Fall is here! That means cooler weather, fall festivals—and this year, new Council subcommittees and an ambitious legislative agenda for the last three months of Council Period 21. That includes, of course, paid family leave. Hillary Clinton said it best at Hofstra University on Monday night: It’s about fairness for families. We must do more to support people who are struggling to balance family and work under enormous stress.
That’s why my staff and I spent this past weekend at the Glover Park-Burleith Farmers Market and Barracks Row Festival talking with residents about why we need your support and how you can help push paid leave over the finish line. I’ll be hosting community engagement tables at farmers markets across the city throughout the fall. I hope you’ll meet me in your community soon to grab some local produce and a paid leave sticker!
Back at the Wilson Building, I'm excited to welcome my new colleague and fellow paid leave supporter, Robert White. My staff and I enjoyed hosting a pie-filled welcome party earlier this week (with thanks to Dangerously Delicious Pies!), and I look forward to working collaboratively with him on many of the legislative issues below.
WASHINGTON, DC – At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Workforce, today announces three hearings focused on opportunities to increase economic equity in the District. In late October, there will be a hearing on a permanent bill to further address wage theft; in early November, the subcommittee will hold a roundtable on fair scheduling; and in late November, there will be a hearing on new legislation to address the pay gap in the District.
“My focus will be on how we increase both economic competitiveness and economic fairness in the District,” said Councilmember Silverman. “I am excited to move our city forward in these critical areas.” In preparation, Silverman is holding one-on-one meetings with business interests, policy advocates, and agency heads, including this week with the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity and the Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Council.
WASHINGTON, DC – At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman today released the following statement after the D.C. Council’s vote to table the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act of 2015 at their Committee of the Whole meeting:
“At this morning’s Council breakfast, I asked my colleagues to vote against a motion to table the Fair Scheduling bill. Instead, I requested that the legislation, the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act of 2015, be recommitted to the newly created Subcommittee on Workforce, which I will chair. I told my colleagues that I would use the next three months to convene meetings with them to understand and work through their issues with the current bill. Unfortunately, a majority of the Council voted to table the bill, which effectively kills it this session.
I remain committed to working on my colleagues’ concerns, so I will start to convene working groups on this bill this week, which will include businesses and labor advocates. I will also invite my colleagues to join the discussion.
Yesterday, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to support a similar bill, which does three things: gives workers their schedules two weeks in advance; allows part-time workers first chance at additional hours; and compensates workers for being on-call for a schedule change.
The Seattle City Council spent seven months on working groups to get to a unanimous vote. I will begin our process this week in order to reintroduce a stronger bill next session. I look forward to working with all interested parties.”
Kids are back in school; outdoor pools had doggy swims (except for East Potomac Park, which remains open until Oct. 16); and now comes the true finale of a D.C. summer: The D.C. Council ends its legislative recess and resumes official business on Friday.
I’ve spent this summer recess meeting residents, discussing policy ideas with my team and District agency leadership, and taking some time to rest and reset before making the final push on legislative goals to meet before this Council session concludes at the end of December. I want to share a few updates on where I’ve been this summer and what legislation I’ll be working hard to pass this fall.
There’s also a preview of a few events I look forward to supporting in the coming weeks, so keep reading!
At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman today released the following statement in response to a letter on July 26 from Events DC announcing an increase of $10 million to the total cost of the Wizards practice facility, raising the project budget to $65 million:
"I am extremely disappointed to learn that the cost of the Wizards practice facility has risen to $65 million, requiring an additional $10 million in District taxpayer dollars before construction has even begun. Even more concerning to me is that we will be spending more money for fewer seats, which means fewer fans, fewer jobs, and less benefit for Ward 8. Ward 8 has waited too long for economic investment, and we want to make sure every dollar we spend brings the highest return.
The 2016 summer recess for Council Period 21 officially starts tomorrow. Though there won’t be any new legislation being introduced or hearings being held, I’ll be working with my staff over the next two months to think about new opportunities to support residents through the policy-making process. I’ll be sending out one newsletter a month during the summer recess, but I hope you will continue to keep me updated on what is happening in your neighborhood and share opportunities to connect with you.
Read Councilmember Silverman's Ceremonial Resolution Remarks in Honor of Longtime Activist Jerry Clark
What a day to celebrate the life of Jerry N. Clark here at the Council of the District of Columbia, a government he worked so hard to persuade and influence in the pursuit of equality for all. The righteous pursuit of statehood for D.C. and the path to make it a reality is one of the centerpieces of today’s agenda, and that is a tribute to Jerry in itself.
Statehood was just one of the many human rights that others saw as lofty or unattainable, and Jerry saw as a necessity to truly fulfilling the American dream. He never relented in the pursuit of justice, and what I truly admire about Jerry is he did not do it in a haughty or arrogant way. He was an advocate and a gentleman, a leader who helped others find their voice and magnify it. He was a mensch, a person of integrity and honor.
Today, the Council of the District of Columbia held the final legislative meeting of the session. A committee mark-up of the Universal Paid Leave Act, co-introduced and co-written by Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) last October, was postponed until the Council reconvenes after the legislative recess. Councilmember Silverman released the following statement following today’s meeting:
“Last week, Chairman Mendelson decided to postpone a vote on the paid family and medical leave legislation. The Universal Paid Leave Act is a complex bill with a lot of moving parts, and I’m glad to take the time to get it right. I’m especially invested in making sure we pass the best bill possible to help support District employers and make our city a more attractive place to do business. I thank Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Grosso, and all of the District residents and businesses that have testified in support of the bill. My staff and I will be working over the summer on the legislation, and I look forward to passing a comprehensive bill in the fall.”
The Council’s last legislative meeting before the summer is quickly approaching!
In case you missed our last legislative discussion, I’ll highlight some decisions to look out for at the final legislative meeting on July 12th. But first, I wanted to share some exciting office news that happened this month!
As some may have heard, the Silverman office now has two new baby additions. Congratulations to Ari Weisbard and his wife, Rebecca, who welcomed baby Misha home, alongside Kitty Richards and her husband, Don, who welcomed baby Liam home. The latest from both camps is that everyone “is healthy and happy to have access to paid leave, like all should.”
If that wasn’t exciting enough, we also welcomed two new staff additions this week! I’m delighted to introduce Michele Blackwell as our new Chief of Staff and Ameir Jeffries as our Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) intern. They look forward to meeting you around the Wilson Building or at an upcoming community event. There’s more below on community activities (read: July 4th parades), so keep reading!
It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces at the 41st Capital Pride Parade last Saturday. Before such a tragic day in Orlando, I’m thankful to have had such a celebratory day showing the LGBTQ community how much they are valued and appreciated in the District. My thoughts and prayers are with all affected by the shooting, particularly the family and friends of the victims and those still in critical condition.
As the city of Orlando, and our country, recovers from such a saddening act of violence, I hope you will continue to support the LGBTQ communities around you and remember that love cannot be killed or swept aside.
Many thanks to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and his staff for welcoming Team Silverman to walk with them in the Pride Parade. You can see more pictures from a fantastic day together here.