Senate passes bill allowing certain DC courts to delay proceedings during emergency situations

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Under the bill, the D.C. Courts and Public Defender Service Act of 2011 (S. 1329), which was passed by voice vote after the committee-reported amendments were agreed to, D.C.'s District Superior Court and Court of Appeals are allowed to delay judicial proceedings during certain emergency situations like natural disasters.

The legislation also allows the mayor and the executive officer of the District to come to agreements on supplies, services, equipment and reimbursements of credit "received from the mayor for them to the appropriation of the District of Columbia courts against which they were charged."

Additionally, the bill cuts down the number of years someone can serve on the Family Court of the Superior Court. It reduces the number of years from five to three.

The bill's passage came after a quiet day in the Senate. On Tuesday, after the chamber reconvenes at 10 a.m., the Senate is set to vote on John Thomas Fowlkes to be a United States district judge for the Western District of Tennessee.

Then, at around 2:25, it will move to a vote to end debate on the motion to proceed to the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act (S. 2237). The legislation creates a tax credit of up to $500,000 for certain companies and extends bonus depreciation for another year in order to let companies write off new equipment costs. The bill costs $28.5 billion over 10 years and does not include any offsetting spending cuts.

Earlier Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) scoffed at an upcoming vote in the Republican-controlled House on repealing the Obama administration's healthcare law. Reid said the Senate would actually be holding votes on legislation that wasn't just for "show."

"So, Mr. President, while House Republicans hold a political show-vote, the Senate will take a different approach," Reid said in his opening remarks. "They're going to continue to try and be constructive, focus on jobs."

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