Ward 6 Councilmember also re-introduces bill to organize city services on our waterways and a bill supporting children of first responders killed on-duty
Re-Introducing the Lead Hazard Prevention and Removal Act
Today, Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6) will re-introduce a bill that protects District residents by strengthening laws around removing lead-based paint in rental units, focusing particularly on the unique health risks lead-based paint poses to young children and pregnant women.
In short, the Lead Hazard Prevention and Removal Amendment Act of 2019 requires landlords who are renting properties built before 1978 to provide evidence the home has been declared lead-free at any point or lead-safe within the past year.
“For many District families, there’s not enough money in the monthly budget to test for lead in their home and then fight with a landlord to get it fixed. And breaking lease and moving to a new home is even more difficult,” said Councilmember Allen. “We know the effects of exposure to lead in children can have alarming consequences for that child’s development.”
The bill recognizes in many homes throughout the District, tenants have no way to know if their unit contains dangerous levels of lead before signing a lease. It also puts in place strong requirements to remediate any lead found in the home and would maintain a fund for landlords who can demonstrate a need for help in making the needed repairs. It also creates new legal avenues for tenants to force landlords to remediate lead-based paint, recognizing in practice it is rare for personal injury attorneys to take on lead remediation lawsuits.
“Families deserve peace of mind to know their home isn’t putting their children at-risk. This bill raises the bar for what testing is required, strengthens the steps landlords must take to earn a lead-free or lead-safe certification, as well as what legal steps tenants can take to force remediation,” said Councilmember Allen.
The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers Nadeau, Grosso, Bonds, Robert White and co-sponsored by Councilmember Gray.
Re-Introducing the District Waterways Management Act
Councilmember Allen also re-introduced the District Waterways Management Act of 2019 to help take steps to manage the growth and increased traffic on DC’s waterways.
"The health of our rivers is improving. We have more city life happening next to and on the water. That includes more boats, kayakers, and water taxis – a mix of recreational and commercial activity we haven’t seen in a long time. We need to manage it in a way that prioritizes safety and access for all,” said Councilmember Allen. “There is no part of our city where we would accept almost no guidance and planning – I don’t think our waterways should be any different.”
The bill would establish a District Waterways Management Authority, tasked with coordinating the city’s overall response to safety, environmental, recreational needs, and more.
Additionally, the bill creates a District Waterways Management Commission with 13 voting members and a number of ex-officio members representing a wide swath of local and federal stakeholders around the health of DC’s waterways. This Commission would have a first task of creating a District Waterways Management Action Plan to maintain safe and orderly use of waterways by boats and watercraft, recommendations on use of land next to the water, focus on environmental preservation, strategies for economic growth, and identification of transportation gaps.
The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers McDuffie, Bonds, Evans, Grosso, Nadeau, Robert White, Cheh, and Gray.
The First Responder Legacy Preference Amendment Act
Finally, Councilmember Allen introduced a bill today that would give a 10-point preference on both the Fire and EMS and MPD entrance exams to applicants whose parent or grandparent was killed in performance of their duties as a member of either agency.
“For some first responders, their job is more than a job: it’s family tradition,” said Councilmember Allen. “This legislation honors the dedication, and ultimately, the sacrifice, that a family makes in the terrible event that a tragedy strikes and a loved one passes away while in service to our city.”
The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers Cheh, Mendelson, Bonds, Evans, Grosso, Nadeau, Todd, and Robert White. Councilmember Vince Gray was a co-sponsor.