Last night, the Council officially wrapped up the business of Council Period 24. I can hardly believe that it’s been nearly TWO years already. A lot has happened since January 2021 when I started my term, and every day I’m grateful for the gift to be able to serve as an At-Large Councilmember.
If you’ve been following since the beginning, you know that one of the things that has grounded me is the belief that one’s zip code should not be a barrier to their opportunity for success, and this was reflected in my legislative priorities. Below is a highlight list of what we were able to achieve this Council Period to strengthen maternal health infrastructure, support working families, bolster education and opportunities for students, and promote public safety and equitable government. Reviewing this list was overwhelming, as we were able to accomplish an impressive amount being a freshman member without chairing a Committee myself. Not only must I thank my amazing staff (past and present) for their hard work, I must also thank my colleagues and Executive agencies who collaborated with me on these issues, as well as the countless organizations and constituents who brought things to my attention, showed up at hearings, and worked to improve this city we all love.
Looking forward to Council Period 25, I’m excited to continue the work and expand my team. There are bills we introduced on things like expanding health insurance coverage to include fertility diagnosis and treatment; protecting DC student loan borrowers from predatory and misleading practices; providing assistance to undocumented high school students to afford higher education; infusing transparency and predictability for DPR facility upgrades; and much more that we were not successful in getting over the finish line, but I do plan to reintroduce in the new year. We are just getting started…the work continues!
Wishing you and yours a joyous and peaceful holiday season!
What We Did in Council Period 24 - The Wins Edition
Supported the District’s efforts to ensure that the District’s Medicaid program covers inpatient and outpatient maternity and newborn care for at least one year after childbirth, and that midwifery services are also covered by Medicaid (FY22 LBA)
Established the certified midwife credential with the Board of Nursing, allowing certified midwives to operate at maternity centers and be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement through passage of the Certified Midwife Credential Amendment Act
Took critical steps to improve food access for residents with Give SNAP a Raise Amendment Act which gives every Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant a raise equal to 10% of a given household size's maximum monthly allotment
Expanded paid family leave for District government employees with the District Government Paid Leave Enhancement Amendment Act which expanded family and parental leave to 12 weeks of leave (increased from 8 weeks), established a new medical leave benefit, and consolidated leave bank programs into one new bank to provide more paid leave for workers’ medical needs
Secured $500,000 to establish a diaper bank grant program to assist families who qualify for income-contingent government assistance programs (FY23 BSA)
Expanded the private sector Paid Family Leave program to provide up to 6 weeks of medical leave benefits (increased from 2 weeks) and an additional 2 weeks offered through a new prenatal leave benefit (FY22 BSA)
Bolstering Education & Opportunities for Students
Expanded the District’s school-based behavioral health program – including increased funding to provide services in every DCPS and public charter school location, increase the salaries for clinicians, and fund a study of the cost of expanding the program further (FY22 & FY23 LBA)
Promoted the planning and implementation of safe routes and safety infrastructure around schools with the Safe Streets for Students Amendment Act which codifies the Safe Routes to School and Safe Passage Programs, requires the District Department of Transportation to install new traffic safety infrastructure around all public schools, expands school zones, and enhances the school crossing guard program
Championed the funding for the re-construction of the Kenilworth Pedestrian Bridge over DC-295 which collapsed after an accident in June 2021 (FY22 LBA)
Advocated for federal funding to be used for strategic infrastructure improvements that would reconnect communities and improve traffic safety along DC-295 and North Capitol Street; these projects were included among the recommendations made by the District’s Build Back Better Infrastructure Taskforce
Expanded resources for the Department of Energy and the Environment for mold inspections and remediation (FY23 LBA)
Secured the additional funding needed to construct the first dog park east of the Anacostia River on Texas Ave SE (FY22 LBA)
Increased funding for the Office of Human Rights for additional personnel to support case processing and clearing the backlog (FY22 LBA)
Increased funding for the Office of Administrative Hearings to provide additional case management and resource center support to aid constituents who are appealing various rulings/decisions (FY22 & FY23 LBA)
Supported over $100 million capital investment to the DC Housing Authority for public housing repairs in Fiscal Year 2022 and 2023