Legislative Update
KEEPING YOU INFORMED ON DC's COVID-19 LEGISLATIVE RESPONSE
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the DC Council will meet, where the Chairman of the Council plans to move an emergency measure to extend the time the Mayor has to submit the FY 2021 budget from March 19 th to no later than May 6, 2020, and also amend Council rules so that the DC Council may meet virtually. The Chairman’s emergency bill will also provide support for workers and businesses impacted by the public health emergency.  Attached for your reference is a copy of Mr. Mendelson's COVID-19 emergency. Below you will find key elements of the emergency legislation.
1)          Expands unemployment benefits to include individuals that are unemployed due to COVID-19. Those that are unemployed would now include workers that have quit due to unsafe work conditions; workers that have been recommended for a period of quarantine or self-quarantine or if an individual cannot work because an employer has ceased or reduced operations at the recommendation of the DC Department of Health;

2)          At the request and advocacy of the DC Chamber of Commerce, an employer’s experience rating and subsequent UI taxes would not increase should an employee receive UI compensation as a direct result of COVID-19 lost wages.

3)           Extends employment protections under DC FMLA to employees who can not work due to COVID-19.

4)          Provide business relief in the form of a 90-day delayed hotel property tax and 60-day sales tax deferral for other DC businesses.

5)      Establishes DC Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD) public health emergency grants for eligible small businesses to cover operating costs and repayment of loans obtained through US Small Business Administration.

6)          Allows the Mayor to extend the expiration of public benefit programs like TANF, SNAP or the Alliance program.

7)          Adds to current DC law, a prohibition on “stockpiling”, making it illegal to purchase quantities greater than those specified by local and federal governments deemed necessary for first responders, necessary to maintain supply chains or items subject to rationing. The bill would also expand price gouging to include not just natural emergencies but also public health emergencies. 
 
8)          Prohibits utility services to be disconnected or evictions to occur during periods of a public health emergency.

9)          Grants pharmacies the ability to refill prescription drugs before the end of a waiting period.

10)      Gives public schools additional flexibility in scheduling summer school.

11)      Allows ANCs to meet less than 9 times a year and virtually; also suspends the meeting requirements during a public health emergency for other public bodies including boards and commissions.

Questions? Need additional information? Contact the DC Chamber's Government Affairs Team at governmentrelations@dcchamber.org 

Watch the DC Council's Additional Legislative Meeting on 3/17 at 11AM via