Believe it or not, things happened today that aren’t related to taxes. Here’s the scoop.
This evening the City Council held a public hearing on four bills that Council members Mosqueda and Gonzalez have introduced as a replacement for Initiative 124. As expected, hotel workers and labor representatives showed up to urge the Council to pass the ordinances. But hotel managers and other small business owners also showed up in numbers to state their opposition to some of the provisions in the bills – particularly the health insurance mandate.
After several hearings in which the Council members took input from both hotel employees and employers, this week Council members Mosqueda and Gonzalez are officially introducing a modified version of Initiative 124 to run through the Council’s legislative process. Their version attempts both to circumvent the issues that led to legal challenges to I-124, as well as to fix some of the most problematic aspects of the voter initiative.
Yesterday the Washington State Supreme Court agreed to hear a review of an appeals court ruling that threw out the voter-approved Initiative 124. I-124 granted protections to hotel workers, and required hotel employers to either provide health insurance coverage to employees or pay them the equivalent cost.
As of today, Initiative 124, which was approved by Seattle voters in November 2016, is nearly dead after the State Court of Appeals invalidated it for impermissibly containing multiple, unrelated subjects. But Council members Teresa Mosqueda and Debora Juarez, along with some of their colleagues, are about to take a look at passing at least parts of it into law the old-fashioned way — and fixing some of its most glaring flaws in the process.
This afternoon, the City Council passed into law an ordinance that would authorize the Seattle Police Department to offer hiring bonuses to new recruits as well as “lateral hires” from other jurisdictions.
This morning, the City Council voted out of committee a bill authorizing the Seattle Police Department to pay hiring bonuses, as a new method to help it meet its hiring goals.
Last month I wrote about the status of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s legal challenge to the City of Seattle’s ordinance authorizing Uber and Lyft drivers to engage in collective bargaining. Briefly:
- Last year the city tried to get the case thrown out, arguing that it had “state-action immunity.” The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, and sent the case back down for further proceedings .
- In December, the City Council amended its ordinance so that it no longer authorizes collective bargaining over compensation, which was very likely to be found to be illegal price-fixing among competitors..
- In response, the Chamber of Commerce said that despite the change, it still believes the ordinance violates the Sherman Antitrust Act.
- The Chamber of Commerce indicated last month that it will move for summary judgment, skipping a trial. This is only allowed if there are no relevant facts in dispute.
- The city responded that it believes there are still relevant facts to be discovered, and will oppose the Chamber’s motion on those grounds.
- The court set a schedule for both sides to file legal briefs, starting with the Chamber of Commerce.
Last Friday, the Chamber started the ball rolling by filing its brief. Here’s what it says.
This afternoon, the Department of Justice submitted its brief to U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in response to his order to show cause why the terms of the city’s contract with SPOG and the recent reinstatement of Officer Adley Shepherd don’t mean that the city has fallen out of compliance with the Consent Decree.
In its brief, the DOJ argued that the overturning by an arbitrator of Shepherd’s termination isn’t a sign of a systemic pattern or practice of excessive use of force. It also found that the SPOG collective bargaining agreement neither conflicts with the Consent Decree nor threatens to undermine compliance with it.
Now that the federal shutdown is over, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart is restarting his review of the new collective bargaining agreement with SPOG, as well as the arbitrator’s ruling reinstating Officer Adley Shepherd.