With the Council approaching a stretch of time where there will be three Legislative Meetings (two budget-focused) in twenty-two days, the most recent meeting served as a bit of a calm before the storm. Much of February, March, and April were monopolized by the two-per-agency marathon oversight hearings that targeted organizational performance and budget. During that time, the quantity and pace of non-budget legislation understandably slowed. However, the Council never stops legislating, and the most recent meeting was proof that this is the case.
One clear focus of the meeting was the introduction of legislation intended to reduce, if not eliminate, pedestrian, bicyclist, and other traffic deaths. Known as Vision Zero, the goal of such legislation is to ensure that the built environment, as well as the behavior of people using the transportation system, provide all possible protection to pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as to other drivers. One bill that was introduced at the most recent meeting, if passed, would ensure that driver training curriculum and testing would require knowledge of bicycle safety laws. Another bill, if passed, would require if feasible that all intersections being rebuilt include sidewalk “bump-outs” designed to minimize crossing distances for pedestrians. A third omnibus bill, if passed, would include a raft of Vision Zero measures, including smarter integration of new real estate developments into a Vision Zero context, a ban on right-turn-on-red, reduced speed limits, more frequent and smarter transportation planning, and other aspects.
In other action at the most recent meeting, the Council approved on an emergency basis technical corrections to two measures approved late in the prior two-year Council Period: a fair elections measure that provides for a public match to smaller campaign contributions, and a “red flag” firearms law that allows for temporary removal of firearms for cause when justified concern is provided by a family member or law enforcement, then verified. Also approved in the same spirit as the Vision Zero introductions mentioned earlier was an emergency bill intended to accelerate the redesign of Florida Avenue, NE with an eye towards slowing vehicle speeds and protecting pedestrians and bicyclists. Finally, nominations to the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, Office of Veterans Affairs, and Office of Nightlife and Culture, were also approved.
Earlier in the meeting, three Ceremonial Resolutions were presented. One honored Ibrahim Mumin for his decades of contributions to the Shaw community, a second honored all that DC natives have done for the District, and a third recognized Jazz Appreciation Month and International Jazz Day in the District.
In other action, measures introduced at the most recent meeting, if enacted, would:
- Revise current regulations preventing those with parking spaces in/at their homes from having a District-designated space in front of their home, if proof of hardship is provided
- Require landlords to provide 180-day notice when providing notice to vacate to a daycare facility
- Symbolically designate Hannah Hawkins Way
- Provide a ten-year tax exemption for Georgina’s/Player’s Lounge
- Guarantee access to certain legal education and other resoruces for detained youth
The Council’s next Legislative Meeting will be held on May 14, at which time the first of two votes on the budget, and the Budget Support Act, will be taken. On May 28, there will be another Legislative Meeting, at which the second votes on the budget will occur. On June 4, the regular first-Tuesday-of-the-month Legislative Meeting will occur.