Ledger Square Law Helps Dunk Unlawful Local Initiatives Sponsored by Save Tacoma Water

Clock Tower Tacoma

Seeking to influence the administration of water rights for future development,  a group of concerned Tacoma citizens (organized as “Save Tacoma Water” or STW) sought to place local initiatives on the ballot to amend Tacoma City Code and the Tacoma City Charter to require a public vote for any future water use application exceeding one million gallons per day (“STW Initiatives”).  Because the proposed STW Initiatives were facially invalid under established state law, Ledger Square Law attorney Jason Whalen, representing member investors of the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County, teamed with attorneys representing the City of Tacoma, the Port of Tacoma, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce (collectively, as Plaintiffs), to score a significant legal victory which sustains the rule of law regarding appropriate, pre-ballot court review of local citizen initiatives.  Today’s ruling provides certainty for the Port of Tacoma, the EDB, and the Chamber over the City’s administration of water and water rights for prudent economic development in our community.   The ruling also saves the citizens of Tacoma thousands of dollars in unnecessary expense in placing unlawful measures on the ballot.

After significant briefing and lengthy oral argument, the Pierce County Superior Court Judge Jack Nevin granted Plaintiffs declaratory and permanent injunctive relief, finding that the STW Initiatives, as written, exceeded the permissible scope of local initiative power and were therefore invalid, as a matter of law.  By court order, the STW Initiatives are now precluded from placement on the November 2016 ballot—or any other ballot in the future, regardless of the signature validation by the County Auditor. 

The Court’s ruling properly relied upon the Washington Supreme Court’s recent decision in Spokane Entrepreneurial Center v. Spokane Moves to Amend Constitution, 185 Wn.2d 97 (2016), in holding the STW Initiatives legally invalid.

Changes To Wage and Overtime Laws Take Effect December 1, 2016

Wage laws change December 1st, 2016

Wage and overtime laws are changing once again. In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its Final Rule updating the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Final Rule takes effect December 1, 2016, and will update the minimum salary level every three years for the executive, administrative, and professional employees exemption.  Key provisions of the Final Rule are:

  1. The minimum standard salary increased from $23,660 to $47,476 annually (from $455 to $913 per week), which is the current salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region – which is currently the South.
  2. The minimum annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees increased from $100,000 to $134,004, which is the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally.
  3. The salary and compensation levels will be automatically updated every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles.  The initial salary increases take effect on December 1, 2016, and the first update will occur on January 1, 2020.
  4. Employers may now use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level. Payments must be paid on a quarterly or more frequent basis.
  5. The Final Rule makes no changes to the duties tests for highly compensated employees or employees under the executive, administrative or professional exemption.

All employers should review their handbooks and polices to ensure they are consistent with applicable law. Changes to the foregoing wage and overtime laws take effect December 1, 2016. If you have any questions or concerns regarding employee overtime or any other employment issues, please call us at Ledger Square Law.

Marsha Reidburn Receives Award of Excellence at 51st Bosses Night

On Friday, March 11th, NALS of Pierce County held their 51st Bosses Night at the Tacoma Yacht Club as our way of thanking the legal community of Pierce County for their support throughout the year.  We invite members from the bench, the bar, and everyone working in the legal field to attend.  One of the things that NALS of Pierce County asks for is nominations from the legal community for the Boss of the Year, Award of Excellence, Firm of the Year, and Outstanding Community Service.  This year Marsha Reidburn was the recipient of the Award of Excellence.  Here is the nomination I provided to NALS of Pierce County:

 I’ve worked with a lot of different people, but there’s one that I’ve worked with for the 15 months that takes the cake!    She’s been in the legal field since, I think,  the ‘80s doing all kinds of things from legal assistant to paralegal to court reporter.

Let me give you a little background:

 In the Fall of 2014 I was informed by my attorneys that they’d be leaving the high-rise firm that we were all currently working for and were starting their own firm with two of their partners.  I’d never worked with these two partners (shoot, one of them I don’t think I’d ever set eyes on since I worked on a different floor).  I’d met their assistant, but had never worked with her. 

 

Fast forward to January 2015 when we opened the doors to the new firm – me and my two attorneys and the other two partners and their assistant.  That first day, everything is new, down to the software programs and telephones.  Between the insanity of not knowing how to get the copier to work, setting up telephone systems, looking at the postage machine and thinking “oh s@@@,” and seeing all the paper we brought over to convert to our new paperless system – she did it all with a smile and the most refreshing sense of humor! 

 

One of my all-time favorite memories was the day she not only figured out how to PRINT a letter AND the envelope – then put postage on it!  There were high fives, singing and dancing!  There are so many more stories that I could tell, but I don’t have time to write that book and you don’t have time to read it.

 

I asked one of the partners what she’d say about her assistant in a nutshell:

 

She is the best legal assistant I’ve ever had – which means a lot, since she’s primarily been my only assistant since I began practicing law nearly 20 years ago.  Of course, she does all the things that good legal assistants do – from filing and keeping me organized to drafting and revising documents even when she can’t possibly read my handwriting or understand my rambling dictation to dealing with difficult clients and keeping them away from me!  And, she does it with a smile on her face. I truly value her for more than our working relationship; she truly is a friend.  I am pleased to nominate her for this award for which she so richly deserves.  

 

Now that we’re into our second year, there’s no one that I’d have rather had at my side getting this firm up and running.  It is with great pride that I nominate Marsha Reidburn for the Award of Excellence.  I honestly couldn’t imagine doing this without her!

Artist Reception

Thank you all for coming out and supporting our event last night and to Kristin Johnson, Tacoma Art Group and Susan Russell Hall from the Tacoma Art Museum!

Check out these sites for more information featured from our event:

Kristin Johnson
http://kristinjohnson.webstarts.com/

Tacoma Art Group
http://www.tacomaartgroup.org/

Benaroya Gift for the Tacoma Art Museum
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/becky-benaroya-donates-family-art-collection-14-million-to-tacoma-art-museum/

 

Events

Art at the offices of Ledger Square Law

Stay Posted for Upcoming Events

Previous Events

Lunch and Learn 11/10/2015

Ledger Square Law’s employment law attorneys Clemencia Castro-Woolery and Chrystina Solum will help you navigate the ins and outs of the new sick leave ordinance.

Lunch & Learn on November 10th when Melanie Harding from the City of Tacoma presents “rules” on Tacoma’s Mandatory Paid Leave. Ledger Square Law’s employment law attorneys Clemencia Castro-Woolery and Chrystina Solum will help you navigate the ins and outs of the new sick leave ordinance.

Chamber After-Hours 10/15/2015

Ledger Square Law hosted October’s Chamber After-Hours Event. Chamber After-Hours is a monthly networking event where you will have the opportunity to meet & mingle with small, medium, and large Chamber member businesses. This is your chance to promote your business, meet possible clients, and interact with new businesses.