By LaTasha Mosley
The monthly Legislative Meeting for the D.C. City Council met Tuesday, June 5, 2012, to discuss various acts and introduce new legislation concerning issues surrounding the District. With such acts as the Taxicab Commission Service Improvement Amendment Act of 2012, The Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012 and TANF legislation, it seems as if sunshine is on its way to the District with such progress demonstrated this week.
Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012
DC’s City Council unanimously approved the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012– the first of its kind in the United States– which includes parks, libraries, foster youth services, detention facilities, after school programs, and all schools, requiring such agencies to have explicit anti-bullying policies. The bill prohibits bullying against a broad range of protected characteristics and protects both LGBT youth as well as the children of LGBT parents.
Also discussed and agreed upon was the much anticipated 2013 Fiscal Year budget. The council unanimously approved a $9.4 billion budget which included the introduction of more speed cameras and longer bar hours on certain holidays, which brings with it opposition due to the numerous speed cameras already in the District and the potential disarray that may come with longer bar hours and the selling and consumption of alcohol.
In addition to the approval of the second and final reading the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Act, the Council made two critical policy decisions regarding Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). A charged debate took place in the discussion to delay the 25 percent benefit reduction for families who have received TANF for more than 5 years, which was scheduled for October 2012. The council delayed the benefit reduction which would have affected 11,000 children under the age of 13. The Council also put into place protections for families facing the greatest hardships such as domestic violence, poor health or the care of an ill family member. Majority of the councilmembers agreed that TANF is indeed temporary, but plans must be made to provide job training and other resources to transition beneficiaries into the workforce.