Fertility Treatment Requirement, New Business Improvement District Among Bills Progressing This Week

With the Council’s most intensive months of performance oversight, budget consideration, and budgetary legislative action now behind us, other legislation will now take the fore.

In one of the briefer Legislative Meetings in some time, the Council advanced a number of low-key but worthwhile measures. A measure requiring that insurance cover fertility diagnoses and medication treatments received the second of two needed votes, with one small administrative change modifying when Medicaid coverage for such services will kick in.

Another measure passed was an emergency bill to accelerate the creation of the District’s twelfth Business Improvement District, this time in Friendship Heights. In order for collection of BID fees to begin in August, the BID must be created via an emergency bill, while on a parallel track, the BID’s actual foundational legislation proceeds through the traditional legislative process.

Sometimes even Council inaction is a sign of Council getting results: At the most recent meeting, the second vote on a temporary version of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform legislation was postponed indefinitely after that bill received its first vote back in March. The essence of the bill, which bans chokeholds, restricts tear gas use at protests, and accelerates the release of body camera footage, among other police reform measures, has been in effect on an emergency basis since 2020. The permanent version of this bill, however, had faced pushback on Capitol Hill, and was in fact overriden by both houses of Congress. But with President Biden’s veto of Congress’ attempt to overturn the bill, insufficient Congressional support for a veto override, and the expiration of the bill’s Congressional review period later this week, the permanent version of the law will now take effect. As such, the potential gap-filler temporary version of the bill was no longer needed, hence its indefinite postponement.

The Council also voted on emergency and temporary legislation to extend COVID-era authorizations for virtual and hybrid meetings. Under one piece of legislation, such government meetings, as long as properly publicized, are deemed to be in compliance with “open meeting” laws. Another piece of legislation extended the virtual/hybrid meeting allowance for condominium and cooperative boards.

The Council’s next scheduled Legislative Meeting (and likely the final meeting prior to its summer recess, will be held on July 11.