By Seth Daniel
Who ever heard of Council Rule 18?
Not many people, but certainly a lot of people know about it after Monday night’s meeting, where the rule was invoked despite a large crowd looking to pass a resolution supporting local efforts on immigration programs.
In a move that surprised a lot of people on the Council and in the room, Councilor Fred Capone invoked Rule 18 when everyone expected a unanimous vote that they could celebrate. Many, however, left confused.
Capone, on Tuesday, told the Independent that he supports the resolution – which calls on Congress to find a permanent solution to the DACA and TPS immigration programs – but felt the matter had to be done by the book.
“We’re happy to lend our voice, but we cannot pick and choose the rules we want,” he said. “We can amend them, but until we do, we’re stuck within the confines of our rules. I’m confident it will come out favorably, and we all share the sentiment, but we can’t let a crowd or sound bite influence proper procedure. People might not like it, but it was the proper thing to do Monday night.”
Rule 18 in the Council’s Rules requires any resolution expressing a sentiment from the City Council regarding state, federal or national interests to be forwarded without debate to committee.
Council President Anthony DiPierro said he will be putting in an order at the next Council meeting to abolish Rule 18. He said he was caught very much off-guard by Capone’s use of the rule and wasn’t happy about it.
“Political games in Washington are one thing – but when it comes to people’s lives – the games must be stopped,” he said. “Last evening, the Everett City Council was extremely close to passing a resolution presented by the mayor urging Congress to take such action. However, a procedural rule was invoked by a member and the resolution was delayed and sent to committee. I can ensure you that this rule will be changed in the near future, and that will not happen again.”
Capone said he wanted to make sure the resolution passed muster when the debate nationally heats up.
“We all support the resolution, however, a vote on the measure without sending it to committee first would have violated our Council rules and would have been improper,” he said. “Anyone who knows me knows that I do things by the book. I am confident that the measure will come out of committee with favorable recommendation and will be passed unanimously by the members.
in a thoughtful and legal manner.”
Council President Anthony DiPierro said he will work to abolish Rule 18 at the next Council meeting. The rule blocked the Council from voting on a highly anticipated resolution regarding immigration changes.