In the last couple of weeks, I introduced two major pieces of public safety legislation aimed at ensuring accountability – both for offenders and for our government agencies. These bills are a continuation of my efforts to ensure our public safety agencies are operating efficiently and effectively, that offenders are held accountable for their actions, and that victims have the support and protections they need.
Today I introduced an omnibus legislative package to address gaps in our legal system, ensure accountability for offenders, support victims, and keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a threat to the community. The Accountability and Victim Protection Amendment Act of 2023 was developed in partnership with the US Attorney’s Office for DC, the agency responsible for prosecuting the vast majority of crimes by adult offenders. By filling gaps in our laws to ensure accountability and advancing policies that will better protect and meet the needs of victims, this legislation will address our urgent public safety challenges as well as interrupt cycles of violence – making us safer today and in the future.
The Accountability and Victim Protection Amendment Act will:
Since assuming the role of Chairwoman of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, I have focused on identifying and filling gaps in our legal system that enable crime and violence to proliferate. The Accountability and Victim Protection Amendment Act of 2023 is a major step in my efforts to promote common-sense, actionable solutions to our urgent public safety challenges.
In addition to the Accountability and Victim Protection Amendment Act of 2023, last week I introduced the Office of Unified Communications Transparency and Accuracy Amendment Act. In recent years, significant errors at OUC, the agency responsible for operating DC’s 911 call center, have had disastrous consequences and have undermined the health and safety of District residents. The Office of Unified Communications Transparency and Accuracy Amendment Act will provide the public with information regarding OUC’s operations, efficacy, and accuracy in order to ensure improvements to the systems and processes of OUC and increase public trust. There is no room for error when we are dealing with life or death responses. OUC is a critical part of our public safety apparatus, and it is crucial that the agency is functioning with accuracy, efficiency, and timeliness.
Every day, my team and I are laser-focused on making DC residents safer, and I am incredibly proud of these two pieces of public safety legislation. I will continue doing everything in my power to bring down crime and violence and promote safety in our communities.
Yours in service,
In the last few weeks, Councilmember Pinto and Team Pinto have been out and about in Ward 2 and across the city including to:
7News: DC Councilmember introduces bill aimed at giving police more power to enforce fare evasion. “‘The same day Pinto announced her proposed bill, Metro general manager Randy Clarke sent a letter to her in support of the bill. In the letter, Clarke wrote about the link between fare evasion and what are called Part 1 crimes, which include the most serious crimes.”
Smithsonian Magazine: The First Self-Proclaimed Drag Queen Was a Formerly Enslaved Man. “‘We have seen so much anti-trans and anti-drag legislation and rhetoric around the country in a very problematic way,’ says Brooke Pinto, a D.C. Council member who introduced the bill. ‘In Washington, D.C., where we are proud to have so many trans residents, we [need to] speak up and recognize, sometimes through symbolism, sometimes through legislation, how important these issues are.’”
7News: 'You need to be held accountable': D.C. councilmember discusses juvenile justice. “‘I think what's really important here when we have people perpetrating crimes who are juveniles, that there's accountability for our young people in the juvenile justice system. Being tried as a young person or as a juvenile does not mean and should not mean that there's no accountability. We have a juvenile justice system for kids who are less than 18 and an adult system, which is a different system. Regardless of your age, you need to be held accountable if you are committing a heinous act and violating another victim's right to peacefully enjoy their space or in more egregious incidents of violence,’ Pinto said.”
WTOP: You paid your Metro fare. Metro police might soon stop the people who don’t in DC. “‘I have continued to hear from members of the public who are on the system every day, how frustrated they are with repeated instances of fare evasion,’ said Pinto. While she agrees that no one should go to jail for hopping over a turnstile, she wants to give Metro Transit Police the ability to enforce the current $50 fine if they do choose to evade the fare.”
NBC4: DC lags as Metro steps up fare evasion enforcement; new bill aims to help. “‘Right now, if somebody jumps the turnstile and transit police say, ‘Hey, you can't do that. I need your name,’ the person can just walk away from them,’ Pinto said. Under her proposed bill, offenders must give officers their name and address (not necessarily an ID). If not, they can be detained and possibly face a fine of $100, twice the current $50 fare evasion fine in D.C.”
DC News Now: DC Council member calls on more transparency with the District’s 911 Call Center. “’The agency does not have room for mistakes,’ Pinto said. ‘It is vitally important to all of our health and safety and well-being that our 911 Call Center is operating at the highest standards as possible.’ Pinto said the legislation is a step towards saying that these errors need to be seen. ‘The public deserves to see what’s going on, and we need to see improvements as soon as possible.’ Pinto said.”
Team Pinto is going on neighborhood walks with each of our amazing Ward 2 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners! This week, we’re highlighting ANC 2F01 and Commissioner David Rubenstein. Brian from Team Pinto met with Commissioner Rubenstein to walk ANC 2F01 in the U Street Corridor. Some of the topics they discussed included public safety, MPD hiring challenges, Garrison Elementary School, and noise issues from businesses on 14th Street. If you live in ANC 2F01, you can reach Commissioner Rubenstein at 2F01@anc.dc.gov.
Did you know? Swann Street, named after a pioneering drag activist & the first “Queen of Drag,” William Dorsey Swann, travels through ANC 2F01. Councilmember Brooke Pinto led the renaming of Swann St in honor of William Dorsey Swann.