WASHINGTON – Yesterday evening, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed Bill 22-408, the Fare Evasion Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2018. The bill, which would change the penalty for fare evasion from a criminal to civil offense, punishable by a $50 fine, passed the D.C. Council by a 10-2 vote on December 4, 2018.

Nassim Moshiree, Policy Director, ACLU of the District of Columbia, issued the following statement:

“We’re appalled that Mayor Bowser has vetoed this smart, sensible criminal justice reform. In passing this bill, an overwhelming majority of D.C. Councilmembers recognized that the current practice of arresting and incarcerating people is ineffective, that the law’s enforcement is racially biased against black residents, and that it saddles far too many D.C. residents with arrests and criminal records for conduct that should be much more reasonably enforced with a civil citation, as is the case in Virginia.

“Fortunately, the Mayor’s misguided and shortsighted opposition to the bill is not shared by the vast majority of the D.C. Council. We applaud Councilmember Charles Allen for his leadership in shepherding this critical bill through the Council, and to all of the Councilmembers who expressed their strong support for this measure through both their statements and their vote.

“We call on the D.C. Council to quickly vote to override the Mayor’s harmful veto, and in so doing, demonstrate a commitment to ending the unnecessary and excessive criminalization of D.C. residents for low-level offenses.”

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