This week in Council Chambers

A couple of committee meetings are scheduled for this week, though one looks to be very controversial. But there is plenty of new legislation being introduced this week.

 

Monday morning’s weekly Council Briefing will include two presentations:

  • one from the Office of Intergovernmental Relations wrapping up this year’s state legislative session;
  • one from the Council’s central staff on a bill being introduced that requires food-delivery service companies and TNC companies such as Uber and Lyft to provide their “gig workers” with paid sick and safe time during the COVID emergency.

Monday afternoon’s full City Council meeting is scheduled to include final votes on:

  • an ordinance appropriating $1.4 million of federal COVID funding toward “de-intensifying” homeless shelters;
  • two routine land-use bills.

This week’s Introduction and Referral Calendar includes the following new bills:

  • the previously-mentioned ordinance requiring paid sick and safe time for some “gig” workers during the COVID emergency;
  • approval of a collective bargaining agreement with the Seattle Parking Enforcement Officers’ Guild;
  • an ordinance authorizing the Mayor to sign agreements with city employees’ unions allowing their members to take full advantage of emergency paid sick leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and extending the same benefits to non-represented city employees;
  • an ordinance extending for an additional six months the moratorium on redevelopment of mobile-home parks in Seattle;
  • a resolution asking the Governor to establish a worker relief fund to provide emergency relief aid to the state’s undocumented immigrant workers;
  • the appointment of Andrea Scheele as Exectuvie Director of the Civil Service Commission and the Public Safety Civil Service Commission;
  • an ordinance codifying restrictions on removals of unsanctioned homeless encampments during the COVID emergency.

 

Wednesday afternoon, the Community Economic Development Committee is scheduled to meet. The agenda for the meeting has not been published yet.

Thursday evening, the Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee will meet, to discuss the proposed payroll tax, and for a discussion on supporting grassroots efforts to gain a suspension on rent and mortgage payments during the COVID emergency.  Council member Sawant, the committee chair, announced the meeting in response to Budget Chair Mosqueda suspending hearings on the payroll tax bills sponsored by Sawant and Morales because of the Governor’s proclamation prohibiting actions on items not either “necessary or routine” or necessary for responding to the COVID emergency.

There are several issues with Sawant holding a hearing on the bills. The first is the obvious one: the Governor’s proclamation is still in force — though Sawant believes that the proclamation is illegal and that in nay case her bills are necessary for the COVID response. The second is that the bills have been referred to Mosqeuda’s committee, not Sawant’s, so while they can talk about them (which is still technically an official “action”) they can’t do anything substantive to move them forward. Third, it seems very likely that Sawant will not get a quorum for her committee meeting, given that her colleagues have been put on notice that they potentially face personal legal liability for wilfully violating the Governor’s proclamation if they attend. Under the Council’s updated rules this year, three of the five committee members are required for a quorum, and in Thursday’s meeting it’s likely to be just Sawant and Morales. Nevertheless, the meeting will no doubt happen and will serve as a rally for Sawant’s “movement.”

 

 

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