The Council spoke with a united voice at its most recent Legislative Meeting with its unanimous support for proposed Fair Elections legislation. In the first of two required votes, all thirteen councilmembers voted in favor of legislation which would put into place voluntary public financing of District elections.
In brief, candidates who opt into public financing under the new legislation will be required to hit a fundraising target via only small contributions (this number will vary based on the office sought). Once that number has been met and certified, the candidate will receive a base-level grant of funding, half at the time of certification, and half upon making it onto the ballot. Donations from DC residents would then be matched on a 5-to-1 basis. In exchange for receiving public financing, the maximum allowable donation for candidates would be significantly decreased, and contributions would only be permitted from individuals.
In other action, the Council unanimously passed on the second of two required votes permanent legislation to ensure that health care protections for women that were included in Obamacare remain in effect in the District definitively.
The Council also approved, unanimously and on an emergency basis (pending passage of permanent legislation), the re-naming of the portion of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Russian Embassy to honor slain democracy activist Boris Nemtsov.
As the most recent meeting began, the Council approved a ceremonial resolution honoring Charlie Brotman, who had been the voice of Presidential Inaugural Parades from Dwight Eisenhower until Barack Obama, as well as the voice of the Washington Senators baseball team until the franchise left the District.
Measures introduced from the dais at the meeting, if they become law, would:
•Waive the requirement that students in DC have a signed parental permission slip prior to having sunscreen applied
•Express the Sense of the Council supporting a National Park Service plan to create a National Capital Trail Plan encompassing a network of new and existing local trails
•Dub Kingman Island a state park, and create administrative agencies to oversee DC’s state parks
•Waive the fees associated with official government-issued identification cards for seniors, returning citizens, and the homeless
•Create a process facilitating the closure of individual street blocks so as to create additional play space
•Mandate that children use rear-facing car seats until age two
•Require DC Water to report annually to the Council on consumer complaints it received, and to provide Office of People’s Counsel oversight for the organization
The Council’s next scheduled Legislative Meeting will be held on February 6.
For a full listing of all votes taken at the most recent Legislative Meeting, please click here.