Government Affairs Monthly Update – November 2023

Crime Bills

“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. On June 27, 2023, Councilmember Brooke Pinto convened a hearing on the bill before the Judiciary Committee, which she chairs. The Chamber provided testimony in support of the legislation. See the Mayor’s website for more information:

On July 6, Councilmember Brooke Pinto introduced emergency and temporary legislation incorporating provisions from the Mayor’s bill along with other public safety reforms. Emergency and temporary bills are adopted much faster than traditional legislation and in effect for 90 and 225 days, respectively . The emergency and temporary bills passed at the July legislative session and were extended by Council in the October 3rd Legislative Meeting. Councilmember Pinto anticipates moving the permanent bill this fall.

Additionally, Councilmember Pinto has introduced the Secure DC Plan addressing a range of public safety issues with a comprehensive package of bills and initiatives. 

This legislation includes B25-0318 – Metro Safety Amendment Act of 2023, which received a public hearing on October 11, 2023.   

Salary/Wage Transparency Legislation.

A series of “salary transparency” bills were the subject of a June 14, 2023, hearing before the Executive Administration and Labor Committee chaired by Councilmember Anita Bonds. The Committee plans to Markup these bills in November 2023.  

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.

Private Security Camera System Incentive Legislation.

At sponsoring Councilmember Charles Allen’s request, the Chamber submitted testimony in support of B25-0343 – Private Security Camera System Incentive Program Small Business Expansion Amendment Act of 2023.

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 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.  The 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. There has been no formal action on the bill this session, but a local poll was recently commissioned probing public interest in the measure and the Office of the Attorney General has pursued a somewhat related lawsuit against a data collection company. A diverse Chamber working group continues to meet regularly to share intelligence and track pertinent bill developments.

Committee Updates

Tax Revision Commission

  • With the help of an expert working group, the Chamber recently provided the DC Tax Revision Commission with written policy recommendations on both the New Hampshire Business Enterprise tax and the District’s existing tangible personal property tax.

  • The TRC staff is now in the process of conducting a series of public meetings to review with Commission members roughly 80 different tax proposals – both large and small, including rate and conceptual changes and tax administration reforms.

  • The upcoming meeting schedule can be found here.  Also, note that the TRC will hold what is likely to be a final “Public Townhall” at MLK Library (hybrid meeting) on November 6th to get face-to-face input from the public before they prepare their recommendations for Council consideration.   

Reminder: These laws are currently in effect.

  • The DC Parking Cashout Law requires businesses, with at least 20 employees, who offer free or subsidized parking to employees, to offer a Clean Air Fringe Benefit, develop a transportation management plan, or pay a Clean Air Compliance fee.

    What is Parking Cashout? A parking cashout is a benefit employees can receive in the form of compensation or alternative transportation benefits in exchange for giving up their parking benefit.

  • The “Cashless Retailers Prohibition Act of 2019B23-0122 Effective October 1, 2023, The Cashless Retailers Prohibition Act prohibits businesses from only accepting debit, credit, and electronic payments. First introduced in 2018 and passed by DC Council in 2020, the Act is intended to ensure that individuals without bank accounts or access to electronic payments are not discriminated against. While both the OAG and DCLR claim enforcement authority, both organizations signaled that they will enforce only on a case by case basis.

Upcoming Events

  • 2023 Chamber’s Choice Awards & Gala, November 10, 2023, Washington Hilton Hotel. Learn more.

  • Business After Business Happy Hour: BlackFinn, November 16, 2023. Learn more.

  • 2023 Annual Meeting & Chairman’s Inaugural Breakfast, December 15, 2023, Washington Convention Center. Learn more.

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