Peter Newsham Confirmed as Police Chief at Otherwise Routine Meeting

Peter Newsham’s seven-month stint as Acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department culminated with the Council’s approval of his nomination as Chief. After three long and sometimes contentious hearings on his nomination in recent weeks, including two held in the community and one at the Wilson Building, discussion at the Legislative Meeting was largely supportive. Assured of plans for an independent investigation into concerns regarding police action at the January Inauguration weekend, Councilmembers expressed their support for the nominee, and approved his nomination by a 12-1 vote.

In other action, the Council approved a raft of other nominations (including to the Police Complaint Board, Food Policy Council, and the Housing Production Trust Fund) as well as numerous contracts.

Additional legislation receiving its initial Council vote were measures that:
•expanded the reach of the District’s child neglect and sex trafficking laws
•required a study of the capacity and need for daycare during nontraditional hours
•extended the definition of at-risk students to cover kids in pre-K, and extending at-risk funding to these students
•prohibited defunct grocery stores from preventing future grocery stores from opening in their former locations
•modified the funding method for undergrounding utility lines

Measures introduced at the meeting, if enacted, would:
•designate a block of 2nd Street, SW in honor of Richard Rausch, an advocate for democracy and DC statehood
•create a pilot program to fix building code violations and repair critical deferred maintenance situations in low-income cooperatives and condominiums
•dedicate sales tax revenues from Smithsonian museums and local sports playoff game concessions to arts spending
•expand the District’s rat-battling capacity and skillset
•establish and require a principal-based method for insurance companies to determine the amount of their reserves

Finally, two ceremonial resolutions were presented at the meeting. One recognized National Charter Schools Week, while the other declared May 13 as “Remember the St. Louis Day,” a sad and historic incident in which a ship full of Jewish refugees from the Nazis were refused entry into the United States.

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