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    New tool created to track enforcement of minimum wage, paid sick leave, job assistance, and wage theft laws

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/11/2015

    New tool created to track enforcement of minimum wage, paid sick leave, job assistance, and wage theft laws

    SEATTLE – Today Mayor Ed Murray, along with the City Council and the newly-created Office of Labor Standards (OLS), unveiled a website that allows the public to track enforcement of Seattle’s minimum wage, paid sick and safe leave, wage theft, and job assistance ordinance. The dashboard compiles data collected by OLS and presents the information in a digestible format.

    “The public needs to be able to see how the new Office of Labor Standards is working effectively to ensure workers are paid and treated fairly under Seattle’s strong labor laws,” Mayor Murray said. “This new tool allows employers and workers to access readily-available data to show the progress we’re making with enforcing our labor standards and historic minimum wage increase, and where we still need to improve.”

    Councilmember Nick Licata said, “This dashboard helps bring to light that employees are being denied wages in Seattle. I’m heartened to know that workers have access to these statistics and that there’s a City agency dedicated to investigating and remedying the situation.”

    As of June 2015, the dashboard shows that City has responded to over 3,500 employer and 800 employee questions about Seattle’s labor standards. Since the beginning of the year, OLS has opened 72 new investigations and closed 47 cases.

    “The dashboard demonstrates the work we are doing to enforce Seattle’s labor standards, makes our work accessible and transparent to the public, and helps us better track our progress,” said Dylan Orr, Director of the Office of Labor Standards. “We hope this inspires employers to contact us with questions about their obligations, and workers to contact us with questions about their rights and to report violations.”

    Every month, OLS will update the dashboard with information, including employee and employer inquiries; new, open, and closed investigations; employees receiving remedies; and the total amount of remedies recovered for employees.

    “This new online tool transforms the way the city provides labor enforcement data to the public,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “Providing information in real-time and transparently ensures that we hold everyone accountable in order to protect our workers.”

    OLS encourages questions about the dashboard and Seattle’s labor standards, including reports of violations, by email (laborstandards@seattle.gov), phone (206-684-4500) and walk-in appointments at the downtown office (810 Third Avenue, Suite 750 Seattle, WA 98104). Information about Seattle’s labor standards can be found at www.seattle.gov/laborstandards.

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    Joint Mayor & Council Statement on Passage of All-gender Restrooms Legislation

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/10/2015

    Joint Mayor & Council Statement on Passage of All-gender Restrooms Legislation

    SEATTLE – Today Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmembers Jean Godden and Bruce Harrell issued the following statements after the Council unanimously passed legislation requiring all City-controlled and privately operated places of public accommodation to designate existing and future single-stall restrooms as all-gender facilities. The legislation also clarifies existing law allowing individuals to use the restroom of their chosen gender identity or expression. The legislation was a recommendation from the Mayor’s LGBT Task Force and the City of Seattle’s LGBTQ Commission.

    “The action taken today by the City Council will make Seattle a more welcoming place for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation,” said Mayor Murray. “No one should live in fear when they use basic accommodations most of us take for granted. That’s why we sent this legislation to the Seattle City Council. I applaud the Council for taking this important step to provide respect and safety for members of the transgender community.”

    This legislation will provide for all-gender restroom facilities and amend the Seattle Municipal Code so that single-occupant restrooms will no longer be restricted to a specific sex or gender identity. Single-occupant restrooms in City facilities and all public accommodations (including restaurants, coffee shops, stores, etc.) must have signage that makes it clear that they are not gender exclusive and allow use by any person regardless of sex or gender identity, rather than just “men” or “women.” The Seattle Office of Civil Rights (SOCR) will be responsible for enforcing these changes.

    Despite existing laws protecting a person’s right to use a restroom consistent with their gender identity, transgender and gender nonconforming people are frequently excluded from using facilities consistent with their gender identity, and use of gender-segregated restrooms can create unnecessary risk for transgender and gender nonconforming people.

    “Everyone, regardless of gender, deserves the ability to meet their most basic needs. All-gender single occupancy bathrooms are practical and help ensure everyone has equal access to a quality life,” said Councilmember Jean Godden. “This small step represents acceptance and freedom for many. I’m proud Seattleites are as dedicated as I am to pursuing equality and eliminating inequity wherever it exists.”

    “Enacting this civil rights legislation that requires all single-stall restrooms as all-gender restrooms should not be understated,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee. “This is an inclusive and progressive measure that ensures all individuals have equal access to take care of their health needs. Let’s be defined by our compassion and inclusiveness.”

    In July of this year, the Mayor and his LGBT Task Force released an action plan to support LGBTQ safety. The Task Force was convened in response to anti-LGBTQ hate crimes or incidents reported to Seattle police. The plan is organized into four areas: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment, and Public Understanding. One of the key Built Environment proposals was for the City to clarify that individuals have the right to use a restroom appropriate to their gender identity or expression.


    Most press conferences and meetings are broadcast live to the web by Seattle Channel at either seattle.gov/mayorlive or seattle.gov/councillive

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    Office of the Mayor

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    Councilmembers Issue Statements on Death of Donnie Chin

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/25/2015
    Councilmembers Issue Statements on Death of Donnie Chin
    SEATTLE – Council President Tim Burgess, Councilmember Bruce Harrell and Councilmember John Okamoto issued the following statements in response to the tragic d…

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    Councilmember Harrell to Host Panel on Reducing Student Suspensions, Ending Racial Disparity in School Punishment

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/16/2015
    Councilmember Harrell to Host Panel on Reducing Student Suspensions, Ending Racial Disparity in School Punishment
    SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Commit…

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    Councilmember Harrell’s Statement on President Obama’s New Fair Housing Rule

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/9/2015
    Councilmember Harrell’s Statement on President Obama’s New Fair Housing Rule
    SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell,chair of theCouncil’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee,issued the following state…

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    Councilmember Harrell Statement on Launch of Body Camera Pilot

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/18/2014
    Councilmember Harrell Statement on Launch of Body Camera Pilot
    SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of theCouncil’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, issued the following statement regar…

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    Property Crime Reduction Laws Announced by Councilmember Harrell

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/4/2014
    Property Crime Reduction Laws Announced by Councilmember Harrell
    Seattle – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, announced three new policy proposa…

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    Councilmember Harrell Statement on President Obama’s Announcement of Body-Worn Cameras

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/1/2014

    Councilmember Harrell Statement on President Obama’s Announcement of Body-Worn Cameras

    SEATTLECouncilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s body-worn camera announcement:

    “I applaud President Obama’s announcement to allocate $263 million for a new program that will provide body-worn cameras for the police and expand training for law enforcement agencies. Specifically, the President’s proposal is a $75 million investment over three years that could help purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras nationwide. The Body-Worn Camera Partnership Program would provide a 50 percent match to states and cities who purchase body-worn cameras and hardware storage.

    “I am in favor of our City applying for this grant with the goal of full deployment of body cameras for the Seattle Police Department in 2016. Seattle is currently on schedule to begin the body camera pilot at the end of this year with a complete assessment report completed September 2015.

    “I have long advocated for body cameras, a progressive game-changing effort to improve public safety, police accountability, and transparency. Body cameras provide impartial evidence and build trust with the community. The public deserves to have clear video evidence of police and civilian interactions, so we can more accurately examine incidents of police misconduct and produce video and audio evidence when shootings occur. One solution to allow us to better understand what happened at Ferguson is to deploy body cameras on all police officers.”

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    City of Seattle launches digital privacy initiative

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/3/2014

    City of Seattle launches digital privacy initiative

    Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Mike O’Brien today announced a citywide privacy initiative, aimed at providing greater transparency into the City’s data collection and use practices.

    “In the course of doing business with the public, the City is collecting and exchanging increasing amounts of data,” said Murray. “As we continue to make innovative technology investments, we need to implement practices that support public trust in the security and privacy of personal information.”  

    “This initiative is a chance to demonstrate to the people of Seattle that their local government is managing their personal information responsibly,” said O’Brien. “It is yet another chance for Seattle to lead the nation on an important issue in people’s daily lives—we are not aware of any other cities proactively working to protect people’s privacy like this initiative sets out to do.”

    “We will go through a robust process to completely re-examine how the City collects, use, retain, and delete data to ensure the privacy of our residents,” said Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “The city has never approached it in this kind of methodical and transparent manner across all City departments and engaging with privacy leaders in Seattle.”

    The collection of data occurs in every day City processes, such as paying a utility bill, renewing a pet license, browsing a web page, or signing up for an email list. Police, fire and emergency services collect different forms of video and electronic data. The increasing complexity of emerging technologies, business systems and laws mean the City must take appropriate steps to facilitate the collection, use, and disposal of data in a manner that balances the needs of the City to conduct its business with individual privacy, in a manner that builds public trust.

    As part of this initiative, the City has convened a group of stakeholders from across City departments including Police, Fire, City Light, Transportation, Information Technology, Law, and Seattle Public Library. This team will create a set of principles that govern how the City approaches privacy-impacting decisions and a privacy statement that communicates the City’s privacy practices to the public. In addition, the group will propose an approach to educating City departments on privacy practices and assess compliance.

    “One of the challenges police departments face is how to maintain public trust while embracing new technologies to support officers in the field and using data to more effectively deploy resources to address crime and disorder issues,” said Seattle Police Department Chief Operating Officer Mike Wagers. “Protecting the privacy of citizens, while deploying useful technologies and being more data-driven as a department, is of paramount importance and is why this initiative is so critical.”

    To advise the City’s efforts, Murray announced the creation of a Privacy Advisory Committee. Comprised of privacy researchers, practitioners, and community representatives, this group of experts will provide guidance on leading privacy practices and potential public impact of proposed solutions.

    The City expects to deliver a completed privacy statement and plan for implementation to Council by June 2015.

    City partners with University of Washington on privacy research
    Working in partnership with the City of Seattle, University of Washington’s Dr. Jan Whittington was recently announced as the recipient of a grant to examine the relationships that exist between open data, privacy and digital equity and what harm municipal data could lead to with consumers or the marketplace.

    This funding, $50,000, was awarded through a request for proposal from the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology on the exploration of implications of government release of large datasets. This research is funded by Microsoft, with a $25,000 match from the City of Seattle.

    This joint effort will enable the City to be more transparent by making more of its data available through its open data platform, data.seattle.gov, while implementing the processes necessary to protect the privacy of data subjects. It will also result in a set of model policies and practices that can be leveraged by other municipalities seeking to enhance the privacy and utility of their open data programs.

    -MoS-

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    Councilmember Harrell to host Chief O’Toole for First SPD Report

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/3/2014
    Councilmember Harrell to host Chief O’Toole for First SPD Report
    Seattle – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, will host the Seattle Police Depar…

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