Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act Reform Clears Final Step; Other Key Bills Progress

Legislation has a life cycle just like all of us do. At the 22nd Legislative Meeting of the current Council Period, that full spectrum was on display.

Some bills draw great attention from the moment they are born. Such was the case with a measure introduced from the dais which would allow those sixteen years of age or older to vote.

Other bills have to grow up quickly. This was true of an emergency bill enacting the District’s dedicated payment to Metro. While questions of specifically how the bill will be funded remain, the reality was that with the Maryland and Virginia legislatures having recently passed their dedicated funding bills, DC needed to follow suit in the short term. DC led the fight to get dedicated funding for Metro in all three jurisdictions, but the passage of the funding bill, though a formality, was still a necessity.

A majority of legislation must be passed not once but twice by the Council. These two votes are called “readings.” Most bills have identical texts for both readings and are passed in back-to-back Legislative Meetings. In certain other cases, adjustments must be made to bills after first reading. This happens most often when there are two different visions for what a bill will look like as it matures.  This was the case with the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act reform bill that passed on first reading at the previous Legislative Meeting. However, despite some small adjustments to the bill's text between votes, no new supporters were attracted, and the bill passed on second reading by the same 10 to 2 vote as it did on first reading.

A bill providing wraparound health and daycare services to children from birth to age 3 is one stage earlier than the TOPA bill in its own life cycle. At the most recent Legislative Meeting, it was clear that two different visions for the bill were in play.  However, the differences were seen as potentially surmountable, so the bill was allowed to have its first reading. This approval, however, was contingent on a longer-than-usual delay before the second reading would occur. This spoke to the fact that while differences in the two perspectives on the bill may be seen as surmountable, they are certainly not negligible.

Also at the meeting, Ceremonial Resolutions were passed that recognized:

  • Georgetown University Law School’s Street Law Program, the Zenith Gallery, and the Junkyard Band for their years of service to the District
  • The Gonzaga College High School Ice Hockey Program for back-to-back championships
  • April as both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month

Measures introduced at the meeting, if passed, would:

  • Keep DC on Daylight Savings Time year-round
  • Ensure quality in education research and record-keeping
  • Declare the Sense of the Council in opposition to the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census
  • Create a Pathways to DC Government Employment program for DC youth
  • Allow those over age 16 to vote in local and national elections
  • Allow users and others to access to the data obtained by smart electricity meters
  • Update laws regarding inter-family offenses and stalking legislation
  • Ensure blind student literacy is included in individual student learning programs
  • Create a cybersecurity civilian corps to assist the government with potential security breaches
  • Create a qualified data breach insurance program to protect small businesses who may suffer security breaches
  • Create a certified professional midwife qualification
  • Emphasize patient-centered maternal care
  • Facilitate and strengthen use of the Uniform Health Certificate by students, parents, and schools
  • Create a one-stop college preparation center to aid students, parents, and others

For a full listing of all votes taken at this meeting, please click here.