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Turning to the Senate

Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will introduce a measure today that would give the District of Columbia a full vote in the House, as well as give Utah an additional Representative. [IMGCAP(1)]

The bill is expected to mirror a plan passed by the House in April. That version hit a roadblock when it reached the Senate, however, as tax language included in the measure sent it to the Finance Committee instead of the Lieberman-chaired Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Lieberman has been a longtime advocate of D.C. voting rights and has promised to spearhead its push through the chamber.

School Takeover. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced a bill Monday that would give a green light to a plan orchestrated by District Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) to make the city’s public schools a cabinet-level agency under the mayor’s control.

The bill is expected to be marked up in the Oversight and Government Reform Committee today.

Fenty’s 2006 campaign was centered on a takeover of the city’s troubled school system, similar to methods undertaken in cities such as New York. Fenty released details of the takeover plan within weeks of taking office, and the City Council approved it in a 9-2 vote on April 19. For the plan to happen, Congress must repeal the section of the Home Rule Act that created the city’s board of education.

Dismissed. Capitol Police union officials had little reaction Monday to a decision by a U.S. attorney to dismiss the case against Phillip Thompson, an aide for Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) who was arrested while carrying the Senator’s gun through a security checkpoint.

Thompson had been scheduled for a court appearance today, but U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor noted in a release on Friday that “after reviewing and analyzing all of the evidence in the case, we do not believe that the essential elements of the crime of carrying a pistol without a license can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Taylor went on to praise the Capitol Police for its officers’ “swift actions” during the incident. Taylor added that “keeping our Capitol safe is a tremendously difficult job, and it is one that the officers in this case performed with the utmost professionalism and dignity.”

Capitol Police Labor Committee Chairman Andy Maybo declined to comment on the outcome of the investigation, saying only: “The Capitol Police officers did their job well. I’m proud of the officers for the outstanding job they did.”

The outcome is quite different from the last time the U.S. attorney’s office and Capitol Police union officials crossed paths. In June 2006, then-U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein announced that a grand jury had found no probable cause in a case involving then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s (D-Ga.) altercation with an officer at a House office building checkpoint.

— Elizabeth Brotherton and John McArdle

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