Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Vote for D.C.?


Last Wednesday, a Senate committee approved a bill (HR. 157 and related bill S.160) that would grant the District of Columbia a vote in the House of Representatives. Such a law would settle a the debate that began in 1801 when those living in the District lost their citizenship in Maryland and Virginia, but remained subject to paying taxes and serving in the armed forces.

It was not until the Twenty-third Amendment, passed in 1961, that citizens of D.C. were able to vote in presidential elections. Opponents to the new bill state that a constitutional amendment must first be passed, or any law granting D.C. a vote in Congress would be unconstitutional.

From the Headlines to Your Classroom
Your students can read the text of the bill, track votes on it and investigate the bill's sponsors all from the Citizens Help Desk on the National Constitution Center's website. The Citizens Help Desk also provides up to the minute information on the bill's status.

Your students can read more about the issue, state their opinions and deliberate the issue with their classmates when you post a recent Town Hall Wall that was on display at the National Constitution Center and is available for download on the Center's website.

Students can also discover what the Constitution says about the District of Columbia by investigating the Center's online, annotated Interactive Constitution.

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