'Tis the season of gratitude and Thanksgiving. This weekend, as we observed Veterans Day, we honored the millions of women and men who have served and protected this country in our Armed Forces. There are more than 30,000 veterans who call the District of Columbia home. Each day we learn more and more about the true depths of their sacrifice. The words “thank you” will never be enough, so I try to embody their dedication through my own service to community.
Later this week, my team and I will volunteer at Food & Friends helping to prepare for Thanksgiving. Throughout the city, the days leading up to Thanksgiving are always jammed packed with opportunities to ensure that everyone has a hearty meal. This edition of the newsletter provides details on some upcoming Thanksgiving food giveaways, as well as an update on what I’ve been working on legislatively and within the community. Before I go, I want to highlight a couple of opportunities to give back:
Health Committee Updates
Health Committee Markup
On Wednesday, November 1, the Health Committee held an Additional Meeting vote on 11 measures, including Councilmember Henderson’s Sense of the Council on the Opioid and Fentanyl Epidemic Resolution of 2023 and nominees for the Board of Psychology, the Board of Optometry, and the Health Benefit Exchange Authority Executive Board. All measures passed unanimously.
Key Legislative Updates
Committee of the Whole, the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, & the Committee on Executive Administration and Labor Joint Public Hearing
On Monday, October 30, the Committee of the Whole, the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, and the Committee on Executive Administration and Labor held a Joint Public Roundtable on the Mayor’s districtwide Violence Interruption Programs. During the hearing, which included members of the public, community advocates, violence prevention workers and experts, and District officials, community leaders Tony Lewis, Jr. and Pastor Delonte Gholston spoke with Councilmember Henderson about the importance of record-sealing and inclusion for returning citizens. While speaking with District government leaders, Councilmember Henderson emphasized the need for fiscal collaboration among the District’s violence prevention and interruption programs, highlighted the discrepancy in Spanish-speaking violence interrupters, and discussed the strategic focus and performance of Building Blocks DC, a gun violence prevention initiative led by the City Administrator’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Information and testimony from the hearing can be found on the Council’s new Hearing Management System here, and a recording of the hearing can be found here.
Committee on Transportation and the Environment & Committee on Public Works and Operations Joint Public Hearing
On Wednesday, November 1, the Committee on Transportation and the Environment and the Committee on Public Works and Operations held part two of a Joint Public Hearing on the following legislation.
During the hearing, Councilmember Henderson discussed the impact of her traffic safety legislation, the correlation between automatic traffic enforcement cameras and driver behavior, ways to create a strong line of communication between the Metropolitan Police Department, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Department Public Works, the process of suspending or revoking licenses for DUI related traffic violations, updating traffic infrastructure, and more with District government leaders. Information and testimony from the hearing can be found on the Council’s new Hearing Management System here, and a recording of the hearing can be found here.
Committee of the Whole
On Tuesday, November 7, the Committee of the Whole held a Legislative Meeting and voted on multiple pieces of legislation. During the meeting, Councilmember Henderson answered questions rom other councilmembers about legislation that came through the Committee on Health. All those measures were approved and are listed here:
Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety Public Hearing
On Wednesday, November 8, the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety held a Public Hearing on Councilmember Brooke Pinto’s Addressing Crime through Targeted Interventions and Violence Enforcement (“ACTIVE”) Amendment Act of 2023. During the hearing, Councilmember Henderson questioned government witnesses from the United States Attorney’s Office, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Public Defender Service, and the Criminal Code Reform Commission about provisions in the bill, specifically those addressing speedy trial timelines, carjacking, and pre-trial detention. Information and testimony from the hearing can be found here, and a recording of the hearing can be found here.
This week, Councilmember Henderson introduced two new bills to support and strengthen the District’s health workforce:
The Council has a NEW centralized system for signing up for hearings. Check it out here: https://lims.dccouncil.gov/hearings/
Christina in the Community
Stabilization and Sobering Center Opening
On Monday, October 30, Councilmember Henderson joined the Mayor, as well as other Councilmembers and District officials, at the ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the official opening of the Stabilization and Sobering Center at 35 K St. NE. The facility will provide immediate healthcare support as well as long-term counseling for neighbors who are experiencing substance-related crises.
Humane Rescue Alliance
On Thursday, November 2, Councilmember Henderson toured the Humane Rescue Alliance Animal Shelter (HRA) on Oglethorpe St. The tour was led by the HRA’s President and CEO Lisa LaFontaine and the Director of Government Affairs Emily Hovermale. During the tour, they highlighted that the shelter is currently over capacity, causing them to use warehouse space to house dogs. They also discussed HRA’s efforts to contain canine influenza in their facilities and HRA’s work to provide veterinary care at an affordable cost to District residents and their pets.
Ward 4 Mini-Commission on Aging
On Thursday, November 9, Councilmember Henderson met with the Ward 4 Mini-Commission on Aging and discussed her food policy and healthcare workforce legislation and Medicaid re-enrollment. Councilmember Henderson and her staff listened to the Commission’s concerns about traffic and road safety and their vision for post-graduate education opportunities for seniors.
In Case You Missed It: Councilmember Henderson in the News
Constituent Services Corner