The Seattle City Council has just voted unanimously to impose a fine on people creating a disturbance in nightlife areas and downtown. Under the new rule, a police officer can levy a $125 fine on those who "Cause or make unreasonable noise, threaten another person or persons, or fight with another person or persons" between midnight at 5:00 a.m. Here's text of the ordinance.
The bill is part of a nightlife agenda that also includes asking the state liquor board to extend bar hours.
Sponsored by City Council member Nick Licata, the so called "meat-head ordinance" was drafted with support from the ACLU of Washington and homelessness groups. Their backing was considered essential after those lobbies helped defeat a broad aggressive-panhandling bill earlier this year.
But not all of the council was satisfied that this bill was narrowly tailored enough. City Council Member Bruce Harrell opined that the broad language could allow a judge to penalize someone who is fighting to defend himself or herself. "It could get a little sticky if you don't carve that out in good faith," he said. "This legislation doesn't seem to address that situation." Harrell proposed an eleventh-hour amendment to restrict the fighting provision to those who "initiate" a fight with another person, but that amendment was defeated with only the support of council member Sally Bagshaw. Harrell said he supported the bill overall and voted for it without his amendment.