As the DC Council’s current two-year legislative session winds to a close next month, many important bills advanced toward final approval at today’s Legislative Meeting.
It's been a busy few weeks here at the Council. As the Council's session nears its end in December, the pace picks up at an even faster clip! Just a sampling, but in the last week or so, I've testified at a hearing with Congresswoman Norton on behalf of several neighborhoods across Ward 6 about the federal Bureau of Prisons' consideration of new halfway houses. I've met with the Southwest Waterfront Chapter of the AARP to talk about aging-in-place and issues facing our senior neighbors. As a guest of Navy Yard Washington, I joined the men and women of our US Navy to get a taste of Fleet Week in Baltimore (and talked to several people about how we could bring some similar events to the growing waterfront in the District). We held hearings on school modernization and several broken promises to school communities. The Council gave initial approval to my legislation to create Automatic Voter Registration for DC residents (you can read more in the Washington Post). And of course, I got to take a sneak peek at the new REI flagship store opening in NoMa!
Today the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary voted unanimously to move forward Councilmember Charles Allen’s Automatic Voter Registration Amendment Act, a bill to remove barriers to voter registration by automatically registering residents to vote when they fill out an application for any identification at the DMV.
Today DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson announced his intention to reorganize the Council committees to create a new subcommittee on small business to be chaired by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen. The subcommittee will have responsibility for several issues impacting small and local businesses and entrepreneurs across the District of Columbia. The agencies under the subcommittee's purview will include: Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), Public Service Commission (PSC), and Office of People’s Counsel (OPC).
Like most of us, last week left me frustrated and concerned with what I saw taking place around our country. I struggle with how I'll explain the events of last week -- the killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the horrific murder of five police officers in Dallas, Texas -- to my young daughter. But I realize I'll have to, and most importantly, I must work to prevent it from happening again.
Next Monday is the first day of summer, but you could have fooled me. It's been a busy past few weeks at the Council. Last weekend we celebrated Pride in DC, and like you, I was outraged at the horror and hate that unfolded in Orlando, Florida. I was proud to see leaders like Senator Chris Murphy lead a national call to action on gun violence, but I was frustrated that we don't have our own Senators who could have joined the effort. This week, we've seen big election news for the District and I'm proud that Ward 6 turned out to vote - nearly double the turnout from four years ago! Also this week, DC Public Schools wrapped up the school year and most charter schools have ended the academic year as well. But as summer officially begins for our students, don't forget that the DC Public Library Summer Reading program is already underway. You can sign up now online. And, of course, to all the fellow Dads out there - Happy Father's Day this weekend!
Spring seems to have passed us by and we’re going straight into summer. Maybe you’re like me... I welcomed the summer heat by going straight to a splash park on Saturday with my family to cool off and enjoy. Remember that outdoor pools and splash parks are now open! Also, let's give Shaw Main Streets a quick congratulations for winning the Great American Main Street Award. They are the third winner of this prestigious award from DC, joining Barracks Row Main Street and H Street Main Street as previous winners.
Councilmember Charles Allen made the following statement today on the District’s Homeward DC plan to close DC General:
Today Councilmember Charles Allen introduced the Bicycle Awareness Motor Vehicle License Plate Amendment Act in recognition of Bike To Work Day 2016, a regional event in support of bicycling as a healthy commuting option that saves money, reduces traffic congestion, and improves air quality.
We’ve just made a big decision for our city. Today the DC Council voted to close the DC General Family Shelter, approving the Homeward DC plan to end long-term homelessness in the District.
The Homeward DC legislation isn’t about politics, regardless of disagreements about specific sites or arguments about process. Instead, this effort reflects the unified goal of the Mayor and the Council to close DC General as quickly as possible and replace it with smaller and more appropriate emergency housing for families.