- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The D.C. Council is expected to consider emergency crime legislation at a session later this month, but a dispute surrounding the statute changes still appears unresolved.

Council member Jack Evans said he will introduce an emergency measure on June 16 in an effort to enact changes to the city’s crime code in time for the summer, when the District traditionally sees a spike in violence.

The Evans bill, which the council member said has been circulated among his colleagues, contains provisions that would allow city officials to take civil action against gang members and increase the penalties for using a stolen vehicle in the commission of a crime, among other things.

“It really does accomplish the intent of trying to get it done for the summer,” said Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat.

The legislation will come as Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s administration and council member Phil Mendelson, chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, have battled over the time frame for bringing the full, longer version of a Fenty-backed crime bill before the council.

Mr. Evans, who also is a member of the public safety committee, said that he met with Mr. Mendelson and council Chairman Vincent C. Gray to discuss his bill and that he will introduce the measure June 16 instead of at Tuesday’s legislative session at Mr. Gray’s request.

He said his efforts have the support of the Fenty administration and were agreed to by Mr. Gray and Mr. Mendelson.

“It’s clear to me that Phil was not going to do anything on this,” Mr. Evans said. “I looked through it, figured out what were the important things for the summer for an emergency, and sat down with the chairman and Phil.”

Mr. Mendelson, at-large Democrat, has said he plans to move the mayor’s bill out of his committee this month and is open to passing it as an emergency measure but not at Tuesday’s legislative session.

He said Monday that Mr. Evans “seems to have amnesia about what he agreed to” and that he is moving forward with his own emergency bill on June 16. The legislation will encompass portions of Mr. Fenty’s preferred bill - including the civil-enforcement provision for gangs - but with some tweaks.

“What I am doing is going through the mayor’s provisions, reconciling them with the comments we’ve got and making changes,” said Mr. Mendelson, at-large Democrat.

Approving an emergency measure requires nine out of 13 votes on the council. Mr. Evans said Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat; Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat; and Kwame R. Brown, at-large Democrat are co-sponsoring his measure, but the council member declined to say he was confident the bill will pass.

“I hate to say that,” Mr. Evans said. “I’m working hard to make sure.”

Mr. Mendelson, meanwhile, said both bills could not be approved by the council when the time comes for their consideration.

“I’m just moving forward as I promised to do, which is to have a crime bill out this summer and have an emergency out on June 16,” he said.

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