Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate without amendment (09/04/2003)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2004 - Title I: Federal Funds - Makes appropriations to the District of Columbia for FY 2004, including amounts for the Federal payments: (1) for District of Columbia Resident Tuition Support; (2) for emergency planning and security costs in the District; (3) to support hospital bioterrorism preparedness in the District; (4) to District of Columbia Courts; (5) for Defender Services in District of Columbia Courts; (6) to the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (including transfer of funds); (7) to the Chief Financial Officer of the District; (8) to the Department of Transportation in the District for a downtown circulator transit system and to offset a portion of the District's allocated operating subsidy payment to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; (9) to the DC Water and Sewer Authority; (10) to the Department of Transportation in the District for the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative; (11) for capital development in the District; (12) to Children's National Medical Center; (13) to the St. Coletta of Greater Washington Expansion Project; (14) for foster care improvements in the District; and (15) for school improvement.

Title II: DC Student Opportunity Scholarship Act of 2003 - DC Student Opportunity Scholarship Act of 2003 - (Sec. 4) Requires the Secretary of Education to provide five-year grants on a competitive basis to educational entities of the District of Columbia Government, nonprofit organizations, and consortia of nonprofit organizations (eligible entities) with approved applications to carry out activities to provide expanded school choice opportunities to students who are DC residents and who come from households with incomes not exceeding 185 percent of the poverty line (eligible students). Authorizes the Secretary to award a single grant or multiple grants, depending on the quality of applications submitted and the priorities of this title.

Requires the Secretary and the Mayor of the District to enter into a memorandum of understanding regarding the design of, selection of eligible entities to receive grants under, and implementation of, a program assisted under this Act.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Secretary to give priority to applications from eligible entities who will most effectively: (1) give priority to eligible students who, in the school year preceding the school year for which they are seeking a scholarship, attended an elementary or secondary school identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring; (2) target resources to students and families that lack the financial resources to take advantage of available educational options; and (3) provide students and families with the widest range of educational options.

(Sec. 7) Requires a grantee: (1) under specified conditions, to use the grant funds to provide the students with scholarships to pay the tuition, fees, and transportation expenses, if any, to enable them to attend the DC private elementary or secondary school of their choice; and (2) to ensure that the amount of any tuition or fee charged by a participating school in the grantee's program to a participating eligible student does not exceed the amount of tuition or fees that the school customarily charges to a nonparticipating student.

Authorizes the Secretary to award scholarships in larger amounts to students with the greatest need. Limits scholarships to $7,500 per student for any academic year.

Allows an eligible entity to award a scholarship for the second time or any succeeding year of an eligible student's participation in a program under this Act, to a student who comes from a household whose income does not exceed 200 percent of the poverty line.

(Sec. 8) Prohibits an eligible entity or a school participating in any program under this title from discriminating against program participants or applicants on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex.

Makes the prohibition on sex discrimination inapplicable to a participating school that is operated by, supervised by, controlled by, or connected to a religious organization to the extent that the application is inconsistent with the religious tenets of the school.

Allows a parent to choose and a school to offer a single-sex school, class, or activity.

Provides that nothing in this title may be construed to alter or modify the provisions of IDEA.

Authorizes schools participating in programs under this Act that are operated by, supervised by, controlled by, or connected to, a religious organization to exercise their discretion in matters of employment consistent with title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including the exemptions in such title.

Declares that funds made available under this Act to eligible students that are received by a participating school, as a result of their parents' choice, shall not, consistent with the first amendment of the Constitution: (1) necessitate any change in such school's teaching mission; (2) require the school to remove religious art, icons, scriptures, or other symbols; or (3) preclude them from retaining religious terms in its name, selecting its board members on a religious basis, or including religious references in its mission statements and other chartering or governing documents.

Requires a scholarship (or any other form of support provided to parents of eligible students) under this title to be considered as assistance to the student and not to the school that enrolls the student. Provides that the amount of such scholarship or other form of support shall not be treated as income of the parents for purposes of Federal tax laws or for determining eligibility for any other Federal program.

(Sec. 9) Requires the Secretary, directly or by grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, to: (1) evaluate the effectiveness of the voucher program, using the strongest possible design, addressing specified issues; and (2) disseminate information on the impact of the programs in increasing the student academic achievement of participating students, as well as other appropriate measures of student success, and on the impact on DC students and schools.

Requires annual interim reports by the Secretary, and a final report within one year after the final year for which a grant is made.

Limits expenditures for such evaluation and reporting requirements for any fiscal year to three percent of the total amount appropriated to carry out this title for the fiscal year.

(Sec. 10) Sets forth reporting requirements for: (1) grantees receiving funds under this title; (2) participating schools with respect to parents of participating children; and (3) the Secretary with respect to congressional committees on the findings of such reports.

(Sec. 11) Requires each participating school to ensure: (1) that participating eligible students receive comparable academic assessments in the same grade levels as those provided to DC public school students; (2) to the maximum extent possible, that the assessment results are capable of being compared to determine the relative achievement levels between participating eligible students and DC public school students in the same grades; and (3) that academic assessment results containing any personally identifiable information shall be disclosed only to the parents of the student taking the assessment.

(Sec. 13) Authorizes appropriations.

Title III: District of Columbia Funds - Appropriates specified sums out of the District's general fund and/or other funds for the current fiscal year for: (1) operating expenses (with limitations); (2) governmental direction and support; (3) economic development and regulation; (4) public safety and justice; (5) the public education system (including transfer of funds); (6) human support services (including transfer of funds); (7) public works; (8) the Emergency and Contingency Reserve Fund; (9) repayment of certain loans and interest; (10) payment of interest on short-term borrowing; (11) for principal and interest payments on the District's Certificates of Participation, issued to finance the ground lease underlying the building located at One Judiciary Square; (12) refunds and the payment of legal settlements or judgments that have been entered against the District government; (13) the John A. Wilson Building; (14) workforce investments; (15) certain non-departmental agency costs; (16) emergency planning and security costs; (17) transportation assistance; (18) pay-as-you-go capital in lieu of capital financing; (19) a Tax Increment Financing Program; (20) the Cash Reserve; (21) making refunds associated with disallowed Medicaid funding; (22) the Water and Sewer Authority; (23) the Washington Aqueduct; (24) the Stormwater Permit Compliance Enterprise Fund; (25) the Lottery and Charitable Games Enterprise Fund; (26) the Sports and Entertainment Commission; (27) the District of Columbia Retirement Board; (28) the Washington Convention Center Enterprise Fund; (29) the National Capital Revitalization Corporation; and (30) capital outlay (including rescissions).

Title IV: General Provisions - Sets forth authorized or prohibited uses of funds appropriated by this Act identical or similar to corresponding provisions of the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2003.

(Sec. 108) Prohibits funds provided in this Act from being used to carry out lobbying activities on any matter.

(Sec. 109) Prohibits the availability of appropriations, without prior approval by the congressional appropriations committees, for obligation or expenditure through a reprogramming of funds that: (1) creates a new program; (2) eliminates a program, project, or activity; (3) establishes or changes allocations specifically denied, limited, or increased under this Act; (4) increases funds or personnel for any program, project, or responsibility center for which funds have been denied or restricted; (5) reestablishes any program or project previously deferred through reprogramming; (6) augments existing programs, projects, or activities in excess of $1 million or ten percent, whichever is greater; or (7) increases by 20 percent or more personnel assigned to a specific program, project, or responsibility center.

(Sec. 115) Authorizes during FY 2004: (1) a District government entity to accept and use a gift or donation with the Mayor's approval; and (2) the District Council, the District of Columbia courts, and the District Board of Education to accept and use gifts without such approval.

(Sec. 117) Prohibits the expenditure of funds appropriated under this Act for abortions except where the mother's life would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or in cases of rape or incest.

(Sec. 118) Bars the use of funds under this Act to implement or enforce: (1) the District of Columbia Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 (also known as the District Domestic Partner Act); or (2) any system of registration of unmarried, cohabiting couples for purposes of extending them benefits on the same basis as such benefits are extended to legally married couples.

(Sec. 121) Prohibits a District government officer or employee (including any DC independent agency, but excluding the Office of Chief Technology Officer, the Office of the CFO, and the Metropolitan Police Department) from entering into an agreement in excess of $2,500 for the procurement of goods or services on behalf of any District government entity until the individual has conducted an analysis of how the procurement involved under the applicable District government regulations and procedures would differ from the procurement of goods and services involved under the Federal supply schedule and other applicable General Services Administration regulations and procedures, including an analysis of any differences in the costs to be incurred and the time required to obtain them.

(Sec. 123) Prohibits the use of funds contained in this Act by the District of Columbia Corporation Counsel or any other District government officer or entity to provide assistance for any petition drive or civil action which seeks to require Congress to provide for voting representation in Congress for the District.

(Sec. 124) Prohibits the use of Federal funds contained in this Act for any program of distributing sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any illegal drug. Requires individuals or entities who do so to account for all funds used for such program separately from any funds contained in this Act.

(Sec. 125) Prohibits the use of funds contained in this Act: (1) 60 days after its enactment to pay the salary of any chief financial officer of any District government office who has not filed a certification with the Mayor and CFO that the officer understands the duties and restrictions applicable, including reports required as a result of this Act or its amendments; or (2) to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act or any tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) derivative.

Provides that the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998, also known as Initiative 59, approved by the electors of the District on November 3, 1998, shall not take effect.

(Sec. 127) Provides that nothing in this Act may be construed to prevent the Council or the Mayor of the District of Columbia from addressing the issue of the provision of contraceptive coverage by health insurance plans. Expresses the intent of Congress that any legislation enacted on such issue should include a "conscience clause" which provides exceptions for religious beliefs and moral convictions.

(Sec. 128) Requires the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to assess interest on a voucher submitted by a court-appointed attorney for payment if the voucher is not paid within 45 days of its submission.

(Sec. 129) Requires the Mayor to report quarterly to specified congressional committees on the following District issues: (1) crime; (2) access to substance and alcohol abuse treatment; (3) management of parolees and pre-trial violent offenders; (4) education; (5) improvement in basic District services, including rat control and abatement; (6) application for and management of Federal grants; and (7) indicators of child well-being.

(Sec. 131) Prohibits the funds contained in this Act from being used to issue, administer, or enforce any order by the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights relating to docket numbers 93-030-(PA) and 93-031-(PA) (In The Matter Of: Roland D. Pool and Michael S. Geller (Boy Scouts' Policy of Excluding Homosexuals)).

(Sec. 132) Prohibits the transfer of any Federal funds to any Federal department, agency, or instrumentality, except pursuant to a transfer made by, or transfer authority provided in, this Act or any other appropriation Act.

(Sec. 133) Provides that, in addition to any other authority to pay claims and judgments, a District government department, agency, or instrumentality may pay the settlement or judgment of a claim or lawsuit in an amount less than $10,000.

(Sec. 134) Requires all funds from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, established pursuant to the Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Act of 1996, that are designated for outreach activities to be deposited in the Crime Victims Assistance Fund for such activities and to remain available until expended.

(Sec. 135) Requires the District of Columbia Courts to transfer to the DC Treasury all fines levied and collected by the Courts in cases charging Driving Under the Influence and Driving While Impaired. Requires the Office of the Corporation Counsel to use such funds for enforcement and prosecution of District traffic alcohol laws.

(Sec. 136) Allows any District government agency to transfer local funds to the Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining (OLRCB) to pay for OLRCB representation in third-party cases, grievances, and dispute resolution.

(Sec. 137) Prohibits funds contained in this Act from being made available to pay: (1) an attorney's fee who represents a party or defends an action, including an administrative proceeding, brought against the DC Public Schools under IDEA; or (2) an attorney's fee or firm whom the CFO determines to have a pecuniary interest, either through an attorney, officer or employee of the firm, in any special education diagnostic services, schools, or other special education service providers.

(Sec. 138) Directs the CFO to require attorneys in special education cases brought under IDEA in the District to certify in writing, along with other specified disclosures, that the attorney or representative rendered any and all services for which they receive awards, including those received under a settlement agreement or as part of an administrative proceeding, under IDEA.

(Sec. 139) Amends the District of Columbia Code to allow the Court to appoint an attorney: (1) to represent a parent or guardian in an adoption proceeding if the individual is financially unable to obtain adequate representation when a petition for adoption has been filed and there has been no termination or relinquishment of parental rights with respect to the proposed adoptee or consent to the proposed adoption by the parent or guardian whose consent is required under the Code; and (2) as guardian ad litem to represent the child and the child's best interest in an adoption proceeding.

(Sec. 140) Allows the amount appropriated by this Act as Other Type Funds to be: (1) increased by no more than 25 percent to an account for unanticipated growth in revenue collections; and (2) obligated or expended under specified conditions.

(Sec. 141) Allows the amount appropriated by this Act to be: (1) increased by no more than $15 million from funds identified in the comprehensive annual financial report as the District's fund balance; (2) obligated or expended under specified conditions; and (3) used only for unanticipated one-time expenditures, addressing potential deficits, reducing debt, unanticipated program needs, or covering revenue shortfalls.