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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Irene Ly: This week’s best and worst

Irene Ly, a junior majoring in psychology, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.

In case you missed it, here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

Thumbs up:

The D.C. Council unanimously passed a bike and pedestrian safety bill without debate.

If the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act is approved by Mayor Muriel Bowser, walkers and bikers who are found to be partially at fault for crashes will be able to recover up to 100 percent of their losses from medical bills and property damage, the Washington City Paper reported Tuesday.

This is a step in the right direction, because the bill would increase the chances of crash victims being able to seek compensation. Currently, D.C. prohibits crash victims from receiving compensation if they are found to be even one percent at fault, which makes it nearly impossible to recover monetary damages after an accident.

The bill still requires a second vote by the Council before it goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser, but the unanimous support it received in its first vote makes us think it will probably become D.C. law. Bowser even said she supports the bill in a recent tweet.

Although this bill will not reduce the risks of walking or biking on busy urban streets, it will make the law more fair for bikers and walkers who are involved in crashes.

Thumbs down:

Things didn’t go nearly as smoothly in the Council for a paid family leave bill.

D.C. lawmakers have been working since last fall to push a bill that would make the District the most generous place in the country for a person to take time off after having a child.

The D.C. Council will now recess without further action on the bill until at least September.

Sixteen weeks of paid time off had been proposed under the family-leave plan, and hundreds of would-be parents testified before the D.C. Council that the proposal would make having children much less stressful and would allow them to adequately bond with their newborns. The plan would also allow people to take time off to care for dying parents and significant others.

Several would-be parents even told lawmakers that they would wait to have children until the law is passed because they would want to take that much time off, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Although well-received by D.C. residents, the Council members found that the numbers just didn’t add up. They are still contemplating a few questions: How many workers in D.C. would take advantage of the law? How many years of a new tax would D.C. have to accumulate before the government could cover the costs?

With the bill now delayed, the earliest this benefit could be sufficiently funded and offered to city residents is 2018.

Those D.C. residents who are holding off on starting families until the law passes could be waiting forever.

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