Seattles first minimum wage increase took effect in April.
Seattle's first minimum wage increase took effect in April. Today, the Seattle City Council will be taking a vote on how to increase enforcement of the minimum wage and other local labor laws. Alex Garland

Today is the Seattle City Council's last meeting of the year, so their agenda is packed full of stuff they want to get out of the way before they go sailing and day drinking (or whatever these people do) for two weeks. They'll return, with a few new members, in January.

So along with today's vote on allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize, the council will vote on a bill overhauling the way the city enforces its labor laws, including the minimum wage, wage theft, and paid sick time.

If passed, the bill will give workers new rights to sue their employers and new protections against employer retaliation.

It will also increase penalties for employers who break the law (with some discretion left up to the city's Office of Labor Standards) and give the Office of Labor Standards new abilities to proactively investigate businesses instead of waiting for complaints from workers. I've explained all the details right here.

If this bill passes today, it'll be good news for low-wage workers but will also force the question of how the city should make sure it's adequately funding the Office of Labor Standards to do these investigations. Feel-good laws and enforcement mechanisms will remain ineffective until they're paired with dependable and robust city funding. Unions have an idea: Tax businesses to make that happen. That discussion will heat up next year.

Today's council vote will take place at a 2 p.m. meeting, which you can watch here.