At the Council’s July 14 Legislative Meeting, during a nearly nine hour long marathon session, the Council tackled several major pieces of legislation. (For details on every vote taken at the meeting, click here.)
The most attention-getting votes were those on the override of Mayor Gray’s veto of the Council’s budget (initially passed 13-0 on May 28 and 12-1 on June 24). Originally listed on the agenda as the final item to be considered, which would have led to votes occurring into the evening, they were instead addressed out of order at mid-meeting. In the end, both votes on the override succeeded by 12 votes to 1. The broader Budget Request Act will now be transmitted by the Mayor to the President for submission to Congress, and the more specific Budget Support Emergency Act will take effect immediately. For more information on what was included in the budget, click here.
Three other pieces of legislation that drew substantial interest from advocates and citizens also passed by overwhelming margins. In fact, each was approved unanimously by the Council, despite some of them having been in the works for a decade.
The first measure, the wage theft bill, aims to end the practice of employers not paying their workers the entirety of the pay that they have earned. Provisions of the bill will facilitate workers recouping pay that was withheld, set penalties for employers found guilty of wage theft, plus protect and help provide legal representation for workers victimized by this crime.
The second, known to most as the “ban the box” bill, mandates that employers no longer inquire in the early phases of a job search about a potential employee’s past criminal convictions. While employers in some specific industries, such as child care and banking, can continue to ask these questions earlier in the process, most employers will now be banned from asking until a conditional offer of employment has been made.
The third item that has garnered public support is a ban on the use of styrofoam-like materials in food and drink containers. This measure was included in a comprehensive bill that included several other environmental reform measures. Amended to exclude styrofoam used at supermarket meat counters, the ban will take effect in 2016.
For details on every vote taken at the meeting, click here.
With its adjournment yesterday, the Council is now in recess until September 15. The next legislative meeting will be held on September 23.