H.R. 1345: WIPA and PABSS Reauthorization Act of 2009

H.R. 1345

WIPA and PABSS Reauthorization Act of 2009

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
September 9, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

H.R. 1345 is being considered on the floor under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) on March 5, 2009. The bill was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and reported out of the Committee by voice vote on June 4, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3325 would amend the "Hatch Act" (which concerns political activities of public employees) to include D.C. within the definition of "State" with respect to political activities of certain State and local employees; and removes provisions applicable to employees of government of D.C. and places certain restrictions on political activities of employees of the D.C. government.

Background

In 1939, Congress originally enacted legislation known as the Hatch Act, which limited the political activities of federal employees, employees of the District of Columbia, and certain employees of State and local governments. The Hatch Act was intended to eliminate partisan political activity among government employees.

In October 1993, the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1992 were enacted to modify the Hatch Act to permit federal employees to take an active part in political management and partisan political campaigns while off duty. Despite these changes, Congress retained provisions of the law which subject District of Columbia employees to the same Hatch Act restrictions as federal employees. These restrictions were maintained without regard to the fact that the District had previously been granted the authority to self-govern and enact its own local laws.

While the 1993 amendments to the Hatch Act exempted the District of Columbia Mayor, members of the City Council, and the Recorder of Deeds from its restrictions, they did not include exemptions for other local elected officials such as members of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC) or members of the former District of Columbia Board of Education. Current law has caused confusion about the applicability of the Hatch Act to District officials. In recent years, some ANC commissioners, who are elected, unpaid officials, have been affected by the uncertainty over their status under the Hatch Act.

Cost

CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would have no significant impact on the federal budget. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.