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Sense of the Council in Support of New License Plate Slogan Resolution of 2000
PR 13-849

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Chairman Linda W. Cropp


To support the immediate replacement of the "Celebrate and Discover" slogan on newly issued District of Columbia license plates with "Taxation Without Representation".

RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution may be cited as the "Sense of the Council in Support of New License Plate Slogan Resolution of 2000".

Sec. 2. The Council finds that:

(1) The District of Columbia is the only national capital amongst the world's representative democracies whose residents are denied voting representation in the national legislature.

(2) Although the Constitution of the United States (Article I, section 8, clause 17) authorizes the establishment of a national capital district over which "Congress shall have the power to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever", nothing in its terms or in the rationale offered for this provision suggests that the right to voting representation in the Congress should be withheld from those citizens who happen to reside within the boundaries of the national capital.

(3) The core principle of a democracy -- that the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed -- is violated when citizens do not have voting representation in the bodies that make their laws.

(4) Moreover, the fundamental Constitutional rights of one person-one vote and equal protection under the law are each violated by the District's lack of voting representation in the House and the lack of any representation in the Senate.

(5) The denial of Congressional voting representation for District residents is even more heinous when coupled with the fact that Congress chooses to exercise ultimate decision-making over all local legislative and budgetary matters affecting District residents. Thus, District residents are not only locked out of their national legislature but also out of what is in a structural sense their state legislature. This shameful lack of democracy is further compounded by the transfer of certain state-like functions from the District government to the Federal government.

(6) Because District residents bear all of the burdens of citizenship, including federal taxation in the amount of nearly $2 billion annually -- higher federal taxes than eight other states, and including wartime participation, District residents are entitled to full representation in Congress, the same as all other U.S. citizens.

(7) Taxation without representation led the American colonies in 1776 to declare their independence from Britain. This lofty principle on which our nation was founded requires that District of Columbia residents in the .year 2000 no longer be treated-as second-class citizens.

Sec. 3. As part of a nationwide effort to educate citizens of the United States about the denial of fundamental democratic rights to American citizens who reside in the nation's capital, the Council calls upon the Mayor to take immediate action to replace the "Celebrate and Discover" slogan on newly issued District of Columbia license plates on motor vehicles with a slogan that instead reads "Taxation Without Representation".

Sec. 4. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

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