Council Again Addresses Recent Hate Speech, Then Reforms Out-of-School Suspension Policies

After a vigorous discussion of how best to further respond, this time collectively, to recent incidents of hate speech and antisemitism, the Council took to the steps of the Wilson Building, the scene of the earlier negative comments, to condemn hate speech and defend our diversity. Chairman Phil Mendelson delivered comments on behalf of the Council that can be viewed here.

At the Legislative Meeting that followed, a measure was passed by unanimous vote to limit out-of-school suspensions so that children who struggle with discipline can, whenever possible, confront their struggles within the comparatively safe confines of the school itself.

Passed on the first of two necessary votes at the recent meeting were measures to allow construction of a helicopter landing pad at George Washington University, and to permit public housing residents to allow the reporting of their rent payments to credit bureaus. Passed on the second of two necessary votes was a measure to prohibit “covenants” that forbid former grocery store locations from being re-used for that same purpose.

Falling as it did time-wise in the gap between the conclusion of the Council’s agency-by-agency budget oversight hearings, just prior to the committees’ markup of the budget under their jurisdiction, and not long before the Council’s scheduled May 15 and 29 votes on the full budget, the agenda for the most recent meeting was brief when compared to those prior and subsequent to this season.

As the meeting began, Ceremonial Resolutions were presented to honor:

  • The importance of DC’s recognition as an Age-Friendly City, and its commitment strategy
  • Longtime former Ward 4 community activist and Council staffer Ron Austin, who recently passed away
  • The 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Hurd v. Hodge opinion, argued by Charles Hamilton Houston, which eliminated enforcement of racial housing covenants

Introduced at the meeting were measures which, if passed, would:

  • Tighten enforcement of existing law regarding reduction in numbers of rental units, required vacancies, and related evictions
  • Initiate a pilot project creating a Cyber Academy for veterans
  • Create an emergency food program for veterans
  • Create a Medical Necessity Review Board to examine changes in the definition of what is medically necessary, and to gauge impacts of such changes
  • Require hospitals to have nursing-friendly policies for new mothers
  • Require landlords to store evicted residents’ belongings for up to ten days
  • Provide for the oversight and regulation of appraisal management companies
  • Require the District to move to a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio by 2050
  • Provide housing assistance for seniors living in unsubsidized housing

For a full list of all votes taken at the meeting, please click here.