1 _______________________________
2 Chairman Phil Mendelson
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8 A BILL
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11 _________
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14 IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
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16 __________________
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19 To amend, on an emergency basis, the Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2021
20 to remove the public health emergency as the trigger for provisions of the act, to provide
21 for a moratorium on utility disconnections for qualified customers, and to repeal
22 provisions establishing accelerated review of grant budget modifications by the Council,
23 to require certain improvements to the Stronger Together by Assisting You program; to
24 amend Title 16 of the District of Columbia Official Code to allow housing providers to
25 file eviction cases in Superior Court when the tenants continuing presence is a threat to
26 health and safety or when the tenant has willfully or wantonly caused significant damage
27 to the property, to allow housing providers to file eviction cases in Superior Court for
28 non-payment of rent on October 12, 2021 if 60 days have elapsed since the initiation or
29 submission of an emergency rental assistance program application or the tenant is not is
30 eligible, provided, that an application is not pending or under appeal, to allow housing
31 providers to file other eviction cases in Superior Court beginning January 1, 2022, and to
32 require a summons be served 30 days in advance of an initial court hearing and a readable
33 time stamp if the summons was served by posting; to amend section 501 of the Rental
34 Housing Act of 1985 to provide for specific notice requirements for eviction cases
35 involving nonpayment of rent and for cases with evictions authorized prior to March 11,
36 2020; and to repeal outdated provisions of other laws.
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38 BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this
39 act may be cited as the Public Emergency Extension and Eviction and Utility Moratorium
40 Phasing Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2021.
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41 Sec. 2. The Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2021, effective June 24,
42 2021 (D.C. Law 24-9; 68 DCR 4824), is amended as follows:
43 (a) Section 101 is amended as follows:
44 (1) Subsection (a) is amended by striking the phrase during a period of time for
45 which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to section 5a of the District of
46 Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C.
47 Official Code 7-2304.01), an affected employee shall be eligible and inserting the phrase an
48 affected employee shall be eligible in its place.
49 (2) Subsection (g) is amended by striking the phrase during a period of time for
50 which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to section 5a of the District of
51 Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C.
52 Official Code 7-2304.01), the requirements of and inserting the phrase the requirements of
53 in its place.
54 (b) Section 102 is amended as follows:
55 (1) Amendatory section 1(2)(A-i) of the District of Columbia Unemployment
56 Compensation Act, effective August 28, 1935 (49 Stat. 946; D.C. Official Code 51-
57 101(2)(Ai)), in subsection (a) is amended by striking the phrase During a period of time for
58 which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to section 5a of the District of
59 Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C.
60 Official Code 7-2304.01), and in conformity and inserting the phrase In conformity in its
61 place.
62 (2) Amendatory section 8(b) of the District of Columbia Unemployment
63 Compensation Act, effective August 28, 1935 (49 Stat. 946; D.C. Official Code 51-108(b)), in
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64 subsection (c) is amended by striking the phrase During a period of time for which the Mayor
65 has declared a public health emergency pursuant to section 5a of the District of Columbia Public
66 Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C. Official Code 7-
67 2304.01), and subject to and inserting the phrase Subject to in its place.
68 (3) Amendatory section 9(b) of the District of Columbia Unemployment
69 Compensation Act, effective August 28, 1935 (49 Stat. 946; D.C. Official Code 51-109(b)), in
70 subsection (d) is amended by striking the phrase During a period of time for which the Mayor
71 has declared a public health emergency pursuant to section 5a of the District of Columbia Public
72 Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C. Official Code 7-
73 2304.01), the Director and inserting the phrase The Director in its place.
74 (c) Amendatory section 3a of the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act of
75 1990, effective June 24, 2021 (D.C. Law 24-9; D.C. Official Code 32-502.01), in section
76 104(b) is amended as follows:
77 (1) Amendatory subsection (a) is amended by striking the phrase During the
78 COVID-19 public health emergency, and inserting the phrase From March 11, 2020, until
79 November 5, 2021, in its place.
80 (2) Amendatory subsection (b) is amended as follows:
81 (A) Amendatory paragraph (1) is amended by striking the phrase during
82 the COVID-19 public health emergency and inserting the phrase from March 11, 2020, until
83 November 5, 2021 in its place.
84 (B) Amendatory paragraph (2) is repealed.
85 (3) Amendatory subsection (i) is repealed.
86 (d) Amendatory section 3a(e)(2) of the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008,
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87 effective June 24, 2021 (D.C. Law 24-9; D.C. Official Code 32-531.02a(e)(2)), in section
88 105(a)(2) is amended to read as follows:
89 (2) COVID-19 emergency means the period of time from March 11, 2020,
90 through November 5, 2021..
91 (e) Amendatory section 2316(a)(1) of the Small and Certified Business Enterprise
92 Development and Assistance Act of 2005, effective June 24, 2021 (D.C. Law 24-9; D.C. Official
93 Code 2-218.16(a)(1)), in section 201(b) is amended by striking the phrase Upon the Mayors
94 declaration of a public health emergency pursuant to section 5a of the District of Columbia
95 Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C. Official
96 Code 7-2304.01), the Mayor may and inserting the phrase Through November 5, 2021, the
97 Mayor may in its place.
98 (f) Amendatory section 2349(a-1) of the Small and Certified Business Enterprise
99 Development and Assistance Act of 2005, effective October 20, 2005 (D.C. Law 16-33; D.C.
100 Official Code 2-218.49(a-1)), in section 202 is amended by striking the phrase During a
101 period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency (PHE) pursuant to
102 section 5a of the District of Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002
103 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C. Official Code 7-2304.01) and inserting the phrase Through
104 November 5, 2021 in its place.
105 (g) Section 203(a) is amended by striking the phrase of the COVID-19 emergency and
106 inserting the phrase from March 11, 2020, until November 5, 2021 in its place.
107 (h) Amendatory section 4a of the District of Columbia Funeral Services Regulatory Act
108 of 1984, effective June 24, 2021 (D.C. Law 24-9; D.C. Official Code 3-403.01), in section
109 302(a) is amended by striking the phrase a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a
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110 public health emergency pursuant to section 5a of the District of Columbia Public Emergency
111 Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002 (D.C. Law 14-194; D.C. Official Code 7-2304.01)
112 and
113 inserting the phrase the period of time from March 11, 2020 until November 5, 2021 in its
114 place.
115 (i) Section 303 is repealed.
116 (j) Section 307 is amended by adding new subsections (h) through (p) to read as follows:
117 (h) Subsections (c), (d), and (e) of this section shall expire on October 12, 2021.
118 (i) Subsections (b) and (f) of this section shall expire the later of October 12, 2021, or 60
119 days after the Mayor begins allowing home internet assistance through STAY DC or a similar
120 District-funded program.
121 (j)(1) After October 12, 2021, and except as otherwise prohibited by subsections (b) and
122 (f) of this section, a company shall not disconnect, suspend, or degrade service, for non-payment
123 of a bill, any fees for service or equipment, or any other charges, if:
124 (A) The company has failed to engage the customer as required under
125 subsection (k) of this section;
126 (B) The customer owes less than $600;
127 (C) The customer has entered into a payment plan with the company and
128 either is meeting the terms of the payment plan or is less than 2 months behind the terms of the
129 payment plan;
130 (D) Prior to October 12, 2021, the customer has requested to enter into a
131 payment plan with the company and fewer than 45 days have elapsed following the customers
132 initial request; or
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133 (E) The Mayor has certified or the customer has provided documentary
134 evidence that the customer qualifies for utility disconnection relief and not more than 90 days
135 have elapsed since October 12, 2021.
136 (2) For purposes of paragraph (1)(E) of this subsection, the Mayor shall certify
137 that an individual is qualified for utility disconnection relief if the individual:
138 (A) Has an application pending approval or under appeal, for any form of
139 financial assistance from the Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY DC) Program or
140 other utility-assistance program;
141 (B) Within the prior 6 months, received or was approved for a benefit
142 under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Utility Discount
143 Program (UDP), DC Water Customer Assistance Program (CAP), or STAY DC Program;
144 (C) Is receiving a benefit under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
145 Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program; or
146 (D) Is 21 years of age or older and receiving a benefit under Medicaid or
147 the DC Healthcare Alliance.
148 (3)(A) By September 13, 2021, the Mayor shall provide notice to each individual
149 certified as qualified for utility disconnection relief pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection.
150 (B) By September 27, 2021, and every 4 weeks thereafter until January 1,
151 2022, the Mayor shall provide companies and the Office of the Peoples Counsel (OPC) with a
152 list of each individual certified as qualified for utility disconnection relief, including the
153 individuals home address. Such list shall be property of the District and shall only be used to
154 determine that an individual on the list is qualified for relief from utility disconnection and to
155 communicate that to affected households and companies as needed.
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156 (3A) A company shall consider a customer as certified as qualified for utility
157 disconnection relief under this subsection where:
158 (B) The customers home address is included on the list provided to a
159 company under paragraph (3)(B) of this subsection, but the name of the individual certified does
160 not match the name of the customer on the account; or
161 (C) The customer provides the company with a copy of the notice of
162 certification provided by the Mayor under paragraph (3)(A) of this subsection by mail, email,
163 fax, or other reasonable method.
164 (4) By August 9, 2021, the Mayor shall, pursuant to Title I of the District of
165 Columbia Administrative Procedure Act, approved October 21, 1968 (82 Stat. 1204; D.C.
166 Official Code 2-501 et seq.), promulgate emergency rules to implement this subsection,
167 including guidance on the Districts and the companies responsibilities under this subsection.
168 (k)(1) A company shall provide notice, as described in paragraph (4) of this subsection,
169 to a customer regarding the customers account at least 60 days in advance of disconnecting,
170 suspending, or degrading service, inclusive of disconnection procedures in section 311 of Title
171 15 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (15 DCMR 311).
172 (2)(A) On or before October 12, 2021, a company shall provide notice as
173 described in paragraph (4) of this subsection to customers with a bill past due. Notice under this
174 subparagraph shall be mailed to the customer in hard copy and the phrase PAST DUE shall be
175 clearly printed on the bill or envelope.
176 (B) Notice under this paragraph shall take the form of a flyer included in
177 monthly customer bills or prominent language on the bill and be included in both hard-copy and
178 electronic-form bills.
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179 (3) A past due or disconnection notice sent to a customer by a company shall
180 include notice as described in paragraph (4) of this subsection.
181 (4) Notice under this paragraph shall be issued in at least English and Spanish.
182 The notice shall include information on:
183 (A) The availability of payment assistance programs;
184 (B) Information on eligibility for payment assistance programs and the
185 process to apply to each payment assistance program;
186 (C) The right of customers to remain eligible for relief from
187 disconnection, suspension, or degradation of service; provided, that they are eligible for relief
188 under subsection (j)(1)(E) of this section; and
189 (D) A customers right to contact OPC for assistance with negotiating a
190 payment plan on the customers behalf.
191 (5) The Public Service Commission and Board of Directors of the District of
192 Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water Board of Directors) may issue regulations
193 regarding customer engagement criteria and customer notice requirements consistent with this
194 subsection.
195 (l)(1) For a period of 90 days beginning on October 12, 2021, a company shall restore
196 service to a customer when the customer makes a payment to the company of at least $10;
197 provided, that the customer enters into a payment plan pursuant to section 308 of the
198 Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2021, effective March 17, 2021 (D.C. Act
199 24-30; 68 DCR 3101), section 308 of the Coronavirus Support Congressional Review
200 Emergency Amendment Act of 2021, effective June 7, 2021 (D.C. Act 24-96; 68 DCR 6025), or
201 section 308 of the Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2021, effective June 24,
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202 2021 (D.C. Law 24-9; 68 DCR 4824), or makes a showing that the utility was disconnected
203 improperly pursuant to this act. Amounts paid by a customer pursuant to this paragraph shall be
204 applied in full to reduce the amounts owed by the customer to the company.
205 (2)(A) When a customer whose service has been disconnected, suspended, or
206 degraded for nonpayment is certified by the Mayor or documented by the customer to be eligible
207 for utility disconnection relief under subsection (j)(1)(E) of this section, a company shall
208 reconnect the customer without charge.
209 (B) A company shall reconnect a customer under subparagraph (A) of
210 this paragraph within 24 hours of receiving notice that the customer is qualified for utility
211 disconnection relief under subsection (j)(1)(E) of this section.
212 (m)(1) Beginning on November 1, 2021, and ending on February 1, 2022, each utility
213 company that is regulated by the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia shall
214 report monthly to the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia and to OPC the
215 number of customers, by zip code, that have entered into payment plans, including the number of
216 payment plans that have defaulted, that have had service suspended or disconnected for non-
217 payment, or that are in arrears.
218 (2) Beginning on November 1, 2021, and ending on February 1, 2022, the
219 District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) shall report monthly to the DC
220 Water Board of Directors and to OPC the number of customers, by zip code and customer class,
221 that have entered payment plans, including the number of payment plans that have defaulted, that
222 have had service suspended or disconnected for nonpayment, or that are in arrears.
223 (n) A telecommunications service provider, as that term is defined by the
224 Telecommunications Competition Act of 1996, effective September 9, 1996 (D.C. Law 11-154;
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225 D.C. Official Code 34-2002.01 et. seq.), shall not disconnect, suspend, or degrade basic
226 telecommunications service to a customer that is participating in the federal Lifeline program for
227 non-payment of a bill, any fees for service or equipment, or other charges, or for noncompliance
228 with a deferred payment agreement.
229 (o) Nothing in this act shall be read to supersede the existing moratorium on
230 disconnections under section 106a of the Retail Electric Competition and Consumer Protection
231 Act of 1999, effective March 9, 2016 (D.C. Law 21-82; D.C. Official Code 34-1506.01).
232 (p) For the purposes of this section, the term:
233 (1) Payment assistance programs shall mean LIHEAP, UDP, CAP, or STAY
234 DC.
235 (2) Company or companies shall mean an electric company, gas company,
236 DC Water, or incumbent local exchange carrier..
237 (k) Section 308 is amended as follows:
238 (1) Subsection (c) is amended as follows:
239 (A) The existing text is redesignated as paragraph (1).
240 (B) A new paragraph (2) is added to read as follows:
241 (2)(A)(i) Upon request by a customer of an electric company, gas company,
242 incumbent local exchange carrier, or DC Water to the Office of the Peoples Counsel (OPC),
243 OPC shall be authorized to negotiate a payment plan on