For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2016
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105
Grosso tackles pay gap, student debt, and out-of-school time as Council returns to work
Washington, DC – The Council of the District of Columbia returned from its annual summer recess today and Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) wasted no time proposing solutions to challenges faced by the District of Columbia. The gender and racial pay gap, funding for critical out-of-school time activities, and the growing student debt problem were the focus of new legislation introduced by the councilmember.
Closing the District Wage Gap
Grosso introduced the Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2016 to address persistent pay inequities for women, especially women of color, face in D.C.
“Equal pay for equal work is a simple concept. Yet, even in D.C. the wage gap that women experience persists,” said Grosso.
The bill would prohibit employers in the city from requesting information about a prospective employee’s salary and benefit history before an employer makes a job and compensation offer. This would help to end a practice that perpetuates the wage gap.
“Leaving a job that is unfairly compensating you is no guarantee that your pay will be much better when employers make job offers based on previous, deflated wages. We can break that cycle.”
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, women in D.C. make 90 cents for every dollar paid to men. It’s much worse for women of color: African-American women earn just 56 cents on the dollar and Latinas just 50 cents when compared to white, non-Hispanic men.
Addressing Student Loan Debt
Grosso also introduced the Student Loan Ombudsman Establishment and Servicing Regulation Act of 2016 to address the increasing burden student loans are placing on D.C. residents.
“Growing student debt presents a serious challenge for our residents and our local economy, creating a burden that follows them and stifles every aspect of their lives: buying a house, starting a business, saving for retirement, and furthering their education,” Grosso said. “This bill is a first step that assists District borrowers and increases servicer accountability.”
The bill would create an ombudsman in the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking empowered to establish licensing requirements for student loan servicers in the city. They would also be charged with informing D.C. residents about their options when seeking student loans and when working to repay them.
Recommitting to Youth Development
Finally, Grosso, along with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, introduced the Office of Youth Outcomes and Grants Establishment Act of 2016. The bill establishes a framework for greater strategy-setting, coordination and funding for out-of-school programming.
Out-of-school time programming has myriad benefits to youth who participate, improving their educational, behavioral, and physical health outcomes. Funding for such programming currently comes from many government agencies, including grants to youth-serving groups via the D.C. Trust, which dissolves on September 30.
“What we are proposing today provides equitable access to quality out-of-school time services, which we know help best position our students to succeed,” Grosso said. “As Chairperson of the Committee on Education, I see this coordinated, data-driven, multi-agency effort as an opportunity to create real results, insulated from the political manipulation and financial impropriety of the past.”
The bill establishes both an Office and a Commission on Youth Outcomes and Grants charged with overseeing inter-agency coordination, tracking data and assessing need and outcomes, and making grants to organizations that provide out-of-school programming to District of Columbia youth.
“This legislation is informed by the efforts led by the Deputy Mayors for Health and Human Services and Education to plot the next steps for our out of school time efforts in light of the Trust’s dissolution. I look forward to continuing to work with them and other stakeholders to incorporate their input as we move through the legislative process.”