City Council Report: Week of September 12, 2022

City Council held its first stated meeting of the 2022 fall session on Thursday, September 15th.

Abortion Protections

At Philadelphia City Council’s first meeting of the fall session, Councilmembers Gym, Gauthier, and Brooks introduced legislation aimed at protecting abortion rights in the city.

The package of legislation consists of three bills which will do the following:

  • Information regarding reproductive decisions would be limited for use in prosecution or civil lawsuits
  • Patients and providers would be protected from “vigliante” lawsuits by being allowed to counter-sue
  • Workers reproductive decisions would be protected in the workplace by the enactment of updated anti-discrimination laws

Gym also introduced a resolution creating an abortion task force that will meet quarterly to expand abortion rights in the city.

In introducing the legislation, Gym said Philadelphia was sending a message to its citizens and the rest of the nation.

“Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia,” Gym said. “We’ll be doing all we can to protect all those who seek to exercise their legal rights within our city.”

The legislation is a direct response to the Supreme Court ruling released last spring that essentially left decisions on abortion to individual states. Since then, some states have implemented severe abortion restrictions and, within the last week, Senator Lindsey Graham (R, S.C.) is preparing legislation that would ban all abortions nationwide at 15 weeks.

“We on city council will be fighting side by side with the administration and our state colleagues to ensure that all our rights and freedoms are protected, and together we will truly make Philadelphia a place for reproductive freedom.” Gym said.

Parking Authority

Councilmember Isaiah Thomas introduced a resolution to hold a hearing regarding the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s customer convenience and accessibility to remedy parking violations.

According the resolution, the PPA has accelerated the use of parking tickets, booting, and towing, after relaxing such practices during the course of the pandemic. This has caused public frustration and led to heated interactions.

The resolution was adopted, and a hearing will be scheduled at a later date.

Curfew

Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson introduced new curfew legislation, following up on her efforts during the last council session. Under the new legislation, minors 14 and older would have a 10 PM curfew, and minors 13 and under would need to be home by 9:30 PM.

New Tax Legislation

On behalf of Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilmember Curtis Jones introduced a slew of tax ordinances, including a tax credit for volunteer community service.

According to the legislation, each hour certified community service will be valued at $5, with a maximum credit of $1000 in any year. The credit is not available if the property is in arrears, and can not be carried over to subsequent years.

Jones, on Clarke’s behalf, also interested a similar bill for the wage and net profits tax. Much like the property tax bill, Philadelphians can earn $5 of tax credit per hour of community service towards the net profits tax. The same stipulations and requirements as the property tax bill apply.


The criteria by which public service is defined will be determined by the Revenue Commissioner, who will develop an application and certification procedure.

Witness Relocation

Councilmember David Oh introduced a resolution authorizing the Committee on Public Safety and the Special Committee on Gun Violence to hold hearings on victim relocation, and how previous funds for victim relocation were spent.

The resolution mentions the 2021 case of cooperating witnesses being harassed while waiting to testify, including one who had her front door shot numerous in an attempt to intimidate her. After these incidents, council allocated $500,000 to victim relocation.

However, the resolution states that none of the funds have been used for relocation purposes.

The resolution was adopted.

Tuesday, September 20th, the Rules Committee will meet to hear testimony on Bill No. 220634

Thursday, September 22nd, City Council will hold its Stated Meeting.

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