Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen Introduces Bills To Support Small Businesses, Reform Surrogacy Laws, and Improve Rail Safety In The District

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen today introduced the Small Business Incubator Act of 2015 and the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2015, and co-introduced the State Safety and Security Oversight Agency Establishment Act of 2015 at the opening legislative meeting of Council Period 21.

The Small Business Incubator Act is designed to help small business owners and entrepreneurs test business concepts without long-term financial gambles.  The bill creates a mechanism for these entrepreneurs to obtain short-term business licenses, as well as expedited permitting for those that wish to occupy a currently vacant building or storefront.  Full text of the bill is available here.

“I am committed to making DC a great place to do business and create jobs.  One way to invest in the success of our small businesses is to reduce regulatory barriers and make it easier for them to open their doors in our neighborhoods.  This bill will support entrepreneurs as they take risks and bring new ideas to the marketplace,” said Allen.

The Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2015 seeks to support families wishing to have children by utilizing surrogacy agreements, which are currently prohibited by law.  Unanimously co-introduced, the bill reflects input from numerous advocacy groups, including the GLAA, the Human Rights Campaign, the Family Equality Council, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, among others.  Full text of the bill is available here.

“Compared to the 50 states, District law is among the most restrictive with regard to surrogacy agreements, which is out of step with our commitment as a city to equality and family.  I believe surrogacy should be an option for District residents who wish to have children,” said Allen.

The State Safety and Security Oversight Agency Establishment Act of 2015 addresses the District’s rail safety issues by tightening rail cargo transparency and reporting requirements.  The bill requires rail security inspection activities, mandates coordination with neighboring jurisdictions, and requires reporting of hazardous cargo.  Full text of the bill is available here.

“Thousands of District residents – many in Ward 6 -- live and work near the rail lines that cross through our city.  We can’t wait for a derailment of hazardous materials or other rail disaster before we act to improve safety and transparency,” Allen stated.

Allen also co-introduced several other bills today.  Addressing good government reforms, he co-introduced the Council Contract Review Repeal Act of 2015 and the Contractor Pay-to-Play Elimination Amendment Act of 2015.  Addressing health care initiatives, he co-introduced the Access to Contraceptives Amendment Act of 2015 and the Healthy Hearts of Babies Act of 2015.

To improve rights for pedestrians and cyclists, he co-introduced the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2015.  In addition, he also co-introduced the Ruby Whitfield Way Designation Act of 2015, the Pre-K Student Discipline Amendment Act of 2015, and the Enhanced Penalties for Distracted Driving Amendment Act of 2015.

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