Judiciary Committee Update - Secure DC Updates and Performance Oversight

Posted by
V. Casarrubias
January 23, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

I am writing to share important updates on Secure DC and the Committee’s schedule for performance oversight of agencies.

Secure DC

I am thrilled to share that my Secure DC Omnibus legislation passed unanimously (5-0) out of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety on January 17th with votes of approval from all members of the Committee: me, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, At-Large Councilmember Christina Henderson, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, and Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray. As the next step in the legislative process, Secure DC will move through the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, January 23rd and then be brought before the full Council for its first of two votes on February 6th during the next legislative meeting.

District residents deserve our urgent action to improve public safety, which is why I am committed to ensuring Secure DC continues to move expeditiously through the legislative process. Throughout all of 2023, the Committee engaged with thousands of residents and my Council colleagues, who informed and shaped Secure DC during public hearings on each of the bills included in the omnibus package, public safety walks in all eight wards, and meetings with residents and stakeholders.

Secure DC is the culmination of a robust and thoughtful public engagement process that makes me confident that taken together, the 100+ interventions and solutions in the bill will make DC residents safer and more secure by preventing crime, ensuring accountability when crime does occur, and improving government coordination to meet the needs of District residents.

I invite you to share your support for my Secure DC Omnibus with my Council colleagues to ensure the Council continues to move forward these necessary interventions that will help bring safety to our communities. I appreciate Mayor Bowser's vocal and strong support for Secure DC. You can learn more about Secure DC and the Committee’s work at brookepintodc.com.

Performance Oversight

Performance oversight and budget season for Fiscal Year 2025 is upon us! Over the next several weeks, the Committee will have hearings to review agency performance over the past year. Members of the public are invited to provide testimony and watch the hearings. You can view the upcoming agency performance oversight hearing schedule below, along with instructions on how to request to testify or submit testimony. Please reach out to my team at judiciary@dccouncil.gov if you have any questions or concerns you would like to share.

Yours in Service,

The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety – along with all other Committees at the Council – will be holding performance oversight hearings throughout the rest of January until March 1st. Performance oversight hearings allow the Council and residents to receive updates from government agencies, ask questions, and hear resident testimony about their experiences receiving services from District agencies.

The first hearing in the Committee will be on January 24th with the Sentencing Commission – which provides critical guidance regarding the District’s sentencing guidelines – and the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants – which coordinates and provides grants for programs that care for crime victims and their support networks. You may find more details and sign up to testify here and watch the hearing in-person at the Wilson Building (Room 500) or on YouTube.

Witnesses who anticipate needing language interpretation, or requiring sign language interpretation, are asked to inform the Committee of the need as soon as possible but no later than five business days before a hearing during registration or by contacting Ms. Aukima Benjamin, Committee Manager to the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, at (202) 724-8058 or via e-mail at judiciary@dccouncil.gov.

You can find information on all upcoming hearings at the Council here.  

Chairwoman Pinto has been on the ground, working directly with our public safety partners to address crime and violence in the city.

Chairwoman Pinto met with Build a Village to discuss opportunities to support DC youth and foster safe communities.

Chairwoman Pinto met with Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE) to discuss the importance of safe passage to protect our students.

Chairwoman Pinto joined FOX5’s Marissa Mitchell on Good Day DC to discuss her Secure DC omnibus bill that will make residents safer through prevention, accountability, and government coordination.

Chairwoman Pinto met with Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and DC Nightlife Council to discuss ways to ensure the safety and vitality of our workers and businesses.

Chairwoman Pinto held a markup of her Secure DC Omnibus, which passed unanimously through the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety 5-0 on January 17th.

Chairwoman Pinto spoke at the announcement of the Gallery Place/Chinatown Task Force at the Shakespeare Theatre downtown, which is focused on the activation and safety plan for the Chinatown and Gallery Place neighborhoods.

Chairwoman Pinto spoke at the ribbon cutting for the Station U&O housing development in Shaw that creates 108 affordable homes and will ensure the vibrancy and resiliency of the neighborhood.

Chairwoman Pinto joined FOX5’s On The Hill with Tom Fitzgerald to discuss Secure DC and its next steps in the legislative process.

Watch: FOX 5 DC: New 'Secure DC' crime bill seeks to tackle growing crisis in the District. “Key components of the new 'Secure DC' crime bill include prevention, accountability and government coordination. Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto, who sponsored the bill, discusses the structure of the legislation, the financial support for it and the implementation if it passes the full council on Jan. 23.”

Watch: WJLA: DC Council public safety committee advances massive public safety bill. "'As a lawmaker, I have a responsibility to respond to what we're seeing in the District of Columbia right now, and that's what Secure D.C. aims to do - to prevent crime, to hold perpetrators of crime accountable, and to improve government coordination. And that's what I'm always going to do as a lawmaker, to be responsive to what thousands of residents are calling for - this needed action - and needing to shift direction and ensure we have a safer and more secure city,’ Pinto said.”

Washington Post: A crime-free D.C. starts with drug-free zones. “The bill would address this by empowering the police to declare 1,000-square-foot areas drug-free zones for five days, whereupon officers would issue notices declaring it unlawful to congregate in them for the purpose of using, buying or selling drugs... The proposal before the council appropriately balances public safety and constitutional concerns.”

Watch: NBC News4: DC Council's massive crime bill would make it easier for judges to hold defendants waiting for trial. “'It's going to make residents and businesses and visitors feel safer and actually be safer in our communities,' Pinto said. ‘Whether that's ensuring that we can prevent crime before it happens, with our access to cameras, ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable when they do violate the law, and that we're better coordinating within our government to better respond and ensure these retaliatory shootings and incidents are not as prevalent.'"

Watch: WUSA9: Pepper spray to be made permanently legal in DC under new crime bill. “Introduced by DC Councilmember Brooke Pinto on Wednesday, the Secure Omnibus includes provisions from more than a dozen crime bills. This includes making permanent some measures passed in the emergency crime bills in 2023, including legalizing the sale and use of pepper spray and pepper guns for self-defense.”

Watch: WJLA: DC councilmembers weigh in on massive new bill aimed at tackling rising crime. “'I am confident that these are the interventions that our city needs right now, and I hope and expect that my colleagues will vote for this package,’ said City Council Member Brooke Pinto.”

Watch: WJLA: Move forward in one vote': DC Councilmember Pinto proposes comprehensive crime bill. “'This is not something that we slapped together last minute. We have been very thorough. We have been working on these provisions for months,’ she said. ‘We introduced over a dozen bills. We had hearings, we heard from thousands of residents and stakeholders. I went to all eight wards and solicited feedback. I am confident that this is the right package for this time now.'”

Watch: FOX 5 DC: 'It’s going to make people safer:' DC Councilmember Pinto introduces crime legislation. “'It’s going to make people safer and more secure. It’s going to make residents and businesses and visitors feel safer and actually be safer in our communities, whether that’s ensuring we can prevent crime before it happens with our access to cameras, ensuring perpetrators are held accountable when they do violate the law and that we’re coordinating within our government to better respond to ensure these retaliatory shootings are not as prevalent,’ said Pinto.”

Watch: WUSA9: 'Feedback from residents was very important' | DC Councilmember introduces comprehensive crime omnibus to include over 100 initiatives. “On Wednesday, CM Brooke Pinto, chair of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee introduced Secure DC Omnibus. It includes many crime-fighting measures already proposed and it updates others based on feedback from the community. They called it a historic public safety package. Pinto’s 89-page omnibus is a comprehensive package that includes provisions from more than a dozen crime bills. Pinto said it was the series of safety walks, including those East of the River, which shaped her response to crime.”

Watch: WUSA9: Key takeaways in DC’s proposed crime bill. “Brooke Pinto, chair of the Public Safety Committee, introduced Secure DC Omnibus on Wednesday.”

DCist: The D.C. Council Is Considering (Another) Massive Crime Bill. Here’s What’s In It. “Pinto, who chairs the council’s judiciary committee, told reporters Wednesday that she was moving the provisions in one mega-bill because the District needs a slate of legislative interventions to reduce crime and violence — and fast. The city saw more homicides last year than any year since 1997, along with a surge in carjackings and vehicle thefts. ‘We think that it’s important that we move this forward now as one vote so that we can start to turn things around as soon as possible,’ Pinto said.”

Washington Examiner: DC councilwoman proposes sweeping public safety bill as crime plagues district. “'Every day, I hear from residents, businesses, and visitors about their serious concerns on the state of public safety and violence in the district,’ Pinto said, pointing to the ‘devastating’ statistics released for 2023 that show total crime increased 26% and violent crime increased 39%. ‘Residents are in fear of carjackings, thefts, and falling victim to crime across the district,’ Pinto said. ‘This is unacceptable.'”

Washington Examiner: What is in the DC omnibus crime bill heading before the council? “The package, put forward by Councilwoman Brooke Pinto, combines several bills and proposals from both the council and Mayor Muriel Bowser.”

The Hilltop: 90-Page ‘Secure DC’ Crime Bill Moves Forward In The Nation’s Capital. “On Wednesday, Jan. 10, D.C. Pinto issued a press release stating, ‘Secure DC brings together the strongest legislative proposals I considered this fall to better equip D.C. agencies and communities with needed tools to prevent crime, increase accountability, and strengthen government coordination.'”

Washington Examiner: DC judiciary committee unanimously passes omnibus crime bill despite some concerns over increased police provisions. “The Secure DC Omnibus bill, which was introduced by Councilwoman Brooke Pinto last week, strengthens carjacking laws, mandates shooting reviews, and expands private security for small businesses. Other provisions include increasing maximum sentences for gun-related crimes from one to five years and increasing juvenile pretrial detentions for certain violent crimes, all types of crimes that have increased substantially in the district in recent years.”

Washington Informer: Secure DC Omnibus Bill Advances to Committee of the Whole Amid Questions, Pushback. “'It’s wholly unproductive to point at one person or agency as the sole source of the problem,’ Pinto added. ‘The truth is that it’s everything. The Secure DC package recognizes that reality. It adjusts the laws the council controls and mandates things for agencies and courts.'”

DC News Now: DC comprehensive crime bill unanimously passed by committee despite concerns.“The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety unanimously voted to pass the Secure DC Omnibus bill on Wednesday, which was introduced by Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto on Jan. 11. Despite unanimous support in passing the bill, some council members raised concerns over certain provisions.”

The Georgetowner: Crime: Massive Crime Bill Up for D.C. Council Vote; Local Reports. “'Every day, I hear from residents across all eight wards about the urgent need to address crime in our neighborhoods,’ Pinto said. ‘My Secure DC Omnibus [bill] is our opportunity to turn the tide on crime trends that have overwhelmed our communities. It’s resoundingly clear – from residents across the District, businesses, visitors, and our federal and regional partners – that effective action is needed now.'”

DC News Now: DC councilmember introduces comprehensive crime bill to address rising crime. “In a news release, Pinto said she formed the legislation based on feedback from residents and stakeholders during hearings, public safety walks, and community meetings throughout the cities.”

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