Nadeau’s Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs Moves Quickly on Bills to Help Protect Residents - Office of Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau
Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau’s subcommittee works to protect tenants, crack down on poor construction, lower drug prices, reduce vacant properties
WASHINGTON – The D.C. Council’s newly formed Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs continued moving quickly to advance bills that help protect consumers and update outdated regulations with a markup yesterday. The subcommittee, chaired by Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and formed in September, has held two hearings and two markups and moved nine bills, five of which have been approved by the Council and are headed to the Mayor for her signature. The remaining four bills are expected to be considered by the full Council in December.
“Protecting consumers in the District is a responsibility I take very seriously,” said Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau. “It was important to me, as I assumed the role of subcommittee chair, that I move forward diligently with the initiatives that had been pending, before the end of the Council period.”
The bills advanced yesterday are:
- B21-0032, the “Specialty Drug Copayment Limitation Act of 2016” – This bill would make medication more affordable for residents who rely on expensive “specialty drugs” by capping co-pays at $150 for a 30-day supply and $300 for a 90-day supply, among other consumer protections for patients who rely on these medications.
- B21-0291, the “DCRA Infractions Fine Increase Regulation Amendment Act of 2015” – Introduced by Councilmember Nadeau, this bill increases fines for shoddy home repairs, poor construction and vacant properties and pegs them to inflation. The existing fines in some cases hadn’t been updated in 20 years.
- B21-0610, the “Risk-Based Capital Amendment Act of 2016” – This bill strengthens District insurance regulations and brings them in line with new national standards, which improves District oversight and makes it easier for District-based insurance companies to do business outside of the District.
- B21-0919, the “Nationals Park Graphics and Entertainment Regulatory Amendment Act of 2016” – This bill authorizes a limited number of digital signs on the exterior of Nationals Park with restrictions to account for neighborhood character, sound and traffic safety.
Previously, the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs advanced five bills all of which were passed by the Council earlier this week and are headed to the Mayor for her signature:
- B21-0598, the “Vacant Property Enforcement Amendment Act of 2016” – Co-introduced by Councilmember Nadeau, this bill cracks down on vacant properties by making it harder and more expensive for buildings to remain vacant. The goal is to improve neighborhoods by getting rid of blighted properties and pushing owners to keep their buildings in good repair.
- B21-0656, the “Relocation Expenses Recoupment and Lien Authority Amendment Act of 2016” – Introduced by Councilmember Nadeau, this bill gives the Office of the Tenant Advocate more authority to go after landlords who don’t maintain their properties. If you had to go to a hotel or rent a temporary room due to poor maintenance of your unit, OTA could go after your landlord for those temporary relocation expenses.
- B21-0877, the “Student Loan Ombudsman Establishment and Servicing Regulation Act of 2016” – Co-introduced by Councilmember Nadeau, this bill creates a new Student Loan Ombudsman in the District to ensure that District residents with student loans are treated fairly by loan servicers. The bill ensures proper licensing of student loan servicers in the District and gives student borrowers good information regarding their rights and obligations.
- B21-0742, the “Charitable Solicitations Relief Amendment Act of 2016” – This bill updates regulations to help PTOs and civic organizations raise money and help leverage community resources. Current DC regulations are so out of date that much of the money they raise has to go back to the District government in fees.
- B21-0862, the “Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Community Partnership Amendment Act of 2016” – This bill exempts certain seasonal or very low-volume sellers, like the Girl Scouts cookie drive and lemonade stands, from licensing requirements; ensures tenants have 24 hour contact information for landlords; and limits the scope of persons who can report a property as vacant so as to avoid improper reporting by third parties with no standing.
More detailed information about all bills can be found at http://lims.dccouncil.us/.