At the beginning of 2018 the City of Seattle commissioned a study to look at the feasibility of creating a municipal bank. Those study results were released yesterday. It says that in theory the city could create its own bank, but there are significant legal, logistical, regulatory and financial challenges to doing so.
On Monday, the Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR) delivered to the City Council a first draft of the city’s legislative agenda for the upcoming session starting in January.
Short and sweet today.
This afternoon the City Council passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to securely store their firearms at home when not being carried. As I wrote previously, this is a perfectly reasonable idea, but it’s beyond the authority of the city to enact it because state law preempts cities from passing their own gun regulations.
This afternoon in an interview I asked City Attorney Pete Holmes for his legal argument as to why the city has the power to enact this ordinance in the face of a state law that clearly prohibits it.
Today the state legislature passed ESB 6617, which made several changes to the state’s Open Records Act. Among those changes, it exempts the legislative branch from the Open Records Act — an action that has been broadly decried. To make matters worse, the legislature rushed the bill through, with no committee hearings.
After the vote, I emailed Sen. Jamie Pedersen, my representative in the state Senate, to complain about the bill and the process. Here is his complete response. I make no claims about the veracity of what he says, nor do I necessarily agree with him, but I appreciate his prompt, direct and detailed reply.
Here’s what happened today at the three meetings the Council held on Monday.
Monday afternoon the Council will vote to approve the city’s State Legislative Agenda for next year: its wish list for the State Legislature in its upcoming session.
Today’s meetings were short and to the point.
This morning, the Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee voted to send a batch of updates to the city’s Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance and Building and Maintenance Code to the full Council for adoption. Most of the changes are pretty tame stuff, dealing with carbon monoxide detectors, lead paint, safety and security requirements, and adjustments to program fees. But one area — required inspections — dives into a topic with a rich history of legislation and litigation, and pushes the rules right up to the limits of (and possibly over) what the courts allow.
This morning, Council member Lorena Gonzalez launched an effort to secure a paid leave benefit for all employees in Seattle. But she’s not alone: the state legislature is currently working on the same issue.