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New legislation aims to fix mismanaged D.C. agency

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has a plan that would break up the DCRA into two separate agencies

The headquarters of the DCRA.
Photo via Google Street View

Organized in 1983, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is a Washington, D.C., agency in charge of licensing and permitting of businesses and buildings. Over the years, the agency has been accused of being too large and mismanaged. In response to this, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has introduced legislation that proposes breaking up the DCRA into two separate agencies, known as the Department of Buildings and the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection.

According to the bill, the purpose of the Department of Buildings would be to ensure that every building meets applicable regulations and codes, ensure that the habitability and sanitary conditions of all rental housing units meet applicable regulations and codes, and ensure that public and private land and structures meet health, safety, and environmental standards.

Meanwhile, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection’s duties would include issuing business and professional licenses, conducting investigations into unlicensed or illegal activity, and assisting small businesses, as reported by Washington City Paper.

In an interview with Washington City Paper, Mendelson said that he believes that breaking up the agency would alleviate structural problems and lead to fewer code violations. Councilmember Elissa Silverman also said that she believes dividing the agency won’t necessarily be a cure-all, but it would be “a significant step in the right direction.” So far, a supermajority of D.C. councilmembers have preliminarily co-introduced or co-sponsored the bill.

If approved, the legislation wouldn’t be implemented until around 2019.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree that the DCRA should be broken up?

Poll

Should the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) be broken up?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Yes
    (60 votes)
  • 11%
    No
    (9 votes)
  • 11%
    I’m unsure/in the middle
    (9 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now

Should the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Be Broken Up? A Majority of the D.C. Council Thinks So [Washington City Paper]