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DC Legislative Overview

August 31, 2008
  • The “Kids in Clubs Bill”, prompted by continuing violence in clubs and entertainment venues, was aimed at club owners and employees rather than sharing responsibility for order with the under-age offenders themselves.  The bill did not pass and, instead, curfew laws are being more strictly enforced.
  • After years of debate about Zones or Meters for taxi service in the District, Congress forced the issue by mandating that the Mayor make a decision on the issue.  Mayor Fenty made a point of listening to all sides of the argument, including that of RAMW and the hospitality industry, and ruled that the standard for taxi service in the District would be by time and distance meters.  In addition, L. Breaux has been tapped to participate in a task force to produce recommendations to revamp the Taxi Commission.
  • Councilmembers Mendelson and Cheh have been talking up menu labeling and trans-fat issues.  We have been assured by the Health Committee Chair that they will not move forward.
  • “Recorked Wine Bottle Take Home for DC Issue” (a.k.a. Wine Doggy Bags) has been under discussion throughout the year.  Similar bills have been passed in at least 20 states.  There is some resistance to this legislation on the Council but the discussion is ongoing and it is looking good for introduction by Councilmember Kwame Brown.  Bill#: B17-0528
  • Emergency legislation was passed postponing the enforcement of food percentages in Adams Morgan. 
  • The crafting of a reasonable set of valet regulations has been ongoing and RAMW has been working with the Public Space Management Administration and the Department of Transportation.
  • “Accrued Sick and Safe Days Act of 2008” was passed but not before a number of amendments were added that make this bill much more reasonable than originally proposed.  Through tireless efforts by the business community at large and RAMW membership specifically with Andrew Kline at the forefront the amendments and rewording of the bill itself modified the bill to include accountability, delayed eligibility of the benefit until after a year of employment and exempted wait and bartender staff.  In addition, as with the Smoking Ban, hardship waivers will be available.  Bill#: B17-0197
  • Metro proposed the possibility of stopping all Metro Rail service at midnight on weekends.  Citing the negative impact on nightlife businesses, customers and employees, RAMW, working with Councilmember Graham, helped to stop the threat in its tracks.
  • The Rodent Control Pilot Program is developing best practices and implementation criteria with a view to expanding the program citywide. 
  • RAMW voiced concern to ABRA about the process for renewing ABC licenses. Open communication about new compliance regulations will hopefully allow for a more streamlined renewal process next year.
  • The Hospitality Alliance (WCTC, WCCA, HAWDC and RAMW) is presenting a Briefing Guide to City Councilmembers with statistics on the value and importance of our industry.
  • There is an effort underway to include commercial areas in proposed legislation to limit decibel levels of non-commercial, electronically enhanced speech in residential areas.  This is in response to loud, incessant noise impacting businesses not targeted by strikers/protesters.  Councilmember Evans tabled this legislation earlier but has been persuaded to re-introduce.
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