Today, the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities, which I chair, reviewed and voted on three bills:
- B24-0215, the Sexual Harassment Data Collection and Reporting Act
- B24-0229, the Human Rights Enhancement Amendment Act
- B24-0174, the Procurement Agencies Alignment Amendment Act
I am proud to have introduced these needed bills, along with several of my Council colleagues. Each of these bills that we marked up today will move the District’s government towards better local governance.
The Sexual Harassment Data Collection and Reporting Act requires District Government agencies to collect data on the number of sexual harassment complaints their employees raise, and to track the outcomes of each complaint. It also compels the Office of Human Rights to compile and submit an annual report to the Council and the Office of the Attorney General detailing the data collected.
The Human Rights Enhancement Amendment Act makes three revisions to the District’s Human Rights Act (HRA). First, it protects people experiencing homelessness from discrimination. The bill also provides training to law enforcement on the impact of this legislation and how to refer allegations of discrimination to the Office of Human Rights for evaluation. Second, the bill adds language to the Human Rights Act that includes independent contractors as employees covered by the protections of the HRA. This ensures that more people are protected and have legal recourse if their rights are violated. Finally, this bill enhances protections against workplace harassment by establishing a more robust definition of harassment and sexual harassment of employees.
The Procurement Agencies Alignment Amendment Act makes needed reforms to the Department of General Services and the Office of Contracting and Procurement. It enables both agencies to be on the same page by mandating consistent, minimum training (e.g. training that prepares contracting employees for purchasing goods and services from specialized industries, such as information technology in consultation with the Chief Technology Officer, or construction and development services in consultation with the Director of the Department of General Services, and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. This bill also increases oversight of purchases of goods and services by requiring the Chief Procurement Officer to annually audit the procurement activities of the Department of General Services, and requires the Department of General Services to submit a public report on the planned contracts of the agency for the year ahead. This plan helps local businesses identify opportunities for partnerships with the District government and improves transparency around how the District plans to spend its money.
I am grateful to the members of my committee for their constructive feedback and support of these bills. Since these three measures were passed by the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities today, the next step will be the first of two votes by the full Council.