An update to the city’s hate-crime criminal statute moved out of committee this morning and will come up for final approval on Monday. It both expands the protected classes under the law, and makes it easier to prosecute hate crimes.
Two weeks ago, a consortium of business district and neighborhood advocacy groups released a report entitled “System Failure: report on prolific offenders in Seattle’s criminal justice system.” The report, authored by Scott Lindsay, a former public safety advisor to Mayor Murray and 2017 candidate for City Attorney, identifies 100 individuals who “cycle through the criminal justice system with little impact on their behavior, repeatedly returning to Seattle’s streets to commit more crimes.”
Heavy on findings but light on recommendations, the report paints a dire picture of the state of the criminal justice system in Seattle and King County, and the ability of this group of “prolific offenders” to game the system. But as with any study that claims such significant findings, it’s worth taking a closer look.
The two gun-safety bills that Mayor Durkan and Council member Gonzalez announced last month passed out of committee this morning with minor amendments, and will come up before the full City Council for final approval on July 9th. But even if they pass, as is likely, one is all but guaranteed to be overturned in court.
This afternoon, Mayor Durkan and Council member Gonzalez announced a new piece of legislation: an ordinance requiring gun owners in Seattle to keep their firearms in locked containers.
This morning, two landlords and the Rental Housing Association of Washington filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court challenging the City of Seattle’s “Fair Chance Housing” tenant-protection ordinance that prohibits the use of criminal records in selecting tenants.
This week the City Council will take up some proposed changes to the city’s laws prohibiting discrimination by explicitly broadening the definition to include sexual harassment and extending the time allowed for filing charges.
Last week the Seattle City Council passed the Fair Chance Housing ordinance, which prohibits most Seattle landlords from using criminal background to deny housing to prospective tenants. Yesterday morning, Mayor Ed Murray signed the bill into law. The bill was not without controversy, and it’s worth understanding the rationale behind it as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments.
This morning, the Council continued its discussion of a proposed “Fair Chance Housing” bill, which prohibits discrimination by landlords in some circumstances against people with a criminal record who apply for housing.
Here’s a quick summary of notable things from today’s City Council meetings.
Recently there has been a cluster of gun-related incidents in Seattle, which have captured the attention of the media, the community, and the City Council. This morning, the Seattle Police Department briefed the Council on what they know, what they are still investigating, and how they are responding.