With the Budget Bested, Council Enters Next Legislation-Heavy Phase

Although the bulk of the budget behemoth is behind us, one vote remains: the second of two votes on the Budget Support Act (the bill encompassing the legislative changes necessitated by the dollars-and-cents Local Budget Act that received its final vote at our previous Legislative Meeting). That final vote of the FY 2020 budget cycle will most likely occur on June 18, with July 9 as the backup date if needed. (And fret not, budget nerds: the Council will begin the FY 2021 budget process soon enough, in just five months, when we approve the resolution outlining the timetable and other requirements for the Mayor’s next budget submission.)

However, at the most recent Legislative Meeting, with the budget largely in the rearview mirror, councilmembers were able to return their full focus to the introduction and passage of legislation. Three measures introduced at this meeting were co-introduced by all thirteen members of the Council—an unusually high number to receive unanimous co-introduction. The first such bill, if enacted, would restore voting rights to those incarcerated with felony convictions. The second such bill, if enacted, would place Special Police Officers under the same Office of Police Complaints review process that governs Metropolitan Police Department officers. The third such bill, if enacted, would make go go music the official music form of the District of Columbia, and would require the Mayor to put in place a program to “support, preserve, and archive go go music and its history.”

In other action, the following bills introduced at the meeting, if enacted, would:

  • Re-establish, every ten years, a Tax Revision Commission, meant to take a holistic look at DC tax policy
  • Express the Sense of the Council in opposition to the trade embargo against Cuba
  • Legalize sex work and remove all related criminal penalties related to such work, with the exception of those involving coercion, trafficking, etc.
  • Create a vote-by-mail system to supplement the existing in-person voting system
  • Create a tax credit towards cybersecurity insurance for small businesses
  • Require safety notification for stringed window blinds
  • Provide for free usage of the Circulator buses, and require a plan to extend routes into all eight wards
  • Create a dementia services coordinator position for the District
  • Require a certain level of postpartum care coverage by insurance providers
  • Guarantee services in East of the River high risk displacement areas
  • Designate a James E. Bunn Amphitheater
  • Recognize Mary Cuthbert for her long career of service

Earlier in the meeting, two Ceremonial Resolutions were presented. One recognized Queen Anunay and Kishia Clemencia for becoming the third and fourth women battalion chiefs in the history of the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. The second recognized the 40th Anniversary of the Marion Barry Youth Leadership Institute.

The Council’s next Legislative Meetings will be held on June 18, June 25, and July 9.

For a full list of all votes taken at the Council’s most recent Legislative Meeting, please click here.