The City Council’s regular Monday morning briefing was split into two parts this morning: a review of upcoming items, and a presentation from the Office of Intergovernmental Relations on the State of Washington’s upcoming legislative session in preparation for finalizing the city’s legislative agenda.
Council member Okamoto announced that the Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency Committee will hold a special meeting on Friday, November 20, co-hosted with AARP, to discuss issues related to the aging population.
Council President Burgess reminded everyone that the recent election’s results will be certified on November 24th, and that will also be council member Okamoto’s last day in office as his appointment ends as soon as the winner of Position 9 is certified. His successor (most likely Lorena Gonzalez) will take office on Wednesday, November 25th.
There are two pieces of legislation for this afternoon’s full council meeting: an ordinance (Council Bill 118498) which puts in place a framework for assessing linkage fees for commercial development, and a resolution (Resolution 31612) beginning the legislative process for assessing linkage fees for residential development.
After a short break, the council reconvened to hear the briefing from the Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR) on the city’s 2016 legislative agenda, which begins on January 11 and is expected to run for 60 days.
This is the second year of the state’s biennial budget and legislative cycle. They are expected to deal with the “supplemental budget” — whatever changes need to be made for the second year of the 2-year budget passed last year. Governor Inslee releases his supplemental budget request mid-December.
With the recent elections and other turnover in Olympia, several key committees will see new chairs. Also, the Democratic majority in the state House is now a razor-thin 50 to 48; that is likely to affect how legislation is moved forward as Republicans look to encourage one or two Democrats to flip on specific bills. The upcoming major 2016 election cycle will also influence the legislative process in Olympia.
The legislature will also continue to wrestle with funding public education and the fallout from the McCleary and charter school court decisions.
The OIR presented a proposal for the City of Seattle’s legislative priorities, including (from slide 5 of their presentation):
- Additional funding to address the homelessness crisis
• Additional affordable housing tools & enhanced tenants rights
• Expanded impact fee authority (e.g., transit, etc.)
• Ability to hire non-citizens for public safety employment
• Enhanced funding for mental health and human services
• Gender equity and family-friendly workplace policies
• Race and social justice issues; e.g. Justice Reinvestment Act, CROP, Ban the Box, Voting Rights Act
• Gun safety
• Environmental issues; e.g. fish consumption rule, MTCA funding, climate change, product stewardship
• Public Records requests reform
Council members asked questions about several of the items, most notably homelessness and affordable housing, public records requests reform, and the ability to hire noncitizen legal residents into public safety positions (such as police officers).
The OIR will present an updated draft next Monday, with the intent that the agenda will be approved by the Council the first week of December.