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Brooke’s Briefing: Addressing Gun Violence, the Council's First Budget Vote, and Supporting Business Non-Compete, Ranked-Choice Voting, and Child Wealth Building

Posted by
Esther E von Allmen
on
July 27, 2021

Opening Remarks

Dear Neighbor,

Public Safety: We have all been horrified by the gun violence epidemic that continues to plague our city. After suffering the tragic loss of 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney, and hearing shots outside of the Nationals Stadium, we also witnessed recent shootings in the 14th street corridor and in other neighborhoods throughout our city.

Please know that I am devoted to working with my colleagues, our Mayor, Attorney General, the Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Department of Justice, and other public safety partners to provide a comprehensive approach to address this violence to include increasing investments in violence interruption, community investment and diversion programs, and also ensuring people who commit these unacceptable crimes are held accountable.

We will be receiving support from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the illegal firearms that have been flowing into our city from other jurisdictions. The District will be one of five jurisdictions to join the DOJ’s Trafficking Strike Forces to address violent crime and the spread of illegal guns. Read more below in the “Pinto in the Press Section.”

This Thursday, July 29th at 9:30 a.m., the Council will convene a hearing to address the gun violence emergency. You can find out how to testify or watch the livestream here.

Councilmember Pinto speaking on MSNBC Weekends about Gun Violence Prevention Efforts in the District of Columbia

Legislation: On the legislative front, I have co-introduced legislation to bring a ranked-choice voting system to our city and voted to establish a bonds program to help secure the financial futures of our youngest residents to help close the racial wealth gap. The Council also took its first votes on legislation concerning the Fiscal Year 2022 budget to pass sweeping supports for our residents, families, parks, and businesses. You can read more on these items in the “Legislative Updates and Council News” section of this newsletter.

Community: I would also like to thank the many neighbors who joined me on Friday, July 16th, for community office hours in Logan Circle to discuss the ways we can make our city an even better place to live, work, and thrive. I was also pleased to join the Logan Circle Citizens Association last weekend to read to some of our littlest neighbors and create artwork; we all have a role in beautifying our neighborhoods!

As we proceed through the summer, I want to make clear that my top priority will remain working with my colleagues to ensure that we pass a strong budget on behalf of Ward 2 residents and continuing to engage and connect with residents across the ward to improve public safety. Thank you for your consistent engagement.

Yours in Service,

Brooke

In this newsletter you will find:

  • An update on the first of three FY22 Budget votes and tax proposal
  • Information on legislation moving through the Council (business non-compete, rank-choice-voting, child wealth building)
  • Recent community events
  • Important public announcements

Pinto in the Press

Addressing Gun Violence in the District of Columbia: This Saturday, Councilmember Pinto joined Kendis Gibson and Lindsey Reiser on MSNBC to discuss the District’s efforts to address the gun violence epidemic and our participation in the United States Department of Justice's (DOJ) cross-jurisdictional Firearms Trafficking Strike Forces, which will help to “stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities, and into five key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region and Washington, D.C.” according to an official press release.

In a statement, Councilmember Pinto said that “we are hopeful that in addition to the millions of dollars we are investing in this budget to bolster violence prevention, increase economic opportunity for all, and provide adequate supports for our youth, that our participation in this strike force will help us ensure that every District resident feels safe in their community.”

To watch the full interview, click here.

Making Entrepreneurship a Reality for More District Residents: In a recent interview with iHeart Radio station 1047 Wonk FM, Councilmember Pinto shared more about why she introduced the Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive Amendment Act of 2021, or BEST Act, which will help to eliminate financial barriers for residents looking to launch new businesses in the District of Columbia.

“These laws are outdated and prevent many residents from reaching their fullest potential and creating new opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities,” says Councilmember Pinto.

Councilmember Pinto speaking on MSNBC Weekends

Increasing Opportunities for Our Local Workforce with Fairer Non-Compete Laws: In recent interviews with the Washington Business Journal and the Washington City Paper, Councilmember Pinto spoke about the District’s non-compete laws and ways she is working on a pragmatic approach to ensuring our workers have mobility and freedom in their career choices and that employers can maintain a competitive workforce.

A New Income Tax Increase Proposed in the FY22 Budget: During the Council’s first budget vote on July 20th, an amendment was offered and passed to raise taxes on individuals earning $250,000 or more per year to increase funding for homelessness supports, childcare, and other areas needing critical investment. In a discussion with the Washington Post, Councilmember Pinto shared why she felt that a tax increase at this time was not the best course of action and her desire to see the Tax Revision Commission conduct a comprehensive assessment of our entire tax code – including individual, corporate, capital gains, and property taxes, and more – before making adjustments.

In the Community

As the summer flies by, Councilmember Pinto and her team have been able to make meaningful connections throughout the ward and attend a variety of fun events. In the past couple weeks, our office has:

  • Hosted Ward 2 Community Office Hours in Logan Circle to hear directly from residents,
  • Joined the Logan Circle Civic Association for outdoor story time and arts and crafts during the Children’s Art Event at Garrison Elementary School,

Councilmember Pinto reading to young residents during the LCCA's outdoor story time event

  • Supported neighbors and police on the scene of the 14th street shooting on Thursday evening,
  • Met with the Burlieth Citizen’s Association to share more about the recent budget votes and to discuss neighborhood concerns, and
  • Attended the second community meeting to discuss the upcoming renovations at Duke Ellington Field alongside the DC Department of Parks and Recreation and the DC Department of General Services.

Legislative Updates and Council News

Important Legislation Advancing through the Council


Non-Compete Legislation to Balance Conflicts of Interest: The Committee on Labor & Workforce Development held a Public Hearing on the Non-Compete Conflict of Interest Clarification Amendment Act of 2021 to discuss the ways in which we can improve District law to ensure that employer protections do not prohibit employees from advancing their careers or seeking additional employment opportunities as desired.

In a statement, Councilmember Pinto shared that “DC must balance the needs to encourage employee mobility and needs of competition among employers. Our current proposal must be updated to strike this balance and we must ensure that our workforce is empowered and that our city remains a great place to do business.”

Councilmember Pinto during a public hearing held by the Committee on Labor & Workforce Development

Bringing Ranked Choice Voting to DC: On July 14, Councilmember Pinto co-introduced the VOICE Amendment Act, formally introduced by Councilmember Henderson, which would bring ranked choice voting to DC. Under a ranked choice voting system, voters can rank up to five candidates in order of their preference. Ranked choice voting also better supports women, people of color and first-time candidates compared to our current voting system.

Child Wealth Building: Councilmember Pinto also voted in favor of the Child Wealth Building Act of 2021. Also known as "Baby Bonds”, this legislation will provide investments for children at birth, which can ultimately be used for vocational and academic pursuits, investing in a business or starting a business of their own, or buying a home. This will allow DC residents to not only begin to build wealth for themselves, but also for their families.

“I am proud to join Councilmember McDuffie and our colleagues in this important work to address the systemic racial injustices that have resulted in vast inequities here in the District,” said Councilmember Pinto. “The Child Wealth Building Act will serve as one piece of the foundation of that work.”

Councilmember Pinto joining her colleagues during the July 20th budget votes

The Fiscal Year 2022 Budget

On Tuesday, July 20th, the Council took its first votes on legislation pertaining to the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. In the current budget proposal, the Council has made significant – and in some cases, unprecedented – investments in early childhood education, mental health supports in public and public charter schools, workforce development and training, the production and preservation of affordable housing units, housing vouchers for our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness, and small business support and recovery. The Council also passed an amendment that would raise certain tax thresholds before we had a chance to hear from our Tax Revision Commission and other experts, a measure that I did not support.

The next budget votes will take place on August 3rd and August 10th.

For more information on our budget wins and to read my explanation on the tax proposal and why I voted against it, please read my budget recap at: https://www.brookepintodc.com/newsroom/fy22budget-1stvote.

To find out how to watch the livestream of these meetings, click here to see the instructions from July 20th.

Announcements

Welcome Victoria Casarrubias!

Councilmember Pinto welcomed Victoria Casarrubias to Team Pinto! Victoria will be serving in the role of Office Assistant and Scheduler. You can reach her at vcasarrubias@dccouncil.us. She looks forward to working with all Ward 2 neighbors!

Fall Interns in Councilmember Pinto’s Office

Councilmember Pinto has openings for interns this fall. The positions are open to undergraduate, masters, and law students. Importantly, these positions are paid or for class credit. You can learn more on the Council jobs website.

Ward 2 Night at the Ball Park

Join Councilmember Pinto for Ward 2 Night at the Nationals Game on August 4th. Councilmember Pinto will be honoring our senior neighbors and recognizing the great work of the Georgetown, Foggy Bottom West End, and Dupont Circle Villages.

Lunch ‘n Learn Virtual Event:

As construction on Franklin Park is nearing completion, Downtown DC BID will be hosting their 6th virtual stakeholder meeting on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. Participants will be able to hear from folks leading the project.

You can register for the meeting here.

Washington Monument Reopens:

Starting July 14, the Washington Monument is now open for visits and will operate daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Advance tickets are required for admission and will be available daily at 10:00 a.m. at http://recreation.gov.

All visitors must wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

Apply Now for DC TAG: DCTAG (DC Tuition Assistance Grant) helps DC residents attend college by providing up to $10,000 a year to participating colleges and universities. Apply by September 17th, 2021 to begin classes this fall.

Text DCTAG @474747 to get started or visit dconeapp.dc.gov.

Child Tax Credit: Beginning July 15, American families began receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments. Payments range from $250 to $300 ($3,000 to $3,600 per year) per child. To learn more about the Child Tax Credit, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/child-tax-credit/. Please note that nearly all families qualify for this tax credit and some income limitations do apply.

Employee Retention Tax Credit: Is your business eligible for an Employee Retention Tax Credit? This credit provides tax relief for companies that lost revenues in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. For more information on the tax credit and eligibility, please review this article published by the United States Chamber of Commerce.


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