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On December 24, 1973, Congress enacted the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, providing for a popularly elected mayor and 13-member Council. Each of the citys eight wards elects a single member of the council and five members, including the chairman, are elected at large.
The Constitution dictates that the federal district be under the jurisdiction of the US Congress. Washington, DC operates as a state while also performing functions of a city and a county. We are treated as a state in more than 500 federal laws. We are leaders in a region of 4 million people and growing.
Like the U.S. Code and state codes, the District of Columbia Code is a subject compilation of enacted legislation, divided into titles, chapters and sections. However, unlike most state codes, the D.C. Code also contains federal statutes which have an impact on the District of Columbia.
The city was named for George Washington, a Founding Father and the first president of the United States, and the federal district is named after Columbia, a female personification of the nation.
District of Columbia Governance States generally have the power to make and enforce laws, to create their own agencies, and to manage their affairs free from interference from the federal government. They also have voting representation in both Houses of Congress.
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The District of Columbias creation is rooted in Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution, which says that the Seat of the Government of the United States shall be a district that is at most ten square miles and separate and apart from the other particular States.
Congress established the federal district in 1790 to serve as the nations capital, from land belonging to the states of Maryland and Virginia.
Under the District Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17), the U.S. Congress continues to exercise authority over DC local affairs. Congress reviews all DC legislation before it can become law. Congress can modify or even overturn such legislation.
District of Columbia Governance Since the passage of the DC Home Rule Act on December 24, 1973, the District has been governed much like any state in the US.
The Constitution grants each state voting representation in both houses of the United States Congress. As the federal capital, the District of Columbia is a special federal district, not a state, and therefore does not have voting representation in Congress.

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