[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 6 (Monday, January 10, 2022)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E16-E17]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




INTRODUCTION OF A BILL TO AMEND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOME RULE ACT 
 TO PERMIT THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO 
  TRANSMIT ACTS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO CONGRESS IN ELECTRONIC 
                                  FORM

                                 ______
                                 

                       HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON

                      of the district of columbia

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, January 10, 2022

  Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, today, I introduce a bill that would amend 
the District of Columbia Home Rule Act (HRA) to permit the Chairman of 
the Council of the District of Columbia to transmit legislation to 
Congress in the form of the Chairman's choosing, including in 
electronic form. This bill seeks to modernize the method D.C. 
legislation is transmitted to Congress for the congressional review 
period.
  The HRA requires that D.C. legislation be transmitted to Congress for 
a congressional review period before the legislation can take effect. 
The legislation takes effect after a review period, unless a resolution 
of disapproval is enacted into law during the review period. While the 
HRA is silent on the method that the Chairman must use to transmit the 
legislation, House and Senate precedent require that the legislation be 
physically transmitted to the Speaker of the House and the President of 
the Senate. Physical transmittal imposes costs in terms of time on the 
Council, the House and Senate Parliamentarians, the Speaker, the 
President of the Senate, the House Clerk, the Senate Secretary, the 
House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Senate Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. When the HRA was enacted 
in 1973, email did not exist.
  The Council engages in a 12-step process to comply with the physical 
transmittal requirement:
  Step 1: Write individualized cover letters.
  Step 2: The Chairman physically signs the cover letters.
  Step 3: Arrange a pick-up time of the legislation and cover letters 
from the Chairman.
  Step 4: Print two copies of the bill and two copies of the committee 
report to deliver to the Speaker and to the President of the Senate.
  Step 5: Arrange a time for delivery to the Speaker's office.

[[Page E17]]

  Step 6: Arrange a time for delivery to the President of the Senate's 
office.
  Step 7: Arrange for two D.C. employees to drive to the Capitol. (Two 
staffers are required because parking restrictions require a driver and 
a delivery person.)
  Step 8: Drive to the Capitol.
  Step 9: Deliver the legislation to the Speaker's office and get a 
signed receipt.
  Step 10: Deliver the legislation to the President of the Senate's 
office and get a signed receipt.
  Step 11: Assign the congressional review period based on the 
receipts.
  Step 12: File the signed receipts.
  The aftermath of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol 
highlighted the burdens of physical transmittal. After temporary 
fencing was installed around the Capitol, staff from the D.C. Council 
could not enter the Capitol, delaying the transmittal of legislation 
until Council staff and congressional staff developed a workaround. 
Council staff and congressional staff met outside the fencing so the 
Council staff could physically transmit the legislation.
  Today, when we live in the era of e-mail, there is no reason to 
continue to require an increasingly ancient process, when these 
documents could be transmitted electronically instead, saving a 
tremendous amount of time and effort. I urge my colleagues to support 
this commonsense bill.

                          ____________________