POLITICS

DC Vote follows NewsTalk host's suggestion to bombard Md. Rep. Andy Harris’ office with service requests

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- As more D.C. residents, city leaders, and community activists continue to voice their outrage at what they consider to be meddling in city affairs by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), the group DC Vote has declared Thursday “DC Councilmember Andy Harris Constituent Service Day."

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., speaks at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP file photo)

Two weeks ago, NewsChannel 8's NewsTalk host and D.C. resident Bruce DePuyt called on D.C. residents to call Harris’ office with concerns about potholes or other constituent needs.

Harris, who represents Ocean City and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, recently introduced legislation to block the District's new marijuana decriminalization law. He sparred with city leaders on Twitter, telling them he was a doctor and that marijuana is a harmful drug. 

On the DC Vote website, the group says: “DC Residents will deliver their complaints about potholes, rats, building permits, unfair parking tickets – the kind of stuff our real elected officials deal with daily. Be creative! We will meet outside of Harris’ office at 1533 House Longworth Building at 11:00 AM, on July 24.”

DC Vote and some city leaders have also called for a boycott of Harris' district, which includes popular vacation spots on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

On NewsTalk earlier this month, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said, “Here you have a congressman who is now substituting his judgment (for that of D.C. residents), because he knows he can’t get away with it in Maryland.”

If House Republicans have their way, District of Columbia residents won't be allowed to walk the streets with a joint in their pocket, but they will be allowed to carry a semi-automatic rifle.

The GOP-controlled House approved a spending bill that would undo the District's strict gun-control laws and its law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The marijuana amendment, introduced in committee last month by Harris, would block the District from spending any money to liberalize its pot laws.

If enacted, the amendment would put the city in a curious legal position, according to the White House and drug policy groups. Mayor Gray signed a bill in March that decriminalizes possession of less than one ounce of pot, replacing criminal penalties for simple possession with a $25 fine, one of the nation's lowest.

Because Congress did not pass a resolution disapproving of the local law, it has taken effect. Drug policy experts have voiced concern that the amendment's practical effect would only be to block the District from issuing the $25 fines.

The White House said in a statement that the marijuana amendment undermines states' rights and "poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department's enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District."

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