New Legislation, Lost Wage and Small Business Assistance and MLK Library Reopening

Posted by
Emmanuel Brantley
September 25, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

We are back in session here at the Council, and I am working hard on behalf of our Ward 2 community. By now, you may have received our press release this week, highlighting that the Council convened our first post-recess legislative meeting. During the meeting, I co-introduced legislation and also voted to support small businesses, strengthen tenant rights and protections, and support members of the D.C. arts community.

This month, we have attended dozens of community meetings and events and were able to connect with thousands of neighbors. If you were able to attend any of our events, thank you! If not, we certainly will have more opportunities to engage in the near future. My team and I work diligently to respond to your wide-ranging inquiries and always remain available to receive additional questions from constituents.

Finally, after a three-and-a-half-year renovation, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library has reopened with limited services to the public. I have so many fond memories of volunteering at and visiting the MLK Library, and I am thrilled to see this space reactivated! A huge congratulations goes to DC Public Libraries and all those involved in this major project for our community!

For more information on the Council’s legislative meeting, to learn more about the MLK Library reopening, or to see what I have been doing in the community, please see the “Legislative Update” and “In the Community” sections of this newsletter.

As always, our office door is (virtually) open, and my team and I are here to assist and support you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything you need.

Yours in Service,


In The Community

In the Principal’s Office: Throughout September, Councilmember Pinto met with principals from Ward 2 public schools to discuss their experiences with distance learning over the first few weeks of school and to ensure that all students and families have access to the technologies they need to succeed during these times. Councilmember Pinto continues to work closely with the Mayor’s office and the Department of Health to evaluate options for options to return to the classroom.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Virtual Opening Ceremony: After undergoing a three-and-a-half-year, $211 million restoration and modernization process, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library reopened with limited services to the public on Thursday, September 24. The library is equipped with more than 100,000 square feet of additional space. Inside, the visitors will be able to enjoy creative spaces for artistic and music production, host gatherings and events in one of the many conference centers or the large auditorium, relax in the ground-level café or double-height reading room, and much more! During the opening ceremony, which can be re-watched here, Councilmember Pinto shared her fond memories of volunteering at the library and reminded everyone to do their part in advancing the legacy of justice and equality that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for. For full details on the schedule and service offerings of the newly restored and renovated MLK Library, visit

Remembering RBG: Councilmember Pinto sends her deep gratitude and respect to the family, friends, and loved ones of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affectionally known as “RBG.” In her statement, Councilmember Pinto stated that the Justice “… was an incredibly bold trailblazer for social equality and ardent, reasoned advocacy on behalf of our most vulnerable citizens. I’ll forever be inspired by her vision and commitment. I join the nation in mourning her loss and extend my sympathies to her family.”

Legislative Update

The Council’s First Post-Recess Legislative Session: Yesterday, the Council of the District of Columbia held its first post-recess meeting of the Committee of the Whole and legislative meeting. During this time, Councilmember Pinto co-introduced legislation to protect the integrity of the District’s Certified Business Enterprise Program and to provide free feminine hygiene products in District schools. She also voted in favor of a number of emergency measures that extended the Mayor’s authority under the public health emergency through December 31st, championed tenant protections and strengthened the District’s rent stabilization program, bolster our city’s partnership with the Business Improvement Districts to improve outdoor public infrastructures for the use of restaurants and retail establishments during the public health emergency, and provided support for grantees of funding from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

To view my press release detailing yesterday’s votes, click here. For a full synopsis of the day’s events and to watch the recording, visit the Council’s archived hearing list.

The Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Reports: During the month of September, the Council’s Budget Office will issue a series of reports that highlight some of the most important enhancements that the Council funded in the FY 2021 Budget and Financial Plan. The fourth report in this seven part series on the “Social Determinants of Health” was released on Friday, September 18th. Previous reports cover topics on education and criminal justice reform and are available here.

Budget Report Release Schedule:

  • Social Determinants of Health – Friday, September 18
  • Economic Justice – Monday, September 21
  • Inclusive Governance – Wednesday, September 23
  • Revenue and Resource Reallocation – Friday, September 25


The November 3rd General Election Update: The general election is less than 50 days away. To ensure that you do not have any issues casting your ballot, please review the information below.

  • The D.C. Board of Elections (BOE) will send each registered voter a paper ballot that can be completed and returned via postal mail or any of the secure BOE ballot drop boxes located throughout the city. Ballot boxes in Ward 2 are located at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, at the Georgetown Library, at the West End library, and at the Stead Recreation Center. A ballot box will also be available at the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro starting Thursday, October 8. Click here to find drop box locations in other Wards.
  • EARLY VOTING begins Tuesday, October 27 and ends Monday, November 2. In Ward 2, you can vote early at Hardy Middle School in the 1800 block of 35th Street N.W. or at Capitol One Sports Arena at 601 F Street, N.W. For other early voting locations, click here.
  • ELECTION DAY WORKERS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED and will be compensated (training will be provided!). All polling locations will adhere to strict social distancing guidelines, will require that everyone wear masks, and will restrict the number of persons indoors at the polling stations. If you are interested in becoming an Election Day Worker, please complete an online application HERE . For more information, call the BOE Call Center at 202-741-5283 or email

Streatery Winter Ready Grant Program: The Mayor has announced the launch of the Streatery Winter Ready Grant Program. This program will provide up to $6,000 for eligibile businesses to prepare their outdoor spaces to welcome patrons this winter. The disbursement of funds will begin on October 1, 2020, on a rolling basis. For more information on the grant and to apply, visit:

District Residents Can Apply for Lost Wages Assistance: This week, the District’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) announced that eligible workers in the District can apply to receive the $300 in federal weekly wage assistance for a limited number of weeks. For more information on the program, eligibility requirements, and to find out how to apply, review this frequently asked question fact sheet provided by DOES. For additional information about assistance for undocumented workers, annual leave, and worker’s rights, please click here to view additional information from At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Chairperson of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.

Landlords and Tenants Can Create Their Own One-Year Plan: In a release this week, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) supplied a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) continuing language to help residential tenants impacted by COVID-19 reach a payment plan agreement with their housing provider. Tenants needing assistance with this matter may obtain help by contacting these organizations:

  • Office of the Tenant Advocate (202) 719-6560
  • Housing Counseling Services (202) 667-7006,
  • Latino Economic Development Center (202) 588-5102, or the
  • Rental Accommodations Division at DHCD (202) 442-9505.

The Great Streets Retail Grants Program: The Great Streets Retail Grant provides existing and new businesses the opportunity to help transform 13 emerging commercial corridors into thriving and inviting livable, walkable, and shoppable neighborhood centers. More information is available at

The Submission deadline is Monday, September 28, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

COVID Recovery: The District is currently in Phase 2 of COVID Recovery, review this helpful graphic to learn more about testing rates, community engagement, and the capacities of our public health systems.

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