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Legislation Clinic Highlights

Monday, September 15, 2008  
Posted by: The Advocate
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During the 2008 Spring semester, the students in UDC-DCSL’s Legislation Clinic worked at the District of Columbia Council on significant, novel and complex legal issues, which required them to conduct research and draft legal memoranda. Many drafted bills that were introduced and some have become law this year. A small sampling of their work includes the following:

Stephanie Webb interned with the Council Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs, which is chaired by Councilmember Marion Barry. Stephanie drafted Bill 17-712, the Single-Gender Public Academies Pilot Program Act of 2008, which was introduced by Councilmember Marion Barry and co-introduced by Councilmembers Kwame Brown, Carol Schwartz, Muriel Bowser, Yvette Alexander, and Harry Thomas, Jr. It was co-sponsored by Councilmembers David A. Catania and Mary Cheh. The bill establishes a 5-year pilot program to develop single gender academies for middle school students enrolled in the 6 th through 8 th grades to create separate educational settings for middle school males and females. Stephanie also worked on the High School Graduation Improvement Act of 2008.

Angela Gandy interned with the Council Committee on Health chaired by David A. Catania. In an effort to improve the quality, availability and accessibility of healthcare in the District of Columbia, the Health Committee assigned Angela to review and analyze the Rand Corporation report, which critiques all aspects of the healthcare delivery system in Washington, D.C. Angela conducted a thorough review of the Rand Corporation Report and drafted lengthy recommendations on the healthcare delivery system in the District. Some of her recommendations were incorporated into the Committee of Health’s committee reports on legislation and will help improve the District’s health care delivery system.

Lucas Dansie interned with the Council Committee on Workforce Development and Government Operations chaired by Councilmember Carol Schwartz. He drafted Bill 17-701, the Energy-Efficient Appliance Tax Holiday Act of 2008. The bill creates a 4-day tax holiday every year for energy efficient appliances purchased in the District. The bill was introduced by Councilmember Schwartz with the support of 10 of the other 12 Members of the Council. In addition, Lucas drafted the Surplus Property and Property Disposition Amendment Act of 2008. The bill clarifies the Council’s intent that the government surplus real property process be bifurcated. If adopted, this bill will require that unused government property be declared surplus by the Council using a process which precedes a separate process by which the property may be considered for disposition.

Daryl Solomon interned with the Council Economic Development Committee chaired by Councilmember Kwame Brown. She drafted Bill 17-628, the Priority Parking for Seniors and Expectant Mothers Pilot Program Establishment Act of 2008. This bill, if adopted, would allow seniors and expectant mothers to park closer to certain buildings. She also wrote the introductory remarks for Councilmember Brown which were used during the introduction of the legislation at a Council legislative meeting and were integrated into a press release about the legislation.

Jenny Fein interned with the Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety chaired by Councilmember Phil Mendelson. Her work included reviewing Bill 17-533, the Marriage Amendment Act of 2008 (formerly named the Safe Marriage Amendment Act), which became law on September 11, 2008 (DC Law 17-222) and drafting the Committee report for the Council’s consideration. The Marriage Amendment Act repeals the premarital requirement for a blood test. She also conducted significant legal research into the constitutional issues implicated by mandating certain types of testing for incarcerated persons in District Department of Correction facilities.

John White interned with the Council Committee on Human Services chaired by Councilmember Tommy Wells. His work included conducting some research into Medicaid reimbursement for ICMR facilities. After the closing of Forest Haven institution in the early 1990s, the District began to house some of the former residents in small intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation. The Council Committee on Human Services has oversight jurisdiction over the operations of all 125 ICF/MRs in the District.

Mazi A. Ndubisi Ucheomumu interned with the Council Committee on Finance and Revenue chaired by Councilmember Jack Evans. His work included drafting seven committee reports on revenue bonds totaling nearly $500 million; reviewing the Special Rodent Control Act of 2008, which would give tax credits to merchants and commercial property owners who purchase rodent proof trash compactors; and reviewing and making recommendations for revisions to the D.C. Resident College Graduate Opportunity Retention Act of 2008, which if adopted would give D.C. residents attending D.C. Universities a tax credit for payments on their student loans as an incentive to remain in the District after graduation.

Anntwinette T. DuPree-Hart interned with the Council Committee on Economic Development, chaired by Kwame Brown. She worked on two bills that pertain to the future growth of the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law -- the University of the District of Columbia Campus Plan for Facilities Modernization Act of 2008 and the University of the District of Columbia Modernization Financing Act of 2008. The campus plan legislation requires the University of the District of Columbia to develop and submit to the D.C. Council a comprehensive plan to modernize its facilities and for the construction of a separate facility for the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. This is a critical first step towards more autonomy for the law school. To finance the modernization projects, the second bill proposes the establishment of a UDC Improvement Fund to provide a stable revenue source to finance the modernization of all UDC facilities and to fund a state of the art facility for the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law.

Kevin Hill interned with the Council Committee on Human Services chaired by Councilmember Tommy Wells. In addition to conducting research and drafting numerous committee reports, his work included drafting several bills including Bill 17-641, the Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Amendment Act of 2008, and the Family Autonomy in Adoption Act of 2008. He also researched and made recommendations to address the drafting, constitutional, and ethical concerns with Bill 17-247, the Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Record Access Amendment Act of 2008. This bill became law on July 18, 2008 (DC Law 17-198). The Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Record Access Amendment Act of 2008 would require persons who are required to report abuse or neglect cases to provide the Child and Family Services Agency access to all records of a child who is the subject of abuse or neglect or of any child residing in the home where the report of abuse or neglect allegedly occurred. He also conducted research on the need to increase the burial assistance to families of persons who die destitute. Currently, the District provides $800 in burial assistance to such families. To date, the Council has not adopted Bill 17-499, the Burial Assistance Amendment Act of 2007, to increase the amount of burial assistance.

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