERIM UNTIL SUCH TIME AS NEW ELECTIONS ARE CALLED, THAT THOSE
SEATS NOT REMAIN VACANT. AND THAT THE SENATORS AND
REPRESENTATIVES ELECT BE AUTHORIZED BY THE PEOPLE OF D.C.
TO BE SEATED. WHICH CAN ONLY BE DONE WITH THE
CONSENT OF THE CONGRESS.>>AND IS IT CLEAR, PROFESSOR,
THAT WITH THE ADMISSION ACT THAT CONGRESSWOMAN NORTON WOULD BE
UNSEATED?>>YES.
BECAUSE AUTOMATICALLY HER OFFICE WOULD NO LONGER EXIST.
SHE’S A DELEGATE NOW. AND IF THE STATE — IF D.C. IS
ADMITTED AS A STATE, THEN AUTOMATICALLY THE OFFICE IS
ABOLISHED.>>THAT COULDN’T BE ADDRESSED IN
THE ENABLING ACT AS IN SHE CONTINUES TO REPRESENT THE
DISTRICT UNTIL THERE IS AN ELECTION?
>>IT GOES BACK TO THE EARLIER ANSWER, YES, CONGRESS HAS WITHIN
ITS AUTHORITY TO MAKE SUCH PROVISIONS.
>>DOES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THAT PROVISION?
>>YES, EXACTLY.>>SO IT DOESN’T FOLLOW THAT SHE
AUTOMATICALLY WOULD BE UNSEATED.>>WHAT I MEANT TO SAY IS THAT
IF CONGRESS DOESN’T MAKE THAT PROVISION THEN THE FACT THAT
D.C. IS ADMITTED AS A STATE AND SHE IS A DELEGATE MEANS THAT HER
OFFICE NO LONGER EXISTS. BUT WHETHER OR NOT CONGRESS
COULD IN THE ACT ELEVATE HER TO A NEW POSITION AS A
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE STATE. ARGUABLY YES.
>>IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ENABLING ACT IS GOING TO ANSWER THE
QUESTION?>>YES.>>NOT WHAT WE WRITE HERE ON
THIS MATTER IT IS THE ENABLING ACT THAT WILL ANSWER THE
QUESTION.>>THAT IS CORRECT.
I THINK THE ONLY QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT AS A POLICY
DECISION, AS A POLITICAL DECISION THE COMMISSION BELIEVES
IT IS WISE OR NOT TO INSERT THE LANGUAGE NOW INTO THE
CONSTITUTION.>>ONE OTHER QUESTION EACH OF
THE SIX STATES THAT HAVE FOLLOWED THE TENNESSEE PLAN
THAT’S WHAT I HAVE HEARD HERE TONIGHT.
HOW MANY OF THEM HAD CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATES SUCH AS
CONGRESSWOMAN NORTON? DO YOU KNOW?
>>NO, NOT OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD, NO, I DO NOT KNOW THE
ANSWER TO THAT.>>ALL OF THE TERRITORIES HAD
NONVOTING DELEGATES SO THAT INCLUDED TENNESSEE AND THE FIVE
OTHER STATES.>>HAD NONVOTING?>>RIGHT.>>HAD NONVOTING DELEGATES.>>THANK YOU.>>MADAM CHAIR, IF I MAY.>>MAYOR: YES.>>I THINK THAT PART OF THE CHALLENGE HERE IS THAT, YOU
KNOW, WE’RE TRYING TO ACCOMMODATE AND LOOK AT
INDIVIDUALS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE AND LET ME JUST SAY THAT IF
YOU, WHAT I READ THE TENNESSEE PLAN IF WE HAVE BEEN DOING IT AS
WE SHOULD HAVE WHICH IS FUNDING THE DELEGATION YOU PROBABLY
WOULD HAVE HAD VERY PROMINENT CONGRESSIONAL, SHADOW
CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION AND WE PROBABLY WOULDN’T BE WHERE WE
ARE TODAY IN TRYING TO SAY THAT WE DON’T HAVE SENATORS AND WE
DON’T HAVE THESE POSITIONS BECAUSE WE WOULD HAVE OUR SHADOW
DELEGATION BEING VERY VISIBLE AND BEING KNOWN EVERYWHERE AND I
THINK WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO HERE IS VERY CLEAR THAT THE
TENNESSEE PLAN CALLED FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WOULD BE BURDENED
MAINLY TO GET STATEHOOD WHICH WOULD BE YOUR SHADOW DELEGATION
WOULD ULTIMATELY GET THE BENEFIT OF ALL OF THE WORK THEY WOULD BE
DOING WHICH IS TO GET STATEHOOD. HERE WE ARE HAVING A CHALLENGE
BECAUSE WE HAVEN’T FOUNDED OUR DELEGATION SO WE DON’T KNOW
THAT, YOU KNOW, THE DELEGATION IS REALLY DOING THE BURDEN OF
THIS WORK.>>MAYOR: RESPECTFULLY,
CONGRESSMAN, AND YOU KNOW I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR YOU AND WHAT
YOU DO AND HOW YOU HAVE ADVOCATED FOR STATEHOOD BUT IF
ANYBODY IS HERE TO TALK ABOUT REAPING THE BENEFITS FOR
THEMSELVES THAT IS THE WRONG CONVERSATION, AND FRANKLY I’M
OFFENDED BY IT. [ APPLAUSE ]
>>MAYOR: I’M OFFENDED BY IT. I HAVE THE FLOOR, SIR, I HAVE THE FLOOR.
REMEMBER YOUR DECORUM, SIR. I’M ONLY RESPONDING TO WHAT I
HEARD THAT THE SHADOW DELEGATION SHOULD REAP THE BENEFITS OF
THEIR HARD WORK. THE SHADOW DELEGATION SHOULD DO
WHAT IT WAS ELECTED TO DO AND THE BENEFIT IS THAT YOU DID A
GOOD JOB. THAT’S THE BENEFIT THAT’S WHAT
WE GET ELECTED FOR. SO IF YOU ARE DOING IT FOR ANY
OTHER REASON, THAT IS PROBLEMATIC.
BUT MORE THAN THAT, MORE THAN THAT, I WOULD ASK EVERYBODY TO
THINK SINCERELY ABOUT WHAT YOU MIGHT DO TO OUR EFFORTS MOVING
FORWARD BY TALKING ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL GAIN.
SO LET ME JUST SAY THAT.>>MAY I RESPOND?>>MAYOR: DO YOU WANT TO CORRECT WHAT YOU SAID?
>>I THINK YOU MISUNDERSTOOD WHAT I SAID.
>>MAYOR: I HEARD YOU CLEARLY.>>WHAT I MEANT TO SAY THEN, LET
ME SAY WHAT I MEANT TO SAY. I THINK WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY
IS LET’S GET A CLEAR PICTURE OF WHO ENDS UP BEING THE SITTING
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ONCE THE TENNESSEE PLAN IS PUT IN PLACE
AND WHAT I WAS SAYING IS THAT A WAY TO SEE IT IS THAT A LOT OF
THE PEOPLE IN THE PAST WHO WORKED FOR STATEHOOD WERE THE
PEOPLE WHO HAD THOSE POSITIONS, THE SHADOW MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
AND I AM NOT SAYING THAT I WANT TO REAP THE BENEFIT.
WHAT I’M SAYING IS I DON’T MIND FOR ALL I CARE I WOULD BE MORE
THAN HAPPY TO GIVE THAT SEAT TO A DELEGATE DOING AN INCREDIBLE
JOB BUT WHAT I WAS TRYING TO DESCRIBE THAT I THINK IT WOULD
BE MORE CLEAR FOR ALL OF US IF WE HAD A BANDED DELEGATION THEY
DID BACK IN THE PAST THAT DID ALL OF THIS WORK AND WE WOULDN’T
BE SAYING ARE YOU REAL, DO YOU REALLY HAVE THAT POSITION.
THAT’S WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY.>>MAYOR: CONGRESSMAN, I DON’T
MEAN TO SUGGEST THAT YOU ARE NOT REAL OBVIOUSLY I VOTED FOR YOU
SO I KNOW YOU ARE REAL, AND I APPRECIATE THE WORK THAT YOU ARE
DOING, BUT YOU DO NOT SERVE IN THE CONGRESS BECAUSE WE ARE NOT
A STATE AND WE DO NOT HAVE A CONGRESSPERSON.
WE HAVE A DELEGATE. THAT’S A QUESTION WE CAN
CERTAINLY PUT TO THE PEOPLE IF THEY SEE A DIFFERENCE BUT I
THINK THEY DO. BUT THAT’S ANOTHER POINT.
I THINK THAT WE HAVE — WE’VE HEARD THAT IT IS REALLY NOT THE
CONSTITUTION THAT WILL DECIDE THIS QUESTION ANYWAY.
I RECOGNIZE THAT YOU WANT TO PUSH IT HERE, BUT THIS WILL NOT
BE THE DOCUMENT THAT LEADS TO A SENATOR OR A CONGRESSMAN BEING
SEATED IN THE NEW STATE. SO I QUESTION WHETHER IT IS
APPROPRIATE AT ALL TO HAVE THIS AMENDMENT.
>>IF I COULD SPEAK TO THAT. THE REASON I HAVE —
>>MAYOR: I’M GOING TO REQUEST SOME PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANCE.
WHO IS GOING TO BE — WHO IS SERVING AS OUR PARLIAMENTARIAN?
MR. COOK, THANK YOU. THE QUESTION IS GOING TO BE IS
THIS AMENDMENT IN ORDER?>>IS THE QUESTION IN ORDER?
>>MAYOR: IS THE QUESTION IN ORDER.
PLEASE TAKE THE PODIUM.>>[INAUDIBLE].>>MAYOR: WE ARE CONSIDERING AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD — IT IS
KIND OF ASPIRATIONAL REALLY. TRYING TO GET A SENSE OF THE
BODY AS TO WHETHER WE THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THIS IS A
POLITICAL QUESTION WE SHOULD ANSWER HERE.
THE QUESTION IS IF WE KNOW THAT IT WILL — IT WILL ALSO HAVE TO
BE ADDED IN THE ADMISSIONS ACT AND THE ADMISSIONS ACT IT IS THE
ONLY THING THAT CAN AFFECT IT.>>OKAY.
THERE ARE SORT OF TWO THINGS. I THINK THE PROBLEM IS I DON’T
AGREE WITH THE PREMISE THAT IS TO SAY IT IS NOT THE ADMISSIONS
ACT IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT CAN AFFECT IT.
THE U.S. CONSTITUTION ACT CONTROLS IT SO THE ADMISSIONS
ACT IS AN ACT OF CONGRESS AND THE CONSTITUTION IS THE
FOUNDATIONAL DOCUMENT. THE CONSTITUTION DEFINES WHO CAN
BE A STATE AND IT DEFINES WHO REPRESENTS THE STATES IN THE
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES. SO THE ADMISSIONS ACT CAN’T
TRUMP THAT. SO CONTRARY TO SOME OF THE
DECISION THAT WAS HEARD I THINK THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT
WHEN TENNESSEE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS AND
SENT THEM TO THE CONGRESS, THE CONGRESS SAID GO AWAY BECAUSE
UNTIL YOU ARE A STATE YOU CANNOT REPRESENT SOMEONE TO BE A MEMBER
OF THE CONGRESS. SO I THINK IS IT IN ORDER.
THE BODY CAN DO WHATEVER IT WANTS, SO IT IS IN ORDER IN THAT
SENSE, BUT IS IT GOING TO ACCOMPLISH THE OBJECTIVE THAT I
THINK THE SENATE IS INTENDING TO EXPRESS AND THE ANSWER IS
PROBABLY NO.>>MAYOR: OKAY.
ALL RIGHT. THERE IS A MOTION.
>>MADAM CHAIRMAN, CAN I JUST SAY, LOOK, THE TENNESSEE PLAN IS
ASPIRATIONAL. THE ENTIRE TENNESSEE PLAN IS
ASPIRATIONAL. THAT’S WHAT IT IS.
YOU CAN’T WALK UP TO CONGRESS AND SAY WE WANT TO BE A STATE
AND HAVE THEM SAY OH, YOU KNOW, WE DIDN’T KNOW THAT.
SO THAT WILL HAPPEN. ONLY CONGRESS CAN MAKE US A
STATE, AND I DON’T SEE HOW WE CAN SIT HERE AND SAY THAT EVERY
MEMBER OF THE D.C. COUNCIL BECOMES A DELEGATE AND THE MAYOR
BECOMES THE GOVERNOR BUT THE OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT
HAVE BEEN DULY ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA DON’T COUNT.>>THE ONLY THING I WOULD SAY,
SIR, IN RESPONSE IS THAT THE U.S. CONSTITUTION SAYS WHO CAN
BE A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE.
AS FAR AS THE STATE LEGISLATURE IS CONCERNED THE PEOPLE OF
KANSAS, THE PEOPLE OF ARIZONA, THE PEOPLE OF IOWA DECIDE WHO IS
IN THEIR STATE LEGISLATURE NOT THE U.S. CONSTITUTION.
SO IT IS POSSIBLE. NOW, I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT WHAT
HAS TO HAPPEN. I’M SAYING IT IS POSSIBLE FOR
THE CITIZENS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THROUGH THEIR
CONSTITUTION, THROUGH THE ACTS OF A SITE TO DECIDE WHOEVER THEY
WANT TO BE THEIR LOCAL LEGISLATORS BUT THE PEOPLE OF
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DON’T HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHO IS
THE REPRESENTATIVE IN THE CONGRESS BECAUSE THE CONGRESS
SAYS FIRST YOU’VE GOT TO BE A STATE AND THEN THERE ARE OTHER
QUALIFICATIONS THAT THE CONSTITUTION IMPOSES.
>>LET ME JUST — THE MAKER OF THESE.>>FIVE OTHER STATES DID IT.>>FIRST OF ALL, I KNOW YOU ARE
NOT SUGGESTING THAT IT IS OUT OF ORDER FOR THE COMMISSION TO TAKE
LANGUAGE WORD FOR WORD FROM THE ’82 CONSTITUTION AND PUT IT BACK
IN THIS CONSTITUTION.>>MAYOR: HE DIDN’T SAY THAT.>>I SPECIFICALLY REJECTED THAT
POSITION. THE BODY CAN DO THAT IF IT
CHOOSES.>>LET ME BE CLEAR THIS IS NOT
AN ATTEMPT BY US TO GAIN BENEFITS FOR US OR TO DO THAT.
OR TO EMPOWER US. THIS IS A QUESTION OF WHETHER OR
NOT WE WILL EMPOWER THE CONGRESS TO ALLOW INTERIM REPRESENTATION
IN THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE IF THEY CHOOSE, AND WHO IN — SO I
THINK THAT WAS THE INTENT OF THE ’82 CONSTITUTION
THAT WAS THE INTENT OF THE STATEHOOD INITIATIVE WHEN THESE
POSITIONS WERE CREATED, AND AS WE WENT FORWARD WITH THESE
DISCUSSIONS OF THE TENNESSEE PLAN AS WE ARE GOING FORWARD AND
REDOING THE CONSTITUTION WE ARE NOT REELECTING A SHADOW
CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION BECAUSE THAT WAS DONE IN PLACE BUT IF WE
HADN’T ALREADY BEEN SERVING IN PLACE, IF WE WERE FOLLOWING THE
TENNESSEE PLAN, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WE WOULD BE DOING.
SO I REALLY, IF WE DON’T PUT THIS LANGUAGE IN, ALL WE’RE
SAYING IS THAT THERE WILL BE NO MECHANISM FOR INTERIM
REPRESENTATION IN THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE PENDING THE FIRST
ELECTION OF CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES.
WE WILL LOSE THE DELEGATE SPOT BECAUSE THAT POSITION NO LONGER
EXISTS, AND THERE WILL BE WEEKS, MONTHS, DAYS IN WHICH THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS THE 51ST STATE, HAVING BEEN ADMITTED
WOULD BE UNREPRESENTED AND THIS PROVIDES THE ENABLING ACT WITH A
VEHICLE SHOULD THEY CHOOSE TO. I’M FULLY AWARE WE CAN’T CONTROL
THAT. TO IN THE INTERIM ALLOW FOR
CONTINUITY OF SOME KIND OR SOME KIND OF INTERIM REPRESENTATION.
I SUPPOSE WE COULD ENACT, YOU KNOW, WE COULD SAY THAT THE
DELEGATE, THE MAYOR, THE CHAIRMAN WOULD TAKE THE SEATS
BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE ’82 CONSTITUTION SAID.
THAT WASN’T THE LANGUAGE SO THAT WAS NOT –>>MY POINT IS NOT THAT THIS
BODY OR THE CITIZENS CAN’T DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID.
MY POINT IS THAT I DON’T THINK THAT HAS ANY LEGAL EFFECT ON THE
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF WHAT THIS
CONSTITUTION SAYS THE ADMISSIONS ACT IS NOT LIKELY
TO SNEAK UP ON US. WHEN CONGRESS CHOOSES OR AGREES
TO ADMIT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR NEW COLUMBIA TO THE
UNION, THERE WILL BE ADMISSIONS ACT, THERE WILL BE A WAY TO TIME
IT. THERE CAN BE ELECTIONS SO THAT
THERE WILL NOT BE A GAP OR NOT A GAP OF ANY SIGNIFICANT
CONSEQUENCE. IT HAPPENS FROM TIME TO TIME
THAT MEMBERS, THAT STATES, CITIZENS OF STATES HAVE NO
REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FOR A PERIOD AND THEY HAVE TO HAVE A
SPECIAL ELECTION. IT HAPPENS.
>>TO MY COLLEAGUES ON THE COMMISSION, IT IS NOT MY INTENT
TO DO ANYTHING EXCEPT RESTORE THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE ’82
LANGUAGE IN THIS. IT FOLLOWS PRECEDENT, IT FOLLOWS
THE TENNESSEE PLAN. THIS IS NOT AN ATTEMPT BY US TO
TAKE ANY OFFICES THAT WE WEREN’T ELECTED TO.
THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO RESTORE THE ORIGINAL STATEHOOD LANGUAGE
SO THAT IF THERE IS A — IF THE ENABLING ACT WOULD PROVIDE FOR A
GAP IN REPRESENTATION IT WOULD ALLOW FOR A MECHANISM FOR
INTERIM REPRESENTATION ONLY UNTIL THE ELECTIONS WERE HELD.
IN FACT, I’M CERTAINLY NOT MOVING THE OTHER AMENDMENTS OF
THE ACT THAT WOULD EXPAND THE TERMS OF THOSE INTERIM OFFICES.
THEY WOULD EXIST ONLY TO AVOID A GAP IN REPRESENTATION. WE’VE BEEN VOTELESS FOR 200
YEARS. IT WOULD BE A PITY IF THE PEOPLE
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REMAINED UNREPRESENTED IN
CONGRESS FOR A DAY LONGER THAN THEY HAD TO BE ESPECIALLY WHEN
SINCE 1990 CITIZENS HAVE BEEN ELECTING PEOPLE TO THESE
POSITIONS AS A TESTAMENT TO THEIR COMMITMENT TOWARDS
ACHIEVING STATEHOOD. SO —
>>AGAIN I’M NOT ATTEMPTING TO ACCUSE ANYBODY OF ANY SORT OF
MOTIVE. I WAS ASKED THE QUESTION ABOUT
PROCESS WHETHER IT WAS IN ORDER AND I BELIEVE IT IS IN ORDER.
I ONLY — MY ONLY CAUTION WAS THAT I DON’T THINK IT IS GOING
TO ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISH THE INTENT THAT THE ACTION IS
PROPOSED BUT IT CERTAINLY IS IN ORDER TO DO.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. THANK YOU.
WHO CAN SPEAK TO VACANCIES IN THE FEDERAL OFFICES?
FILLING VACANCIES?>>SO IF THE QUESTION IS WHEN WE
BECOME A STATE IS THERE A VACANCY, AND FOR THAT WE LOOK TO
THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND IT HAS SPECIFIC PROVISIONS BOTH IN
ARTICLE 1 WITH RESPECT TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND IN
ARTICLE — IN THE 17TH AMENDMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE SENATORS,
REMEMBER THE SENATORS WERE ORIGINALLY CHOSEN BY THE
LEGISLATURE AND NOW THEY ARE POPULARLY ELECTED.
FROM THE SENATORS FIRST WHEN VACANCIES HAPPEN IN THE
REPRESENTATION IN ANY STATE IN THE SENATE THE EXECUTIVE
AUTHORITY OF SUCH STATE SHALL ISSUE WRITS OF ELECTION TO FILL
SUCH VACANCIES PROVIDED THAT THE LEGISLATURE OF ANY STATE MAY
EMPOWER THE EXECUTIVE THEREOF TO MAKE TEMPORARY APPOINTMENTS
UNTIL THE PEOPLE FILL THE VACANCIES BY THE TRANSLATED
YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE AN ELECTION FOR SENATORS UNLESS THE STATE
LEGISLATURE EMPOWERS THE GOVERNOR IN OUR CASE TO APPOINT
SOMEONE IN THE INTERIM AND THEN YOU HAVE THE ELECTION AT THE
NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED ELECTION.
ALL RIGHT. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
PROVISION IS LESS CAPACIOUS REGARDING APPOINTMENTS AND IT IS
IN ARTICLE 1, SECTION — EXCUSE ME HERE.
SECTION 2 THE NEXT TO LAST CLAUSE WHEN VACANCIES HAPPEN IN
THE REPRESENTATION FROM ANY STATE, THE EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY,
GOVERNOR, THEREOF SHALL ISSUE WRITS OF ELECTION TO FILL SUCH
VACANCIES SO NO PROVISION FOR ANY KIND OF APPOINTMENT, AND SO
IF, IN FACT, WHAT HAPPENS IS ON DAY ONE WE BECOME A STATE THERE
PRESUMABLY IS A VACANCY AND I THINK THAT THE CONGRESS WOULD
FOLLOW WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS ABOUT FILLING VACANCIES,
AND WE WOULD HAVE TO HAVE AN ELECTION.
THAT’S MY INTERPRETATION. I DON’T KNOW WHETHER THESE
ISSUES WERE RAISED WHEN THE OTHER STATES CAME IN AND WHETHER
ANYBODY OBJECTED OR NOT AND OF COURSE THE CONSTITUTION ALSO
PROVIDES THAT EACH HOUSE SHALL BE A JUDGE OF THE ELECTIONS OF
ITS MEMBERS SO THAT THEY COULD, IF IT WEREN’T RAISED, WOULD HAVE
THE ABILITY TO PASS ON THAT BUT I WOULD THINK THAT IF THESE ARE,
IN FACT, VACANCIES, WHICH I THINK THEY ARE, THEY ARE, WE DO
FEEL THIS WAY. THERE IS AN ARGUMENT THAT COULD
BE MADE THESE AREN’T VACANCIES BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ONE IN
THERE TO BEGIN WITH. THEY ARE VACANCIES AND SHOULD BE
TREATED AS SUCH AND I THINK THE CONGRESS WOULD DO WITH IT.
AT THE VERY LEAST WE SHOULD PUT IN THERE SUBJECT TO THE
ADMISSIONS ACT AS PART OF THE — IF THE SENATOR’S AMENDMENT WERE
TO PASS WE OUGHT TO SAY SUBJECT TO THE ADMISSIONS ACT TO MAKE IT
CLEAR THAT WE DON’T THINK WE HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO OVERRIDE
WHAT THE ADMISSIONS ACT SAYS.>>I’M CLEAR WE DON’T HAVE THE
AUTHORITY TO OVERRIDE WHAT THE ADMISSIONS ACT SAYS.
IT IS ONLY AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENABLE THE ADMISSIONS ACT TO
PROVIDE FOR INTERIM REPRESENTATION SO I WOULD ACCEPT
YOUR LANGUAGE AS A FRIENDLY AMENDMENT.
BUT I WOULD, WHILE THE COCHAIRS ARE DELIBERATING, THE SHADOW
SENATORS OF TENNESSEE, WILLIAM BLOUNT AND WILLIAM CASPER IN
MICHIGAN, THE SENATORS WERE SEATED BY THE SENATE WITHOUT A
SUBSEQUENT ELECTION IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.
AND IN CALIFORNIA, SENATORS ELECT WILLIAM GWEN AND JOHN
FREEMAN WERE SEATED WITHOUT A SUBSEQUENT ELECTION AND IN
MINNESOTA, SENATOR JAMES SHIELDS AND ALBERT WAS AMONG THE
SENATORS SEATED. OREGON LEGISLATURE ELECTED
JOSEPH LANE AND DELASON SMITH TO THE SENATE.
THEY WERE SEATED WITHOUT A SUBSEQUENT ELECTION.
SO THE TENNESSEE PLAN IS LITERAL LY THERE HAS BEEN NO BEGINNING
WITH TENNESSEE, THERE HAS BEEN NO TENNESSEE PLAN WITHOUT THE
ELECTION OF SHADOW SENATORS AS A PART OF IT AND I HAVE BEEN
PRIVILEGED TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROCESS AS PART OF THE
TENNESSEE PLAN. AND WE SHOULD BE — WE SHOULD
EMBRACE ALL ASPECTS OF IT. IF, IN FACT, THERE HAS BEEN NO
PURPOSE AND HOLDING THESE OFFICES THEN WHY ARE WE — WHY
DID THE VOTERS CREATE THEM AND, YOU KNOW, WHAT ARE WE HERE FOR.
AGAIN, THE ULTIMATE DECISION IS MADE IN THE ENABLING ACT BUT IT
WOULD BE A PITY IF WE DIDN’T PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE
FILLING OF THESE VACANCIES. AS TO WHETHER WE MEET THE
FEDERAL QUALIFICATIONS THE ACT THAT CREATED OUR OFFICES MANDATE
THAT ANYONE HOLDING THESE OFFICES MEET THE FEDERAL
CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS. I HAD TO BE 30 YEARS OF AGE AND
IF THERE IS A VACANCY IN MY OFFICE THE PROCEDURE FOR FILLING
THAT VACANCY IS BY EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENT.
IF THERE IS A VACANCY IN THE REP IT IS BY A WRIT OF ELECTION.
THESE OFFICES WERE CREATED TO DELIBERATELY MEET ALL OF THE
FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS AND TO SERVE NO OTHER PURPOSE EXCEPT TO
ADVOCATE FOR STATEHOOD ON THE WAY TOWARDS COMPLYING WITH THE
LANGUAGE OF SECTION 6A OF THE ’82 CONVENTION.
>>MAYOR: OKAY. NO FURTHER DISCUSSION.
I WILL CALL FOR A VOTE ON SENATOR STRAUSS’ AMENDMENT.
ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE. AND NAY, NAY, SO THE VOTES ARE
3-2. THE AYES HAVE IT AND THE
AMENDMENT PASSES. AND WE ARE — ARE THERE OTHER
TOPICS THAT WE HAVE NOT DISCUSSED?
>>WE HAVEN’T DISCUSSED, MADAM CHAIRMAN, WE HAVEN’T DISCUSSED
THE NAME. THAT WAS THE — THAT WAS
SOMETHING THAT WAS BROUGHT UP.>>MAYOR: SO WE HAVEN’T GONE TO
THE GENERAL COMMENTS AND I THINK BEVERLY PERRY IS GOING TO SPEAK
TO THE GENERAL COMMENTS LOG. WHICH INCLUDE THE STATE NAME.
>>GOOD EVENING. MADAM CHAIR, WE RECEIVED 1850
GENERAL COMMENTS, AND THEY WERE ALL OVER THE PLACE.
MANY OF THEM WERE CONGRATULATORY AND COMPLIMENTARY, BUT THE ONE
THAT WE RECEIVED THE MOST WAS ABOUT THE NAME.
AND THE COMMENT, THE GENERAL COMMENT ABOUT THE NAMES WAS OR
THE COMMENTS WERE THAT THERE WERE SEVERAL NAMES.
SOME SUGGESTED WE NAME IT AFTER A RIVER, ANACOSTIA OR POTOMAC.
THERE WAS ONE THAT SAID WE SHOULD NAME OUR NAME AFTER HISTORIC FIGURES.
IT SHOULD BE DOUGLAS COMMONWEALTH.
AND THEN WE ALSO HAD A RECENT SUGGESTION THAT WE SHOULD NAME
OUR STATE NEW WASHINGTON D.C. TO INDICATE THE VIBRANCY OF
BEING NEW AND TAKING ON A NEW ATTITUDE, NEW WASHINGTON D.C.,
AND WHAT WOULD BE GOOD ABOUT THAT.
IT WOULD BE, WE HAVE SEVERAL BUSINESSES IN TOWN.
WE HAVE MANY, WE HAVE THE GOVERNMENT HERE AND WE THOUGHT
THAT THE FEDERAL CENTER COULD BE FEDERAL WASHINGTON D.C. WAS A
SUGGESTION FOR THE FEDERAL CENTER AND YOU SEE THE MAP JUST
A LIME GREEN AREA WOULD BE FEDERAL WASHINGTON D.C., AND ALL
OF THE GRAY WOULD BE NEW WASHINGTON D.C.
SO THOSE WERE THE SUGGESTIONS OF THE NAME, AND AS I SAID, OF
THOSE 150 COMMENTS, MORE OF THEM RELATED TO THE NAME THAN ANY
OTHER, ANY OTHER THING.>>MAYOR: THANK YOU.
COMMENTS, QUESTIONS?>>I’D LIKE TO SAY, MADAM CHAIR,
THAT I THINK WE SHOULD KEEP THE NAME NEW COLUMBIA, AND I WILL
TELL YOU WHY. I KNOW THERE ARE OBJECTIONS TO
THE FACT THAT THIS MAY SOMEHOW HONOR CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS WHO
WAS NOT A VERY NICE GUY. BUT ACTUALLY THE CITY WAS NAMED
AFTER THE GODDESS COLUMBIA, COLUMBIA DESCRIBED THE 13
COLONIES AND WHEN WASHINGTON APPOINTED SURVEYORS TO COME TO
THE DISTRICT OR TO SURVEY THE DISTRICT THEY DID SO AND THEY
NAMED THE TERRITORY COLUMBIA BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT IT
REPRESENTED ALL 13 COLONIES AND IN ADDITION TO THAT I WOULD ADD
THAT IT IS THE ONLY NAME THAT’S EVER BEEN VOTED ON BY THE PEOPLE
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THROUGH A CONSTITUTIONAL
CONVENTION THEY CHOSE THIS NAME AND THIS NAME WAS RATIFIED AND
REALLY MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR ME IS THAT FOR 34 YEARS PEOPLE HAVE
USED THIS NAME TO PUSH THIS MOVEMENT FORWARD AND AS WE SPEAK
TODAY THERE IS LEGISLATION IN BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS CALLED
THE NEW COLUMBIA ADMISSION ACT WHICH WILL BE ACTIVE IF THIS
RESOLUTION, IF THIS REFERENDUM PASSES IN NOVEMBER THAT
LEGISLATION WHICH NOW HAS 133 MEMBERS IN THE HOUSE AND 19 IN
THE SENATE WILL BE ACTIVE LEGISLATION.
SO I THINK IT IS CONFUSING. TO CHANGE THE NAME AT ALL.
>>SENATOR, THE LEGISLATION WOULD HAVE TO BE REINTRODUCED.>>NOT IN NOVEMBER.
IN JANUARY. IT WOULD HAVE TO BE REINTRODUCED
BUT FOR THE LAST FEW MONTHS OF THE YEAR IT WOULD STILL BE THE
NEW COLUMBIA ADMISSION ACT AND WE CAN ALWAYS VOTE ON A NEW
NAME. WE VOTED ON THIS NAME.
FOR THOSE REASONS I WOULD LIKE TO KEEP NEW COLUMBIA.
>>MAYOR: I’M GOING TO PUT A MOTION ON THE TABLE TO MAINTAIN
THE NAME NEW COLUMBIA. ALL OF THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE.
ANY OPPOSED? NEW COLUMBIA IT IS.
DO WE HAVE ANYTHING ELSE ON THE BOUNDARIES, THE BOUNDARIES HAVE
BEEN DISCUSSED AND ARE A PART OF THE COMMISSION PACKET.
ANYTHING ELSE?>>[INAUDIBLE].
>>MAYOR: OKAY. THE OP DIRECTOR ERIC SHAW IS
HERE IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS ON THE BOUNDARY.
HEARING NONE, WE WILL AS PART OF — WELL, ACTUALLY LET ME JUST
MOVE ON TO ITEM 9. ITEM 4.
THE VOTE ON THE FOLLOWING. THE COMMISSION REPORT THAT’S IN
FRONT OF YOU, WE WILL LEAVE STAFF THE ABILITY TO ADD A
SECTION ABOUT THE DISCUSSION AT THIS MEETING.
YOU ALSO HAVE THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION AS AMENDED.
YOU HAVE THE MAP.>>I MOVE ADOPTION OF THE MAP.>>MAYOR: CAN WE MOVE ALL THREE
IN BLOCK?>>SO MOVED.>>MAYOR: OKAY.
SO YOU HAVE ON THE TABLE THE COMMISSION REPORT, THE DRAFT
CONSTITUTION AS AMENDED AND THE BOUNDARY FOR THE FEDERAL, FOR
FEDERAL WASHINGTON AND FOR THE STATE OF NEW COLUMBIA.
ANY FURTHER DISCUSSION? DISCUSSION, DISCUSSION?
ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE. ANY OPPOSED?
THE AYES HAVE IT. LET THE RECORD SHOW THAT THERE
HAS BEEN A UNANIMOUS VOTE OF THE COMMISSION TO FORWARD TO THE
COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THE COMMITTEE — THE
COMMISSION REPORT, THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION AND THE MAP.
LET ME TURN TO ANY OTHER BUSINESS BEFORE THE COMMISSION.
MR. CHAIRMAN?>>I WOULD JUST LIKE TO NOTE
MANY FOLKS MAY KNOW THIS A RESOLUTION WAS INTRODUCED IN THE
COUNCIL TODAY BY ALL MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL TO APPROVE THE
SUBMISSION OF A PROPOSED ADVISORY REFERENDUM TO THE BOARD
OF ELECTIONS FOR CONCLUSION ON THE BALLOT NOVEMBER 8TH AND THIS
MEASURE WAS RETAINED WHICH MEANS IT WILL BE TAKEN UP BY THE
COUNCIL FOR A VOTE ON JULY 12TH. AND THEN SEPARATELY BASED ON THE
LAST VOTE, THE COUNCIL IS PREPARED TO RECEIVE THE
CONSTITUTION, THE REPORT AND THE MAP.
>>MAYOR: ALL RIGHT.>>ALL RIGHT.
]>>MAYOR: ALL RIGHT.
CONGRATULATIONS, EVERYBODY. [ APPLAUSE ]>>MAYOR: SO WITH THAT, THERE
IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS BEFORE THE COMMISSION, WE’RE ADJOURNED.

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