Viewing entries tagged
human rights

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Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019

Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019

Introduced: June 4, 2019

Co-introducers: Councilmembers Robert White, Anita Bonds, Brianne Nadeau

FACT SHEETS | BILL TEXT | PRESS RELEASE

Summary: To amend an Act for the suppression of prostitution in the District of Columbia; to amend an Act in relation to pandering, to define and prohibit the same and to provide for the punishment thereof to remove certain criminal penalties for engaging in sex work in order to promote public health and safety; to repeal Section 1 of an Act to enjoin and abate houses of lewdness, assignation, and prostitution, to declare the same to be nuisances, to enjoin the person or persons who conduct or maintain the same and the owner or agent of any building used for such purpose, and to assess a tax against the person maintaining said nuisance and against the building and owner thereof; to repeal An Act to confer concurrent jurisdiction on the police court of the District of Columbia in certain cases; and to create a task force to assess the impact of this legislation and recommend further reforms to improve community safety and health.


Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019 - FACT SHEET.png

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Grosso re-introduces bill to end discrimination against people experiencing homelessness

For Immediate Release: 
March 19, 2019
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105

Grosso re-introduces bill to end discrimination against people experiencing homelessness

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) re-introduced legislation today to end discrimination against people experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia.

“Discrimination against people experiencing homelessness perpetuates the very problem of homelessness,” Grosso said.  “If we want to put people on the path to stable housing, we must end discrimination that creates another barrier in the way of people seeking to improve their situation.”

The Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2019 amends the Human Rights Act of 1977 to add homelessness as a protected class to help eradicate discrimination for individuals experiencing homelessness in employment, in places of public accommodation, in educational institutions, in public service, and in housing and commercial space.

The legislation is named to honor the life and legacy of Michael A. Stoops, a long-time advocate for the rights of individuals experiencing homelessness and a tireless warrior for overcoming income inequality. He helped found the NCH, protested to pressure Congress to pass federal legislation to combat homelessness, and co-founded the North American Street Newspaper Association, which helps to support our own local newspaper, Street Sense.

Grosso first introduced the legislation in 2017. Councilmembers Robert White, Brianne Nadeau, Mary Cheh, and Brandon Todd joined Grosso as co-introducers.

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Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2019

Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2019

Introduced: March 19, 2019

Co-introducers: Councilmember Robert White, Mary Cheh, Brandon Todd, Brianne Nadeau

BILL TEXT

Summary: To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to protect individuals experiencing homelessness from discrimination.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Thank you Chairman Mendelson.

A survey conducted by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and George Washington University in 2014 found that out of 142 individuals experiencing homelessness, 132 claimed they had been discriminated against because of their homeless status.

While there isn’t more recent data on this issue, virtually all homeless individuals experience some form of discrimination as they go about their everyday lives.

Today, I am introducing the Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2019.

This bill amends the Human Rights Act of 1977 to add homelessness as a protected class to help eradicate discrimination for individuals experiencing homelessness in housing, employment, public accommodation, educational institutions, public service, and commercial space.

It is named the Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2019 to honor the life and legacy of a person who was a long-time advocate for the rights of individuals experiencing homelessness and a tireless warrior for overcoming income inequality.

During his 67 years of life, Michael was able to accomplish many great feats on behalf of individuals experiencing homelessness.

In the 1980s, he help founded the National Coalition for the Homeless.

He fasted and slept on the street in order to pressure Congress to pass the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law that provides funding for homeless shelter programs, and is the primary piece of federal legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

Later, he pushed the standards of living for homeless individuals by organizing over 100,000 people to join the “End Homelessness Now! Rally”.

In the 1990s, Michael co-found the North American Street Newspaper Association (or “NASNA”). NASNA is a nonprofit trade association of street newspapers that helps to support 110 papers in 40 countries, including our very own local newspaper, Street Sense, where Michael served on the board from 2003 to 2014.

Unfortunately, in 2015 tragedy struck. Michael suffered a massive stroke, which caused him to be wheelchair bound and unable to speak. However, he still remained dedicated to his life’s mission until he passed away in 2017.

Passing this legislation will help eliminate discrimination against homeless people simply because they are homeless.

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Grosso introduces bill to protect abortion providers from discrimination

For Immediate Release:
November 7, 2017
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Grosso introduces bill to protect abortion providers from discrimination

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) today introduced legislation that would prohibit discrimination against health care professionals who provide or support abortion care.

“Doctors and nurses are vital patient advocates,” Grosso said. “They should not fear employer discrimination for speaking up in the interest of patients who have decided to have an abortion.”

The Abortion Provider Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017 would amend the Human Rights of Act of 1977 to make it unlawful to discriminate against health care professionals for providing or being willing to participate in abortion and protect their ability to speak publicly about their support for abortion. It also prevents hospitals from denying staff privileges just because the health care professional is an abortion provider.

Health care professionals across the country, including in the District of Columbia, report hostility and outright discrimination from their employers due to their support for abortion access or participation in abortion care. For example, Diane Horvath-Cosper, a physician who provided abortions at a private secular nonprofit hospital in D.C., was threatened with termination for speaking with the media about the importance of abortion access.

“D.C.’s health care industry employs over 45,000 people. While only a few of those would be likely to need the protection of this bill, we pride ourselves as a jurisdiction that staunchly defends the right to an abortion, and we should ensure that no nurse or doctor fears that they will lose their jobs or careers because of participation in abortion services or advocacy,” Grosso said.

“Health care providers should be able to pursue work as abortion providers, without fear of discrimination,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president & CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) in support of the legislation. “The Abortion Provider Non-Discrimination Amendment Act is a common-sense solution that voters support and health care providers need. Amid relentless efforts by the Trump Administration and Congress to attack a woman’s right to abortion, it is more important than ever to protect those providing this crucial care.”

Grosso previously introduced and the Council passed into law the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act to protect individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of their, or a dependent’s, reproductive health decision making.

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Abortion Provider Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017

Abortion Provider Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017

Introduced: November 7, 2017

Co-introducers: Councilmembers Brianne K. Nadeau, Jack Evans, Charles Allen, Robert C. White, Jr., Anita Bonds

FACT SHEET | BILL TEXT | PRESS RELEASE

Summary: To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to prohibit discrimination against health care professionals by a health care provider, based on the professional’s participation in, willingness to participate in, or support for abortion or sterilization procedures, or public statements related to abortion or sterilization procedures.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Despite the protection provided by Roe versus Wade, elected officials in state houses across the country and up on Capitol Hill are trying to make it effectively impossible to access abortion services.

This includes a climate of demonization of the medical professionals who provide these services.

A doctor, nurse, or other health practitioner should not have to fear for their job based on their support for the right to choose or their willingness to participate in abortion services.

In fact, discrimination based on an employee’s participation in abortion – or willingness to do so – has been illegal under federal law since 1976.

But there are gaps in the federal law, which has led a number of states to legislate additional protections.

The District of Columbia does not done so, but this legislation would fix that.

It is a rather simple bill, adding protections under our Human Rights Act for health professionals who speak publicly about abortion, or who have a second job providing abortion services.

At a time when speaking out about the importance of access to abortion is critical, we had an incident here in D.C. last year in which a hospital tried to silence a doctor who was an outspoken defender of reproductive rights.

This sort of retaliation, or the firing of healthcare professionals for treating a woman seeking an abortion as has happened elsewhere, is inappropriate and discriminatory.

With over 45,000 people employed in the healthcare industry in the District of Columbia, we need to protect these individuals from employment discrimination like this.

While only a few of those would be likely to need the protection of this bill, we pride ourselves as a jurisdiction that staunchly defends the right to an abortion, and we should ensure that no nurse or doctor fears that they will lose their jobs or careers because of participation in abortion services or advocacy.

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Reducing Criminalization to Improve Community Health & Safety Amendment Act of 2017

Reducing Criminalization to Improve Community Health & Safety Amendment Act of 2017

Introduced: October 5, 2017

Co-introducers: Councilmember Robert White

FACT SHEET & SECTION BY SECTION | BILL TEXT | RESOURCES & STATISTICSCOALITION CONTACTS | PRESS RELEASE

Summary: To repeal an Act for the suppression of prostitution in the District of Columbia; to amend an Act in relation to pandering, to define and prohibit the same and to provide for the Punishment thereof to remove certain criminal penalties for engaging in sex work in order to promote public health and safety; to repeal Section 1 of an Act to enjoin and abate houses of lewdness, assignation, and prostitution, to declare the same to be nuisances, to enjoin the person or persons who conduct or maintain the same and the owner or agent of any building used for such purpose, and to assess a tax against the person maintaining said nuisance and against the building and owner thereof; to repeal An Act to confer concurrent jurisdiction on the police court of the District of Columbia in certain cases; and to create a task force to assess the impact of this legislation and recommend further reforms to improve community safety and health by removing criminal penalties for engaging in commercial sex.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Good morning. I am At-Large D.C. Councilmember David Grosso, and I am pleased to be here with community members and the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition.

As you may know, all my work on the Council is based in the human rights framework.

That commitment includes speaking out for the human rights of the most marginalized communities, including sex workers.

I believe that we as a society are coming to realize that excessive criminalization is causing more harm than good, from school discipline to drug laws to homelessness.

It is time for D.C. to reconsider the framework in which we handle commercial sex—and move from one of criminalization to a focus on human rights, health, and safety.

That is why today I am announcing the introduction of the Reducing Criminalization to Improve Health and Safety Amendment Act of 2017.

I developed this legislation in close partnership with the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition, and the bill is in line with recommendations from Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, U.N. AIDS, Human Rights Watch, and numerous other expert organizations.

The bill is quite simple really—it repeals a number of laws, or parts of laws, that criminalize adults for exchanging sex for money or other things of value.

By removing criminal penalties for those in the sex trade, we can bring people out of the shadows, help them live safer and healthier lives, and more easily tackle the complaints we hear from communities about trash or noise.

Some of the laws that this bill would repeal are over a hundred years old, showing how the criminalization approach has been a total failure.

There is plenty of other evidence that this approach puts people at risk for violence, inhibits the fight against HIV, and results in the exact opposite of what the laws purported intentions, but I will leave that to my fellow speakers to describe in greater detail.

The bill does not change any of our laws regarding coercion or exploitation, which will continue to be prohibited. Nor does it change how minors involved in sex trade are considered.

Sex workers themselves are often some of the best-positioned people to identify and help people in situations of exploitation, and by removing the criminal sanctions on them, we can improve our efforts on that front.

I want to thank everyone who has helped me work on this legislation and I also want to appreciate all the sex worker activists who have spoken out for their human rights, from Sharmus Outlaw here in D.C., to Gabriela Leite in Brazil, to countless others around the world.

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Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017

Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017

Introduced: July 11, 2017

Co-introducers: Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau, Mary Cheh, and Robert White

Summary: To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to protect individuals experiencing homelessness from discrimination.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Today, along with my colleagues Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau, Robert White, and Mary Cheh, I am introducing the Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017.

Virtually all homeless people experience some form of discrimination.

A 2014 survey conducted by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and George Washington University found that out of 142 individuals experiencing homelessness, 132 claimed they had been discriminated against because of their homeless status.

Discrimination on the basis of homelessness runs rampant throughout our city- from law enforcement to private businesses, medical and social services.

Therefore this bill amends the Human Rights Act of 1977 to add homelessness as a protected class to help eradicate discrimination for individuals experiencing homelessness in employment, in places of public accommodation, in educational institutions, in public service, and in housing and commercial space.

The bill is aptly named the Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017 to honor the life and legacy of a person who was a long-time advocate for the rights of individuals experiencing homelessness and a tireless warrior for overcoming income inequality.

During his 67 years of life, Michael was able to accomplish many great things on behalf of individuals experiencing homelessness.

In the 1980s, he help founded the National Coalition for the Homeless.

He also fasted and slept on the street in order to pressure Congress to pass the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law that provides funding for homeless shelter programs, and is the primary piece of federal legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

Later, he pushed the standards of living for homeless people by organizing over 100,000 people to join the “End Homelessness Now! Rally”.

In the 1990s, Michael co-found the North American Street Newspaper Association (or “NASNA”). NASNA is a nonprofit trade association of street newspapers that helps to support 110 papers in 40 countries, including our own local newspaper, Street Sense, where Michael served on the board from 2003 to 2014.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 2015. Michael suffered a massive stroke, which caused him to be wheelchair bound and unable to speak. However, he still remained dedicated to his life’s mission until he passed away earlier this year.

Passing this legislation will help eliminate discrimination against homeless people simply because they are homeless.

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Grosso introduces bill to end discrimination against people experiencing homelessness

For Immediate Release: 
July 11, 2017
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105

Grosso introduces bill to end discrimination against people experiencing homelessness

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced legislation today to end discrimination against people experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia.

“Discrimination against people experiencing homelessness perpetuates the very problem of homelessness,” Grosso said.  “If we want to put people on the path to stable housing, we must end discrimination that creates another barrier in the way of people seeking to improve their situation.”

The Michael A. Stoops Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017 amends the Human Rights Act of 1977 to add homelessness as a protected class to help eradicate discrimination for individuals experiencing homelessness in employment, in places of public accommodation, in educational institutions, in public service, and in housing and commercial space.

The legislation is named to honor the life and legacy of Michael A. Stoops, a long-time advocate for the rights of individuals experiencing homelessness and a tireless warrior for overcoming income inequality. He helped found the NCH, protested to pressure Congress to pass federal legislation to combat homelessness, and co-founded the North American Street Newspaper Association, which helps to support our own local newspaper, Street Sense.

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Statement of Councilmember Grosso on recent noose incidents

For Immediate Release: 
June 5, 2017
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105

Statement of Councilmember Grosso on recent noose incidents

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) on the recent incidents involving nooses in the metropolitan area:

“It is extremely disturbing to see stories like this on what feels like a daily basis. The District of Columbia is a diverse and welcoming city that strives to affirm and protect the human rights of all residents. That includes the right to be free from intimidation.

“No one should be afraid to go to work, visit a museum, worship in church, or walk to school. These acts violate that right. They seek to instill fear in our communities.  We cannot allow them to succeed. And we will not.

“If you do have any information about these incidents, I urge you to contact the Metropolitan Police Department at at 202–727–9099 or text 50–411.”

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D.C. recommits to human rights as new president takes office

On Tuesday I stood with Councilmember Robert White to announce to our residents and the new administration that the District of Columbia will continue to be a bastion of human rights and work to protect the most vulnerable among us.

Like many residents, I have been anxious since November. Throughout last year’s presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised policies that many brushed off as simple campaign rhetoric. In just the first few days of his presidency, he has confirmed that the bigotry, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia he espoused will guide his policymaking. 

We as elected leaders must stand up on behalf of our residents.  That’s why Councilmember White and I introduced the Sense of the Council Resolution in Reaffirmation of the Human Rights of District of Columbia Residents and in Opposition to Bigotry and Violence.  This document sets forth the entire Council’s opposition to many of the policies that were promised by Donald Trump.  And more importantly, that the Council of the District of Columbia will resist them.

As a Council, we resolved to:

  • reject xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, disparagement of people with disabilities, misogyny, and bigotry in any form.
  • not cooperate with any effort to force individuals to register with the government based on their national origin or religious identity.
  • remain committed to our status as a sanctuary city and not participate in any federal immigration enforcement strategies that endanger those within our city.
  • welcome refugees and those fleeing violence and persecution.

The Council spoke with a unified voice.  Every member of the Council signed on as a co-introducer of these principles, which will now be sent to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

I also applaud Mayor Muriel Bowser’s efforts to reaffirm our sanctuary city status and set up the Immigrant Justice Legal Services Grant Program.  Increasing access to attorneys for our immigrant neighbors will dramatically increase positive outcomes for them in immigration court.

More needs to be done. That same day I introduced two bills to make D.C. an even more welcoming city by providing immigrants greater access to our educational and electoral institutions.

I doubt that these recent announcements from the White House will be the last to threaten the well-being of residents of the District of Columbia. I commit to looking at every single way we can continue to protect our residents from the aggressions of the new administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. Engaging with your local officials, including myself, and our staff will be integral to this effort.  I welcome and encourage your feedback.

We must stand together as a city.  Protecting our human rights cannot be done alone.  It must be the charge of all of our elected leaders and all of our residents. We must fight for each other. We must work for the most vulnerable among us. We must lift each other up. And we must love one another.

Read the full resolution adopted by the Council below:

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Grosso Applauds Ruling in Favor of Budget Autonomy

For Immediate Release: 
March 18, 2016
Contact: Keenan Austin
(202) 724-8105

Grosso Applauds Ruling in Favor of Budget Autonomy

Washington, D.C.--Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) issued the following statement on the ruling by D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian F. Holeman in Council of the District of Columbia v. DeWitt:

"This is a great day for the people of the District of Columbia as the judicial system has upheld the legitimacy of our public referendum for budget autonomy. Today's ruling means that the Council and the Mayor can go forward with enacting the people's will by spending local tax dollars according to our own priorities, and without the interference of onerous and ideological riders placed on the federal budget. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and my constituents to push for full legislative autonomy and voting rights for all residents of the District of Columbia."

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Grosso exchange with Department of Health Care Finance on Medicaid for returning citizens

Earlier this year, Councilmember Grosso's staff began researching policy issues for D.C. residents who are Medicaid recipients and become incarcerated. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, D.C. and many other states terminate an individual's Medicaid when that person is sentenced to prison--but under Medicaid rules, the government could also suspend the individual's Medicaid until their release. Grosso wrote to Director Wayne Turnage of the Department of Health Care Finance (which handles D.C.'s Medicaid policies) about this issue, and got a very informative letter in response. This included the revelation that DHCF had recently amended this policy to the best practice of suspending, not terminating, Medicaid. Good news for public health and public safety. You can read the letters below:

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Grosso Calls on Supreme Court to Uphold Women's Reproductive Rights

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2016
Contact: Keenan Austin
(202) 724-8105

Grosso Calls on Supreme Court to Uphold Women's Reproductive Rights

Washington, D.C.--Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a case that challenges the constitutionality of a Texas law that would effectively close many clinics that provide abortion services in that state. Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) made the following statement in advance of the oral arguments:

"Today I stand with millions of people across the country who want to see the Supreme Court make the right decision and protect access to abortion services. Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt revolves around the question of whether Texas law H.B. 2, and myriad others around the country, places an undue burden on access to abortion services. If allowed to go forward, the Texas law would close the majority of abortion providing clinics in the state, placing significant obstacles between a person seeking to terminate a pregnancy and access to such services.
 
In D.C., we are lucky to have some of the strongest protections of a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, despite continued interference by Congress. In 2014, the D.C. Council passed my Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act to stop employers from retaliating against employees for their reproductive health decisions, which Congressional Republicans unsuccessfully sought to block. I will continue to fight the Congressional rider that prohibits the D.C. government from spending local tax dollars on abortion services, creating barriers to access for our poorest residents. And I will continue to advance legislation to safeguard reproductive rights, like my bill that ended shackling of pregnant women and girls in D.C. detention facilities.
 
On a personal level, my wife and I make regular contributions to the D.C. Abortion Fund in an effort to help mitigate the impact of the Congressional rider. Similarly, in response to state laws passed to obstruct women's access to abortion, we also contribute regularly to Fund Texas Choice, a group that funds travel for women who do not live near an abortion provider, after over a dozen closed in Texas due to the new legislation.
 
No matter the Supreme Court's decision on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, D.C. will remain a place where women's autonomy over their own reproductive choices will be protected."

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Grosso's opening statement from second hearing on Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015

Thank you, Chairman Mendelson. I would like to thank you for scheduling and holding this series of hearings. Your approach to constructing a witness list and timing the hearings on this bill allow everyone to hear diverse perspectives on the “Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015” and get us to the most informed place as we move forward. 

At this point, we are all aware that, as introduced, Bill 21-415, “The Universal Paid Leave Act” will establish a fund to enable workers in the District of Columbia or individuals paying into the fund to receive some amount of paid leave for a qualifying event such as birth or adoption of a child, caring for a sick family member, or for self-care. The fund will be supported by payments from employers, the self-employed, and certain individual employees.

As Chairperson of the Committee on Education, I believe that investing in our families will benefit the lives of all of our residents and our city’s children. This bill will help workers take the time they need to support their families or themselves without having to make the hard choice between a paycheck and their immediate health needs. Numerous studies and data have shown that forms of paid leave are good for people of all ages and help to retain a strong and productive workforce.

The economic data we need in order to come to a final conclusion on this legislation is extremely complicated and how we apply those numbers is contentious. We are here today to get as much information as we can to inform the process and ensure that we are aware of exactly what the fiscal and economic impact of this bill will be. 

I believe that the long-term effects will be good for our businesses and the economy of the District of Columbia.  It will increase a person’s likelihood to return to work after a qualifying event, therefore decreasing the costs associated with employee turnover. It will make the District of Columbia a city where people want to work and have children, and it will give all of our businesses a competitive edge by offering progressive benefits packages at a lower cost than they can now.

During the drafting process and since the first hearing, my office and many others have been using tax data, employee numbers, the data from California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, and the preliminary findings of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research which has been studying our current paid leave policies in the D.C. Government. The introduction of this legislation has enabled many of our fiscal partners, who are here today, to create more sophisticated models and deeper sets of numbers, so that we as legislators can determine what is feasible.  

As written, the bill has over ten variables that if adjusted would lower the cost of the bill or the burdens on employers or residents. In our conversations about the proposed legislation, I have heard many of the concerns and believe there are shifts that can be made and we are analyzing all of them closely.   

As the bill moves through the  process at the Council, I am committed to continuing to work closely with our Chief Financial Officer, the Council budget office, Chairman Mendelson, businesses, advocates, and experts to complete the details of what options we have for providing the best amount of paid family and medical leave for the maximum number of D.C. workers.

We have a lot of work to do to get to a final piece of legislation that everyone can be proud of and take responsibility for and that will help all of our workforce and qualifying residents to take the paid time off that they need without creating a new and extreme burden on our businesses.  

With that, I want to thank everyone who is here today or is submitting testimony for the record. I appreciate the time that you have all taken, regardless of your position on the bill, to study it and provide us with your feedback.

I look forward to the testimony and engaging in a robust dialogue with the witnesses. Thank you. 

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Agencies Improve Policies for Marginalized Residents to get Identity Documents

Earlier this fall, after discussions with advocates and community members, Councilmember Grosso sent letters to the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Human Services out of concern that some policies are unnecessarily creating barriers for residents when they need to access identity documents. In particular, Grosso was concerned about the ability to get identity cards or driver's licenses for D.C. foster youth in placements outside of D.C., homeless residents, returning citizens, and low income residents who may have trouble producing certain documents or paying certain fees. 

In response to Grosso's letters, both DMV and DHS took immediate steps to improve or clarify their policies, and began discussions to update others. You can read the letters below--first Grosso's letter to DMV and the response from Director Babers, second Grosso's letter to DHS and the response from Director Zeilinger. The Councilmember thanks these agencies for their willingness to engage on these issues and make changes to their policies.

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Grosso Calls on Pope Francis and the Catholic Church to Protect Victims of Sexual Abuse

For Immediate Release

September 24, 2015

Contact: Darby Hickey

(202) 724-8105

 

Grosso Calls on Pope Francis and the Catholic Church to Protect Victims of Sexual Abuse

Washington, D.C. – Today, at 2:30pm, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) will join victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests at a rally in front of the Wilson Building.  In advance of the rally, Grosso released the following statement:

 “In his prayer meeting with U.S. bishops yesterday, Pope Francis spoke of a ‘generous commitment to bring healing’— this stance must extend to those who have suffered sexual abuse.  I am calling on the Pope to hold the bishops of the Catholic Church accountable for abuse committed on their watch. It is past time for the Church to support better laws that protect children, expose predators, and punish enablers.

Earlier this year I introduced the ‘Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act’ to give child victims of sexual abuse more time to file a civil lawsuit against perpetrators. Our current laws unjustly protect predators, and too often the Church has opposed legal reform. If the Catholic Church is truly committed to healing and forgiveness, then it will support this legislation and efforts to protect children from harm.”

Today, at 2:30pm, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will rally in support of Grosso’s legislation on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act, introduced by Grosso in March 2015, would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for recovery of damages arising out of child sexual abuse claims.  Additionally, the bill creates a two-year window for individuals whose claims of child sexual abuse were previously time-barred, enabling victims to begin the long road to recovery. The legislation is currently awaiting a hearing in the D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary.

 

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Equity over equality in D.C. schools

After visiting dozens of D.C. schools and speaking with parents and community members, I know that D.C. residents are committed to eliminating the achievement gap as quickly as possible. As chairman of the D.C. Council’s education committee, I grapple every day with the question of how I can level the playing field after unfair policies and investments.

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