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King County Council

A woman walks past a large mural of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the side of a diner, painted by artist James Crespinel in the 1990's and later restored, along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Fifty years ago today, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered on a balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Decades later, a motion passed in the King County Council to rename the county for King, rather than a slave owner from Alabama. 

Patricia Murphy for KUOW

This week Dow Constantine, the King County executive, agreed to a debate on the Seattle Channel about the new youth jail. On Friday, activist and attorney Nikkita Oliver tweeted that she wouldn’t participate without a live audience.

Mural artist Zoer paints a mural of a car crash on Friday, September 8, 2017, along the Sodo Track in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The King County Council has voted 6-3 to exert more over control over 4Culture, the public development authority that funds arts, culture and heritage organizations in the county. 

Council Chair Joe McDermott characterized the vote as a hostile takeover, but supporters believe it will lead to more equitable funding across the country.

A mural painted by artist Caratoes is shown on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, along the SODO Track in Seattle. 4Culture is one of the producing partners of SODO Track.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

King County Council members got an earful when they opened their chambers for public testimony on a proposal to exert more direct control over 4Culture, the public agency that oversees arts, culture and heritage programs county-wide.


Tommy Le's family and attorneys announce their decision to file a $20 million wrongful death and civil rights violation lawsuit against King County, the King County Sheriff's Office and (former) Sheriff John Urquhart in 2017.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Families of police shooting victims in King County will have a new voice during inquests.

The County Council agreed unanimously Monday to let these families have legal representation at these proceedings.


A main corridor at the King County Juvenile Detention in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Updated 5:54 p.m., 12/11/2017: The King County Council on Monday signaled a commitment to jailing fewer young people.

The council told County Executive Dow Constantine to use an expert report to guide county policy for reducing youth detention.

King County sheriff's deputies
Flickr Photo/N i c o l a (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8JhWF9

King County officials are calling on the sheriff's office to improve its de-escalation protocols. This week, the King County Council passed a measure requesting that the sheriff's office make updates to both policies and training when it comes to use of force.

A levee in Auburn, part of the system that protects the Green River Valley from floods.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

As the nation watches tropical storm Harvey devastate the U.S. Gulf Coast, officials in King County are taking note of the recovery efforts.


Registered nurse Sammy Mullally holds a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday May 11, 2011.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck

Safe injection sites in King County will be located only cities that welcome them. That's the upshot of a vote by the King County Council this week.


Prison jail bars
Flickr Photo/Thomas Hawk (CC BY NC 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1MLz2Y5

Young people who are detained by law enforcement in King County can no longer waive their right to an attorney on their own.

On Monday, the King County Council unanimously approved a motion meant to ensure that young people in custody are fully informed when deciding whether to talk to law enforcement.

A sales tax to fund arts and culture in King County will not go to voters this summer after all.

King County Council member and budget chair Dave Upthegrove has pulled the proposal from consideration by his committee because he believes it is fundamentally inequitable.

Employees at Ike's Pot Shop in Seattle's Central District sell marijuana products on their opening day, Sept. 30, 2014.
KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

King County would test for certain pesticides in marijuana under a new proposal. King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles proposed the ordinance Wednesday. She said the state hasn't made marijuana testing a priority, so the county should act.


A bus moves into traffic on Delridge Way in West Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

King County Metro plans to increase transit service in the next five years, and it plans to do so without adding more greenhouse gas emissions.

King County's Board of Health is pushing for better enforcement of gun confiscation laws.

In Washington, people subject to restraining orders can be required to surrender their guns. Those cases often involve domestic violence. Law enforcement agencies are supposed to have a process to collect the firearms.

But the Board of Health says that in King County it's not always done effectively, and that causes a public health risk.

The King County Council unanimously appointed replacements Thursday for departing Washington state Senator Jeanne Kohll-Wells. Kohll-Wells will leave the Senate since she was elected to the County Council in November.

Incumbent King County Council member Jane Hague.
Courtesy of the Hague campaign

For the past 20 years, Jane Hague has represented Bellevue and other Eastside cities in the King County Council's District 6. This year she's facing a challenger: Bellevue mayor and former head of King County jails, Claudia Balducci. 

Balducci said one of her proudest achievements was teaming up with Kevin Wallace on the Bellevue City Council to bring together the council's “warring factions”  when the future of light rail was in doubt.  

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Metropolitan King County Council approved an agreement with a developer Monday to build a new juvenile detention center near Yesler Terrace. Civil rights advocates gave four hours of public testimony against the project. 

Flickr Photo/Atomic Taco (CC BY-NC-ND)

A committee of the King County Council heard some of the particulars behind Metro Transit’s proposed plan to reduce service by 16 percent after voters rejected Proposition 1 last week.

King County Metro bus
Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Bob Pishue of the Washington Policy Center about the upcoming ballot measure where King County voters will decide whether to raise taxes and fees to fund King County Metro bus service and road improvements. The special election will be held April 22.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Political leaders in King County want voters to help stave off drastic cuts to Metro bus service.

On Tuesday, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed raising car tab fees, sales taxes and bus fares. The money would pay for transit service and road maintenance.

What's The Future Of The King County Council?

Oct 21, 2013
KUOW/Kara McDermott

Seattle Times political reporter Emily Hefter tells The Record's Steve Scher what's hot (and what's not) in this year's three contested races for King County Council. 

Flickr Photo/Rick Webb

Updated at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

When you gotta go, you gotta go.

And until Monday night in unincorporated King County, going in public was allowed. That's when the council voted to ban public urination and defecation and to fine violators $125. The new rule doesn't apply to those younger than 12.  

A proposal in King County aims to rein in how much access federal immigration authorities have at the county jail. A council committee held its first public meeting on the measure Tuesday.

Several counties in other states have already adopted similar policies, with mixed public reaction.

King County Councilmembers Can Now Take Contributions For Office Expenses

Jun 27, 2013

The King County Council has approved new legislation allowing elected county officials to collect money from anyone at any time — even when contributors have business before the county.

Officials will be able to set up an office fund to pay things related to their jobs, but not part of their pay: like travel, dining, office supplies and other expenses not covered by public funds. Contributors will be able to put up to $1,000 into the office funds every four years.

Ross Reynolds talks with Erica Barnett, news editor for Seattle Met’s political blog Publicola, about what this means for King County Council’s transparency.

King County council members on Thursday introduced a measure that would limit when unauthorized immigrants can be held in jail.

Every year, hundreds of people booked into King County jail automatically get handed over to immigration authorities. That's even if the person has not yet been convicted of a crime and has no criminal record. Council member Larry Gosset introduced legislation that would change that.

Bob Ferguson
Deborah Wang

Two members of the King County Council waged an aggressive battle for the Washington Attorney General’s Office. Initial results show Democrat Bob Ferguson with a nearly six-point lead. His opponent, Republican Reagan Dunn, says he’s still “in the hunt.”