Mayor’s Crime Bill.
“Safer Stronger Amendment Act of 2023.” B25-0291
On May 16, 2023, Mayor Bowser introduced legislation addressing critical gaps in our public safety and justice laws to help build a stronger, safer DC. See together.dc.gov/saferstronger.
On June 27, 2023, the Chamber testified before CM Brooke Pinto’s Judiciary Committee in support of the Mayor’s bill. We also encouraged our members to voice their concerns to the DC Council in the wake of significant increases in the number of major crimes in the District.
On July 6, Councilmember Brooke Pinto introduced her own emergency and temporary public safety legislation incorporating some provisions from the Mayor’s bill. Emergency and temporary bills are adopted much faster than traditional legislation and are in effect for 90 days and 225 days, respectively. Both measures were approved at the July 11, 2023 legislative session and CM Pinto seeks to move the permanent bill in the fall. The following are a few important provisions of the “Prioritizing Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2022”. B25-0395:
- Tilting the law in favor of pretrial detention for both adults and juveniles;
- Creating a new offense for firing a gun in public;
- Making it easier for prosecutors to extradite people for misdemeanors and using GPS data from ankle monitors to prove people’s guilt in court;
- Expanding protections for children who have experienced child abuse and allow contractors and consultants who have access to schools to be prosecuted for sexual abuse; and
- Adding strangulation – common in domestic abuse cases — to the definition of a crime of violence in the D.C. code.
Councilmember Pinto also introduced the “Law Enforcement Vehicular Pursuit Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2023” B25-0387, to clarify existing legislation on the MPD no-pursuit policy to allow chasing when the fleeing suspect has committed a crime of violence or poses an imminent (not just immediate) threat to safety, and when pursuit is necessary and can be conducted in a way that mitigates risk of injuring innocent bystanders. The Bill passed unanimously.
DC Council Legislative Activities
The DC Council has taken its summer recess (July 14, 2023, through September 15, 2023). The Council will resume regular business hours on Monday, September 18th, and hold its first legislative meeting of the fall on September 19th.
Salary/Wage Transparency Legislation.
A series of “salary transparency” bills were the subject of a recent hearing before the Executive Administration and Labor Committee chaired by Councilmember Anita Bonds. On Wednesday, June 14, 2023, Councilmember Bonds held a public hearing on each of these three bills. The Chamber submitted testimony urging the Committee to work with the Chamber to carefully consider a reasonable set of amendments.
If these bills adversely impact you or your business, please let us know so we can take those concerns to the committee.
- B25-0026, the Pay Range Act of 2023 establishes requirements prohibiting employers from posting a job advertisement without including the minimum and maximum salary or hourly pay information.
- B25-0140, the Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2023, prohibits an employer from screening prospective employees based on their wage history or inquiring about the wage history of a prospective employee.
- B25-0194, the Pay Scale and Benefits Disclosure Amendment Act of 2023, requires private employers with over 25 employees to disclose the pay scale and benefits associated with positions advertised to prospective employees.
Other Key Legislation
B25-0114 “Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act of 2021”
The “Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act of 2021”, seeks to prohibit the use of algorithmic decision-making in an unlawfully discriminatory manner and would require corresponding notices to individuals whose personal information is used in certain algorithms to determine employment, housing, healthcare and financial lending. The measure was recently refiled in the new Council session by Councilmember Robert White, Jr., who championed last year’s bill, along with co-introducers Lewis George, Allen, Parker, and Bonds. The bill has now been sequentially referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development chaired by Councilmember McDuffie, and the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety chaired by Councilmember Pinto. Last year, the Chamber led a successful effort to delay formal action on the bill. This year, we intend to focus our efforts on defeating or, if necessary, fixing this legislation. We anticipate further consideration of the bill upon the Council’s return from its 2023 summer recess. In the meantime, a Chamber algorithms working group has drafted and forwarded to Councilmember McDuffie a letter laying out the policy and legal case for deferring action on the legislation.
B25-0228 “Rediscover Equitable Central Occupancy Vitality and Encourage Resilient Yield (Recovery) Amendment Act of 2021”. This legislation filed by Councilmember Pinto would provide an economic recovery package for the Central Business District (CBD), including incentivizing both mixed-use conversions and new businesses seeking to locate in the CBD. It would also provide temporary tax relief for innovative businesses that locate downtown and meet hiring and economic inclusion requirements. The bill was heard by the Committee on Business and Economic Development last year and reintroduced on March 20th as an updated/enhanced version of the previous measure, B24-0454.
DC Chamber Technology Subcommittee
Would you like to understand and leverage different technology trends to protect and grow your business? If so, the DC Chamber of Commerce Technology Subcommittee may be the right forum for you. The subcommittee will help members take advantage of technology to improve their businesses and better serve their customers. It will also connect members with colleagues working in technology and give voice to members on technology-related legislative and regulatory issues. The first meeting will be Thursday, July 27, 2013, 1:00-2:00 pm. If you are interested in joining the Technology Subcommittee, please contact Brett Allen ([email protected]) or Kevin Wrege ([email protected]).
Tax Revision Commission
With the help of an expert working group, the Chamber provided the DC Tax Revision Commission (TRC) with a series of initial recommendations at a public stakeholder input session in the spring. The TRC has asked us to provide additional policy-based input on tax proposals it is now considering, including a new “Business Activity Tax” based on a measure enacted in New Hampshire. The Chamber is now preparing additional written policy recommendations to the TRC on these tax measures.
- Business After Business: Right Proper Brewing Company. Thursday, September 7, 2023, from 4:30 pm-6:30 pm. Right Proper Brewing Company 624 T Street NW Washington, DC 20001. Register here.
- State of the District, September 29, 2023. Register here.
- 2023 Chamber’s Choice Awards & Gala, November 10, 2023, Washington Hilton Hotel. Learn more.
- ChamberWorks: New Member Orientation – July 26, 2023, from 10 am-11:30 am. Learn more about the DC Chamber of Commerce and member benefits at this free, virtual orientation. Register here!