Monday, July 6, 2009

The crime legislation debate continues

It seems like crime is all we talk about these days.   And we are not done yet.   The City Council will have a second reading on B18-151, "Public Safety and Justice Amendments Act of 2009", on July 14.   The first reading was June 30.

At-large CM Phil Mendelson had before him two bills.   B18-151 was introduced by CM Mendelson and co-sponsored by Ward 6 CM Wells.   B18-138, "Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Amendment Act of 2009", was introduced by Council Chair Vincent Gray at the request of the mayor.   According to the staff of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, there were similarities between the two bills but B18-151 had the provisions CM Mendelson thought essential in permanent legislation.   Notably absent was the civil gang injunction, perhaps the most contentious of the provisions of the various emergencies.

Ward CM Harry "Tommy" Thomas offered three amendments to the crime bill during the first reading, all of which were accepted by his colleagues:

Even though the civil gang injunction provision was not included in the bill up for a vote, the issue was not dead; CMs Evans, Graham, Bowser, Wells, and Catania supported an amendment that would implement this tool for a six-month trial period in Wards 1, 2 and 4.   The amendment was defeated 8-5.

The final vote on the first reading, by roll call, was 10-3:

  • Yvette Alexander (Ward 7) - Yes
  • Marion Barry (Ward 8) - Yes
  • Muriel Bowser (Ward 4) - No
  • Kwame R. Brown (At-large) - Yes
  • Michael A. Brown (At-large) - Yes
  • David Catania (At-large) - No
  • Mary M. Cheh (Ward 3) - Yes
  • Jack Evans (Ward 2) - No
  • Jim Graham (Ward 1) - Yes
  • Vincent C. Gray (At-large) - Yes
  • Phil Mendelson (At-large) - Yes
  • Harry Thomas (Ward 5) - Yes
  • Tommy Wells (Ward 6) - Yes

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