DC council holding marathon session, could pass sports betting, decriminalize fare evasion

- As 2018 draws to a close, the D.C. council is racing against the clock Tuesday night in a marathon session that could see final action on establishing sports betting in the District, keeping guns away from mentally ill people, and de-criminalizing fare evasion on Metro.

The council began the meeting early on Tuesday – and they expect to continue into the late evening.

Sports betting
The sports betting issue appears to be a “slam dunk” – with the mayor and the council looking to establish a D.C. sports book in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that legalized it. Now, the race is on to get the betting systems up and running.

Councilman Jack Evans says D.C. has a big head start on its neighbors regarding sports betting.

“We’re at the advantage here in our jurisdiction here and Maryland and Virginia are not in session, so we have an opportunity to put sports gambling in place, before the jurisdictions surrounding us move forward with it but they’ve both said they’d be moving quickly,” Evans said.

Red Flag law
Another bill advancing in the council on Tuesday is D.C.’s own “Red Flag law” which would require a person to surrender their guns if they’re found to have mental health issues.

Councilman Charles Allen says the Red Flag law is part of a nationwide trend.

“Thirteen states have created extreme risk protection orders also known as ‘Red Flag laws’ – these laws require that the subject of the order surrender their firearms and ammunition if a court finds that they are a danger to themselves or others,” Allen said.

Fare evasion
The D.C. council is also taking action on one of its most controversial proposals – decriminalizing fare evasion on Metro.

Supporters say the laws disproportionately punish African Americans.

Metro has come out strongly against the idea.

This council hearing is expected to go late into Tuesday evening.

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