Code of the District of Columbia

§ 1–204.12. Acts, resolutions, and requirements for quorum.

(a) The Council, to discharge the powers and duties imposed herein, shall pass acts and adopt resolutions, upon a vote of a majority of the members of the Council present and voting, unless otherwise provided in this chapter or by the Council. Except as provided in the last sentence of this subsection, the Council shall use acts for all legislative purposes. Each proposed act shall be read twice in substantially the same form, with at least 13 days intervening between each reading. Upon final adoption by the Council each act shall be made immediately available to the public in a manner which the Council shall determine. If the Council determines, by a vote of two-thirds of the members, that emergency circumstances make it necessary that an act be passed after a single reading, or that it take effect immediately upon enactment, such act shall be effective for a period of not to exceed 90 days. Resolutions shall be used (1) to express simple determinations, decisions, or directions of the Council of a special or temporary character; and (2) to approve or disapprove proposed actions of a kind historically or traditionally transmitted by the Mayor, the Board of Elections, Public Service Commission, Armory Board, Board of Education, the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia, or the Convention Center Board of Directors to the Council pursuant to an act. Such resolutions must be specifically authorized by that act and must be designed to implement that act.

(b) A special election may be called by resolution of the Council to present for an advisory referendum vote of the people any proposition upon which the Council desires to take action.

(c) A majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the lawful convening of any meeting and for the transaction of business of the Council, except a lesser number may hold hearings.

(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 788, Pub. L. 93-198, title IV, § 412; Oct. 27, 1978, 92 Stat. 2023, Pub. L. 95-526; Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 1974, Pub. L. 98-473, § 131(c); July 25, 2013, D.C. Law 19-321, § 2(c), 60 DCR 1724.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-229.

1973 Ed., § 1-146.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-206.02, § 2-552, § 2-602, § 8-171.04, and § 47-802.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 19-321 deleted “(other than an act to which § 1-204.46 applies)” following ”Each proposed act” in the third sentence of (a).

Cross References

Administrative procedure, municipal regulations, see § 2-552.

Codification and publication of acts and resolutions, see § 2-601 et seq.

Office of energy, emergency energy shortage contingency plan, see § 2-904.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(c) of the Local Budget Autonomy Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-566, January 7, 2013, 59 DCR 15061, applicable as of January 1, 2014, and effective as provided in § 1-203.03.

Effective Dates

Section 5 of D.C. Law 19-321 provided that the act shall take effect as provided in § 1-203.03.

Editor's Notes

Temporary legislation: Pursuant to (a), the Council often adopts temporary legislation in conjunction with emergency legislation which takes effect after a period of Congressional review following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council of the District of Columbia to override the veto), as provided in § 1-206.02(c). Such legislation carries an expiration provision limiting its application, usually, to 225 days. Amendatory temporary legislation is treated under the code section affected; following this, it is listed in the D.C. Laws Not Codified table found in the Tables Volume.

Emergency legislation: Pursuant to (a), the Council adopts emergency legislation which takes effect upon its enactment (approval by the Mayor, or in the event of veto by the Mayor, override of the veto by the Council) and which remain in effect for no longer than 90 days. Amendatory emergency acts are treated under the Code section affected; otherwise the act is listed in the Emergency Act Table found in the Tables Volume.

Fiscal year: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 1-203.03.

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-321: Section 3 of D.C. Law 19-321 provided that section 2 of the act shall apply as of January 1, 2014.

D.C. Law 19-321 was declared invalid by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in a memorandum opinion dated May 19, 2014, Civil Action No. 2014-0655. The court held that although the Council of the District of Columbia, the Mayor, and United States District Court for the District of Columbia are powerless to grant to the residents of the District of Columbia full budget autonomy, the United States Congress and the President of the United States are empowered to do so; and concluded that the Budget Autonomy Act was unlawful. See Council of the Dist. of Columbia v. Gray, 42 F. Supp. 3d 134, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68055 (2014).

On May 27, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued Order No. 14-7067, vacating the lower court’s judgment, dismissing the appeal, and remanding the case to the District Court with instructions to remand the case to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. See Council of the Dist. of Columbia v. Bowser, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8881 (2015). The amendments contained in D.C. Law 19-321 are codified in this section.


Resolution 14-494, the “Establishment of an Office of the District Attorney Advisory Referendum Approval Resolution of 2002”, was approved effective July 19, 2002.