Spring Council Session Begins

Expansion of Philadelphia Activities Funds

Following up on comments he made during council’s fall session, Councilmember David Oh introduced legislation expanding the Philadelphia Activities Fund to at-large members of council. Currently, access to the fund is limited to their district counterparts.

Oh had said previously that at-large members typically had to raise funds themselves if a constituent came to them with a worthy project that needed funding.

“The only thing at-large councilmembers can do within this body is ask (constituents looking for funds) where they live and (direct them) to talk to their district councilmember,” Oh said.

The Philadelphia Activities Fund is designed to provide up to $9000 in funding to not-for-profit entities providing recreation in the city. It is comprised of a board of directors from various city departments.

Removal of Gendered Language

Councilmember Jimmy Harrity introduced legislation to remove gendered language “relating to same-sex and same-gender couples, expanding access to this Life Partnerships regardless of gender.”

Harrity said life-partnerships do not provide the same rights and privileges that marriage provides, but can allow some couples to obtain certain benefits.

“This legislation brings Philadelphia In line with other cities such as New York, which has amended their life partnership ordinance to include all couples regardless of gender,” Harrity said. “While not all insurance carriers will provide the same benefits to life partners as spouses, it is essential that the status be afforded to all Philadelphians as a way to show their commitment to the individuals they love, and to obtain important rights and privileges while being traditionally while not being traditionally married.”

Outside Counsel Legislation

Councilmember Brian O’Neill offered legislation authorizing the city Law Department to represent City Council in an appeal from the Department of Licenses and Inspections to the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment or the License and Inspection Review Board. If the Law Department declines to represent council in a matter, council can retain outside counsel.

According to the resolution, the rationale for the legislation is the direct impact L&I can have on legislative policy. The resolution allows for:

“…that the President of City Council may from time to time designate a member of City Council to serve as the designated representative of City Council with authority to request the Law Department to represent City Council in an appeal from a particular decision or decisions of the Department of Licenses and Inspections to the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment or the License and Inspection Review Board, and with authority to take any other actions necessary to carry out the intent of this Resolution.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That if the Law Department declines any request to represent City Council pursuant to this Resolution, then the Council hereby authorizes the retention of outside counsel to represent City Council in such matter.”

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