Motivated by the May 25 death of George Floyd during an arrest by Minneapolis police and the ensuing nationwide protests and riots against police brutality and racism, the Pierce County Council passed an emergency resolution at its June 16 meeting to review the practices and policies of the county’s law and justice systems.

Councilmember Dave Morell said the proposal “allows the council to see and hear what Pierce County’s best practices are and how each department discharges its duties.”

“I think the council understands the public wants transparency and accountability in the process of good governance,” he said.

According to the resolution, various department reviews are meant to allow the council to “develop an action plan to prevent and reduce inequality and injustice … that ensures fairness, justice, equality and equity.”

The council also passed a loan forgiveness ordinance related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The proposal would modify the Small Business Relief Loan Program to enable loans provided under the program to be forgiven if certain requirements are met,” Hugh Taylor, council senior legislative analyst, said.

On March 24, the council passed the COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Relief Loan Program to help businesses in unincorporated Pierce County stay in operation and protect jobs threatened by the pandemic.

Loan forgiveness may be granted if an applicant:

• Certifies it has reviewed applicable guidance from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries on preparing its workplace(s) in response to coronavirus;

• Has a written plan to mitigate the spread of coronavirus that, at minimum, addresses the applicant’s plans regarding social distancing, workplace sanitation, employee workplace hazard education and procedures to address employees and customers who exhibit symptoms of the virus;

• Certifies it has made reasonable efforts to implement the provisions of its written plan to mitigate the spread of coronavirus; and

• Certifies that the business for which the loan was provided is still in operation.