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Mr. Watt. That completes my statement, Mr. Chairman. If you have questions regarding S. 1363, or our more recent proposal, we will try to answer them for you.
Senator STEVENSON. I have not had a chance to study the new proposal, since it has only just now been advocated.
Do I understand now, Mr. Watt, you support the new proposal as opposed to S. 1363?
Mr. Wart. I am suggesting, sir, that we are laying before the committee an option, either of which would be quite acceptable to the District of Columbia government.
In terms of the concept, however, of increasing home rule for the District, I think the new proposal fits much more comfortably, because by the enactment of that proposal, the Congress would be saying to the City Council, these are matters of local interest, these are matters which a local legislature in another jurisdiction would concern itself with, and these are matters which we are prepared to transfer to the local municipality, rather than retaining them in some way in the hands of the Congress.
Senator STEVENSON. It would be very unusual for a legislature to convey to a municipality all of the licensing powers without at least some residual authority in the Congress. Would there be any such authority here?
Mr. Watt. Under the new proposal, there would not be—except for the recapture of the delegated authority.
Bear in mind, however, that in a number of the areas of regulation, which are the subject of these 21 acts, the government of the District of Columbia is functioning as a State government rather than a local municipality.
We are inclined to refer to ourselves as a local government, or municipal government, but we do of course perform all of the functions of a State government, and in most States, perhaps all States, the regulation of professions and many of the occupations and callings are State-regulated functions.
I believe it would be appropriate for the Congress to look upon the District of Columbia Council as a legislative body. I hesitate to use the term because I think it has been misused of the city-State of the District of Columbia.
Senator STEVENSON. That is the point I was going to make.
Sometimes it suits your convenience, and very appropriately, to refer to yourselves as a municipality. In fact, I think you did in this testimony.
Are these licensing laws primarily for regulatory or for revenueproducing purposes?
Mr. Watt. They are primarily regulatory. For the most part, the establishment of fees has been related, or we have sought to relate them to the cost of the administration of the regulation. As a matter of fact, the next bill before the committee speaks directly to the matter of fees for a variety of acts and services provided by the District government, here the fee setting authority has been retained by the Congress.
The regulation of licenses, professions, occupations, and callings is to establish and maintain a desired standard of quality for the service being provided.
It is to provide a means whereby those who are unwilling or unable to maintain that standard of service believed to be necessary in the public interest, can be forbidden from practice, and a means of providing an adequate level of service.
It is a way of maintaining the necessary records, and accounts on those who are practicing occupations and professions in the District, and, of course, provides the revenue necessary to pay the cost of the administration. Senator STEVENSON. S. 1363 contains no limitation on the power
of the District to license for revenue-raising purposes—is that correct?
Mr. Watt. My recollection, sir, is that it does not.
Mr. Wart. It would not—that is correct. S. 1363 would grant to the Council the opportunity to set, either increase or decrease the fees connected with the issuance of licenses. I believe there is a provision which requires the Council to take notice of the cost of administration in so doing
Senator STEVENSON. I do not think there is much controversy over this bill.
At least, if there is any opposition to it, I am not aware of it.
Mr. WATT. All right, sir.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, S. 1338, the next bill, would authorize the District of Columbia Council to establish fees now charged for municipal functions performed pursuant to certain acts of Congress. This bill is identical to legislation submitted to the Congress by the Commissioner on January 26, 1971. I ask that a copy of that transmittal be included in the record.
Senator STEVENSON. Without objection, it will be so included. (The documents follow :)
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Washington, D.C., January 26, 1971. The PRESIDENT, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: The Commissioner of the District of Columbia has the honor to submit herewith a draft bill "To authorize the Government of the District of Columbia to fix certain fees."
The purpose of this proposed legislation was stated by the President in his April 28, 1969, message to the Congress recommending legislation for the District of Columbia, as follows:
"The Reorganization Plan which established the present [District of Columbia) government left to Congress many mundane municipal functions which are burdensome chores to it but important functions for good local government. At present, Congress must allot a portion of its legislative calendar to setting ordinances for the District of Columbia, in effect performing the duties of a local City Council for the Capital. It thus deals with matters which are of little or no importance to the nation as a whole—the setting of a fee, for example, to redeem a dog from the city pound. The concerns of the District are frequently shunted aside to allow for higher-priority legislative business. "No policy can be worse than to mingle great and small concerns,' argued Augustus Woodward, one of the founders of our city, when Congress considered establishing a territorial form of government in 1800. "The latter become absorbed in the former; are neglected and forgotten.'
“Legislation will be proposed to transfer a number of specific authorities to the District Government–including authority to change various fees for user charges now fixed by statute ... and modernize the licensing of various businesses, occuplations and professions.” (Emphasis and bracketed language supplied.)
The Commissioner of the District of Columbia accordingly proposes that the Congress enact legislation to authorize the District of Columbia Council to change, from time to time, a number of fees specified by the Congress in twentyone separate statutes. The fees provided by the statutes presently range from ten cents for certain notary services to $500 for licenses for pawnbrokers, private banks, and the stock exchange. The Commissioner believes that these fees, which are listed and described in the attached chart, should be examined from time to time and, if appropriate, increased or decreased to such amounts as the Council determines after public hearing to be reasonable in consideration of the interests of the public and the persons required to pay the fee, and in consideration of the approximate costs of administering each of the District's statutory duties related to the activity for which the fee is charged.
The Commissioner believes that legislation of this nature is highly desirable, both from the standpoint of relieving the Congress of these mundane municipal fee-fixing functions and
from the standpoint of vesting in the municipal government and people of the District of Columbia more responsibility in local matters. Accordingly, the Commissioner recommends the enactment of the attached draft bill. The District of Columbia Council has expressed its support for this legislation. Sincerely yours,
GRAHAM W. WATT,
Assistant to the Commissioner. For WALTER E. WASHINGTON,
FEES SPECIFIED IN ACTS OF CONGRESS RELATING TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
District of Columbia
Type of fee
4. 29–414. 5. 29–807. 6. 29-840. 7. 29-844 8. 29–936 9. 29–1092 10. 35–402. 11. 35-905. 12. 35–906.
13. 35-1113 14. 35-1345 15. 35–1363 16. 40-423. 17. 47-306. 18. 47-1521. 19. 47-1564c.
License for an outdoor sign.
$5 per year. Notary fees for various services.
$0.10 to $1.75. Pawnbroker license.
$500 for 1st year
and $250 per year
thereafter. Filing of certificate of incorporation of institution of learning-
$25. Filing of amendment of articles by cooperative association
$10 per year.
$5 to $50.
$100 to $200.
$5 to $50.
$50 per year.
thereafter. Unincorporated private banks.
$500 per year. For business done on Washington stock exchange.
$25 per year.
$20 per year. License fee for motor vehicle fuel importers.
$5 per year. For each dog owned or kept in the District of Columbia.
$3 per year. Certified copy of record of payment of dog fee.
$0.25. Impoundment fee for stray dogs..
$2. License fee for employment agencies.
$100. Public auction permit..
Not to exceed $50. Copy of sales tax return furnished to taxpayer.
$2. License for closing out sale.
$100. Registration of union label.
20. 47-1706 21. 47-1707 22. 47–1708 23. 47-1801. 24. 47–1804 25. 47-1903 26. 47-2001 27. 47-2002 28. 47-2003 29. 47-2101 30. 47-2202 31. 47-2615 32. 47-3002 33. 48-401
A BILL To authorize the Government of the District of Columbia to fix certain fees
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the District of Columbia Council is authorized and empowered to fix, from time to time, in accordance with section 2 of this Act, the fees authorized to be charged by the following Acts or parts of Acts :
(1) Section 2 of the Act entitled “An Act to regulate the erection, hanging, placing, painting, display, and maintenance of outdoor signs and other forms of exterior advertising within the District of Columbia", approved March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1486; D. C. Code, sec. 1-232).
(2) Sections 571, 586a, 753, and 754 of the Act entitled "An Act to establish a code of law for the District of Columbia", approved March 3, 1901 (31 Stat. 1280, 1282, 1312), as amended (D. C. Code, secs. 1-514, 29-414, 35–905, and 35–906).
(3) Sections 5 and 6 of the Act entitled "An Act to regulate and license pawnbrokers in the District of Columbia", approved August 6, 1956 (70 Stat. 1037, 1038; D. C. Code, secs. 2–2005 and 2–2006).
(4) Sections 7, 40, and 42 of the Act entitled "An Act to amend the Code of the District of Columbia to provide for the organization and regulation of cooperative associations, and for other purposes”, approved June 19, 1940 (54 Stat. 483, 490 ; D. C. Code, secs. 29–807, 29-840, and 29–844).
(5) Section 121 of the District of Columbia Business Corporation Act, approved June 8, 1954 (68 Stat. 228), as amended (D. C. Code, sec. 29–936).
(6) Section 92 of the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act, approved August 6, 1962 (76 Stat. 300, 301 ; D. C. Code, sec. 29–1092).
(7) Section 2 of Chapter 2 of the Act entitled “An Act to regulate the business of life insurance in the District of Columbia", approved June 19, 1934 (48 Stat. 1130 ; D. C. Code, sec. 35–402).
(8) Section 13 of title V of the Act entitled “An Act to regulate marine insurance in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes”, approved March 4, 1922 (42 Stat. 408; D. C. Code, sec. 35–1113).
(9) Section 41 of Chapter II and section 53 of Chapter III of the Fire and Casualty Act, approved October 9, 1940 (54 Stat. 1081, 1082), as amended (D.C. Code, secs. 35–1345 and 35–1363).
(10) Section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act of the District of Columbia, approved May 25, 1954 (68 Stat. 123), as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 40–423).
(11) The Act entitled "An Act relating to tax-sales and taxes in the District of Columbia”, approved February 6, 1879 (20 Stat. 283), as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 47-306).
(12) Section 21 of title II of the District of Columbia Revenue Act of 1939, approved July 26, 1939 (53 Stat. 1096; D.C. Code, sec. 47–1521).
(13) Section 4 of Article I of title V of the District of Columbia Income and Franchise Tax Act of 1947, approved July 16, 1947 (61 Stat. 342; D.C. Code, sec. 47-1564c).
(14) Paragraphs 14, 15, and 16 of section 6, and paragraph 42 of section 7 of the Act entitled “An Act making appropriations to provide for the expenses of the government of the District of Columbia for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred and three, and for other purposes”, approved July 1, 1902 (32 Stat. 621, 622, 628), as amended (D.C. Code, secs. 47–1706, 47–1707, 47-1708, and 47–2101).
(15) Sections 1 and 4 of title II of the District of Columbia Revenue Act of 1937, approved August 17, 1937 (50 Stat. 675; D.C. Code, secs. 47–1801 and 47-1804).
(16) Section 3 of the Act entitled "An Act to provide for a tax on motorvehicle fuels sold within the District of Columbia, and for other purposes", approved April 23, 1924 (43 Stat. 107), as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 47–1903).
(17) Sections 1 and 3 of the Act entitled “An Act to create a revenue in the District of Columbia by levying a tax upon all dogs therein, to make such dogs personal property, and for other purposes”, approved June 19, 1878 (20 Stat. 173, 174), as amended (D.C. Code, secs. 47–2001, 47–2002 and 47–2003).
(18) Section 2 of the Act entitled “An Act to prevent fraud at public auctions in the District of Columbia”, approved September 8, 1916 (39 Stat. 846; D.C. Code, sec. 47-2202).
(19) Section 138 of the District of Columbia Sales Tax Act, approved May 27, 1949 (63 Stat. 113; D.C. Code, sec. 47–2615).
(20) Section 2 of the Act entitled "An Act to provide for the regulation of closing-out and firesales in the District of Columbia”, approved September 1, 1959 (73 Stat. 450 ; D.C. Code, sec. 47–3002).
(21) Section 1 of the Act entitled “An Act to authorize associations of employees in the District of Columbia to adopt a device to designate the products of the labor of their members, to punish illegal use of imitation of such device, and for other purposes”, approved February 18, 1932 (47 Stat. 50), as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 48–401).
SEC. 2. The District of Columbia Council may, with respect to each of the fees established by the Acts or parts of Acts listed in the first section, after public hearing, increase or decrease such fees to such amounts as may, in the judgment of the Council, be reasonable in consideration of the interests of the public and the persons required to pay the fee, and in consideration of the approximate cost of administering each Act or part of Act to which the fee relates. (Subsequent to the hearing the following letter was received :) THE BAR ASSOCIATION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Washington, D.C., January 17, 1972. Hon. THOMAS F. EAGLETON, Chairman, Senate District Committee, New Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR EAGLETON: The Bar Association of the District of Columbia is in accord with the purpose of S. 1338, which would give the District of Columbia City Council the authority to increase or decrease 35 license or user fees, which are now specified in the District of Columbia Code. Despite the fact that vesting of such authority in the City Council would undoubtedly result in speedy increases in many of the fees, it is the position of the Association that the amounts charged for such licenses should bear a reasonable relationship to the approximate costs of administering the licensing requirements, and it is desirable to put the burden of setting such fees on the local government rather than the Congress. The bill would allow the Council, after public hearing, to increase or decrease such fees"... to such amounts as may, in the judgment of the Council, be reasonable in consideration of the interest of the public and the persons required to pay the fee, and in consideration of the approximate cost of administering each Act or part of Act to which the fee relates.”
The Association is concerned, however, with the form of the legislation, since it does not include specific language which would amend each of the affected D. C. Code sections that now provide for fees in set amounts. The proposed legislation, if adopted as drafted, would be reflected in any revision of the D. C. Code only in the form of annotations, with Code sections themselves remaining unchanged, a result which the Association believes would be highly confusing. The D. C. Code sections in question are widely scattered, and thus one catchall Code section would be of little use. The Association recommends that each of the 35 affected Code sections be separately amended by deleting the language which sets forth a specific fee and inserting a provision giving the City Council the authority to set the fee.
In addition, the Association recommends insertion in the legislation of a requirement that notice be given of the public hearing which would precede the increase or decrease of such fees. While the D. C. Administrative Procedure Act (Public Law 90-614, Section 6, 82 Stat. 1206, 1207) provides for publication of notice of the proposed adoption of “any rule or the amendment or repeal thereof”, in the District of Columbia Register at least thirty days prior to the effective date of the proposed adoption, amendment, or repeal, there may be some question as to whether the changes in license or user fees would be a rule-making proceeding within the contemplation of the D. C. Administrative Procedure Act and we therefore suggest the desirability of spelling out the notice requirement in the statute. Sincerely,
FRED M. VINSON, Jr.,
President. Mr. WATT. At present, the acts specified in S. 1338, which range from such diverse areas as licensing pawnbrokers and insurance salesmen to issuing dog tags, each contain a fee fixed by the original statute.