This month, I was proud to introduce groundbreaking legislation to re-establish voting rights for incarcerated DC residents with felony convictions. The Council
unanimously co-introduced the
Restore the Vote Amendment Act of 2019,
and I thank Attorney General Karl Racine and the advocates for their support.
This bill would make DC the first jurisdiction in the country to restore the vote to incarcerated residents with felony convictions and, I hope, will encourage other jurisdictions to do the same.
Two states, Vermont and Maine, never passed disenfranchisement laws, and their success in allowing incarcerated residents to vote, as well as the experience of 21 other countries that do so, demonstrate the viability of our bill. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have laws stripping incarcerated residents of their right to vote. The District is unique among the other 48 states because our locally elected officials did not disenfranchise our incarcerated residents. Congress imposed this on DC before we had home rule. Re-enfranchising incarcerated residents will allow men and women to exercise their most fundamental democratic right, the right to vote. Sadly, during the Jim Crow era, most states took away this right.
Democracy is stronger when more people participate. I believe we should not conflate punishment with the most basic right of citizenship.
Looking back to May, the Council voted on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, which expands funding for affordable housing, workforce training programs, education, and public safety. As an At-Large Councilmember and Chair of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement, it is my job to ensure that your tax dollars are used responsibly and effectively. While no budget is perfect, the investments the Council made will reap dividends for our city for years to come. The last step of the budget process will take place on June 18th, when we take the final vote to approve the Budget Support Act, which is the legislation that will implement the budget we just passed.
Over the next few weeks, the Committee on Facilities and Procurement will continue its focus on oversight and legislation. On June 13th, the Committee will hold a public roundtable on the Mayor’s proposed appointment of Contract Appeals Board nominee, Nicholas Majett. Finally, the Committee will hold a joint oversight roundtable on the Department of General Services and the Office of Contracting and Procurement to discuss the city's procurement practices. I invite you to come testify. You can also watch our hearings live on Channel 13 or
. If you miss it, you can view archived hearings, after 24 hours, online. Contact the Committee at
or at (202) 741-8593.