This past week, we commemorated National Gun Violence Survivors Week, a week when we recognize the terrible toll of America's gun violence crisis and recommit ourselves to supporting survivors with action. Here in DC, we have had a particularly devastating week. On Saturday alone, three people were shot and killed in our city. A week ago today, a brave metro employee was killed while trying to take down a shooter who had already shot three others, killing two of them. We honor their memories by committing to ending the epidemic of gun violence that has had such tragic consequences in DC.
That is why I will be holding an emergency three-day public roundtable on gun violence on March 3rd, 4th, and 6th to work together with our community to discuss solutions and coordinate between our government agencies who are focused on the important work of preventing and responding to this violence. The goal of this event is to hear directly from you about how gun violence is impacting your life and what you want to see implemented to address the crisis and bring our government partners and experts to the same table to focus on immediate solutions. You can sign up to testify on Zoom (March 3rd) or in person at Anacostia Neighborhood Library (March 4th) here.
While I continue to work to tackle the scourge of gun violence in the city, I know there are many other issues residents are concerned about. I want to highlight three issues my team and I are focused on this week:
I will always advocate on behalf of Ward 2 residents and ensure neighbors are receiving transparent and consistent communications on projects affecting our neighborhoods.
Yours in Service,
Increasing Access to Public Restrooms: Councilmember Pinto introduced legislation to increase access to public restrooms. The “Expanding Access to Public Restrooms Act of 2023” will increase the availability of public restrooms by providing grant funding to build and maintain more public bathrooms. In addition, the legislation requires that all new and substantially renovated parks that are one acre or more in size have a public restroom.
Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Healthy Food: After residents in Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities raised concerns to Councilmember Pinto about the inadequacy of the food they are provided, Councilmember Pinto introduced the Food Regulation Ensures Safety and Hospitality Specialty Training Aids Re-entry Transition and Success (“FRESH STARTS”) Act of 2023 to transform food access in DOC facilities and ensure residents have access to healthy, nutritious food. The legislation also establishes additional workforce training programs to provide incarcerated residents with the tools they need to enter hospitality sector jobs upon exiting incarceration.
Streamlining Access to Healthcare: Earlier this week, Councilmember Pinto introduced legislation to to ensure patients do not face unnecessary barriers to timely, medically appropriate health care. The “Prior Authorization Reform Amendment Act of 2023” will regulate “prior authorizations,” a practice used by health insurers that requires patients and their medical providers seek prior authorization for certain medications, medical procedures, or other medical care. When unregulated, prior authorization requirements can cause unnecessary and often harmful delays to patients.
Standing up for DC: Councilmember Pinto and all 12 of her colleagues sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them not to undermine DC autonomy. The letter condemns Congress’ efforts to overturn duly enacted laws of the District of Columbia – a move that would significantly undermine the District’s autonomy.
Last week, Councilmember Pinto hosted her first oversight hearing as Chairwoman of the Judiciary and Public Safety. She focused her questions to the Department of Forensic Science on how they are earning back trust and ensuring accuracy after years of problems at the agency.
Yesterday, Councilmember Pinto held an oversight hearing on the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.
You can find the whole list of upcoming hearings below!
Councilmember Pinto is also co-hosting a Youth Hearing with Councilmember Trayon White to hear directly from young people about the topics that matter most to them! Young people can sign up to tesitfy here.
Washington Informer: D.C. Council Member Seeks to Expand Public Restrooms Availability. “The bill — Expanding Access to Public Restrooms Act of 2023 — provides grant funding to facilitate the provision and maintenance of public bathrooms and requires that all new and dramatically renovated parks that are one acre or more in size have a facility of that type.”
FOX5: Bill to add more public restrooms at District parks introduced by DC councilmember. “Pinto says the current availability of public restrooms hurts people experiencing homelessness, pregnant people, people with young children and people with gastrointestinal issues.”
WTOP: Does DC have enough bathrooms when you really need one? A new bill could help. “’I think this is the latest effort to really recognize the reality that we are all human beings. We all have to go to the rest room,’ said Pinto. ‘We should be living in a city that provides access to these spaces for free that are publicly available.’”
DCist: New Bill Aims To Bring Nutritious Food To D.C. Jail And Other Correctional Facilities. “A majority of District Councilmembers, led by judiciary and public safety committee chairperson Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2), introduced legislation aiming to ensure residents of D.C. jail and other correctional facilities have access to healthy, nutritious food. For years, residents have been sounding the alarm about the conditions inside the city’s correctional facilities, particularly the food, that was often processed, sometimes expired, and even withheld as a form of punishment.”
WUSA9: McPherson Square encampment to be cleared early. “On Wednesday, D.C. Ward 2 councilwoman Brooke Pinto said that 25 of the about 70 people living in the park have completed the housing assessment tool – 15 of those people have been matched to housing. Pinto said she's working with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS) to urge them to move with ‘deliberate speed’ to expedite the applications of the 10 residents who have not yet been matched to housing with the goal of having them in safe housing in the next two weeks.”
In the last few weeks, Councilmember Pinto and her team have been out and about in Ward 2 and across the city including:
Announcing a new section of our newsletter! Team Pinto is going on neighborhood walks with each of our amazing Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and we’ll be highlighting a different ANC single member district (SMD) every newsletter. Brian from Team Pinto met Commissioner Fouracre to walk ANC 2F06 between Logan Circle and Thomas Circle. They discussed improving the conditions in DC public housing buildings, keeping our streets safe, and ensuring the walkability of the neighborhood. If you live in ANC 2F06, you can reach Commissioner Fouracre at 2F06@anc.dc.gov.
Fun Fact: ANC 2F06 is one of the smallest ANC SMDs geographically in the city.