Last night, Councilmember Charles Allen issued the following statement on Twitter regarding the Mayor’s decision to veto B22-0408, the “Fare Evasion Decriminalizaton Act of 2018”:
“Making fare evasion a civil fine – instead of a criminal charge that comes with a lifelong record – is the just and safe decision for the District and WMATA, and a supermajority of the Council agreed. We can’t succeed as a city if we continue the failed policies of the past at the expense of our residents’ futures. As the Chair of the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety and a daily Metro rider, I see the real-life effects of putting DC residents unnecessarily into our criminal justice system every day. It means jobs lost, financial aid lost, housing lost, reputations lost, and potential lost. The bill the Council passed holds people accountable for their actions with a civil fine, but without condemning them to a lifetime of doors closed in their faces over a $2 fare.
It does not permit fare evasion nor stop a Metro Transit Police Officer from doing his or her job to keep WMATA safe - they can still stop fare evaders, write a ticket, and refuse service by escorting a fare evader off the bus or out of the station. But the bill does change the consequence for fare evasion to better fit the offense and put an end to the failed policies of overcriminalizing our residents. We create more public safety problems than we solve by criminalizing something as small as not being able to pay a $2 bus fare. I will be moving to override the Mayor's veto of this important criminal justice reform and working with my colleagues to ensure the will of the Council is upheld.”
Additional Resources on the Bill:
- Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety’s report on the bill: http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/38590/B22-0408-CommitteeReport1.pdf
- Washington Lawyer’s Committee Study on Fare Evasion Enforcement: https://www.washlaw.org/unfair-disparities-in-fare-evasion-enforcement-by-metro-police/
- Explainer Video: https://www.facebook.com/CMcharlesallen/videos/196264044650485/