As we head into Labor Day weekend, I want to thank District workers who work hard every single day to ensure our city thrives. Today, I want to share my work to protect workers and keep the District as a great place to do business, some back to school updates, and important information about changes to the DC Council website and our email addresses. Before I share more about this work, I want to address gun violence in our communities.
Over the past year, there has been an increase in violent crime with guns across the city and in Ward 2. In the last week alone, our ward has experienced a homicide and shootings in Chinatown as well as shots fired in Georgetown, where fortunately no one was injured. We must do more to get guns off of our streets. All DC residents deserve to live without fear. We need coordination across the government including with our federal partners for solutions to end the scourge of gun violence now. Over the coming days and weeks, I’ll continue my work with colleagues across government branches and with community partners to better tackle the proliferation of guns in our communities.
This weekend, we celebrate Labor Day and the strength, resilience, and impact that workers have had improving working conditions now and throughout our nation’s history. DC is the best place to be a worker and to be a business employing workers in the country-- and there is more work to be done.. DC has the highest minimum wage in the country and the District is a national leader on paid family leave.
I am focused on making sure DC remains a competitive place to do business while also protecting workers. For over a year and a-half, I worked with Council colleagues, the DC Chamber of Commerce, the consortium of universities, and other stakeholders on crafting a reasonable and workable standard for our city to protect workers – particularly low and middle wage earners – from overly broad and harmful non-compete agreements that keep workers out of the work place. At the last Council meeting in July before summer recess, the Council passed a policy on non-compete agreements that both protects low and middle income earners while also ensuring our businesses can compete with businesses in neighboring jurisdictions. The legislation includes an amendment I introduced to ensure the policy protects workers and businesses. You can read more in my Op-Ed in The Georgetowner.
Back to School
This week we welcomed back our students for the new school year! The beginning of the school year is off to a strong start and I am continuing to work with our partners at DCPS and the Department of General Services to ensure all outstanding building needs are addressed quickly. Our children, families, teachers, and staff deserve school buildings that are safe, comfortable, and secure; I will not stop working on the improvements for all school buildings until this is a reality.
This school year is especially exciting as DCPS and the Office of the State Superintendent for Education implement my bill to provide free period products in all of our schools! All high schools now have menstrual product dispensers installed in girls and gender-neutral bathrooms and middle schools are on track to have dispensers installed by January. I am so proud of the work we have done to provide this important necessity to our students. There is more work to be done to extend access to free menstrual products to all of our DC government public buildings. On October 11th, my bill to do just that will have a hearing and I'll be working with my colleagues to get it passed and funded.
Ensuring our teachers are equipped with the resources they need to be successful is so important. I’m also pleased that my proposal to provide literacy training to our teachers to improve reading rates will also be implemented this school year. This proposal was unanimously passed by the Council and is an important step to close the reading gap and improve our students’ literacy rates.
Updates to Council Website and Emails
The Council is updating it’s website to www.dccouncil.gov beginning September 6th. Along with this important website change, all of our emails will now be dccouncil.gov. For example, my email will now be firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to update your address books if you have Council contact information saved.
The Council’s first legislative meeting is scheduled for September 20th and I am looking forward to a busy fall legislative season advancing our communities’ priorities. I will be sure to keep you posted on what is coming up.
Yours in Service,