House GOP lawmakers try to put brakes on DC speed cameras

For all the latest developments in Congress, follow WTOP Capitol Hill Correspondent Mitchell Miller at Today on the Hill.

House Republicans are trying to prevent D.C. from using automated traffic enforcement, including speed cameras, and want to restrict District enforcement to prevent motorists from turning right on red at certain intersections.

Those are among numerous riders or provisions that have been added to the legislation covering D.C., which has been passed by the House Appropriations Committee.

D.C. fought similar riders last year. Local leaders have said that prohibiting the District from collecting fines from automated traffic enforcement could blow a hole of up to $1 billion in the city’s budget.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who opposes the riders, released a list that have been added to the latest bill. They include measures that would:

  • Maintain an existing rider that prohibits D.C. from spending local funds on abortions for low-income women.
  • Prohibit D.C. from using local funds to commercialize adult-use marijuana.
  • Prohibit D.C. from using local funds to implement its Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022.
  • Reduce the maximum age of eligibility for D.C.’s Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 1985.
  • Prohibit D.C. from using local funds to implement its law that allows noncitizens to vote in local elections.
  • Prohibit the of local funds to enforce any COVID-19 mask or vaccine mandate.

Republicans are also proposing a 50% cut in funding for the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program, which provides $10,000 for D.C. students who attend public universities outside of the District.

The latest legislation would provide $20 million for the program, which was started in 1999 to help make up the difference for out-of-state tuition, since D.C. doesn’t have a major public university.

The rider involving red light cameras is aimed at a 2022 law passed by the D.C. Council that would ban right turns on red by 2025.

Supporters have said it is needed to address safety issues involving pedestrians and the growing number of scooters, cyclists and other traffic that goes beyond cars.

Norton is upset by what she considers another effort by congressional Republicans to meddle in D.C. affairs.

“While I am pleased to have achieved some victories for D.C. in the bill reported out of the House Appropriations Committee yesterday, I am outraged by the anti-home-rule riders and committee report provisions,” Norton said on Friday.

Among the victories she cited was the exemption for D.C. from federal government shutdowns.

The legislation also calls for the District to get $8 million to address flooding and provide cleanup of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, as well as Rock Creek.

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Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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