It is wonderful to connect with you on what marks my first full year in office! Yesterday marked one year since I was sworn in to serve the residents of Ward 2. It has been my honor to join you as we work to make Ward 2 an even better place to live, work, study, and visit! Thank you all for putting your trust in me to do this work; I will never lose sight of who this work is for and the important impacts our decisions have on the lives of our neighbors.
We are in for a busy week at the Council and are heading into the final stretch of budget oversight. As we have concluded all public hearings, each Council Committee will now review and vote on the budgets of the agencies and offices under its purview. After that, the committee-level budgets will be compiled and passed on for a full council vote. I am proud of the progress my colleagues and I have made. Together, we have funded programs to support our economic recovery, provide additional means to develop affordable housing, move our unhoused neighbors into housing, support teachers and students, and make our communities safer.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the budget oversight hearings of the past few weeks. Your insights and feedback are invaluable to this process. I encourage you to stay engaged and continue to follow along as we complete budget oversight with our Council committees. My team continues to be here for any comments, questions, or concerns you may have, and I will be sure to keep you all updated as we move into these final phases of budget oversight.
Lastly, I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day in advance! Our independence is fundamental as we continue to work every day for a more whole, just, and equitable reality for all residents.
Yours in Service,
In this newsletter, you will find the following:
ABC 7/WJLA - "DC Councilmember Pushes to Loosen Restrictions on Small Businesses"
During an interview with ABC 7 News, Councilmember Pinto talked about her recent legislation, the "Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive Amendment Act of 2021" or the "BEST Act."
"We want Washington, DC to be the best place to do business in the region," said Pinto in the interview. "You shouldn't need to hire a lawyer to get started in business in Washington, DC."
Councilmember Pinto has been a champion for economic and small business recovery and believes that we must better position our entrepreneurs and small business owners for success. To read the full article, click here.
The Georgetowner Magazine - "Building Back Better, BEST"
In a guest column in the Georgetowner Magazine, Councilmember Pinto wrote about her new legislation, the "Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive (BEST) Amendment Act of 2021", which she introduced to streamline the licensing process for new and existing businesses.
"I know more support is needed," wrote Councilmember Pinto. "Incorporating or starting a business in the District of Columbia has proven exhaustive, unnecessarily complex, and expensive, especially for those entrepreneurs without adequate financial resources. Doing business in DC should be accessible, efficient, and cost-effective."
Councilmember Pinto also spoke to the Georgetowner Magazine about her efforts to fund important projects across Ward 2 in the FY22 budget. To read the entire column, click here.
To learn more about the BEST Act, visit our website here.
Legislative Updates and Council News
The Flavored Tobacco Product Prohibition Amendment Act of 2021: At the most recent Legislative Meeting, Councilmember Pinto joined her colleagues in voting to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, to combat the long-term health effects that disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color. Furthermore, this legislation places enforcement authority with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and not with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Finally, an amendment was offered and passed to exempt and grand-father pre-existing hookah bars from the ban.
Approaching the End of Budget Oversight: On Friday, June 25, the Council held its final budget oversight hearing on the four legislative measures that are used to implement our budgetary policy here in the District of Columbia. They are:
During the hearing, Councilmember Pinto was eager to hear from hundreds of individuals and community organizations about how our tax dollars should be allocated.
Budget Mark-Ups this Week at the Council
As all public hearings have concluded, Councilmember Pinto and her colleagues will now prepare for Committee mark-ups. During mark-ups, all Councilmembers who are members of a particular Committee discuss, modify, and vote on the budget for programs and agencies under the respective Committee's purview. Members may only vote during mark-ups of committees for which they are members. After a successful Committee vote, those budget proposals will be passed on for consideration by the full Council.
Councilmember Pinto is a member of the following Committees and will attend the following Committee mark-ups:
Grant Application Deadline Tonight: Applications for the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities’ FY 21 Relief and Recovery Fund grant program are due tonight, Monday, June 28, 2021, at 11:59 pm ET.
These grants are intended to support individual artists and humanities practitioners whose projects and livelihoods have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.
Find the application, here.
DC Events Community Grant Program: On June 14, Events DC announced the launch of Cycle 1 of the Fiscal Year 2022 Events DC community grant program. This program awards grants ranging from $2,500 up to $25,000 to nonprofit organizations that work with DC children in the areas of sports, performing, or cultural arts.
For more details about the Events DC Community Grant Program including a downloadable application, guidelines, checklist, and past grant awardees, visit https://eventsdc.com/community/community-grants.
College Bound Mentorship Program: Are you in grades 8th - 10th? A first-generation American or would be the first in your family to attend college? College bound is a college readiness program that aims to improve academic success of students through one-on-one mentoring, college tours, career exploration opportunities, scholarships etc. College Bound is currently recruiting students to participate in their program as well as volunteers to serve as mentors for the 2021-2022 school year.
To apply to the program as a student, go to www.collegebound.org/student-application.
To view qualifications for the mentor position, please click here.
To learn more about the program, call 202-842-0858 or visit collegebound.org.
DMV to Resume Walk-In Appointments: DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV) Service Centers and Adjudication Services will return to walk-in service beginning the week of July 19, 2021. The DC DMV will honor all appointments made through Saturday, July 17, 2021 but none will be available after that date.
In addition, two DC DMV locations will have special weekend hours to accommodate residents. In-person service becomes available on a first-come, first-serve basis at Adjudication Services starting Monday, July 19, 2021, and at all DMV Service Centers starting Tuesday, July 20, 2021. As DC DMV transitions away from "appointment only" service, the agency notes that residents can still make appointments for any available or cancelled appointments through July 17. Scheduling road tests for commercial and noncommercial driver licenses will remain by appointment only.
Additionally, residents can take advantage of special weekend hours for in-person services at DC DMV’s 95 M Street SW location and Inspection Station on the following dates:
On those dates, the hours for 95 M Street SW will be 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Inspection Station will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to further accommodate new residents who may need a vehicle inspection before converting their out-of-state vehicle to DC title and tags, as well as residents requiring an inspection renewal. The Inspection Station operates on a first come, first serve basis.
Ticket Amnesty: On April 19, 2021, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a four-month amnesty program to give DC and non-DC drivers the opportunity to pay outstanding tickets. During the amnesty period, the penalties drivers incurred on tickets will be waived. At the end of the amnesty period, all penalties will be added back on all tickets. This program will help eligible drivers pay their outstanding tickets, including District residents who are having trouble obtaining a REAL ID credential because of outstanding tickets.
To view the Mayor's initial press release, click here.
The program runs for four months, from June 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021. For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), visit https://dmoi.dc.gov/page/amnesty-program-drivers-outstanding-tickets.
Small Business Support with Grow Golden: The Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) announced a new program, Grow Golden, that connects DC entrepreneurs to building owners. Participants receive multiple months of free rent and technical assistance. Fifteen spaces are currently available.
To apply visit: https://goldentriangledc.com/grow-golden-application/.
Dog Days Sidewalk Sale: Are you a small business owner in the District? The Dog Days Sale attracts about 20,000 visitors along the 14th and U Street NW. This year, it will be taking place the weekend of August 7th and 8th.
To participate, all you need to do is set up a table. Please note that you will not need a permit if you use 4 feet in front of your store, you don’t need a permit. Just put out a table or a tent. Please sign up so we can put you on the map and advertise your business.
If you would like more space or don't have a storefront, please contact Michele Molotsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.