Councilmember Allen Introduces Bills to Expand Homeownership for First Responders, Close Campaign Finance Loophole, and Defend Access to Women’s Healthcare At February Legislative Meeting

Councilmember Charles Allen introduced the following three bills at the February Legislative meeting.

First Responders Housing Incentive Program Amendment Act of 2017

This bill will create a housing incentive program similar to the Employee Assisted Housing Program for DC government employees. The program will help first responders live in the communities that they serve by providing a $10,000 grant and a $10,000 deferred loan for eligible first responders to purchase a home in the District. The grant will be forgiven after five consecutive years of service.

“It is critical that our first responders live in the District, as this allows them to be invested in the communities they serve. When I speak with officers, they tell me that the number one factor preventing them from becoming District residents is the cost of housing. This bill will draw prospective and new officers in on the front end and hopefully prevent them from moving to more affordable surrounding communities, taking their experience with them,” said Allen.

Defending Access to Women’s Health Care Services Amendment Act of 2017

The Affordable Care Act prohibits cost-sharing which means certain critical healthcare services are free from co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles such as:

  1. breast cancer screening
  2. screening for gestational diabetes;
  3. human papilloma virus testing;
  4. counseling for sexually transmitted infections;
  5. counseling and screening for HIV;
  6. contraceptives; patient education and counseling on contraception; sterilization procedures; and related follow-up services;
  7. breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling;
  8. well-woman preventative visits; and
  9. screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.

This bill ensures that, in the event of a repeal of the ACA, women of the District will not face a gap in coverage by requiring insurers to cover these particular services. The bill also requires that insurers make information about their coverage of these services available to prospective and current policyholders on their websites, in writing, and in response to a request.

Allen said, “This bill continues the District’s proud tradition of defending access to women’s health care services. We know that cost is a major factor for residents when they make choices about their health care, and the Affordable Care Act’s coverage of a broad range of women’s preventative services has reduced untold barriers and likely saved lives.”

Campaign Finance Reform Amendment Act of 2017

Currently, there is no set time period within which a campaign must close down its accounts after an election. In fact, a former member of the Council still has outstanding debt that dates back to a failed mayoral run 12 years ago. This gap in our campaign finance laws allows candidates – both winners and losers – to solicit contributions long after the campaign is over.

By requiring campaign committees to retire their debts within six months after an election, this bill will ensure that public officials are in the business of governing, and not fundraising to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars to themselves and their creditors.



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