If you feel like the Council just met a couple of weeks ago, you are right. The Council held its Third Legislative Meeting on March 3, just two weeks ago, and usually Legislative Meetings are held monthly. However, since the Council will be on recess on April 7, when the next Legislative Meeting would normally have been held, the next regularly-scheduled meeting won’t be until April 14. This would have left an unusually long six week gap between meetings. Since the Council must pass emergency and temporary versions of legislation to bridge the long gap between Council approval and the end of the Congressional review period (see our Council 101 description of the District’s legislative process for a full description), such a six-week gap might have been problematic. Hence, the Fourth (and Additional) Legislative Meeting.
Other than its unusual scheduling, an Additional Legislative Meeting is a Legislative Meeting nonetheless, which means that legislation can be, and indeed was, offered from the dais. Among the introductions were bills that, if passed, would:
- Expand protection of children from sexual abuse
- Provide tax assistance to the Capital Fringe headquarters
- Provide for insurance coverage for medically-required food replacements
- Restrict use of carcinogenic fire retardants
- Allow nonprofits with business subsidiaries to apply for Certified Business Enterprise status if so qualified
- Limit landlords’ use of “hardship petitions” to override rent control
- Confirm that any offers of purchase of a building under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act are in fact valid offers
Now that we are a few Legislative Meetings into the new Council Period, bills that were introduced at the earliest meetings of the Period have now had hearings held on them, and have been voted out of committee. These bills are beginning to come up for the first of two required votes before the full Council, as two did today. The first was a bill banning suspensions and expulsions of pre-K children, and also requiring schools to report all suspension and expulsion data. The second was a bill to improve the financial sustainability of the Health Benefit Exchange Authority by placing an assessment on insurers.
Also on the agenda today were a number of appointments and confirmations. Two new Metro board members were appointed on an emergency basis, so they will be immediately available to go to work on Metro’s safety issues, financial struggles, and selection of a new general manager. The other confirmations on the meeting’s agenda were Council resolutions supporting mayoral nominations as agency heads, and they require only a single Council vote.
For a listing of all actions taken at the meeting, please click here.
The next regularly scheduled legislative meeting is Tuesday, April 14th at 10:00 a.m.