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Mayor vetoes open City Hall law

April 16, 2019

Mayor David Condon vetoed a new law requiring Spokane City Hall to be open to the public without a time limit, saying it was redundant and drew attention away from what the city was doing to help the homeless.

The veto is likely to stand as City Council President Ben Stuckart said Tuesday he would not vote to override it, joining at least two other council members.

The new law was introduced by Councilwoman Kate Burke in November of last year after signs went up in City Hall limiting how long people could be there. The law, which passed in a 5-2 vote last month, would have allowed people to be in public areas, such as the Chase Gallery and Lobby, during business hours and they would be removed from the building if they disrupted city business.

Condon said advertising City Hall as a shelter-like public space could create unsafe situations for everyone who visits the building. City Hall could face issues like the downtown library, he said, which installed blue light’s in the men’s bathrooms in December to discourage drug use.

Condon added that City Hall was open to the public before the new law, and will still be open now that it has been vetoed.

Stuckart, who helped amend a version of the law to include a committee to discuss open access, said he would no longer be supporting it if Burke proposed it again.

After Burke proposed the ordinance, the signs limiting how long people could be in City Hall came down down.

Condon said City Hall was open to the public in writing, so requiring the building to be an open public space through a law is no longer needed.

“It served its purpose,” he said.

This story is being updated