Ethics bill heads back to committee

This afternoon the City Council sent a controversial bill amending the ethics code for Council members back for more work in committee.

The bill, proposed by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, would ease somewhat the ethics rules for Council members in the name of preserving equal representation for citizens by limiting recusals. I wrote about the bill earlier this month.

It passed unanimously out of the Education, Equity and Governance Committee hearing three weeks ago, despite Council member Juarez’s claim today that she voted against it (she not only voted for the bill in committee — jump to 12:06 in the video — but two weeks ago in the Council Briefing she rallied a spirited defense of it — jump to 30:47).

The opposition  was voiced by Council member Burgess,  who sent his colleagues a memo detailing his objections and proposing a compromise. On June 6th the Council tabled the bill for two weeks so they could have more discussions among themselves before considering any amendments and taking a final vote.

During those two weeks, the Seattle Times wrote an editorial opposing the change to the ethics code.

Apparently the discussions haven’t yielded a consensus view on how to fix it; if it had, they would have simply amended it in the full Council meeting. Instead, they opted (unanimously) to send it back to committee for a substantive rework.

I have a request in to Council member Burgess’s office for more information on the changes that are being considered. I’ll post an update if I hear back.  UPDATE: Council member Burgess confirmed that the changes being considered are the same as what he proposed in his memo.