One year ago this week, more than 1,000 neighbors gathered together at the Atlas Performing Arts Center and nearby H Street Country Club to start organizing to protect District laws and values, saying "Hands Off DC." We were tired of Congress interfering with our local laws and concerned what the new President would mean for District residents. And while we've celebrated some successes, there's still a lot more work to do. For example, look at the recent proposal to eliminate the DCTAG program that provides critical college funding for DC students -- all without a say from the people who live here. So mark down DC Vote's annual lobby day on April 16 if you want to tell Congress, "Hands Off DC."
Let's jump right in, and start by talking about the serious challenges facing our public schools.
One year ago, the DC community rallied together to push back on interference in our locally passed laws and attacks on our District values. After years of dealing with Congress restricting our ability to pass and implement our own laws and facing a new presidential administration intent on rolling back important legal protections, residents finally said, "Hands Off DC," and organized together to take action.
Today, the DC Council unanimously passed the Fair Elections Act, creating a program where candidates for public office can opt into a publicly-funded model that puts greater focus on small-dollar contributions from DC residents and strengthens their voice in DC elections. The bill was co-introduced by Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6), Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety and has been a major priority of his since he was first elected to the Council.
Today, the DC Council, in its first vote, unanimously passed Councilmember Charles Allen’s bill to create a maternal mortality review committee that will work to examine why DC has one of the highest rates of death for women before, during, or in the year after child birth, and make policy recommendations based on those findings.
2018 is off to a fast start. There's a lot happening this year in Ward 6 -- from the start of RFK's redevelopment to ongoing efforts to make our infrastructure more pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly to several schools and libraries planning their modernizations. All of that is to say, thanks for reading these newsletters and staying engaged -- my team can't do our jobs without hearing from you. I'll be resuming my weekly office hours in the community on Friday, February 2, in Shaw at Compass Coffee. My office hour events are another way to let me know what's on your mind. And of course, please don't hesitate to contact my staff or me if you have questions or concerns.
Three years ago, Councilmember Charles Allen introduced the bill to create DC's Books From Birth program in partnership with DC Public Library. Today, more than 32,000 District children have participated in the program, with nearly 65% of those children and families coming from neighborhoods with lower literacy rates.
Check out this article from Literary Hub on DC's Books From Birth program as well as a short history of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, who had the great idea that all kids and parents should have access to age-appropriate books starting at birth. I appreciate that the author took the time to discuss the benefits of low-literacy parents reading to their children and how it can improve their own ability to read.
Two bills by Councilmember Allen ready for Council vote: creating Maternal Mortality Review Committee and protecting injured MPD officers’ jobs
Today, the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety voted to send three pieces of legislation to the full Council.
Welcome to 2018! It was a cold start to the year - historically cold - but the turning of the calendar is especially exciting this year as we're officially in the Year of the Anacostia! All year, we are going to mark important milestones around our river to highlight the need for greater care, to ensure there is access for all, and celebrate its central role in the health of our community. Quick programming note on holiday tree collection, which begins tomorrow:
Today, the DC Council unanimously passed in a first vote the Fair Elections Act, creating a program where candidates for public office can opt into a publicly-funded model that puts greater focus on small-dollar contributions from DC residents and strengthens their voice in DC elections. The bill was co-introduced by Councilmember Charles Allen and shepherded through the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, where it passed unanimously 5-0.
After, DC will wait and see if Congress tries to undermine local law
Today the DC Council passed Councilmember Charles Allen’s (Ward 6) bill enshrining all of the women’s health benefits provided under the Affordable Care Act into local law, protecting DC women from being charged extra for basic health services if the ACA is ever repealed.