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Mayor Bowser Highlights Key 2019 Regulations, Underscoring Her Commitment to Change that Reflects our Shared DC Values

Friday, December 28, 2018
Policy Adjustments, Debated and Passed in 2018, Go into Effect Starting in January, 2019

(Washington, DC) – As 2018 comes to a close, Mayor Bowser is highlighting a few key regulation changes that will go into effect beginning January 2019. The New Year brings new opportunity, and for DC residents, that includes the implementation of forward-thinking and progressive solutions which the Bowser Administration worked with the community to create in 2018. From ensuring more residents have access to quality healthcare and childcare to building on DC’s world-class sustainability efforts to updating traffic laws to make our streets safer for all, the new regulations reflect a broad range of DC values.

Key rules going into effect in January include:


  • The Individual Responsibility Requirement, which demonstrates the Bowser Administration’s commitment to the Affordable Care Act and goes into effect January 1, requires everyone in the District to have health insurance coverage, as a replacement for the individual responsibility requirement that was repealed on the federal level. To sign up for health care in the District, please visit Open enrollment in the District runs through January 31, 2019 – a full six-weeks beyond the federal deadline.



  • Businesses and organizations selling or serving food or beverages in the District are no longer allowed to provide single-use plastic straws or stirrers to consumers. As of January 1, 2019, DOEE will be inspecting businesses for compliance and issuing unofficial warnings and beginning on July 1, 2019, DOEE will begin issuing official warnings and fines to businesses and organizations still providing plastic straws and stirrers. For more information visit and for frequently asked questions, visit


In accordance with regulations first proposed in December 2015, which underwent a public comment period and public roundtable before and after a second set of revisions in January 2017, and ratified by Council in September 2018, the following will go into effect as of January 1, 2019:

  • Unless otherwise signed, all roadways adjacent to schools, youth facilities will have a 15 MPH speed limit from 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Unless otherwise signed, all roadways adjacent to recreation facilities, playgrounds, pools, athletic fields, and senior centers will have a 15 MPH speed limit from 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • A three point penalty and a $500 fine will be issued for drivers who overtake a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian.
  • Speeding 30 MPH in excess of the speed limit is a criminal offense, and speeding 26 MPH in excess of the speed limit will carry additional fines on highways and typical roadways.

New regulations also establish fines for some dangerous behaviors and increase fines for existing regulations. To find the full list of adjustments, please visit