Today is the last day the D.C. Council is in session before it takes a summer recess, and I am in attendance at the Wilson Building to support several pieces of legislation that will improve the lives of District residents. I support the wage theft legislation, which will ensure that D.C. workers get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work; I support the ban the box legislation, which will create a more level playing field for our returning citizens in hiring; I support the ban the foam legislation, which will help keep our rivers and tributaries clean; and I support keeping the fiscal year 2015 budget passed by the Council in place, because I believe it benefits all residents, particularly senior renters, moderate income households, and businesses.
I also support a bill being introduced today by Councilmember Grosso, which will prohibit punitive discipline such as expulsion for our pre-kindergarten students in public schools. Our youngsters should be in school, and if behavioral issues exist, DCPS and DC public charter schools should take a pro-active approach that addresses the reasons why the child might be acting out. You can read about the legislation here.
I also want to comment on another story in today's Washington Post on Park Southern, an apartment complex in Ward 8. I believe we need to preserve our affordable housing, but that doesn't mean that residents who live there should be subject to substandard conditions. I hope the light shed on Park Southern will push DC agencies and the Council to protect the interests of residents and make sure that the building is managed properly, both when it comes to fiscal issues as well as safety and security. You can read the story here.
Finally, there was a very moving ceremonial resolution honoring Cecil Mills, a DC resident and longtime city employee who suffered a heart attack and did not receive prompt medical attention from DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services and died. I think what happened to Mr. Mills should not happen again. When I was a Post reporter, I covered DC FEMS. I believe our FEMS workers want to serve our city with dignity, and we need to make sure that the agency is structured to do that. I look forward to working with the fire chief, the unions representing fire and EMS workers, and my colleagues to make this happen and make sure that we have an emergency medical response system that protects the health and welfare of our residents, workers, and visitors.