Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety

The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety is chaired by Councilmember Charles Allen. The Committee oversees more than 30 agencies, boards, and commissions under a few broad topics: criminal justice and law enforcement; violence prevention and intervention; fire and emergency medical services; corrections; victims' rights; homeland security; forensic science; elections, ethics, and campaign finance; and juvenile justice. The Committee also serves as the Council’s liaison to the District’s federal justice system agencies. For a full list of agencies under the Committee's jurisdiction and the Committee's other members, visit the official landing page on the Council's website.

Press Contact: Erik Salmi - 202-724-8063 / esalmi@dccouncil.us 

To search for legislation pending before the Committee, click here

View Councilmember Charles Allen's Comprehensive Policing and Justice Emergency Act of 2020 here, passed by the Council on June 9, 2020.

6-4-20: Download the slide deck for the Ward 6 Virtual Town Hall here.

Download the slide deck for the Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety Facebook Town Hall here.

 

Due to COVID-19, this year’s Council budget oversight hearings will be conducted virtually on Zoom and livestreamed on the Council’s website. The full schedule of Council hearings on the Fiscal Year 2021 proposed budget can be found here. The Committee’s two budget hearings will be held on June 1 and June 9:

June 1:

10:30 a.m. – Noon: Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants
Noon – 1:30 p.m.: Department of Corrections
1:30 – 3 p.m.: Board of Elections and Office of Campaign Finance (gov’t witnesses will be questioned simultaneously)

June 9:

12 –3 p.m.: Metropolitan Police Department (government witnesses only)
3 – 4:30 p.m.: Office of the Attorney General
4:30 – 6 p.m.: Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department and Office of Unified Communications (gov’t witnesses will be questioned simultaneously)

June 15:

12 - 6 p.m.: Metropolitan Police Department (public witnesses)
  • To register: email judiciary@dccouncil.us, and provide your name, phone number, organizational affiliation, and title (if any), by close of business June 11.
  • Registration deadline will be strictly enforced.
  • Registrations will be processed first come, first served; the Committee will confirm via email whether you have been admitted and will provide additional instructions.
  • Length of witness testimony will be limited by the number of registrations received and Councilmember attendance, but will likely be no more than 3 minutes per witness.
  • Only one member per organization will be permitted to testify

June 16:

3 - 4:30 p.m.: Deputy Mayor for Justice and Public Safety (government witnesses only) Rescheduled from June 9
4:30 - 6 p.m.: Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (government witnesses only) Rescheduled from June 9

June 19:

10 a.m. - 4 p.m.: The Board of Elections’ Performance on Conducting the June 2, 2020 Primary Election

  • Anyone wishing to testify at the roundtable should contact the Committee via email atjudiciary@dccouncil.us and provide their name, telephone number, organizational affiliation, and title (if any), by close of business Monday, June 15.
  • The Committee will permit public witness testimony for the first two hours of the hearing, and testimony will be limited to no more than three minutes in order to maximize the number of witnesses heard.
  • Witnesses should submit a copy of any written testimony electronically in advance tojudiciary@dccouncil.us by the end of the business day on Wednesday, June 17.

The deadline for receiving public witness testimony for the official record is June 16, 2020 - the record is now closed. Thank you to the 16,000+ people who submitted comment or testimony on any budgets for the agencies under the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety.

Questions on how the committee process works? Here's a quick primer:

  1. When a new bill or proposed resolution is introduced, it is referred to one of the Council's eleven committees. If it relates to matters under the jurisdiction of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, that means it comes to us.
  2. Once a bill or proposed resolution has been referred to the Committee, the next step is to schedule a public hearing. Witnesses providing testimony in support or opposition include community organizations, concerned residents, businesses, and government witnesses from relevant agencies. Archived hearings and roundtables can be viewed here. If you'd like to testify at an upcoming hearing, email the Committee at judiciary[at]dccouncil.us with your name, title, and organization.
  3. After receiving testimony, if the Committee Chair would like to move the bill forward, the staff prepares a Committee Report on the bill, resolves any legal or drafting issues, obtains a fiscal impact statement from the CFO and a legal sufficiency determination from the Council's General Counsel, and schedules a Committee vote on the bill called a "markup." 
  4. If a majority of the Committee votes to approve the bill at the markup (with or without amendments), it is placed on the agenda of the Committee of the Whole (the big Committee where all bills go after markup) for one vote, and then on to two votes in successive Legislative Meetings before the full Council. Amendments can also be offered at the Committee of the Whole or either Legislative Meeting.
    Following the Council’s approval, the bill must go to the Mayor for her signature, and then on to Congress for either a 30-day or 60-day period of passive review, depending on the subject matter. Then, it's law! 
  5. Note: sometimes a bill will be "subject to appropriations," meaning it needs funding to take effect (even though it's already technically law). The Council has the opportunity to then fund the bill in its next annual spring budget process.

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