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Check out the latest news and updates from Councilmember Silverman.

What We Did!

NEWSLETTER — NOVEMBER 4, 2022

List of legislation and other activities from the Labor Committee during Council Period 24. Text is largely identical to the adjacent newsletter content and the content on the web page https://www.elissasilverman.com/labor-highlights

In just a few weeks Council Period 24 will come to an end, and with it, my government service to the residents and businesses of the District of Columbia given the election results. 

It will also bring to a close two years of exceptional work by the Labor and Workforce Development Committee, which I chair. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a frightening time for many of our workers and local businesses, and I am very proud of the role our committee played to make sure that there was an economic safety net in place. My committee and constituent services staff helped thousands of workers navigate the unemployment insurance system, and we worked with the Department of Employment Services to make payments to workers who lost jobs through no fault of their own. We also worked with unions and employers, and through the budget, our committee appropriated $40 million to help our hospitality and retail businesses keep workers on payroll. 


Remember to Vote!

NEWSLETTER — NOVEMBER 4, 2022


Five Days Left to Vote!

Election Day is this Tuesday, November. 8! It is going to be a consequential election for the District of Columbia, both in terms of national and local results. WAMU aired a good story on how elections across the country, impacting the balance of power in Congress, can have consequences on our local governance and Home Rule. 

If you are a registered voter in DC, you should have received your ballot in the mail. Remember to turn it over, so you can vote on Initiative 82, the tipped wage ballot issue. 


Silverman Disappointed by Lack of Teachers Contract

Councilmember Silverman expressed disappointment at Thursday's Labor Committee review of the new principals contract that D.C. Public Schools teachers still have no contract after more than years.

“I’m concerned about the message it sends to our teachers about their value to us as a governmentt and as a community." Silverman said. "I urge Mayor Bowser to do what’s necessary to reach an agreement.”


Letter to DCPS Regarding Human Resources Services

On Oct. 13, Councilmember Silverman and Council Chair Phil Mendelson wrote to D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee about concerns with Human Resources services after hearing from multiple DCPS employees. These include delays in processing leave and retirement requests, unpaid wages, slow/no response and other matters. Unlike other District government agencies, DCPS has its own HR authority and does not fall under the DC Department of Human Resources.

Chancellor Ferebee responded to the letter on Oct. 31.

Download the letter to DCPS. Full text appears below the images.

Download the response from Chancellor Ferebee. Full text appears below the images.


Three Big Topics

NEWSLETTER — OCTOBER 26, 2022


Topic No. 1: Reforming Our Housing Authority

Urgent reform of the D.C. Housing Authority started last week, with the passage of emergency legislation I introduced in collaboration with Attorney General Karl Racine. The bill directs some immediate actions in response to the scathing federal report on the condition of D.C.’s public housing and general dysfunction at the city’s biggest affordable housing provider. 

Among other things, the legislation requires board members and the executive director to get trained up fast in the basics of public housing so they can do their jobs.


Silverman Introduces Bill to Reform D.C. Sports Betting

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) introduced legislation that would reboot the District’s troubled online sports wagering program by allowing mobile apps such as DraftKings and FanDuel to compete for business alongside D.C. Lottery’s poor performing GambetDC app. The bill would also prohibit the renewal of the city’s lottery contract with Intralot, which received a $215 million sole-source deal to run both the lottery and sports betting that was highly controversial.

The District’s sports betting program was supposed to be a bonanza, contributing approximately $25 million per year for the District’s budget. Instead, it has been dud—actually losing $4 million in its first full year of operations.

“We need to turn the page on this embarrassing episode,” Silverman said. “Residents deserve an online app that works, taxpayers deserve a program that brings in money for the District, and we all deserve a system where we don’t hand huge contracts to a preferred company and its subcontractors without even looking at the competition.”


Council Committees Set to Advance Domestic Worker Protections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Two D.C. Council committees are expected to vote today on legislation that would secure workplace rights for domestic workers, such as housekeepers, nannies, and home health aides, that D.C. employees who work outside of a home already have.

The Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022, would require anyone hiring a domestic worker in D.C. to provide the worker with a written contract that establishes their hours, pay, duties, and other specifics about the work being performed. The bill also ends the carve out of domestic workers from the D.C. Human Rights Act, which protects against workplace discrimination, and requires D.C. government agencies to provide template contracts and other resources to employers and workers on how to ensure safety in their workplace.


Council Unanimously Passes “First Step” Housing Accountability Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The DC Council unanimously passed legislation by Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) on Tuesday to jumpstart needed improvements at the D.C. Housing Authority, including a requirement that board members and the executive director receive extensive training in 30 to 60 days. 

“The housing authority’s job is to provide safe, healthy, and dignified housing for low-income residents,” said Silverman, who drafted and introduced the legislation, which was co-introduced by 11 other councilmembers. “We need to start at the top and make sure that the people who manage and make decisions know what they're doing.”


Silverman Remarks on Presenting DCHA Emergency Legislation

Councilmember Elissa Silverman's remarks on presenting the Housing Authority Accountability Emergency Amendment Act of 2022, October 18, 2022

 

Mr. Chairman, I think what is happening at the D.C. Housing Authority is the very definition of an emergency.

The Authority’s job is to provide safe, sanitary, and dignified housing for our low-income families. And it is to make decisions about housing authority properties that will provide deeply affordable housing to those at very low income.

For years, residents have been testifying before the authority and at times before this Council saying that the authority isn’t doing its job. Increasingly, it seems the authority is more focused on market-rate economic development opportunities than deeply affordable housing.


Silverman, Racine Introduce Emergency Bill to Begin Needed Housing Authority Reform

Office of Councilmember Elissa Silverman
Office of the Attorney General

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) collaborated with D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine to introduce emergency legislation Thursday to increase oversight and accountability of the D.C. Housing Authority and its board. The emergency bill increases training requirements for its board of commissioners, requires more frequent reporting on housing conditions to the D.C. Council, and clarifies that DCHA has long been required to follow DC’s consumer protection laws. This is an immediate first step and will be followed by a comprehensive reform bill as soon as the end of this month.