Meeting remotely for the first time in its 45-year history, the D.C. Council on Tuesday unanimously passed its second emergency COVID-19 relief bill, a measure that establishes a rent freeze and mortgage payment deferrals, an expansion of unemployment insurance and more.
The bill also allows for up to 54 days of good-time credits for felons, and provides the possibility for compassionate release for inmates over age 60 who have served at least 25 years.
The COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 highlights include:
- Rents are frozen across the District, not only in rent-controlled homes;
- Protections against utility shutoffs are expanded to include cable and telecommunications service;
- Debt-collection lawsuits and the seizures of cars and other property are prohibited;
- The definition of employment, for the purposes of collecting unemployment insurance, has been expanded to include self-employment, gig workers, those seeking part-time work and others “who otherwise would not qualify”;
- Mayor Muriel Bowser has been given the authority to extend her emergency orders for a total of 90 days, ending in mid-June;