D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has drawn the ire of fellow Council member Elissa Silverman for his unprecedented decision to take three bills away from a committee she chairs — a move she says is ultimately meant to kill those pieces of legislation.
The bills Mendelson took away from Silverman’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development were the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022, the District Government Family Bereavement Leave Amendment Act of 2021 and the Universal Paid Leave Portability Amendment Act of 2022.
Generally, bills that are put in committee stay there until they are voted out.
Mendelson put the Domestic Workers bill under the Committee for Economic Development and the Family Bereavement piece under the Committee on Health while the Universal Paid Leave legislation has been placed in the Committee of the Whole.
Silverman wrote in a memo Thursday to the chairman that she wasn’t happy and his action “took me by surprise.”
“Several of our council colleagues, especially co-introducers of these bills who are eager for them to come to votes and become law, expressed their shock to me as well,” she said. “Given that two of these bills have had hearings and were in the drafting stages for mark-up, I request an explanation for the change of referral by [Tuesday].
Silverman said the re-referral of the bills makes it likely that they will die by the end of the council period, which is Dec. 31. She said the delay instituted by Mendelson will hurt women of color in the city who make a living as domestics and District workers who need paid leave for family and medical reasons.
“I think they, too, deserve an explanation for your late-breaking decision to change course,” she wrote.
Calls to Mendelson’s director of communications, Lindsey Walton, for comment were not immediately returned.