By Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor at Large on April 16, 2014
As of today, my new colleagues and I have officially served 100 days on the Boston City Council–and I wanted to give you an update on some of the major projects I’ve been working on since January 6th.
Helping Neighborhood Small Businesses Open Faster
My first official Council business was to file two orders on streamlining the laws and processes for small business permitting and licensing. I held a hearing in City Hall with representatives from city departments to discuss our internal city processes and how to make them more effective. Then, we took our hearings to the neighborhoods to hear from business owners directly. We launched a neighborhood listening tour with stops across the city. We’ve already been to Roslindale and Dorchester, with many stops ahead. Find one near you at michelleforboston.com/small
Innovation through Open Data
I filed my first ordinance on open data, mandating that city departments make all data available according to technical standards that also protect privacy and security. Government today should center on making data-driven decisions and inviting the public to collaborate around new ideas and solutions. The goal of the open data ordinance is greater transparency, access, and innovation. We need a proactive, not reactive, approach to information accessibility and open government. I wrote an op-ed for WGBH on the topic, which you can read here.
Health Care Equity for City Employees
I worked with Councilor Ayanna Pressley, MassEquality, GLAD and others to propose an ordinance ensuring health care equity for transgender city employees. Not only is inclusion the right thing to do, but it’s also the best economic policy for Boston to attract and retain the most talented and committed employees. The Boston Globe wrote about the ordinance here.
Arts and Culture Funding
I held a hearing on maximizing arts and culture funding, which was attended by artists, performers, advocates and organizations representatives full of insightful recommendations. The Arts and Culture committee, which I chair, will prepare a final report for the Administration based on the recommendations and conclusions.
Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
I proposed a resolution, unanimously approved, in support of a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which would provide protections to ensure safe and dignified working conditions for house cleaners, nannies, and personal care attendants. Domestic workers have historically been excluded from basic state and federal labor rights, so this bill would offer 24 hours off per 7-day calendar week, parental leave, protection from discrimination and sexual harassment, and termination rights for live-in nannies so they will not become immediately homeless. The Massachusetts House of Representatives has since approved the bill, and it will go before the Senate.
Transparency & Accessibility
I’ve been posting weekly updates on my facebook page following each Council meeting to cover–concisely and in plain English–what happens at each meeting. I hope you’ll check them out to stay informed. If you don’t use Facebook and would like to have these updates emailed to you, let Julia know at [email protected]
With the budget released last week, the Council will hold several weeks of hearings to go over budget priorities and programming in detail. As the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means, I look forward to an active role in the budget process and advocating for our shared priorities.
Thanks for keeping in touch. If you ever have questions, concerns, or feedback, please let me or any member of my team know. Keep in touch by following me on twitter, facebook, or simply sending an email to [email protected].
Thanks for the opportunity to work everyday for the City and the residents of Boston. Onward, to the next 100 days!