On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, the Council convened a Committee of the Whole meeting. During the meeting the Council unanimously voted to agendize Councilmember Cheh’s Leaf Blower Regulation Amendment Act of 2018 that would prohibit the sale or use of gas-powered leaf blowers and mandate the use of battery powered blowers. If approved, the bill would become effective January 1, 2022. Other bills agendized were the Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Amendment Act of 2018 that would extend and/or eliminate the statute of limitations on certain criminal and sexual abuse cases and the Fare Evasion Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2018 that would decriminalize transit fare evasion, making it a civil offense. All of these bills will be placed on the November 13, 2018 legislative agenda for first reading and vote.
The legislative meeting immediately followed the COW. During the meeting, the Council considered a number of emergency measures, ceremonial resolutions, and contracts in addition to first and final readings of legislation under Council review. Of particular interest was postponement of the final vote on the Short-term Rental Regulation and Affordable Sousing Protection Act of 2018, by Council Chair Phil Mendelson, due to a several questions posed by Councilmembers and DC DFO Jeffrey DeWitt concerning zoning regulations and fiscal estimates. The bill according to the Chairman will be placed on the November 13, 2018 agenda for final reading and vote. Expect some amendments from members of the Council including one that would amend the effective date from January 1, 2015 to October 1, 2019 (Mendelson); permit homeowners with second homes to use those homes for home-sharing; and a hardship exemption that would increase the go-day max for homeowners who travel a lot for work.
Some additional highlights from the meeting:
• Clarification of Hospital Closure Procedure Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 – passed