In a press release issued by her office, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton announced that her District of Columbia Home Rule Expansion Act (H.R. 8861), “the biggest expansion of D.C. home rule since passage of the D.C. Home Rule Act in 1973,” passed the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The bill, if passed into law, would give D.C. the exclusive authority to prosecute D.C. crimes, exclusive authority to grant clemency for D.C. crimes, and eliminate the congressional review period for D.C. legislation.
Notably missing from the language of the bill, however, is any reference to returning the parole function to District control.
From Rep. Norton’s release:
- “Until Congress grants D.C. statehood, which is closer than ever, there is no constitutional or policy reason Congress should not expand D.C.’s authority to govern its local affairs. Today’s committee passage of my bill demonstrates progress and momentum toward expanding D.C.’s control over its own local affairs, and I look forward to House passage of the bill.”
- The bill “would give D.C. the same authority states and territories have over certain local governmental functions. Under the Constitution, Congress has plenary authority over both D.C. and the territories. Congress has already used its plenary authority to give the territories the self-governing authorities this bill would give D.C.”
- The “bill would give D.C. the exclusive authority to prosecute D.C. crimes. Currently, the U.S. Attorney for D.C. has the authority to prosecute most D.C. crimes committed by adults and some by juveniles, while the D.C. Attorney General has the authority to prosecute most D.C. crimes committed by juveniles and some by adults.”