District of Columbia Code

The laws in the District of Columbia Code are passed by the Council of the District of Columbia. The Council consists of 13 members, including a Chairman. Each of the eight wards in the District must be represented by at least one member. The members of the Council serve four-year terms, and they are not subject to any term limits.

A proposed law is known as a bill. After a bill is introduced in the Council, it will be referred to one or more standing committees. These committees determine whether a bill should move forward, and they also can propose amendments to a bill. If a bill passes through the committee phase, it will return to the Council. The members of the Council will discuss the bill and consider any amendments suggested by a committee or by fellow members. Once the bill has been finalized, the Council will vote on whether to approve it. If it is approved, the Council will vote on the bill again at a later meeting.

If the bill is approved again, the Mayor of the District of Columbia will review it. The Mayor may approve the bill by signing it, or the Mayor may accept the bill without signing it. If the Mayor vetoes the bill, however, it will return to the Council. The Council can vote to override the Mayor's veto, which requires a two-thirds majority vote. Afterward, the bill becomes an Act. It will be sent to the U.S. Congress, which has 30 days to review it, or 60 days for certain criminal legislation. The Act will become law unless Congress passes a joint resolution disapproving the Act, and the U.S. President approves the resolution within the required period.