January 1, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 1

News

A new year means new committee assignments for City Councilmembers

by: Aaron Burkhalter , Staff Reporter

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It’s the time of year when the Seattle City Council plays musical chairs, shuffling who will lead each of the nine committees that craft legislation.

Councilmember Sally Clark will chair the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency, which includes affordable housing, homelessness, public health and policies related to economic development and affordability. This committee will likely handle the discussion on a city-based minimum wage.

Councilmember Bruce Harrell will continue to chair the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. Harrell chaired the same committee in 2013, which oversaw reform of the Seattle Police Department following a federal report that showed Seattle police have a pattern and practice of excessive force. Harrell also led discussions that led the Seattle Police Department to cancel plans to use cameras mounted on drones.

Newly elected councilmember Kshama Sawant will chair the committee overseeing Seattle City Light and Councilmember Sally Bagshaw will chair the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee. Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities have been trying to get more low-income households signed on to the Utility Discount Program, which offers half off of utility bills to those who qualify.

Councilmember Tim Burgess will chair the Education and Governance Committee, covering public schools, intergovernmental relations and labor negotiations.

Councilmember Jean Godden will chair the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Gender Pay Equity Committee. Godden took on gender pay equity following a study that found that Seattle women earn 73 cents for every dollar men earn.

Councilmember Nick Licata will chair the Finance and Culture Committee, which will review the mayor’s proposed budget and city financial management policies.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien will chair the Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee, which covers land use regulations, climate and conservation.

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will continue to chair the Transportation Committee, which covers city-wide and regional transportation policy and planning.

Each of the nine members of the city council will chair one committee that tackles specific types of legislation. Most legislation is first discussed and modified by committees before going before the full council for consideration. The committees also hold conversations about specific issues such as housing or social services that can later lead to legislation.

Each councilmember chairs one of nine committees and sits on two others.

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