ICYMI: New Laws in DC As Of Jan. 1

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There are a few new laws going into effect in the District on Jan. 1, 2022. Check which impact you:

Living Wage Goes Up

In accordance with the Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment of 2016, the living wage in DC will increase to $15.50 on Jan. 1, 2022. On July 1, 2022, the District’s minimum wage will increase to $16.10, trigging an increase to the living wage for non-tipped workers to the same rate. The minimum wage for tipped workers will increase to $5.35 on July 1, 2022. This increase is due to provisions of the amendment that tie DC’s minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index.

No More Gasoline-Powered Leaf Blowers

Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are no longer permitted to be used in the District as of Jan. 1. As of Jan. 1, 2022 District legislation will prohibit the sale and use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in DC. It’s not just because they’re noisy. A 2011 study found that running the equipment for 30 minutes produces hydrocarbon emissions equal to driving a Ford F150 from North Texas to Anchorage, Alaska. The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility provides both commercial entities and residents with rebates for the purchase of an electric leaf blower.

The DCSEU has rebates for residents and landscape companies to make the switch to electric and battery-powered leaf blowers.

Small Disposable Food Service Items

All District restaurants and food-serving entities are prohibited from automatically including small disposable “food service items”, including but not limited to plastic utensils unless they are requested –or taken by customers from self-serve areas. The new requirements apply to in-person, online, and mobile orders. The District is offering 6 months grace with no fines to allow for training staff, updating operating software, and other aspects to make the transition.

Battery Recycling Programs

As per the Zero Waste Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020, beginning on January 1, 2022, no “producer” — manufacturers of batteries or battery-containing product who sell or offers for sale in the District– will be allowed to dispose of batteries in the District except through battery recycling programs. Beginning in 2023, the requirement will apply to all residents and businesses.

Proper Source Separation Training

DC is moving towards glass recycling –but that requires separation where it is deposited. The District will begin providing training on proper source separation and waste reduction for janitorial staff for janitorial staff and property managers at private collection properties, including District facilities and agencies, multifamily properties, and commercial properties.

A DPW recycling truck is pictured in a Southeast alley. File: CCN/E.O’Gorek

Strategic Energy Management Plan

District buildings will roll-out a strategic energy management plan for reducing energy and water use across District government buildings.  The plan includes timelines for implementing an energy retrofit program prioritizing buildings that have core systems and equipment nearing the end of their useful lives, with a goal of achieving at least 30 percent reductions in energy and greenhouse gas emissions and a net-zero energy retrofit program for many other buildings within the District government’s portfolio between 2026 and 2032.

Electric Vehicle Make-Ready Parking Spaces

To get a building permit, all new construction or substantial renovation to commercial or multi-unit apartments must install 3 or more off-road Electric Vehicle Make-Ready Parking Spaces. All that’s needed now is infrastructure that is sufficient to accommodate the future installation of an electric vehicle charging site at least 20 percent of the parking spaces.

Coverage for Prescription Insulin Drugs

Finally, a new provision protecting residents with diabetes from sky-rocketing costs becomes effective. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, health insurers covering prescription insulin drugs must limit the total amount the insured person has to pay for a 30-days worth of insulin to below $30 a month. Health insurers that provide coverage for diabetes devices and diabetic ketoacidosis devices must limit the total amount that an insured is required to pay for a 30-day supply of all medically necessary covered diabetes devices and diabetic ketoacidosis devices in accordance with the insured’s diabetes treatment plan to less than $100.