It happened. Yesterday Seattle City Council unanimously approved the adoption of a $15 per hour minimum wage. Starting on April 1 of next year, the legislation will phase-in a $15 per hour minimum wage annually over three to seven years, depending on the size of the employer. Meaning, come April 2015, the minimum wage will rise to $10 or $11, depending on employer size, and continue to increase in increments.
According to a study by the University of Washington, 24 percent of Seattle workers currently earn hourly wages under $15, and 13.6 percent of the city lives below the federal poverty level.
Sally Clark, chair of the council’s Select Committee on the Minimum Wage and Income Inequality said, “Seattle’s new law puts low wage workers on a path to $15 and does it in a way that respects Seattle’s love for local businesses and world-leading innovation.”
Mayor Ed Murray will sign the legislation today outside of the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse at 1:15 p.m.
Seattle City Council is now on the hunt to fill the Ethics and Elections Commission, which seeks to ensure a fair electoral process and principled public service among Seattle government employees.
The commission is responsible for interpreting and applying the Seattle Ethics, Elections, Election Pamphlet, and Whistleblower Protection Codes, and the City’s Lobbying Regulations. Six staff members investigate complaints, monitor compliance, and offer information and guidance to citizens and employees regarding these codes.
It’s an unpaid job with a term that goes until the last day of 2016. To demonstrate a commitment to fairness and integrity, candidates cannot participate in city election campaigns be an officer of any political party.
Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to Councilmember Tim Burgess by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on June 30.
Meanwhile, the mayor raised the Pride Flag at City Hall and dubbed June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month in Seattle. This year marks 40 years of LGBTQ pride in Seattle.
The Office of the Mayor said, “The City of Seattle is a national leader in providing support for its LGBTQ employees. The City offers transgender health benefits to its employees, and has historically advocated on behalf of LGBT employees and community members. In 2012, before Washington State repealed the Defense of Marriage Act, the City of Seattle filed an amicus brief against it in support of fair taxation for employees in same-sex marriages. And on December 9, 2012, the first day same-sex couples in Washington could marry legally; City Hall opened its doors to host 140 weddings.”
Continuing in the theme of back-patting and congrats, Mayor Murray applauded President Obama and the United States Environment Protection Agency for issuing a draft rule for existing fossil-fuel power plants under the Clean Air Act. The rule would reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the States.
Seattle is pursuing a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and recently adopted the Seattle Climate Action Plan as its first step toward achieving it. This means things like smart land use, investing in transit, clean fleets, and green building requirements.