Thirty-six new District of Columbia laws that went into effect last week range from the eventual creation of a new municipal civil service system to the granting of more civil rights to the mentally retarded.
Among the first people directly affected by the new laws are eight officials who will get pay raises. They include Mayor Marion Barry and seven of the 13 members of the D.C. City Council.
Barry's pay went from $50,000 to $60,000. The pay of six council members rose from $30,017 to $35,000, with Chairman Arrington Dixon making an extra $10,000.
The unsalaried school board members, who now receive up to $4,000 in reimbursable expenses, will get $17,500 beginning Jan 1, 1980. School board pay will be set at half that of council members, with the board president getting an extra $2,500.
The pay increases are part of a bill that will establish a new personnel system for the District effective Jan. 1, 1980. After that date, employe unions will negotiate for wages and working conditions instead of having them set by the council.
New regulations require that all new city employes must reside in the city (current employes are exempted). A related bill provides for council confirmation of high-level mayoral appointees.
Some parts of the personnel bill went into effect last week, including the pay increases for the mayor and some council members. Under its provisions, the only council members who get a raise immediately are those who began new terms in 1979, either by being elected or reelected last November or by subsequent appointment or election.
The city charter prohibits council members from raising their own pay during their current terms of office.
Those who are getting the higher pay are Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large), elected in November; David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3), William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5), Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6) and Hilda Mason (Statehool-At Large), all reelected in November, and John L. Ray (D-At Large), appointed in January to fill the seat vacated by Mayor Barry.
Bay is running for election to the remaining two years of the term in a May 1 special election, at which the Ward 4 seat vacated by Council Chairman Dixon also will be filled. The Ward 4 winner also will get the higher pay.
Other council members will collect the pay raises after the 1980 election.
All 36 new laws were passed by the council late in 1978 and, under a charter provision, were subject to review by Congress. They went into effect automatically after 30 weekdays. Congress has the power, which it has never exercised, to veto council-passed legislation by passing a resolution of disapproval.
Many of the new laws had gone into effect on a stopgap basis, however, since identical bills were passed by the council on an emergency basis after Congress had adjourned for the year. Emergency bills do not require congressional review, are effective for 90 days and can be renewed.
Among those bills, for example, were those exempting meals brought into senior citizen residences from the restaurant sales tax, making changes in the unemployment compensation law, setting the tax rate on real estate, subsidizing transit fares for school pupils and regulating the conversion of apartment buildings into condominiums.
Some of the bills affect the city's internal administration. Several authorize the closing of public alleys to permit construction projects to proceed. One bill closed to traffic the 2300 block of I Street NW at the Foggy Bottom Metrorail station so that it can be turned into a pedestrian plaza on the George Washington University campus.
One of the new laws has been hailed by its supporters as a bill of rights for the retarded. It makes committing people to institutions more difficult and eases the way for them to get out. It sets up procedures for reviewing the status of those already in Forest Haven, the city's home for the retarded, with the intent of moving as many as possible into group homes outside the institution.
Another law spells out liberal conditions under which people may instpect their own psychiatric records.
Several laws will affect the physical condition of the city. One sets the city's official planning goals and policies. Another authorizes creation of a D.C housing finance agency, but depends upon Congress passing a separate enabling law. Another sets stiff rules for preserving landmark buildings and neighborhoods.
Still another bill prohibits the private use of polygraph lie detectors in the city, and another requires the eventual installation of smoke detectors in all housing units.