ACLU Statement on D.C. Statehood Markup

February 11, 2020 2:30 pm

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WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives is poised to vote on statehood for the District of Columbia, following the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s markup of H.R. 5038 and subsequent vote ordering the bill to be reported out of committee. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of the District of Columbia recommend a “yes” vote and urge Congress to swiftly bring this measure to a full floor vote.

Monica Hopkins, executive director of the ACLU of the District of Columbia, said, “Our democracy works best when all eligible voters can cast their ballots, and yet, 700,000 Americans, neighbors in our nation’s capital, are disenfranchised. It is despicable and disheartening that some politicians chose this enfranchisement vote to try and advance their ideological agenda. Today’s markup is a historic step forward, and we urge Speaker Pelosi to swiftly bring this legislation, without amendments, to the floor.”

Sonia Gill, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “It is unconscionable that any member of Congress would vote to deny 700,000 Americans the right to equal representation in our national government. The residents of the District of Columbia have made clear that they want statehood and they want it now. Our nation’s values of liberty, justice, and democracy demand a ‘yes’ vote on making D.C. the 51st state of our union.”

The legislation would grant statehood to the District of Columbia as the 51st state, providing District residents with congressional representation of two senators and one voting member of the House of Representatives. The legislation would also transform the office of the mayor to the office of the governor, and the D.C. Council would become the new legislative assembly. The new state would be called the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.

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