Thursday, March 19, 2015
Media Source: 
DCist.com
Author: 
Rachel Sadon

Sen. Ted "passionate fighter for limited government" Cruz, has taken it upon himself to defend the District's right to pass its own laws and govern as we see fit ... yeah, not quite.

Actually, Cruz (R-TX) introduced measures Wednesday to strike down two laws passed and signed by the city's elected leaders. Claiming D.C.'s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act of 2014 and Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014 violate religious freedom, he's seeking to overturn them through disapproval resolutions.

The laws, respectively, would prevent employers from discriminating based on reproductive health decisions, including having an abortion or using birth control, and apply the city's gay nondiscrimination laws to religiously affiliated educational institutions

Cruz—who will defend states' rights until he is blue in the face .... until, of course, they do something he doesn't like—was joined by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). Lankford co-introduced the measures and called D.C.'s laws a "brazen display of intolerance,#8221; in a statement to CQ Roll Call. The advocacy group Heritage Action for America has been lobbying members of Congress to oppose the measures and a raft of conservative groups have spoken out against them.

Meanwhile, more than 50 women’s rights and gay rights groups urged Congress not to interferewith the laws earlier this week, calling them important protections to ensure that "those who work and study in the District are treated fairly."

If Congress doesn't act within the mandatory 30-day review period, both will become D.C. law. Asthe Post points out, the resolutions probably aren't going anywhere:

The measures, known as disapproval resolutions, could in theory halt local laws passed last year by the D.C. Council and signed by the city’s mayor. But to do so, Cruz’s measures would require support of both chambers of Congress and the signature of President Obama.

Although rarely successful at stopping D.C. laws, the resolutions are often more effective politically, giving members of Congress legislative records to build bona fides with constituent groups that feel strongly about the District’s often liberal stances on social issues.

Still, it's one more reminder that D.C.'s "taxation without representation" license plates continue to ring true.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement: “In no other local jurisdiction in America with similar laws could such a naked violation of local self-government take place."

Kimberly Perry, head of the lobbying group D.C. Vote, noted Cruz and Lankford's hypocrisy in a statement: "They are now guilty of the same federal overreach they often criticize in others."

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