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

 

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:

9 –10:30 a.m.: Metropolitan Police Department (Rescheduled, date/time TBD)
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 –1:30 p.m.: Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice
1:30 – 3 p.m.: Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement
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)

The deadline for receiving public witness testimony for the official record is June 16, 2020. Note that the Committee will only hear live testimony from government witnesses at its Zoom hearings.

Public witnesses can testify on the budget by:

  1. Submitting oral testimony on the Committee’s GoogleVoice number at (202) 350-1362. These voicemails will be transcribed, shared with Councilmembers and Committee staff, and uploaded to the Committee’s website here;
  2. Emailing any written testimony to judiciary[at]dccouncil.us; and
  3. Uploading a 3-minute video of your testimony to the Committee's Dropbox folder. Click here to upload your file (this link works for mobile or desktop devices).  

A few tips for your testimony:

  1. Please be sure to include your first and last names, and if you’re submitting your testimony via video or GoogleVoice, please also spell your name. If you’re representing an organization, please also include your title and organization’s name.
  2. Please limit spoken audio or video testimony to three minutes.
  3. Keep in mind the Committee will make testimony available to the general public, as it does all its hearing records. If you need special considerations, please contact judiciary@dccouncil.us to discuss your specific situation.

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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