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Ex-convicts would be protected from employment, housing, and educational discrimination as the newest protected class in the D.C. Human Rights Act under a bill the D.C. Council unanimously approved on first reading last week. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who overhauled his original two-page version of the bill, persuaded Council member Vincent Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5) to mark up the bill in the Committee on Government Operations, which Orange chairs. Orange previously had said he felt some unreadiness to go forward with the bill because it was “very vague” and he didn’t think its shortcomings could be fixed before the Council session ended this year. The bill, which is scheduled for a second reading Dec. 19, has not received much publicity and has not been opposed by the business community. The Council unanimously approved, on second reading, another bill from Barry to establish an advisory commission and a D.C. government office on ex-offender affairs to help ex-convicts re-enter society without returning to a life of crime.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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