Here are the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety 2018 budget recommendations

Some highlights from the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety’s 2018 budget recommendations, which passed by a vote of 5-0. The $1.45 billion budget includes 31 agencies and 10,070 full-time employees.

By the numbers, this budget funds or maintains: 4,000 sworn police officers (3,856 currently serving), 2,153 fire and EMS personnel, 11 police stations, 96 ambulances, 34 fire stations, and 168 front-line emergency response vehicles. The budget invests in the following initiatives:

Improves Public Safety

  • Supports evidence-based public safety reforms for victims of crime and young adult perpetrators by fully funding the Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 2018

  • Continues implementing the NEAR Act: Doubles funding for violence prevention and intervention grants and supports the addition of 10 “Roving Leaders” from the Department of Parks and Recreation to the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement

  • Continues its investments in first responder recruitment and retention:
    • Allocating $850,000 for loan repayment and tuition assistance in the Police Officers Retention Program at the Metropolitan Police Department and $200,000 for rental housing assistance for new recruits; and

    • Approving $1.7 million to expand MPD’s Cadet Program to 100 slots

  • Fully funds the Committee’s 2016 omnibus juvenile justice legislation by transferring youth charged as adults for felony crimes from the Department of Corrections to the more developmentally-appropriate Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services
  • Creates a new Violence Fatality Review Committee within the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to study homicides and suicides of District residents with the goal of reducing and preventing violence

  • Funds the Committee’s new Address Confidentiality Program in the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants to protect the addresses of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking survivors, as well as individuals employed by organizations that serve those survivors or provide reproductive health care services

  • Funds the Street Harassment Prevention Act by creating a new Advisory Committee on Street Harassment to develop model policies and training materials to be adopted by District agencies for preventing and responding to street harassment, and to work with the Office on Human Rights to create a street harassment survey and public information campaign

  • Smooths reentry for returning citizens by creating a new pilot program for transportation assistance at the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizen Affairs, and waives fees in FY19 for driver’s licenses, identification cards, and vital records for individuals within one year of their release from the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ custody, and individuals in the custody of the BOP at a District halfway house

  • Addresses critical overtime needs at the Department of Corrections by approving 65 new positions

  • Provides financial assistance to small charitable special events in the District to defray fees assessed by District agencies for homeland security preparedness

Expands Access to Justice

  • Identifies nearly $750,000 dollars in new funding for reentry-related grants and $500,000 for victim services grants

  • Restores funding for the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program, which provides legal representation in eviction proceedings for low-income District residents

  • Increases funding for the Access to Justice Initiative for grants to provide legal services for domestic violence survivors, individuals with disabilities, individuals experiencing homelessness, asylum seekers, and residents with criminal records seeking expungement, among others at no cost to the beneficiary

  • Provides educational loan repayment assistance to lawyers who live and work in the District and are employed in areas of legal practice that serve low-income residents through the Poverty Lawyer Loan Repayment Assistance Program

  • Fights elder abuse by funding a new investigator at OAG

  • Creates a new Clemency Board within OAG to review and submit to the President applications for clemency for deserving D.C. Code offenders

Invests in Fire, EMS, and 911/311

  • Fully funds the remaining costs of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Employee Presumptive Disability Amendment Act of 2012 to ensure that FEMS personnel are properly treated for chronic diseases they contract on the job
  • Advances design and construction planning funds for a new, modern fleet maintenance facility for the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department by adding $1 million to the project in FY19
  • Funds the procurement of a new fireboat to replace the aging John H. Glenn, Jr.
  • Invests more than $100 million in fleet for FEMS and MPD over the six-year capital plan
  • Approves funding for the second year of the new Right Care, Right Now Nurse Triage Line – launched in April 2018 – to improve patients’ health outcomes and to preserve critical FEMS resources for patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses
  • Keeps 42 firefighters on staff following the expiration of federal grants
  • Invests in training for FEMS personnel by adding new staff at the FEMS training academy

Prioritizes Accountability and Transparency

  • Funds a school residency fraud attorney at OAG to support investigations of improper enrollment in District public schools

  • Strengthens open government and transparency by:

  • Enhancing funding for the now co-equal Office of Open Government in the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability for community engagement on the District’s Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act; and

  • Increasing the public’s access to more frequently-reported information about lobbyists’ communications with public officials and their staff on contracts, procurements, grants, and legislation

Invests in Public Financing and Voter Registration

  • Includes funding for the management and implementation of the District’s new public financing program

  • Increases voter registration for students and inmates by funding a new position at the Board of Elections to focus specifically on outreach to those populations

  • Increases the opportunities available to District residents to register to vote by designating the District of Columbia Public Schools and the District of Columbia Public Library as “voter registration agencies”

The Council will take a first vote on the full budget on Tuesday, May 15. 

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