With Just One Budget Bill Remaining, The Council Continues Legislating

While the Council’s other business continues through budget season, and the oversight that’s a core component of budget time is also a year-round responsibility, it must be said that the Council breathes a sigh of relief once the budget is behind us.

Having said that, we are not quite there yet. While the other bills comprising the budget have all been passed by the Council the requisite one or two times (based on the specific bill), the final element of the budget still faces one final vote. The Budget Support Act, the bill which incorporates the legislative changes necessitated by the budget, must be passed a second time. This vote will occur at an upcoming Legislative Meeting.

With this one remaining budget to-do list item aside, the most recent Legislative Meeting allowed the Council to return fully to legislating. Two pressing items were the primary focus of the Council on this front.

One was a measure to address the increase in crime experienced by the District in the lead-up to the summer. The measure as passed would further encourage the Mayor to seek private donations to fund violence prevention and mental health response to shootings, homicides, and similar violent incidents.

The second was introduced to address one element of the absenteeism that is plaguing DC Public Schools. As passed, the measure serves as a bit of a bridge between the earlier period of non-enforcement and the subsequent implementation of a zero-tolerance environment towards absenteeism. This school year, and only this school year, the legislation allows the few dozen students in each grade who were academically qualified to progress to the next grade, but who would have been denied that advancement due to absences, to advance nonetheless. Students in future school years are not covered under this legislation, nor are students this school year who were not academically qualified to advance in the first place.

Other measures addressed by the Council at the most recent Legislative Meeting authorized construction of a helicopter pad at George Washington University Hospital, closed a loophole regarding anti all-terrain vehicle enforcement, created a special vending zone for the baseball All-Star Game, and provided the Office of the Attorney General with the grantmaking authority necessary to administer $360,000 in violence prevention funds recently approved for that office by the Council.

Four ceremonial resolutions were also presented at this meeting. They commemorated the 80th Anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce, DC Black Lesbian and Gay Pride, and the retirement of Navy Rear Admiral Lawrence Cleveland “Larry” Chambers. The final notable Ceremonial Resolution honored the three talented young ladies from Banneker High School who not just placed second in a national science competition, but also showed grace under pressure as they faced online hate and harassment.

New measures introduced at the most recent meeting, if eventually enacted, would:

  • Create an elder abuse response team
  • Regulate amplified noise
  • Assure collection of health data from LGBTQ individuals, to ensure equity in healthcare provision
  • Limit repeat provision of temporary parking permits
  • Create a Commission on Archives and Records Management
  • Create a Center for Firearm Violence Prevention Research
  • Dedicate funds obtained through civil asset forfeiture to use by the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement enhancement programs
  • Create the Local Communities Have an Opportunity to Promote Equity Fund 

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