This week in Council Chambers

We’re back!  And everything old is new again: a new year, a new Council (and Council President), and a new version of the Clean Campaigns bill.

Monday morning in Council Briefing, the Council will hold an executive session to discuss pending litigation with city attorneys.

Monday afternoon in the full City Council meeting, there will be much pomp and circumstance, including:

  • election of the new Council President (spoiler: it’s Gonzalez);
  • oaths of office for the newly-elected Council members;
  • a resolution establishing the new standing committees, their chairs, and their members;
  • a resolution assigning Council members to city, county, regional and state committees;
  • a resolution establishing the schedule for President Pro Tem for the next two years This is important this time, as Gonzalez will be on maternity leave starting in January. Of note: the Council’s rules say that the monthly assignment should be done in order of seniority, but the Council will be suspending that rule and approving a custom schedule, in which Herbold will be serving in January, Juarez in February, Mosqueda in March, and Pedersen in April — skipping Sawant, the Council member with the longest time in office.

The Council will also vote final approval on one piece of carryover legislation from last year: the Q4/2019 supplemental budget ordinance.

This week’s Introduction and Referral Calendar includes the resolutions mentioned above, plus a reintroduction of the “Clean Campaigns” legislation. That legislation has now been split into three parts, both to sidestep potential violations of the “single subject” rule in the state Constitution, and to provide firewalls between the separate parts in case the inevitable court challenges succeed and sections are found to be unconstitutional. The new bills are:

  • limits to contributions to independent expenditure committees (i.e. PACs);
  • prohibitions on “foreign-influenced corporations” from making contributions to campaigns or PACs;
  • expanded rules for disclosures and record-keeping for political ads.

Tuesday morning there will be a meeting of a new committee, the Select Committee on Campaign Finance Reform. This is a special committee, expected to meet only once, to be a vehicle for deliberations on Council member Gonzalez’s “Clean Campaigns” bills, which are being sped through committee before Gonzalez goes on maternity leave. The new Select Committee was established last month at the discretion of the outgoing Council President, and thus didn’t need to be subject to the new Council’s process for forming and scheduling its new standing committees.