Seattle City Council | KNKX

Seattle City Council

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Earlier this year, elected leaders in Seattle did a rapid about-face on a tax that would have collected money from large employers like Amazon to fund programs to address homelessness.

At the time, poll numbers showed a majority of voters opposed the idea. While council members and Mayor Jenny Durkan were changing their positions, they were also exchanging text messages -- with each other, and with power brokers in the city. 

Seattle City Council

Seattle has passed a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.  Under the city ordinance, house cleaners, nannies, gardeners and other domestic workers will be covered by the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage and other labor protections.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

In a major reversal, the Seattle City Council is expected to vote Tuesday to repeal a controversial business “head tax” it approved less than a month ago.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The debate over the proposed "head tax" on large Seattle businesses is heating up.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Amazon is pausing development on two buildings in downtown Seattle as the City Council considers a "head tax" on large businesses.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is poised to enact a so-called "head tax" on businesses. 

The latest proposal would only apply to businesses grossing $20 million or more. It would start as a per-employee tax before changing to a tax on total payroll in 2021. It's expected to raise $75 million per year for the city's efforts to combat homelessness.

Seattle leaders are hoping changes to some parking policies might help address big issues like affordable housing and climate change. 

To that end, the City Council voted Monday to adjust several off-street parking regulations.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is reconsidering a "head tax" on businesses to pay for housing and homeless services after council members failed to pass such a tax last year.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Nearly a decade after the SuperSonics left Seattle because of lack of funding for a new arena, the city has a deal it hopes will eventually bring the NBA back.

Kirsten Harris-Talley served on the Seattle City Council for just 51 days. She was appointed after Councilmember Tim Burgess became mayor following the resignation of Ed Murray earlier this fall.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

After Ed Murray's resignation as Mayor of Seattle, there was a series of transitions as council members took over the city's highest office, returned to the council, and an interim council member was appointed. In a couple weeks, Seattle City Hall is going to do it all over again.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Political organizer Kirsten Harris-Talley is the newest member of the Seattle City Council.

Harris-Talley was appointed Friday to fill in while Tim Burgess is mayor through the end of November. She is currently the program director of Progress Alliance of Washington.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Two Seattle police officers recently filed a lawsuit against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant for defamation of character.

They say she defamed them when, shortly after it happened, she referred to the police killing of Che Taylor, an African American man, as a “brutal murder.” They point out they were eventually cleared of wrongdoing in the killing by an inquest jury. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Updated at 3:14 p.m. Monday Aug. 14 with the council's passage of the law.

 

The Seattle City Council passed a law Monday that mostly prevents landlords from screening potential tenants by criminal history.

 

The “Fair Chance Housing" ordinance passed in a 8-0 vote (Councilmember Kshama Sawant was absent). The law is intended to expand housing options for those with criminal records.

 

Hope for Gorilla/Flickr

School start times in Seattle are expected to change again next year, but doing it will take some maneuvering by the City Council this week.

The district school board has already voted to lengthen the school day and enact Wednesday early dismissals. Board members also want to change this year's three-tiered bell system to one with two tiers.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Hundreds of anti-pipeline demonstrators chanted and waved signs outside of Seattle’s City Hall early Wednesday, before dozens crowded in to council chambers to testify in front of Seattle’s Finance Committee.

Christine Armario / AP Photo

How does a city make sure all performance spaces for musicians and artists are safe without quashing creativity? That's something Seattle is grappling with in light of the deadly fire in a warehouse in Oakland, California last month. The space was being used by a group of artists.

One woman holds up an "Every Driver Counts" sign while another holds one that says "$15 and a Union" at a packed meeting about for-hire driver unionization at Seattle City Hall.
Simone Alicea / knkx

More than 200 people gathered at Seattle City Hall Tuesday afternoon to talk about how drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft could potentially unionize.

The hearing was held to talk about draft rules the city released a couple weeks ago regarding an ordinance the Seattle City Council passed last year.  

"Seattle" by Chris Yunker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Housing advocates say up-front costs of renting a new apartment, like security deposits and non-refundable fees, are a major barrier to finding a home in Seattle.

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP PHOTO

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Thursday unveiled what he called a more "balanced" approach to managing the city's unauthorized homeless encampments, entering a debate that has simmered for weeks.

Murray said at a news conference that city workers would tolerate encampments in some public spaces -- but not parks, sidewalks, or school grounds. 

Monica Spain / knkx

Legislation before the Seattle City Council has some people worried that city parks could turn into campgrounds for people without permanent housing. Councilmembers have received thousands of emails expressing concern that homeless encampments and neighborhood recreation don’t mix.

Daniel X. O'Neil via Creative Commons

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to vote Monday afternoon on new scheduling rules for hourly retail and food-service employees.

The proposed law would require employers to schedule shifts 14 days in advance, pay workers extra for certain last-minute scheduling changes, and provide a minimum 10 hours rest between open and closing shifts, among other provisions.

In this March 14, 2014, file photo, Jerad Bernard hands out cards to passers-by offering one free ride through the Lyft ridesharing service in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / AP

The Seattle City Council has extended the deadline for the city to figure out out how to implement a law allowing drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to unionize.

The City Council approved the ordinance last year and tasked the city Department of Finance and Administrative Services with determining the rules for how drivers and unions could work together.

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

The Seattle City Council is weighing new rights for homeless people living in camps along highways or deep in wooded parks.

On Tuesday, four council members introduced a law that would make it harder for city workers to disband the illegal clusters of tents and makeshift shelters that have grown as the region's homeless population has swelled.

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Contentious labor negotiations at the television station KING 5 have now gotten the attention of Seattle’s City Council. A council committee has passed a resolution supporting the unionized news staff who say their jobs are threatened by the corporate owner’s business model. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle’s City Council has been working on possible ways to help employees who struggle with erratic work schedules. Tonight, the labor group Working Washington and the news and politics blog Seattleish are hosting a storytelling event with performances from a barista, a retail worker and writers. 

DON MCCULLOUGH / FLICKR

Both the city of Seattle and the state of Washington have laws criminalizing voyeurism. But with drones and selfie sticks, comes the ability for cameras to sneak into places where they shouldn’t be. That's one of the reasons Seattle is looking to update its current city ordinance.

Seattle lawmakers want to make it clear that you can’t take pictures or film someone’s intimate body parts in a public place without their permission. It’s already a gross misdemeanor to take a picture of someone, say if their skirt blows up in the wind.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Landlords of apartments in Seattle with broken heaters and other safety violations will be prevented from raising the rent under a new Seattle ordinance. The law is likely to be challenged in court.

Working Washington

Seattle has paid sick leave and one of the country’s highest minimum wages. Now, the city is exploring whether to adopt another kind of worker-friendly ordinance, this time one focused on how to make workers’ schedules more predictable.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

UPDATE: In its meeting Monday, the Seattle City Council voted 8-0 to approve a measure that allows drivers for ride-hailing companies to unionize.

Seattle’s City Council will take up an ordinance on Monday that lawyers say is unprecedented. The council is scheduled to vote on whether to allow drivers for ride-hailing companies such as Uber to form unions and collectively bargain for better pay. 

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