With the approval of three more measures on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, the King County announced that it will now send seven county charter amendments to the Nov. 3 ballot for a public vote to approve or reject them.
The Charter Review Commission recommended 11 amendments in its final report last year, though it wasn’t expected that all the amendments would be considered by voters in the same year.
The following amendments will now appear on the November ballot:
- Specify that inquests should be performed for deaths in the county’s jails and provide the family of the deceased with legal representation during the inquest process.
- Include subpoena power for the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight to aid in its investigations.
- Make the King County Sheriff an appointed rather than elected position.
- Remove the Charter impediment to the sale of county-owned property below market value for affordable housing purposes, in accordance with recent amendments to state law.
- Update the Charter to change references to “citizen” to “resident” or “public” depending on the circumstances. This change would address several references in the Charter to the concept of citizenship being necessary to access certain aspects of county government.
- Prohibit discrimination in county employment and contracting based on someone’s status as a family caregiver, military status, or status as a veteran who was honorably discharged or discharged solely as a result of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NOTE: The seventh amendment set for a vote in the fall was not a recommendation of the Charter Review Commission, but instead was a council-proposed amendment. This amendment would allow the Council to establish the duties of the Sheriff’s Office. Those duties are currently set by the charter.
“I am pleased to give the voters the opportunity to decide on these amendments to the way our county is governed,” said Council Chair Claudia Balducci.