The Council is back from its summer recess. The return of the 13-member legislative body means the return of the legislative meeting. 

On the agenda Tuesday? Council Chair Phil Mendelson is authorizing the mayor to extend the public health emergency through Dec. 31. This means all the protections afforded to residents during the public health emergency so far—from the ban on evictions and utility shutoffs to the extension of eligibility in public health programs—stretch into 2021 as well. The Council will eventually decouple protections from the public health emergency, but Mendelson told reporters Monday that he does not foresee that happening anytime soon. It’ll be a complicated process.        

The Council will vote to expand tenant protections as well. At-Large Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Elissa Silverman are introducing emergency legislation Tuesday that’ll make it illegal for landlords to send notices to vacate to tenants during the public health emergency. While the Council already barred landlords from filing and executing evictions, Beth Mellen Harrison with the Legal Aid Society of D.C. told lawmakers at a recent housing roundtable that landlords have been intimidating tenants into leaving their homes. Legal Aid Society, along with the Office of Tenant Advocate, recommended that the Council strengthen tenant protections in order to stop illegal evictions from happening.     

Members will also be taking their second and final vote on two new hospitals. The bill, first approved July 21, will create hospitals on the St. Elizabeths East and Howard University campuses, in Wards 8 and 1, respectively. The new Ward 8 hospital will replace United Medical Center in Southeast. 

The vote on the new Howard hospital, along with the multi-million tax break for the university, could not be more timely. The D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability just released its ethics review of the mayor’s former top aide who ushered the Howard deal. Read the City Paper article online.  

—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips?

  • As of Sept. 22, D.C. reported no additional deaths related to COVID-19 but 43 new positive cases. The total number of infections is now over 15,000. [EOM
  • DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt introduces a new coronavirus dashboard and metrics to reopen, after public health officials learned more information about the virus and amid public criticism over the city’s community spread metric. [Post]  
  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s body will lie in repose at the Supreme Court Wednesday and Thursday so the public can pay their respects. [DCist]

By Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips?

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