Norton Moves D.C. School Restructuring Bill thru House in Record Time
May 8, 2007
Washington, DC- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today moved the District closer to implementing unprecedented public schools charter revisions proposed by Mayor Adrian Fenty and passed by the Council of the District of Columbia. Norton today got swift House passage of H.R. 2080, a bill of major importance to the city as it moves on its own to correct problems in the school system, she told the House. Norton said that she introduced the bill to support the District and only before Congress because the current the Home Rule Act requires federal legislation for these changes to be made to the District's charter.
Norton is in the process of writing a complete overhaul of the home rule charter to remove the many matters, like school restructuring, which should not be in a chartering document, but can only be amended by the Congress. Many provisions are redundant, obsolete, no longer necessary, or are ordinary legislative matters. Others violate home rule, some of them now a part of the "Free and Equal D.C. Series" of major bills, such as Norton's budget autonomy bill, introduced shortly after Congress convened.
"The extra congressional level of procedure for a local school restructuring is not even close to the ball park of congressional jurisdiction, let alone expertise," Norton said. "This bill dramatically demonstrates the importance of a comprehensive bill I am developing to transfer all home rule authority to the local jurisdiction, where it belongs. The necessity for a member of Congress to introduce a bill for a self-governing city is an anachronism neither Congress nor the District can afford today." On the House floor today Norton promised that she would try to make this the last time Congress is requested to pass charter bills.