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Hannah Hess


Hannah Hess covers the Capitol campus for Roll Call, reporting on legislative branch agencies, administration of the House and Senate, and Congress’ oversight of the District of Columbia.

Hannah’s political reporting experience includes two statehouse bureaus, and the early stages of the 2012 presidential campaign trail. Prior to joining CQ Roll Call, she covered the Virginia General Assembly, the campaign for the 2012 Iowa caucuses and the Illinois General Assembly. Her work has appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Washington Examiner and the Omaha World-Herald. She also interned for what is now CQ Roll Call in 2008, working for Roll Call’s GalleryWatch legislative tracking service that was integrated into CQ in 2009. Originally from Illinois, Hannah holds two degrees from the University of Illinois — a bachelor’s degree in media studies and a master’s degree in public affairs reporting.

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Stories by Hannah Hess:

The Chronic Countdown: D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Could Be Final by Mid-July

April 24, 2014

Unless Congress steps in, possession of pot in the nation’s capital will become a civil offense this summer, with penalties similar to a parking ticket.

Congress May Overturn D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization, Norton Warns

April 22, 2014

The District’s effort to decriminalize marijuana may be facing its first challenge from Congress.

38 House, Senate Republicans Back Johnson's Lawsuit Against Staff Health Care Contributions

April 22, 2014

Thirty-eight Republican members of Congress are backing Sen. Ron Johnson’s lawsuit against the Obama administration over employee contributions to staff health care.

Secret Service, D.C. Officials Talk Traffic

April 21, 2014

The stern letter Mayor Vincent Gray sent to the Secret Service following a series of early March street closures earned the city’s law enforcement leaders a sit-down with the agency.

Citing Ukraine Crisis, GOP Looks to Cut Open World Leadership Center

April 18, 2014

In response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, House Republicans want to slash funding for the Open World Leadership Center, an international exchange program established nearly 15 years ago to build relationships with post-Soviet countries.

Senators Might Seize D.C. Lawsuit As Opportunity to Act on Budget Autonomy

April 18, 2014

Attorneys preparing to sue Mayor Vincent Gray and his administration to force compliance with the District’s budget autonomy law informed all relevant members of Congress before heading to D.C. Superior Court on Thursday.

D.C. Council to Mayor: See You in Court

April 17, 2014

With Capitol Hill failing to either stop the District’s local budget autonomy act from becoming law, or pass legislation freeing the city’s locally raised funds from the appropriations process, the issue is headed to court and pitting D.C.’s elected officials against one another.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to Lay Wreath at Tomb of the Unknowns

April 16, 2014

On Friday at 1 p.m., outgoing Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

Capitol Police Chief: We Are Not the 'Media Police'

April 15, 2014

Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine clarified that his officers are not the “media police,” following a March 28 police-press run-in that nearly resulted in the arrest of a journalist.

Despite Capitol Renovations, Plenty of Action for Tourists on Campus

April 15, 2014

Congress has skipped town, so it’s time to cut a rug.

Congress Takes Hands-Off Approach to Miriam Carey Shooting

April 14, 2014

Release of the final autopsy report for Miriam Carey, the 34-year-old dental hygienist who was shot outside the Capitol on Oct. 3 after a fast and furious car chase from the White House, has renewed calls for action from an attorney for her family.

D.C. Chief Financial Officer Warns Local Budget Autonomy Law Puts Home Rule at Risk

April 11, 2014

The District’s Chief Financial Officer, an independent official in charge of all the city’s financial operations, warned the D.C. Council not to proceed with the local budget autonomy law that went into effect on Jan. 1.

Crane Arrives on East Front Friday Night, Rotunda Closes Saturday

April 11, 2014

Friday offered the final chance for Capitol Hill employees and visitors to glimpse Constantino Brumidi’s “Apotheosis of Washington” fresco before the Rotunda’s 17-day closure as part of ongoing Dome restorations.

Begich Introduces D.C. Autonomy Bills

April 10, 2014

Sen. Mark Begich kept his birthday party promise to D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss, introducing two bills on Thursday that, if passed, would result in greater autonomy for the District of Columbia.

Terry Gainer's Internet Security PSA: Change Your Passwords, 'Darn It'

April 10, 2014

Don’t leave tech problems up to “Geek squads,” warns Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer — be proactive about changing your passwords.

Colbert Owes D.C., Says Nemesis Eleanor Holmes Norton

April 10, 2014

Moments before Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., headed to the floor to school a nearly empty House chamber on the District’s case for statehood, some exciting news broke: CBS tapped comedian and Norton frenemy Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman behind the “Late Show” desk.

Heartbleed Forces Emergency Maintenance of House, Senate Sites

April 10, 2014

Members of Congress were among the millions of Americans who found out their data might be at risk as a result of the major Internet security flaw exposed earlier this week, the “Heartbleed” virus.

Timing of 'Uncle Earl' Indictment Questioned on Capitol Hill

April 9, 2014

To hear some members of Congress say it, the timing of the Justice Department’s plea bargain with D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson — a.k.a. ‘Uncle Earl’ — influenced the outcome of the April 1 mayoral primary.

Moran Predicts Two-Class System Arising in Congress

April 9, 2014

Following a gripe about members of Congress being “underpaid” that put Rep. James P. Moran at the center of an ongoing debate about congressional pay, the Virginia Democrat proposed adding about $2,800 to the average member’s $174,000 annual salary, arguing it would help diversify the ranks of Congress.

Citing Relisha Rudd, Vincent Gray Calls for Closure of D.C. General Shelter

April 9, 2014

The long, so-far fruitless search for Relisha Rudd, a missing 8-year-old girl who had been living at D.C. General shelter for nearly two years, has drawn new scrutiny of the long-shuttered hospital that serves as a homeless shelter.

Darrell Issa Wants House Vote on Height Act Changes in Late April

April 8, 2014

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wants to move forward with minor modifications to the century-old law governing the height of buildings in D.C.

Eric Holder in the Hot Seat on Pot, Fired Up to Defend DOJ Enforcement

April 8, 2014

As states and cities move to liberalize marijuana laws, the administration looks at changes to federal policy and the No. 2 House Democrat reverses course on decriminalization, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. found himself in a charged congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Pressed by members from both sides of the aisle to defend Justice Department practices in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, Holder insisted the Obama administration has not “retreated.”

Holder also said the DOJ won’t scale back marijuana punishments by rescheduling the drug, as House Democrats have been pushing President Barack Obama to do, saying he was “satisfied” with what the department is doing.

If CBS Picks Colbert, D.C. Could Get Late-Night Treatment

April 8, 2014

The District’s fights for voting rights could go prime time after David Letterman departs the “Late Show” desk.

Eric Holder in the Hot Seat on Pot, Fired Up to Defend DOJ Enforcement (Video)

April 8, 2014

As states and cities move to liberalize marijuana laws, the administration looks at changes to federal policy and the No. 2 House Democrat reverses course on decriminalization, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. found himself in a charged congressional hearing on Tuesday.

National Capital Planning Commission Rejects Frank Gehry's Design for Eisenhower Memorial

April 7, 2014

Members of Congress past and present ventured into the National Capital Planning Commission’s headquarters last week to weigh in on the long-delayed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial project.

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