Legislative News Before July 4th Celebrations!
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!
WHAT’S COMING UP ON OUR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Hearing on DCPS Food Services Contract: I heard from many D.C. parents last year after a number of concerns were raised about the quality of food and service provided to DCPS schools by Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality. You may remember reading in the Washington City Paper about the disapproval resolution I filed with three Council colleagues to keep from renewing the Chartwells contract. After Chartwells quit their contract last year, DCPS has been searching for new vendors and selected two new suppliers for the upcoming school year. I still have concerns about how we’re going to make sure these new vendors, D.C. Central Kitchen and SodexoMagic, are providing the quality meals that many of our students will depend on throughout the year. That’s why I’ll be attending a public roundtable next week to discuss details of the new contracts and hear parent expectations for the upcoming school year.
The Committee on Education’s public roundtable is on Wednesday, July 6 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 412. If you would like to testify, call the Committee on Education at (202) 724-8061 or email Christina Henderson at [email protected]. The deadline to sign up is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 4.
What to Watch for at the July 12th Legislative Meeting:
- Strengthening Protections for Cyclists and Pedestrians: At Tuesday’s legislative meeting, there was an unexpected postponement of the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act, a bill that I believe will make our insurance system more just for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized vehicle users. You may have heard more about the bill’s challenges on WAMU. The bill moves away from a contributory negligence standard, and places D.C. in line with the approach of 46 other states when it comes to non-motorized vehicles. Though details remain to be worked out, I am optimistic that we will have a system soon that will give our most vulnerable on our streets just access to courts and compensation.
At a time when we are encouraging our residents to get out of their cars and walk, ride, and use public transportation, this bill is especially vital. I’ve received over a thousand emails from residents asking the Council to pass this bill, along with personal stories of residents who have been injured while riding their bikes and then unreasonably denied claims because they failed to anticipate a potential collision. After reading the letters of cyclists who have been seriously injured, I sat in amazement thinking that I have been regularly bike commuting in this city for 20 years without a major incident. Unfortunately many other neighbors have not been as lucky as me. I look forward to supporting this bill as an opportunity to make the system fairer for all of our residents, especially our most vulnerable road users.
- Paid Family Leave: We are in the final countdown to the last legislative meeting of the session—which means we’re also approaching our last chance to take a first vote on a paid leave bill before the fall. I’m very optimistic that the Council will hold a vote on a paid leave program for the District on July 12th, and I especially hope to have your advocacy in these final stages. You can watch the July 12th meeting here. Stay tuned!
IN THE COMMUNITY
Walk with Us on July 4th: Independence Day celebrations are next week! We’ll be having twice the fun at the Barracks Row Parade in Ward 6, followed by the Palisades Parade in Ward 3. I hope you will join us! Email MBSYEP Intern Ameir Jeffries at [email protected] to let us know if you’re planning to come.
- Barracks Row 4th of July Parade: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. starting at 801 8th Street SE
- Palisades 4th of July Parade: 11:00 – 1:00 p.m. starting at Whitehaven Pkwy NW and MacArthur Blvd NW
Free Shakespeare Tickets: Shakespeare Theatre Company is performing The Tempest, and we have 35 tickets for their annual Ward Night happening on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW). You can learn more about this year’s production here and email MBSYEP Intern Ameir Jeffries at [email protected] if you would like tickets (two per person limit).
As always, thanks so much for reading. I hope to see you at the parades!