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Free and Equal D.C.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced a series of bills on the House Floor entitled "Free and Equal D.C." aimed at giving the same rights and privileges to the District of Columbia that all other states enjoy. Her goal is to ensure the city's independence form Congress, who has a strong hand in the administration of the area.

Starting with H.R. 265, the New Columbia Admission Act, Norton wishes to provide the citizens of D.C. the appropriate representation and full privileges of a state. The proposed 51st state, New Columbia, would exclude most Federal monuments as well as integral structures to the federal governement, such as the White House and Capitol Hill. The boundaries of this new state would follow a very specific path through the city, which is laid out in the text of the bill. The bill would also provide, after certification of results, that the Office of the Mayor would become the Office of the Governor, the City Council would become the House of Delegates, and the Chair of the City Council would become the Chair of the House of Delegates.

Statehood would entitle the citizens to equal representation, with two Senators and at least one Representative.

H.R. 266, the District of Columbia Equal Representation Act of 2011, if passed would bypass the issue of statehood and amend the appropriate laws and codes to allow the D.C. citizens the right to have two Senators and at least one Representative, with more Representatives forth coming after future dicennial census's if the counts allow it. It would also increase House membership from 435 to 436 seats.

The final bill of the series, H.R. 267, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2011, would eliminate the Delegate position for the District of Columbia, and replacing it with a Representative, allowing the that member to participate fully in House procedures and votes, to which a Delegate currently can not.

Currently, none of these bills enjoy co-sponsors and there are no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimates.

H.R. 265 has been referred to both the Committee on Oversight and Governement Reform as well as the House Rules Committee.

H.R. 266 and 267 was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on the Judiciary.

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