FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Contact: Emmanuel Brantley| email@example.com
Councilmember Brooke Pinto and the DC Council Conclude Council Period 23 with Votes in Favor of COVID Relief, Criminal Justice Reform, Health and Social Services, and More
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Council of the District of Columbia convened for the forty-first and final legislative meeting of Council Period 23. This meeting presented the Council’s last opportunity to vote on outstanding legislative measures introduced between January 2019 and December 2020, and saw the passage of significant bills related to criminal justice reform and public safety, fair labor and workers’ support, racial equity, and health and social services.
Among the measures supported by Councilmember Pinto during Council Period 23 are:
Criminal Justice Reform and Public Safety
Bill 23-127, the Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Amendment Act of 2020, formerly known as theSecond Look Amendment Act of 2019, among several other reforms, gives individuals who committed crimes before the age of 25 (previously before the age of 18) an opportunity to apply to the Superior Court for sentence review after they have served at least 15 years of their sentence.
Bill 23-409, the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020 bans the use of the LGBTQ panic defense in a court of law in the District of Columbia. The legislation also provides the Office of the Attorney General with civil enforcement authority when any person commits a bias-related crime, or a person interferes with an individual’s exercise or deprives an individual of equal protection of any right secured by the Constitution or District law through any act of violence, force, fraud, intimidation, or discrimination.
Bill 23-886, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Police Accountability Amendment Act of 2020 prohibits the use of enforcement quotas for the Metro Transit Police Department and creates a multijurisdictional Civilian Complaint Board to review complaints against Metro Transit Police Department members. The Board has the authority to dismiss, conciliate, mediate, investigate, adjudicate, or refer for further action.
Bill 23-923, the Helping Children Impacted by Parental Incarceration Amendment Act of 2020 requires the Office on Returning Citizen Affairs to submit to the Mayor and Council a comprehensive needs assessment and strategic plan outlining how the District will meet the social, emotional, economic, educational, housing, health, mental health, and other needs of children whose parents are incarcerated.
Fair Labor and Support for Workers
Bill 23-494, the Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 bans the use of non-compete provisions in employment agreements and workplace policies, protects employees' right to make a complaint or file a court case, and bars employers from retaliating against employees who inquire about their rights. It also specifies statutory penalties and relief for noncompliance.
Bill 23-965, the Displaced Workers Right to Reinstatement and Retention Amendment Act of 2020provides eligible workers who have been displaced by COVID-19 the opportunity to be reinstated once the pandemic subsides and their employer recovers sufficiently to rehire former employees and Bill 23-985, the Unemployment Benefits Extension Amendment Act of 2020 to continue providing unemployment benefits to District workers.
Bill 23- 440, the Removing Barriers to Occupational Licensing for Returning Citizens Amendment Act of 2020 seeks to expand economic opportunity for returning citizens by providing them opportunities for stable employment. This is accomplished by creating a more modern and consistent standard by which occupational licensing boards must evaluate applicants’ criminal records by requiring that a board use only criminal conviction information that is “directly related” to the occupation for which a license is sought.
Racial and Socio-economic Equality
Bill 23-122, the Cashless Retailers Prohibition Act of 2020 prohibits retail establishments from discriminating against cash as a form of payment, including charging different prices to customers depending on their payment method.
Bill 23-90, the Commission on Poverty in the District of Columbia Establishment Act of 2020establishes a Commission on Poverty to address the needs and interests of persons in poverty and evaluate existing and subsequent anti-poverty programs to determine their effectiveness and make recommendations for improvement.
Health and Social Services
Bill 23-54, the Opioid Overdose Treatment and Prevention Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020 decriminalizes drug paraphernalia for personal use of a controlled substance, including for certain community-based organizations and requires MPD to provide opioid antagonist rescue kits to certain District government employees.
Bill 23-920, the Insulin Affordability Amendment Act of 2020 as introduced, imposes a limit on the amount that a person must pay in copayment or coinsurance through a health benefit plan for a prescription for insulin.
Bill 23-437, the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children Establishment Amendment Act of 2020establishes the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children as an independent, impartial office, responsible to the Council and tasked with improving outcomes for CFSA (Child and Family Services Agency) children by holding agencies accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities under the law.
Today, the Council also passed the Coronavirus Public Health Extension Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 to extend the Mayor’s authority to continue the public health emergency through March 31, 2021.
Although sworn in just six months before the end of the two-year Council Period, Councilmember Brooke Pinto also supported the passage of both temporary and permanent legislation to further the District’s environmental sustainability efforts, open pathways for women and minority-owned businesses, and provide pandemic relief for all small and local businesses in the District.
These measures include:
Sustainability and a Green City
Bill 23-506, the Zero Waste Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020, among other requirements, mandates that the District of Columbia develop a plan for comprehensive organics site management and recycling infrastructure.
Bill 23-665, the Public Facilities Environmental Safety Amendment Act of 2020 requires the Department of General Services to identify and mitigate environmental hazards impacting human health on playground surface materials as well as all District-owned buildings that are occupied during demolition, excavation, renovation, and construction activities. The bill also expands lead testing and transparency of lead test results for synthetic public playground surfaces and requires community outreach regarding the replacement of playground and field surfaces.
Bill 23-204, the Energy Efficiency Standards Amendment Act of 2020 provides energy and water efficiency standards for various appliances offered for sale, lease, or rent in the District. It also requires that, at least every five years, the Mayor evaluate and, where it would best serve to promote energy conservation in the District, increase the energy efficiency standards for regulated products.
Small and Local Business Support
Bill 23-0942, the Revised Streatery Pop Up Locations Programs Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 extended the registration validity date for the operation of restaurant streateries by more than one year through December 2021.
Bill 23-0917, the Local Business Enterprise Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 closes a loophole in the existing law that allows large out of state companies the ability to certify as a local business enterprise.
In reflection, Councilmember Pinto stated, “It has been an honor to serve the residents of Ward 2 during the last six months as our city grapples with the devastating effects of COVID-19. I am looking forward to working on their behalf for a full term starting in January 2021 to improve the health of our city, support our small businesses and workers, reduce crime and advance criminal justice reform, and alleviate chronic homelessness."
On Saturday, January 2, 2021, Councilmember Brooke Pinto will be sworn in for her first full Council term. Details regarding virtual attendance options are forthcoming.