April 7, 2020
Hello neighbor,

Today, in the first-ever virtual legislative meeting for the DC Council, we unanimously passed a second emergency bill, the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 , to help residents, small businesses, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions through this unprecedented time. We also discussed several missing critical pieces in the bill. The bill is not perfect. Many of my colleagues and I express concerns, like our disappointment that the bill does not offer support for undocumented residents.
Today's emergency bill will:

Support for Residents

  • Adjust requirements for receiving unemployment benefits, so applicants do not have to seek alternative employment or wait a week before being eligible for benefits;

  • Allow residents to qualify for unemployment insurance if they are: 
  1. Self-employed;
  2. Seeking part-time employment;
  3. Do not have sufficient work history;
  4. Or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits under DC or federal law.
  • Require mortgage servicers to provide a deferment plan for a residential mortgage loan;

  • Require landlords receiving a deferment to pass that deferment on to residential tenants;

  • Freeze rent increases during the coronavirus outbreak for for all tenants and allow tenants who gave notice to vacate their units the opportunity to stay in their units until after the public health emergency ends;

  • Prohibit cable, internet, and phone companies from disconnecting or suspending service;

  • Provide residents assistance with outstanding water bill balances at their homes;

  • Create a Funeral Bill of Rights to ensure that funeral homes are clear about prices and provide receipts; and

  • Prohibit debt collectors and creditors from attempting to collect payment from residents for debts or repossess vehicles for up to 60 days after the end of the public health emergency.
Relief for Small Businesses

  • Require mortgage servicers to provide a deferment plan for commercial mortgage loans;

  • Require landlords receiving a mortgage deferment to pass that deferment on to commercial tenants;

  • Ensure the District government is using small, local businesses for all contracts over $250,000 entered into during the coronavirus emergency, except for contracts necessary to address the coronavirus emergency;

  • Allow the District government to make advance payments of more than 10% of the total contract value to a certified contractor for purchases related to the coronavirus response;

  • Clarify that any assistance businesses receive from the U.S. Small Business Administration relief programs will be excluded from their District gross income.
Preparations for Elections
The Board of Elections is encouraging all District residents to vote by mail for the June 2, 2020 primary election and the June 16, 2020 Ward 2 Special Election. To ensure that District residents have safe and securing voting infrastructure, this bill will:

  • Allow the Board of Elections to reduce the number of polling places

  • Allow each registered voter to cast his or her vote in any voting precinct regardless of the resident's address;

  • Require the Board of Elections to mail every qualified registered voter an absentee ballot application and a postage-paid return envelope for the June 2nd primary election and the June 16th Ward 2 special election; and

  • Remove the requirement for a voter’s signature to accompany a request for an absentee ballot.

Additional Support for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions
To support ANCs and their important role in the community, the bill will:

  • Ensure Advisory Neighborhood Commissions do not lose their allotments for failure to timely file their quarterly reports during the public health emergency; and
  • Expand the notice period for Commissioners for decisions impacting their communities by 21 days so that ANCs have a greater opportunity during the public health emergency to engage their constituents and meet remotely.
My office is teleworking, but still available to you. Connect with me and my staff via phone or email. Please call my personal office at (202) 724-8174, committee office at (202) 741-8593 or email any of my team members.


Let's continue to work together to get through this.
Robert C. White, Jr. Councilmember, At-Large | Council of the District of Columbia
Phone: (202) 724-8174 | Fax: (202) 727-8210 |   www.RobertWhiteAtLarge.com