The following were among actions taken at the Nov. 24 meeting of the District of Columbia Council.
DELIVERY INSURANCE -- Council member Jim Nathanson (D-Ward 3) introduced a bill that would require businesses to be responsible for commercial registration and insurance for employes' cars used for business purposes.
Under most insurance policies written for private vehicles, drivers are not covered while they are driving for commercial purposes. Thus, a person injured in such a mishap would not be able to receive damage payments, Nathanson said. The bill would put the burden of assuring that proper insurance be obtained onto the employer.
"Our neighbors are being innundated by high-speed delivery vehicles," Nathanson said. Some suburban communities have expressed concern that the proliferation of pizza delivery services offering a discount price for late-arriving pizza may encourage drivers to speed.
LABORATORY REGULATIONS -- Council member John Wilson (D-Ward 2) introduced a bill that would require licensing of testing laboratories, including those in doctors' offices, which currently are not regulated in the District. The bill would require the city to set licensing fees and hold yearly inspections of personnel and equipment.
Wilson cited a report aired last week on WRC-TV (Channel 4) on faulty procedures and false results of area laboratories, including missed diagnoses on cancer. "Until last week, like most people, I assumed that labs were failsafe," Wilson said. "I also believed they were tightly regulated."
DETECTOR REGULATION -- The council passed a bill that would require all motels, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and all other public and private housing facilities to provide visual-alert systems to signal the presence of smoke or fire to deaf and hearing-impaired persons. The current requirement for audible signals remains.
PAROLE BOARD CONSIDERATION -- The council approved a bill sponsored by Wilhemina Rolark (D-Ward 8), chairwoman of the Committee on the Judiciary, that would reject the mayor's nominees to the five-member D.C. Board of Parole if the council did not approve them within 90 days of their submission.
Currently, a nomination is approved by default if the council takes no action on it within 90 days.
NEWSPAPER RECYCLING -- Council member Nadine Winter (D-Ward 6) introduced a bill that would require residents to separate newspapers from other trash, and begin a paper recycling project within the city's solid waste treatment program. "This bill is the first step," said Winter, who opposed the defeated Nov. 3 referendum that would have required a deposit on cans and bottles in the city. "We must move on to recycling."