Notes on today’s Council meetings

Here’s what went down today in Council Chambers.

The big news of the day was the passage this afternoon of Council member Teresa Mosqueda’s signature legislation, the “domestic workers’ bill of rights.” She and Council member Lisa Herbold are already working on a  follow-on piece of legislation to ensure that domestic workers are protected from sexual harassment on the job.

Council member Sawant announced that at her committee meeting tomorrow afternoon there will be a briefing on the Seattle Rental Housing Study conducted by UW intended to provide a solid baseline to understand how the housing market changes in the coming years. Sawant noted that the city has been using housing data from the Census Bureau and local company Dupre+Scott, but Dupre+Scott discontinued publishing housing reports earlier this year so the new UW study is well-timed — and will arguably provide better data than the city has been getting since it will gather rent data from a wider set of landlords. It will be an interesting discussion; the report provides substantially more information from landlords than has been published in the past, and it spells out in no uncertain terms their dislike of the City Council’s recently passed tenant-protection ordinances — and in particular their antipathy toward a certain unnamed Council member who is seen as taking the lead in making city policy hostile toward landlords.

Council member Bagshaw announced that her Wednesday afternoon committee meeting will include a discussion on the ongoing controversy over the Judgment and Claims Fund, which the City Attorney’s Office uses to pay for settling claims against the city and for some external legal support but has recently been over budget.

Bagshaw also brought up her interest in a feasibility study for an I-5 “lid” downtown to reconnect the eastern and western sides of the center city. According to Bagshaw, the public benefits package for the expansion of the Convention Center includes funds to pay for the study.

Council member Mosqueda announced that at her committee meeting on Thursday, they will discuss the annual external audit of Seattle City Light as well as newly-introduced legislation regarding the utility’s new AMI digital meter program.

Council member Johnson announced that his committee will meet twice next week, on Tuesday and Wednesday. The first meeting will deal with the University of Washington’s update to its Major Institution Master Plan, which has been appealed by 29 separate organizations. As part of the Council’s quasi-judicial proceedings on the matter, the university and the 29 organizations will each have an opportunity to speak.  At Wednesday’s meeting the committee will take up two contract rezones, as well as tree protection ordinances.

Council member Juarez announced the agenda for the Select Committee on Civic Arenas meeting on Thursday. The committee will get updates on three of the “transaction agreements:” development, lease, and integration. Juarez is aiming for the full Council to vote on them on September 14th. They will also hear an update on the transportation plans in development, and the community benefits agreement. Finally, they will take up, and possibly vote on, the historic landmark designations for Key Arena and the Bressi Garage.

Council member Gonzalez gave more details this morning on the schedule of confirmation hearings for Carmen Best as Chief of Police. The first hearing will be this Wednesday at 9:30am, in her committee. That will be followed by a public hearing on August 1 at 6:00pm; Best will give brief remarks for about 10 minutes, then the public will be invited to comment on her nomination. Gonzalez hopes to publish Best’s answers to the Council’s written questions on July 30th, so members of the public can read and reflect on her answers before the public hearing.  On August 8th in her committee, the Council will have a chance to ask Best questions, and then possibly vote the nomination out of committee. Gonzalez hopes to bring the nomination to a vote of the full Council on August 13th.



  1. Required lunch breaks and work breaks for nannies. Great in theory, unless you happen to be a parent with a job…

    Also: they removed the exemption for au pairs. I have a feeling this will more or less end the au pair system in Seattle, since it won’t be price competitive with nannies (pay minimum wage, plus double for breaks and lunches, plus pay for room and board?).

    1. They amended the “required lunch and work breaks for nannies” requirement. In the final bill it says that if it’s impractical to provide those breaks, the employer needs to pay the worker for the time (lunch and rest breaks are normally unpaid).

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