The D.C. City Council passed emergency legislation last night to ensure the continued operation of a federally financed program to arrest drunk drivers. The council also approved a change in the city's residency requirements that will allow some high-level data processing employes and certain other city workers to live outside the District.

The council also enacted legislation that opens up taxi stands at city hotels to all city cabs by prohibiting hotels from establishing exclusive use of those stands by specific taxi companies.

The council also approved the appointment of Vivien R. Cunningham as the council's new executive secretary, replacing John Brown who is resigning.

The mostly routine night session perked up briefly when singer Stevie Wonder was brought to the well of the council chamber to be honored for his efforts to make Martin Luther King's Jan. 15 birth date a national holiday. The date is an official holiday in the District.

The program to combat drunk drivers was briefly interrupted last week when federal officials said the city had failed to maintain a driver education program in the schools. The move jeopardized about $800,000 in federal funds for a variety of traffic programs, including $135,000 to pay city police overtime on weekends to watch for drunk drivers.

However, federal officials reinstituted the program a day later after the council indicated it would pass legislation to fund a driver education program.

The change in the residency rule opens the way for the city to fill a variety of high level data processing and finance jobs that have been vacant because qualified applicants have not been found in the city.