Working for the District for the Next 15 Months
Serving the city I love as the District’s first elected attorney general has been the honor of my life. Throughout my tenure, I’ve worked to amplify the voices of those across the city who aren’t always heard while building a strong, independent office. And I will keep doing that work for the next year.
But, as you may have read earlier this week, when my term is done, I will not seek elective office. I did not make this decision lightly, but it is the right one for my family and me. I am thankful for the warm wishes and kind words I have received over the last week from many of you.
We have a great deal of work to do at the Office of the Attorney General. For the next 15 months, I’ll be fighting hard every day for District residents. I’m excited about the work we have been doing and the work still to come to stand up for vulnerable populations, support consumers, protect tenants, defend workers, reform the juvenile justice system, and much more. And that work will continue at the highest level. We will not slow down.
Karl A. Racine
Receiving the Human Rights Hero Award
Last week, my colleague Lashonia Thompson-El accepted a Human Rights Hero award on behalf of the Office of Attorney General, recognizing our Restorative Justice program, the nation’s first in a prosecutor’s office. I’m so proud of our Restorative Justice program, which takes a trauma-informed approach to public safety by holding offenders accountable, empowering victims, and repairing harms caused by crime.
As Lashonia said in her remarks, “Those who are closest to the problem are closest to the solutions.” That’s why, in addressing the root cause of crime, it is crucial that we work with people like her, who have been directly impacted by violence and incarceration in DC.
Voices from Across OAG
At the Office of the Attorney General, we’re proud of the broad array of work we do on behalf of the District and of the hundreds of our colleagues who make the agency run. This week, we launched “Voices from Across My Office,” a new blog series highlighting some of the people behind our efforts and the variety of work they do to support, defend, and stand up for District residents. Our inaugural post is on the Family Services Division. We will release a new post each week spotlighting the work of each of OAG’s divisions. Read more from our Medium Page.
Attorneys: Register for Tzedek DC and OAG’s Pro Bono Debt Collection Training
Now that the COVID-19 debt collection moratorium has expired, a tidal wave of collections cases is coming for District residents who are still struggling to recover from the pandemic. On Thursday, October 21 from 12:00-1:30pm, my office will co-host a pro bono training on debt collection defense with Tzedek DC. At this event, attorneys can learn about this important work and the nuts and bolts of representing someone in a collections case. Click here to register. Attorneys, we need your help more than ever, and we look forward to seeing you next week.
Protections Remain Though DC’s Eviction Moratorium is No Longer in Effect
As of October 12, the District’s eviction moratorium is being phased out. Here’s what that means:
- Landlords can file for eviction—but only if the tenant owes more than $600 in back rent and other conditions have been met, including that the landlord applied for STAY DC funds.
- Utilities can disconnect service—but only if they’ve spoken with the tenant about their options, the tenant is not eligible for utility assistance, the tenant owes more than $600, and other conditions have been met.
District residents still have many important protections. To learn more about them, and the conditions landlords and utility companies need to fulfill, click here. If you believe a landlord or utility company is not complying with the law, e-mail SocialJustice@dc.gov or call my office’s Consumer Hotline at (202) 442-9828.
Calling on District Hospitals to Make Their Pricing Transparent & Accessible
On Wednesday, I called on 11 hospitals throughout the District to fully comply with new federal hospital regulations that went into effect earlier this year that aim to make the pricing of medical services more transparent and accessible to consumers. When consumers need critical medical care, they should know exactly what that care will cost them—and it’s up to hospitals to work in consumers’ best interest to make that pricing easily available. Our outreach to the hospitals follows news reports that several hospitals throughout the country, including hospitals in the District, did not comply with the federal regulations, including by purposely hiding the price of medical services. Especially as health care costs continue to rise, it is essential that our hospitals are clear and direct with consumers. Read more from WTOP.
Keeping Up the Fight Against the Texas Abortion Ban
Last week, patients across the country had a short-lived victory when a federal district court affirmed that they have a constitutional right to safe and legal abortion care. Last week, a federal judge granted the Biden administration’s request to a temporary block of the Texas abortion ban, giving many a sense of relief. Unfortunately, just last night, a federal appeals court sided with Texas and the harmful ban is back in effect. Texas’ law should be overturned, and we will continue to fight against it and other unlawful abortion restrictions.
Please know: the District values reproductive rights. You are welcome here. And we will protect patients who access abortion care here.
Helping Ensure that the Voices of USPS Customers are Heard
Mail delivery delays have impacted many District residents, making it more difficult to get bills, prescription drugs, and packages. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) did not get input from the Postal Regulatory Commission—an independent federal agency that provides transparency and accountability to the Postal Service—or from states, experts, and the public before adopting its new 10-year plan that makes unprecedented changes to USPS. Last week, I filed a formal complaint with 19 other attorneys general saying that before Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s sweeping changes can take effect, USPS customers need a chance to make their voices heard. Read more from NPR.
Historic Property No Longer for Sale
Last week, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) announced that it won’t sell River Farm, its historic property near Mount Vernon, leaving the property available for public use, as intended by the donors of the site. When the AHS proposed selling River Farm, our team worked closely with the Virginia attorney general’s office to ensure that neither the District nor Virginia nonprofit laws would be violated. Following our investigation, the property will now remain a nonprofit site for the public to use and enjoy. Read more from the Washington Post.