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Council Period 24 - It's a Wrap

December 21, 2022

Dear Neighbors,

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!


Christina Henderson

What We Did in Council Period 24 - The Wins Edition

Strengthening Maternal Health Infrastructure

  • Championed and funded the Maternal Health Resources and Access Act which expanded DC Medicaid and Alliance program benefits to provide doula services and ensure transportation for Alliance enrollees to perinatal health appointments FY22 Budget Support Act (BSA)
  • 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 and funded a Perinatal Mental Health Task Force within the Department of Health Care Finance to study and provide comprehensive policy recommendations for the improvement of screening, diagnosis, intervention, treatment, recovery, and prevention services for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (FY23 BSA)
  • 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
  • Added personnel support for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to assist with the Fatality Review Boards, including the Maternal Mortality Review Committee FY23 Local Budget Act (LBA)
  • Enhanced the reproductive rights of DC residents and those seeking abortion care in DC with the Enhancing Reproductive Health Protections Amendment Act, which protects individuals who support or assist individuals choosing to self-manage their abortion care

Supporting Working Families

  • 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
  • Ensured the funding to provide early childhood educators a well-deserved raise was secure with the establishment of the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund and championed the creation of the Early Childhood Educator Equitable Compensation Task Force which outlined the recommendations on how to improve pay and benefits for these workers. The first round provided payments of up to $14,000 to over 3,100 early childhood educators in the childcare setting and access to affordable health coverage through DC Health Link
  • 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
  • Aligned the school psychologist licensing requirements for DC public and public charter school staff with the passage of the School Psychologist Licensing Clarification Amendment Act
  • Advanced a framework that provides college athletes with robust protections for name, image, likeness (NIL) rights while also creating a level playing field for athletes and institutions competing across state lines with the College Student Athlete Compensation Amendment Act (Incorporated in the Uniform College Athlete Name, Image, or Likeness Act)
  • Ensured our public school attendance zone boundaries will be reviewed and updated in a regular cadence of every 10 years with the passage of the Attendance Zone Boundaries Amendment Act of 2022 (FY23 LBA)

  • Increased funding for out-of-school time programming and grants by approximately $7 million (FY22 & FY23 LBA)
  • Increased funding for adult learners in the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula to ensure those students receive the resources they need (FY22 & FY23 LBA)
  • Streamlined the background check process for educators, out-of-school time workers, and other volunteers via the Educator Background Check Streamlining Amendment Act
  • Improved school policing data transparency with the School Police Incident Oversight and Accountability Amendment Act by requiring local education agencies and the Metropolitan Police Department to report on school-based disciplinary actions involving police disaggregated by age, race, gender, and disability (Incorporated in the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act)
  • Increased facilities allotment for DC Public Charter Schools to ensure robust learning environments to public school students attending schools in that sector
  • Increased funding the DC Public Library to support expanding collections and related operations, and operating hours (FY22 & FY23 LBA)

Promoting Public Safety & Equitable Government

  • Increased funding and oversight for the Department of Public Works and the Department of Transportation to improve compliance with the District’s traffic laws
  • Served as a member of the decennial Subcommittee on Redistricting which was tasked with redrawing the boundaries for DC’s Wards and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions
  • Contributed to the overhaul of the District’s record sealing and expungement laws in the Second Chance Amendment Act as components of the bill I introduced, the Record Expungement Simplification to Offer Relief and Equity (RESTORE) Amendment Act were incorporated
  • 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

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