Our Government Affairs team has been very busy over the past month. Here are highlights of the work we have done on behalf of you, our DC Chamber Members.
DC Council Scorecard: After the Democratic primary, the DC Chamber will release its first-ever Council Scorecard highlighting individual Councilmember votes on key issues. The Scorecard will include significant tax and regulatory initiatives impacting the city’s ability to compete for residents, workers, capital and, most important, jobs.
DC Chamber Advocacy Before the DC Council: The following reflects a summary of the DC Chamber’s direct DC Council advocacy on legislation impacting DC businesses:
- Great news! On June 7, 2022, the “Prohibition on Marijuana Testing Act of 2021” (B24-0109) was unanimously enacted by Council. This legislation represents a lengthy collaborative process by DC Chamber business leaders, advocacy organizations, and industry experts to fundamentally rework and improve upon legislation to preserve an employer’s ongoing ability to protect the safety of its workforce, its customers, and members of the public who engage with its employees. Specifically, the revised bill preserves the ability of employers to periodically test so-called ‘safety-sensitive’ employees (those serving in inherently dangerous jobs) for Cannabis use. We are proud to have contributed to this important piece of legislation.
- “Non-Compete Conflict of Interest Clarification Amendment Act of 2021” (B24-0256): The DC Chamber has steadfastly promoted efforts to fix a new law that severely restricts employers’ freedom to enforce non-compete agreements with both current and former employees. A DC Chamber-led coalition of employers and advocacy groups (working group) has helped to persuade a key Councilmember to make further legislative improvements. The Labor Committee, chaired by Councilmember Silverman, has scheduled a markup on June 16, 2022. The working group will continue to advocate for employer protections and improvements to the bill. We anticipate the full Council will take up these improvements before summer recess which begins July 15, 2022.
- “Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive Amendment Act of 2021” (B24-301): This comprehensive legislation seeks to reform the District’s cumbersome basic business licensing process to make it cheaper, faster and simpler, particularly for micro-businesses and start-ups. The DC Chamber has worked with other pro-growth organizations to promote the bill and it is expected to advance to a vote of the full Council later this year.
- “Universal Paid Leave Portability Amendment Act of 2022” (B24-0661): The DC Chamber is working to defeat this measure, which would require employers in certain circumstances to extend Universal Paid Leave benefits to former employees. Opponents appear to have successfully blocked efforts to include the measure in the current budget, but the DC Chamber remains vigilant in anticipation of further legislative action later this year.
The Fiscal Year 2023 Budget:
The Fiscal Year 2023 Budget was passed by Council on June 7. While this Budget was less controversial of those in recent years, the DC Chamber and its allies have successfully pursued each of the four pro-growth budget priorities outlined below:
- Opposition to including in the budget a new round of tax increases on businesses and/or residents.
- Opposition to further expansion of the controversial Universal Paid Leave program (see UPL bill discussion above).
- Support for small businesses, including budgeting for public grants, below-market-rate loans, technical assistance and relief from unnecessary regulatory burdens.
- Support for additional budget resources to curb the rise in violent crime in the District, including funding to recruit, hire and train additional Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers, expand the MPD Cadet Program and support gun violence prevention initiatives.
Please contact us at [email protected] with your questions and suggestions!