A Unique Coalition Supports DC Transparency
by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network
The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) recently led efforts to enhance the transparency of the DC Council’s operations during the upcoming Council period. DCFPI drafted focused recommendations regarding hearings, roundtables, budget processes, legislative processes, District building use and access, public access to information, open meetings and Council structure and invited organizations to sign-on to a coalition letter.
The DC Environmental Network signed on to this important document because we believe a transparent DC Council will do a better job of representing the interests of the environmental community. Since many DC focused environmental organizations communicate regularly with Council offices and at hearings and roundtables, DCEN felt it important to support this effort.
This was an opportunity to network with non-environmental organizations on issues important to all of us who care about our city.
Other DC organizations that joined DCFPI’s unique coalition are:
• Capital Area Food Bank
• Children’s Law Center
• DC Alliance of Youth Advocates
• D.C. Employment Justice Center
• DC Environmental Network
• DC Fiscal Policy Institute
• DC Jobs Council
• DC Jobs with Justice
• DC Open Government Coalition
• DC Statehood Green Party
• Defeat Poverty DC
• Fair Budget Coalition
• Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council
• Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO
• Miriam’s Kitchen
• Sasha Bruce Youthwork
• The Arc of District of Columbia
• Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities
• Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
• We Are Family
Jenny Reed, Policy Director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute reported:
“Earlier this month, the DC Council adopted a set of rules that govern the Council’s organization and procedures for the next two years. The DC Environmental Network, along with several other organizations, signed onto a letter to Councilmembers asking for changes to the rules to improve the transparency of Council actions and public access to information. The Council did adopt revisions to two areas suggested in the letter: requiring the Council to use government emails for public business and including relevant documents, in addition to testimony, as part of the public hearing record on legislation. Unfortunately, many other suggestions such as improving the notice to the public of hearings and roundtables and the transparency and public access of emergency legislation and amendments were not adopted.”
The DC Environmental Network will continue to look for ways to work closely with the broader DC advocacy community which we hope will result in generating more success on the environmental front.