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DC Mayor Bowser Vetoes Bill on Independent Arts Commission


A bill that clarifies the independence of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) was vetoed by Mayor Muriel Bowser on October 8, in what was her third-ever veto during her five years of tenure.

The bill that passed the D.C. Council in September rendered the commission’s independence effective from July 22, which was the day the underlying bill passed, instead of October 1.

The bill in question ensured the DCCAH’s independence from the mayor. However, it did not specify the date it would take effect. The emergency bill vetoed Tuesday by Bowser clarified that the arts commission became independent in July.

Bowser claimed that “the abrupt change made by the Council has already caused confusion for Commissioners and Commission employees. The bill only creates further confusion and stress among staff who have been working diligently to ensure the Commission is able to run independently beginning October 1,” in her veto statement, according to Washington City Paper.

Bowser has been trying to switch the arts commission’s money granting to artists into loans. She also requests that it include fields such as cosmetology and culinary arts. Bowser started her own program named “202Creates.”

The D.C. Council then took action to make the DCCAH independent with a bill that would go into effect on October 1.

The first time Bowser used her veto power was in July 2018 and aimed at blocking emergency legislation that would have paved the way for D.C. public high school students who were persistently absent to graduate. She vetoed another bill in January that stipulated decriminalizing fare evasion on Metro, which was later overturned by the D.C. Council.

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