Ward 7 Council member Vincent Gray (WI file photo)
**FILE** Ward 7 Council member Vincent Gray (WI photo)

D.C. Council member Vincent C. Gray on Thursday released a proposal to amend the rules under which the council conducts official business, specifically calling for adherence to the city’s human rights laws.

The Ward 7 representative seeks to change the council’s rules to make sure that any measures the body makes comply with the D.C. Human Rights Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate based on 23 protected traits for people who live, visit or work in the District.

Gray will file the measure before the Friday deadline for such procedures.

His actions come after Council Chairman Phil Mendelson reorganized the committees for the upcoming Period 25 which starts on Monday.

Mendelson’s reorganization changes Gray’s chairmanship from the Committee on Health to a new Hospitals and Health Equity panel that takes oversight of the Department of Health and Department of Health Care Finance away from him. Council member Christina Henderson (I-At Large) will be the chair of the Health Committee and have concurrent jurisdiction with Gray over the management of the city’s publicly managed hospitals.

Mendelson has said publicly that concerns about Gray’s health prompted him to make the change in committees and jurisdictions. In a letter to the council, Gray protested Mendelson’s actions, saying his new plan violates his rights as a member of the legislative body under the city’s human rights law.

“During my tenure as council chair, I treated all members with respect,” said Gray, who led the council from 2007-2011. “That of course, included adhering to the D.C. Human Rights Act, a law first enacted in 1977 and amended in 2007 during my chairmanship. Indeed, then-Council member Mendelson voted to approve the amended Human Rights Act, the official intent of which being ‘to secure an end in the District of Columbia to discrimination for any reason. It is imperative that the council be governed by and adhere to the same laws that we require all other individuals and entities to follow.”

Gray went on to say, “we lead not just by passing legislation but also by example.”

“If Chairman Mendelson believes that D.C. Council actions are not governed by the D.C. Human Rights Act, then my rule change will correct that egregious perceived defect,” he said. “It is both disappointing and shocking that Chair Mendelson has chosen to violate the spirit of the Human Rights Act, if not altogether violated the letter of the law. The measure that I am putting forward will prevent future violations of human rights by the council, its chair, or any member.”

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  1. Sweetheart…. You’re a Council member. Phil is the chair. He put out there the committees he wants and the Council can adopt them or not. Maybe you should run for Mayor (oh, never mind)… Maybe you should run for Council Chairman (oh, never mind).

    Vin, you need to get over the status of the other two jobs, you don’t hold either one of them.

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