Charter Amendments

The city charter, adopted by the City's voters as prescribed by the Washington State Constitution, embodies the fundamental principles of the City's government, defines the City's powers and duties, and guarantees certain rights of direct self-government to the people. Any changes to the Charter must be voted on by the people, whether they are proposed by the public or by City government.

The current city charter was adopted by popular vote in 1946. (Ways in which this charter was different from the previous one were outlined in a Municipal League document.) This page includes proposed amendments to that charter. The list should be comprehensive for amendments that were put before the voters, but may not be complete for those that were proposed and failed to make it onto a ballot.

Explanatory Key to Charter Amendment List

Proposed Amendment No.: Number assigned to the amendment by the Office of the City Clerk. Numbering restarted every year until 2002.

Subject: Brief summary of the subject of the amendment. A more complete description can be seen by clicking on the related legislation for the full title.

Proposed by: This specifies whether the amendment originated with City Council or with voters.

Date: For amendments proposed by City Council, this is the date it was introduced. For amendments proposed by voters, it is the date it was filed with the City Clerk.

Legislation: Link to related ordinance, resolution, and/or clerk file.

Disposition: Fate of the amendment. Possible outcomes include: no signatures filed, passed on ballot, failed on ballot, failed in council.

Historic Charter Amendments

1946 - 1969

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Creates Park Superintendent
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 5, 1948
Legislation: Resolution 14916
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Mayor's Administrative Assistant Non-Civil Service
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 9, 1950
Legislation: Resolution 15479
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Permanent Transit Commission
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: January 12, 1950
Legislation: Clerk File 205903 and Resolution 15488
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: City residence for employees of utility acquired by City
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: March 26, 1951
Legislation: Resolution 15784
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Harbor Department
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 6, 1958
Legislation: Resolution 17681
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Abolishes Park Board
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 6, 1958
Legislation: Resolution 17680
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Limit residence preference in civil service
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 2, 1962
Legislation: Resolution 19052
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Civil service examinations
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 2, 1962
Legislation: Resolution 19053
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: Extend probation period for civil service employees
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 2, 1962
Legislation: Resolution 19054
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 4
Subject: Board of Public Works
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 2, 1962
Legislation: Resolution 19055
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 5
Subject: Street grading vote requirement
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 2, 1962
Legislation: Resolution 19056
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 6
Subject: Planning Commission
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 2, 1962
Legislation: Resolution 19057
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 7
Subject: City Planning Department
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 2, 1962
Legislation: Resolution 19058
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 8
Subject: Abolish Harbor Department
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 2, 1962
Legislation: Resolution 19059
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Electric transit
Proposed by: Voters
Date introduced: September 16, 1963
Legislation: Clerk File 249172 and Resolution 19733
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Creation and reorganization of departments
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 28, 1967
Legislation: Resolution 21189
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Personnel Director
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 28, 1967
Legislation: Resolution 21190
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: Civil service appointments and vacancies
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 28, 1967
Legislation: Resolution 21191
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 4
Subject: Civil service examinations
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 28, 1967
Legislation: Resolution 21192
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 5
Subject: Civil service exemptions
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 28, 1967
Legislation: Resolution 21193
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 6
Subject: City Planner
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 28, 1967
Legislation: Resolution 21194
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 7
Subject: Parks administration
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 28, 1967
Legislation: Resolution 21195
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Requirements for Mayor candidates
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22144
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Requirements for City Council candidates
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22145
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Subject: Requirements for all elective officers
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22146
Disposition: Failed in council

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: Requirements for all elective officers
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22147
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 4
Subject: Filling vacancies in elective offices
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22148
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 5
Subject: Submitting charter amendments to voters
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22149
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 6
Subject: Planning Commission
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22150
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 7
Subject: Purchasing
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22151
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 8
Subject: Contractors' performance bonds
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 2, 1969
Legislation: Resolution 22152
Disposition: Passed on ballot

1970 - 1989

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Abolish Building Department
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 24, 1970
Legislation: Resolution 22724
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Abolish Transit Commission
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 31, 1970
Legislation: Resolution 22732
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Subject: Department of Finance
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 31, 1970
Legislation: Resolution 22733
Disposition: Failed in council

Subject: Civil Service Commission
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 31, 1970
Legislation: Resolution 22734
Disposition: Failed in council

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: Non-citizens eligible for civil service
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 31, 1970
Legislation: Resolution 22735
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Subject: Building Department
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23206
Disposition: Failed in council

Subject: Superintendent of Buildings
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23207
Disposition: Failed in council

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Remove required preference for Washington State products
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23208
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Contractors' performance bonds
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23209
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Subject: Department of Community Development and City Planning Commission
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23210
Disposition: Failed in council

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: Civil Service Commission, employee member
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23211
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 4
Subject: Candidates' reports of campaign contributions
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23212
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 5
Subject: Campaign contributors' report, abolish requirements
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23213
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 6
Subject: Fees for copies of City records
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23214
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 7
Subject: Finance Department
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 16, 1971
Legislation: Resolution 23224
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Filing and payment of claims
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 24, 1972
Legislation: Resolution 23430
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Good cause requirement for suspension
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 28, 1972
Legislation: Resolution 23765
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: City prison
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 16, 1973
Legislation: Resolution 24233
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Subject: Superintendent of Buildings
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 16, 1973
Legislation: Resolution 24234
Disposition: Failed in council

Subject: Campaign finance
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 16, 1973
Legislation: Resolution 24235
Disposition: Failed in council

Proposed Amendment No.: 4
Subject: Conflict of interest
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 16, 1973
Legislation: Resolution 24236
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 5
Subject: Initiative timeline
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 20, 1973
Legislation: Resolution 24290
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 6
Subject: Superintendent of Buildings, review of decisions
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 27, 1973
Legislation: Resolution 24299
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 7
Subject: Campaign finance
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 27, 1973
Legislation: Resolution 24300
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Subject: Freeholders Charter
Proposed by: Voters
Date introduced: April 7, 1975
Legislation: Clerk File 281277 and Ordinance 104845
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Campaign expenditure disclosure
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 30, 1976
Legislation: Resolution 25300
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Board of Public Works
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 6, 1977
Legislation: Resolution 25625
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Removing requirement that City Comptroller issue all licenses
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 6, 1977
Legislation: Resolution 25626
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: Removing requirement for competitive exam for Police Chief candidates
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 6, 1977
Legislation: Resolution 25627
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 4
Subject: Change Corporation Counsel to City Attorney
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 6, 1977
Legislation: Resolution 25628
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 5
Subject: Personnel and civil service system
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 6, 1977
Legislation: Resolution 25624
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Nomination of department heads
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: June 18, 1979
Legislation: Resolution 26098
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Subject: Initiative signatures and election
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: October 27, 1980
Legislation: Resolution 26451
Disposition: Failed in council

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Initiative timeline
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: April 6, 1981
Legislation: Resolution 26542
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Publication of ordinances
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 3, 1981
Legislation: Resolution 26600
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: City Council meeting dates set by rule
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: January 12, 1987 and July 25, 1988
Legislation: Resolution 27577 and Resolution 27825
Disposition: Passed on ballot

1990 - 1999

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Claims for damages
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 20, 1990
Legislation: Resolution 28227
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Consolidation of financial management functions
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 19, 1991
Legislation: Resolution 28422
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Consolidation of contracting and purchasing
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: August 19, 1991
Legislation: Resolution 28421
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: District elections for councilmembers
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: June 6, 1994
Legislation: Clerk File 300023
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Subject: Term limits and suspension/dismissal for convictions
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: July 21, 1994
Legislation: Clerk File 300161
Disposition: No signatures filed

Subject: Preference voting
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: August 24, 1994
Legislation: Clerk File 300218
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Gender neutral language
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119552
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: Remove obsolete references
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119564
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 4
Subject: City Comptroller and City Treasurer
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119563
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 5
Subject: Budget process
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119550
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 6
Subject: Auditing Committee
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119576 and Ordinance 119622
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 7
Subject: Filing of claims
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119556
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 8
Subject: Election processes
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119559
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 9
Subject: Civil Service Commission
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119554
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 10
Subject: Competitive exam for Police Chief candidates
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119553
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 11
Subject: Fire Chief experience
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119557
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 12
Subject: Mayoral action on bills
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119560
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 13
Subject: Initiative signature timeline
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119555
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 14
Subject: Department head oaths of office
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119551
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 15
Subject: Amending uncodified ordinances
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 12, 1999
Legislation: Ordinance 119558
Disposition: Passed on ballot

2000 - 2009

Subject: District elections for councilmembers
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: September 10, 2001
Legislation: Clerk File 304828
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Charter Amendment No.: 5
Subject: District elections for councilmembers
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: May 17, 2002
Legislation: Clerk File 305098 and Resolution 30633
Disposition: Failed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 1
Subject: Publication of ordinances
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 3, 2002
Legislation: Resolution 30514
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 2
Subject: Publication of charter amendments
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 3, 2002
Legislation: Resolution 30515
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 3
Subject: Initiative timetable
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 3, 2002
Legislation: Resolution 30516
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 4
Subject: Initiative signature verification
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: September 3, 2002
Legislation: Resolution 30517
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 6
Subject: Alternate meeting location for City Council in emergencies
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30888
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 7
Subject: Council quorum
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30898
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 8
Subject: Reappointment of department heads
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30894
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 9
Subject: Appointment and term of City Auditor
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30896
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 10
Subject: Planning Commission member appointment/removal
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30897
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 11
Subject: Ballot measure effective date
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30893
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 12
Subject: Charter amendment process
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30895
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 13
Subject: Publication of ballot measures
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30890
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 14
Subject: Compilation of ordinances
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30891
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 15
Subject: Changing City Comptroller references to City Clerk
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30889
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 16
Subject: Deleting obsolete references
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 17, 2006
Legislation: Resolution 30892
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 17
Subject: Adding a preamble to the Charter
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: July 2, 2007
Legislation: Resolution 30992
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 18
Subject: Mayor's annual message
Proposed by: City Council
Date introduced: June 11, 2007
Legislation: Resolution 30987
Disposition: Passed on ballot

2010 - present

Proposed Amendment No.: 19
Subject: District elections for councilmembers
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: January 22, 2013
Legislation: Clerk File 312741, Resolution 31464, and Clerk File 313380
Disposition: Passed on ballot

Proposed Amendment No.: 20
Subject: Minimum wage
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: April 14, 2014
Legislation: Clerk File 313733
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 21
Subject: Minimum wage
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: April 14, 2014
Legislation: Clerk File 313736
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 22
Subject: Minimum wage
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: April 23, 2014
Legislation: Clerk File 313762
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 23
Subject: Minimum wage
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: April 23, 2014
Legislation: Clerk File 313763
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 24
Subject: Minimum wage
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: May 30, 2014
Legislation: Clerk File 313828
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 25
Subject: Minimum wage
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: June 5, 2014
Legislation: Clerk File 313844
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 26
Subject: Ranked choice voting
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: June 26, 2017
Legislation: Clerk File 320306
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 27
Subject: Ranked choice voting
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: September 8, 2017
Legislation: Clerk File 320396
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 28
Subject: Homelessness
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: April 1, 2021
Legislation: Clerk File 321931
Disposition: No signatures filed

Proposed Amendment No.: 29
Subject: Homelessness
Proposed by: Voters
Date filed with clerk: April 15, 2021
Legislation: Clerk File 321942
Disposition: