Third-to-Last Legislative Meeting Produces High Amount of Legislation, Low Amount of Debate

Time is growing short for bills introduced since January of 2015 that have not yet become law.  In the District’s legislative system, a hearing and two votes on a bill must be held within the two-year Council period during which the bill was introduced. Because that ticking clock expires at noon on January 2, 2017, many bills that had been in legislative limbo are now queueing up to receive their two Council votes, or “readings,” just prior to the deadline.

This explains why the agenda for the November 15 Legislative Meeting was comparatively busy. Yet, with two additional Legislative Meetings remaining (on December 6 and 20), the true and final deadline for action on must-pass legislation for this Council Period has not yet arrived, and will not for three more weeks.  This second circumstance may account for the fact that the comparatively large amount of legislation passed with a relatively low amount of debate.

Among the actions taken at the meeting:

  • the Death with Dignity measure received its final needed vote
  • an exemption from sales tax for feminine hygiene products and child/adult diapers received its second necessary vote
  • an omnibus Advisory Neighborhood Commission reform measure passed on its first vote
  • a measure passed on first vote disallowing the use of the term “flushable” on wipes unless they meet certain criteria ensuring they will not damage sewers

Finally, the sole measure introduced at the meeting was the requirements for the budget to be submitted by the Mayor to the Council. Passage of this measure, expected at the December 6 Legislative Meeting, kicks off the FY 2018 budget process. Under the terms of the proposed measure, the Mayor must submit her budget to the Council by March 23, 2017.

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