Tomorrow, February 4th promises to be an important day for working people at the DC Council legislative hearing. First, Councilmember Vincent Orange has pledged to introduce a bill on combating wage theft – a bill which would increase penalties for employers who rob their workers of wages, beef up enforcement at the Dept. of Employment Services, and strengthen protections for workers who blow the whistle on bad employers.
On top of that, tomorrow’s hearing will also include a vote on a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession. In July of last year, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs released a study revealing that people of color in DC were disproportionately arrested, especially for nonviolent crimes and drug offenses. DC residents and community organizations have long organized around this issue of our law enforcement effectively criminalizing certain populations, and this vote – if successful – would be one more step toward eradicating this injustice.
With the vote tomorrow, it is worth noting that one Councilmember – at-large CM Anita Bonds – spoke definitively just last week about her support for decriminalization. See the video below for her statement. [youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxki9ID5720[/youtube]