A new District of Columbia law preventing landlords from evicting people when it's cold won't go into effect until it's warm.
Criminals convicted in the city this month will not be subject to strict new minimum mandatory-sentencing requirements approved by District voters in last September's primary.
And Asians and some Hispanics will have to wait a while longer before coming under the city's program that sets aside a certain amount of city contracts for minority-owned businesses.
These are some of the issues involved in 45 pieces of city-approved legislation that have been delayed because the 97th Congress ended before the expiration of a 30-day layover period that applies to laws passed by the D.C. government.
Under the city's home-rule charter that went into effect in 1975, all city-approved legislation must go to Congress for review. If Congress does not disapprove the legislation within 30 legislative days, it goes into law. Since only days Congress is in session count toward the 30-day requirement, it generally takes 60 to 90 days for routine bills to become law.
But with the end of a Congress, the time period has to start all over again with the new Congress.
That means, effectively, that legislation approved by the D.C. City Council between mid-September and the end of 1982 probably will not become law until mid-March.
Any bill the City Council believes must go into effect immediately can be approved as emergency legislation. But only one of the 45 affected bills--the real property tax rate for the 1983 tax year-- was put into effect by emergency legislation, according to Bruce French, legislative counsel to the City Council.
City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), chairman of the council's housing and economic development committee, said she was surprised the eviction bill was not approved as emergency legislation, but she said she would expect landlords to abide by the new rules even if they are not technically in effect.
"The real-estate community knows our intent, and I think there will be many landlords who will conform," Jarvis said.
That law, passed unanimously in mid-November, prohibits evictions any day that the weather is predicted to go below 25 degrees. Jarvis said Council Chairman David A. Clarke proposed the bill last year when he saw someone being evicted in the cold.
No one was available for comment at the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, the group that drew sharp criticism last year for paying U.S. marshals overtime to evict people on weekends. But a woman at the U.S. Marshals Service said the only limit on eviction policy there remains the rule against evictions if there is at least a 50 percent chance of rain.
Of the other bills, about half are alley closings or technical or minor measures. Some of the others were not going to go into effect until later anyway, like a bill requiring child restraints in cars and a bill to begin staggering auto registration.
Other delayed laws would allow prefabricated or modular construction in the District and reduce some building code requirements to spur new construction; make sure that residents of public housing projects get priority treatment in city youth job training programs; give the city authority to immediately correct life-or-health-threatening housing code violations; establish penalties for defacing property; establish real estate licensing procedures and give a retroactive tax break to the New Bethel Baptist Church.
Johnny Barnes, staff aide on the House District Committee, said there is no indication so far that any of the bills will be the subject of a congressional disapproval resolution. Congress has overturned D.C. laws only twice so far.