Archive for the ‘Washington’ Tag
A bill that would give the District of Columbia full representation in the U.S. House has cleared a key hurdle in the Senate, a procedural vote invoking cloture, 62-34, that will allow it to face a final vote in that chamber later this week. A majority of senators appear to support it. If passed by the Senate, it will then go to the House of Representatives, where such bills have previously been approved in past Congresses. President Obama has indicated he will sign the legislation.
The District presently has a Delegate in the House of Representatives, since 1991 Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). Delegates can vote in committee and on amendments but not on final passage of legislation. Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands also currently have delegates in the House; none has representation in the Senate (which the present bill would not change for the District).
Washington, D.C. is overwhelmingly Democratic; typically only about 10-15% of the city’s vote in presidential elections goes to the Republican ticket. It is extremely unlikely that the District would elect a Republican to any House seat that it is given. I don’t think such political considerations should bear on the matter, however. The bill in question, S. 160, would also grant another House seat to the State of Utah, which is currently represented by two Republicans and one Democrat, in the lower house. Utah is one of the most Republican-leaning states in the Union and would likely elect a Republican to that seat. The state missed out on gaining a fourth representative by just 856 people after the 2000 census (it went instead to North Carolina; there were some lawsuits over the way people were counted, but they went against Utah).
I think that the people of Washington, D.C. should have full representation in Congress—and not just because I don’t want them to mess up their flag, either; it seems like a matter of right to me. However, I think that the bill is probably unconstitutional. The Constitution says that Representatives shall be chosen “by the people of the several states” and a normal reading would seem to limit full congressional representation to states, which the District clearly is not. The Supreme Court’s precedents on the matter are divided, but it does appear likely the Court would strike down the bill. A Constitutional amendment may be needed to rectify the problem.
CareerBuilder has an interesting story about the positive correlation between physical attractiveness and earnings. The money passage is as follows:
Good looks can have a real impact on workers’ bank accounts, according to research by Daniel Hamermesh and Jeff Biddle published in the Journal of Labor Economics. Attractive people earn about 5 percent more in hourly pay than their average-looking colleagues, who in turn earn 9 percent more per hour than the plainest-looking workers. This means if an average-looking person earned $40,000, their prettiest co-workers would make $42,000 while their least attractive colleagues brought home just $36,400. Plain-looking workers may also receive fewer promotions than those awarded to their more striking contemporaries.
The story also reports that students consistently give better evaluations to more attractive professors. It also says that “It remains uncertain whether the handsomest people translate their good looks into higher productivity.” The effects of being attractive are also disputed by some people investigating the issue. See the CareerBuilder article for details.
In any event, while it may be unfair, it is legal in most jurisdictions to discriminate on the basis of looks, unlike race, religion, and national origin. Washington, D.C. and Santa Barbara, California are two of the only municipalities with laws against appearance discrimination. On a whim, I checked the Hooters store locator to see if either city had a franchise. Santa Barbara does not, but Washington, D.C. does. I wonder if they have to do anything different to comply with the law there.