Third Legislative Meeting Largely Consensus-Driven

March’s regularly-scheduled Legislative Meeting didn’t just go out like a lamb, it also came in like one.

While still early in the Council Period (meaning that introductions of new legislation still greatly outpaced binding votes), an early trend of consensus seemed to emerge.

The trend developed early, with an unusually large number of newly-introduced bills garnering majority if not unanimous support in the form of co-introducers or co-sponsors.  Of the 19 bills introduced at the meeting, fully a quarter were co-introduced by all 11 sitting councilmembers, and nearly another quarter were co-introduced by a majority of sitting councilmembers.  Among the introductions were measures that, if eventually approved, would:

  • Approve an international protocol opposing all discrimination against women
  • Require additional financial disclosures by charter schools
  • Prohibit gun possession by those under temporary protective orders
  • Allow sidewalk cafes at breweries, wineries, and distilleries
  • Limit access to electronic cigarettes
  • Tighten enforcement of wage theft and overtime laws
  • Create more stringent healthcare staffing standards
  • Create a centralized digital clearinghouse of affordable and rent-controlled housing options

Even among measures that generated some controversy on Capitol Hill, on social media, or both, there was still broad, or even unanimous, consensus when the time came to vote in the Council chamber.    While there was some discussion of the necessity of a measure meant to clarify an earlier Council action that had added birth control use as a protected class under the Human Rights Act (while pointedly not requiring all employers to provide access to it), the vote on the clarifications was unanimous.

Similarly, the Council unanimously approved a measure proposed by Mayor Bowser that would disallow marijuana use in private clubs.  While members may have disagreed on the merits of the eventual legality of such clubs, they appeared to feel that allowing them to open immediately, prior to any regulations being in place, would be an error.

Finally, despite a fair amount of discussion and an amendment, a measure designed to give the DC Public Schools chancellor greater discretion in how funds targeted to address at-risk youth are spent also eventually passed unanimously.

In the end, of all measures that were voted on at the Third Legislative Meeting, not a single “no” vote was cast.

True to form, weather-wise, March has indeed come in like a lion. Let us hope that, like the March Legislative Meeting, it follows the dictum and goes out like a lamb.

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