6:04 PM: 1 hour and 13 minutes into that video, you’ll see the discussion that ended with the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee approving a much-amended version of the public-drug-use law. The vote was 4-1; the yes votes were Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, the two sponsors of the proposal, and Councilmembers Sara Nelson and Alex Pedersen; the lone no vote was Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. Final approval will be up to the full Council, likely at its meeting on September 26th. The basic intent of the bill was to bring city code into line with the new state law making public drug use a gross misdemeanor, but with qualifiers, primarily a declaration that Seattle’s preferred outcome is diversion to treatment and services, in some cases without arrest. One of the approved amendments, sponsored by Herbold and Mosqueda, spotlighted the need for continued funding for the diversion program LEAD to make that possible, though no actual funding was attached – that has to come in the budgeting process this fall. Another amendment that passed, sponsored by Pedersen, called for collecting data on the results of the new law between 2025 and 2030, and ensuring that the council would get updates. (You can see the various documents from the meeting by going here.)
9:54 PM: We asked City Attorney Ann Davison for comment at tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association gathering (full meeting report tomorrow). She didn’t have much to say other than she’s glad something is getting done.