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973 Legal Articles

DC Council Committees Must Approve the Domestic Worker Protections Bill This Fall

Legal Aid is deeply concerned about Chair Mendelson’s recent decision to change the committee referral for the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022 (Bill 24-712). As a strong supporter of the Domestic Worker Employment Rights bill, we believe his re-referral could effectively stall the bill’s progress during the final year of Council Period 24. This triple referral causes an unnecessary delay that will hurt essential workers, such as home health aides, to whom we regularly provide direct legal services. Legal Aid urges Business Committee Chairman McDuffie and Government Operations Committee Chairman Robert White to consider and mark up the measure immediately (September or October) when the Council returns from recess so that the Council can pass the bill before the end of the year.

DC Council Passes Landmark Debt Collection Law

The District of Columbia will soon have in place what may be the most progressive law in the nation protecting consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices. On June 7, 2022, the DC Council passed the Protecting Consumers from Unjust Debt Collection Practices Amendment Act of 2021 (B24-0357). The new law now awaits the Mayor’s signature and a congressional review period before becoming applicable on January 1, 2023. In the meantime, the Council already has put in place an emergency version of the law, which it also voted to extend at the June 7 legislative meeting.

D.C. Courts Recognize 4,500+ Lawyers on 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll

Congratulations to the members of the 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll! On June 1, the D.C. Courts, in partnership with the D.C. Access to Justice Commission and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, published the 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, recognizing 4,572 District attorneys who provided 50+ hours of pro bono service during 2021, with more than half of them providing over 100 hours of service, qualifying them for the High Honor Roll.

Tenants Win a Legal Battle to Protect Their Rights Under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act

Recently the DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a group of tenants who have been fighting for years to protect their rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). DC Council first passed TOPA in 1980. Back then, like today, DC was facing an affordable housing crisis. For over forty years, TOPA has continued to serve DC tenants—particularly low-income tenants—helping them fight displacement and maintain at least some control over the future of their homes. The ruling from the Court of Appeals last week protects the power of TOPA for DC tenants.