District Digest: Old bills in the council and new trains on the Metro

D.C. Council recycles old legislative material
In preparation for their first major meeting of 2013, several lawmakers on the D.C. Council reintroduced old propositions, which were previously not passed.

The tactic is a classic attempt by legislators to seem active and appeal to their constituencies, without actually having to contribute genuinely new legislation and garner support for it.

According to the Washington Examiner, however, some council members are defending this practice, saying that it is a normal part of the legislative process.

“It’s not just window dressing to introduce things yet again. We went over bills that we had that didn’t make it, and we picked out the ones that we think are important and want to fight for again,” said Councilwoman Mary Cheh, who reintroduced five bills to the Council.

Councilman David Catania isn’t buying it. “I’ve always found that empty drums beat the loudest,” he said. “Sometimes, these feel-good measures will capture people’s attention for a minute and leave the impression that these people are actually working.”

Political consultant Chuck Thies attributes the lackluster legislative efforts to last year’s scandals: “On the whole, most council members are still going to try to keep their heads down.”

Metro on track for improvements, while trains derail in the yard
Metro recently announced a proposal to add 327 new positions in the next budget year, according to the Examiner.

The workers will be split up among a variety of positions, but most will be put towards the new Silver Line, which will open in December 2013, and towards improving bus services. Metro intends to hire an additional 1,776 more workers during this calendar year, as part of their planned construction and expansion.

The announcement comes at an inopportune time. A train derailed in the train yard over the weekend.

No one was on board, besides the conductor. Metro’s planned improvements are sorely needed, since this week’s crash is the third derailment in the last year.

“Meet the Press” host will not be charged for bringing an ammunition clip on air
NBC’s David Gregory escaped charges on Friday, when the D.C. attorney general decided that Gregory committed no crime, saying that he

During a nationally televised interview following the shooting in Newtown, Conn., Gregory waved an unloaded 30-round ammunition clip in the face of an NRA spokesman.

Controversy erupted once observers realized that D.C. has a ban on any ammunition clips that can hold more than 10 rounds, whether they are attached to a gun or not.

The D.C. attorney general, Irvin B. Nathan, said that prosecuting Gregory wouldn’t make the district any safer and the time and resources would be better spent actually preventing violence. “Prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia, nor serve the best interests of the people,” he wrote in a letter admonishing NBC for obtaining and the ammunition clip.

Gregory’s evasion of arrest sparked criticism from gun advocates, who abhor this selective enforcement of gun laws. Some of them even started a petition to the White House to have David Gregory prosecuted.

“David Gregory is not above the law; he is a journalist, and must be held accountable to the same law as every other person,” the petition reads.

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