District of Columbia Resources

This State Guide provides an in-depth look at sources of law within the District of Columbia.

Session Laws

Permanent Acts

A bill becomes an act after the Mayor signs it. This permanent act is given a number preceded by an "A" (e.g., A15-390). After congressional and presidential approval, it becomes Law and is given a law number with an "L" (e.g., L15-155). This Law may amend, repeal, or transfer code sections and will be incorporated in the District of Columbia Official Code.

Emergency Acts

An Emergency Act is adopted by a two-thirds vote of the D.C. Council. It does not go through the Committee stage and does not require a second reading. It is only valid for 90 days. It is not subject to congressional approval or pre-publication in the D.C. Register. Identified with an "E" appearing in the act number (e.g., 15E-1), they are always treated as notes in the D.C. Code.

Temporary Acts

A temporary act can be passed along with the emergency act and it remains valid for no more than 225 days. Identified with a "T" appearing in the act number (e.g., 15T-61), it may be treated as notes to Code sections.


Resolutions are used to express simple determinations or decisions of the Council that are of a temporary or special character. A proposed resolution is treated like a bill, except that only one vote of the Council is required. It does not require the Mayor's signature or Congressional review. They are identified with a "R" or "PR" in the act number (e.g., R 15-4 or PR 15-4). "R" stands for Resolution, "PR" stands for Proposed Resolution.

Some acts may amend an agency rule, and these will be incorporated in the D.C. Municipal Regulations (DCMR).

Sources for Session Laws:

Council of the District of Columbia.

Legislative Information Management System (LIMS), 8th Council Period - present. A searchable database of full-text bills, proposed and adopted resolutions, acts, contracts, grant budget modifications, Inspector General and Auditor reports, and Housing Finance Agency documents. It also gives status information of all legislation considered by the Council. Laws can be searched by keyword, number, or Council Member. You may use the Basic Search to find legislation by keyword text or by number. You may use the Advanced Search for information about legislation referred to a committee, or introduced or co-sponsored by a Member.

District of Columbia Session Law Service (Thomson/West): Includes laws and emergency acts.

District of Columbia Acts: Contains the text of state legislation enacted into law.

District of Columbia Code. Advance Legislative Service (LexisNexis): Includes laws and emergency acts.

District of Columbia Session Laws.