DISTRICT BRIEFING

DISTRICT BRIEFING

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CONGRESS

Quarter for D.C.?

The House of Representatives approved a bill yesterday allowing the District to place a design on the back of the U.S. quarter, as the 50 states have the right to do.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), was approved on a voice vote. It had been placed on the suspension calendar, which allows bills with little opposition to get fast-track approval.

It was the fifth time the House passed the District of Columbia and United States Territories Circulating Quarter Dollar Program Act. The bill also would extend the quarter program to American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Senate has never passed the bill, but Norton said she is optimistic this time because the Senate is controlled by Democrats. One of the bill's past sponsors, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), is chairman of the banking committee, which has jurisdiction over the legislation, Norton noted.

A 1998 law allowed the 50 states to offer designs for U.S. quarters representing states' history, landmarks, icons or flora. Twenty-one billion quarters representing 40 states have been minted so far, Norton's office said.

-- Mary Beth Sheridan

CRIME

Chapel Attacked

D.C. police are investigating damage to the 103-year-old chapel that sits in a historic cemetery on Capitol Hill. The Chapel at Historic Congressional Cemetery is used by Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a liberal offshoot from the Catholic church.

Archbishop Michael Seneco said yesterday that police don't know who threw a brick or bricks into two original stained-glass windows, sending colored glass flying into the aisle. The damage was discovered when the congregation arrived for Sunday worship. The 200-year-old cemetery and the chapel, which sit at 18th and E streets SE, are owned by a historic preservation group that rents space to the congregation. The group also raises money by charging dog owners to let their pets run off leash on the cemetery grounds, and animals are common at Our Lady services.

-- Michelle Boorstein


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