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Special Election Recap: Regional Fire Agencies, Marijuana, TBDs, and More

Special Election Recap: Regional Fire Agencies, Marijuana, TBDs, and More

April 28, 2016 by Steve Hawley
Category:

A recap of important and noteworthy local ballot measure results from the April 2016 special election.

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New PRA Exemption for Body Camera Recordings

New PRA Exemption for Body Camera Recordings

April 27, 2016 by Flannary Collins
Category: Law Enforcement Records Disclosure

Thanks to EHB 2362, there’s a new Public Records Act (PRA) exemption for body camera recordings. However, the new exemption only applies to agencies with body camera programs in effect as of June 9, 2016, so act soon if your agency wants to take advantage of it.

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Looking at Sustainability in Snoqualmie

Looking at Sustainability in Snoqualmie

April 26, 2016 by Jill Sterrett
Category: Climate Change , Design

A history of sustainability in the city of Snoqualmie.

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Sept. 1 Deadline Looming for Adoption of Your Impact Fee Deferral System

Sept. 1 Deadline Looming for Adoption of Your Impact Fee Deferral System

April 21, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Impact Fees

During the 2015 legislative session, the Washington State Legislature enacted a new law (ESB 5923) that requires counties, cities, and towns collecting impact fees to adopt a deferral system for new single-family detached and attached residential construction. This law gave local governments until September 1, 2016 to develop a deferral system that best meets statutory requirements and local objectives.

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New Law Regulates E-Cigarettes and Vapor Products

New Law Regulates E-Cigarettes and Vapor Products

April 20, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category:

The Legislature adopted new legislation (ESSB 6328) this session to regulate the e-cigarette and vapor product industry in Washington. Here is a summary of some of the key provisions of the new law.

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Does Your City have Too Many Funds?

Does Your City have Too Many Funds?

April 14, 2016 by Randy Hinchliffe
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

Not too long ago, I read a short tidbit in one of the local newspapers about the adoption of a nearby city’s budget. I was struck by the fact that the city had 28 different funds in its budget. With so many funds to account for, it got me thinking about the criteria for establishing funds and when a city might have too many funds.

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Multimodal Transportation Funds Released To Cities and Counties on April 15

Multimodal Transportation Funds Released To Cities and Counties on April 15

April 14, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues

The initial distribution of this new fund should include the first two quarters of the state biennium that were missed (September 2015 and December 2015) along with the March 2016 distribution.

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Top Picks: Making Density Work, Using Tech to Engage with Citizens, Obliterating Worst Practices

Top Picks: Making Density Work, Using Tech to Engage with Citizens, Obliterating Worst Practices

April 13, 2016 by Byron Katsuyama
Category:

Policy consultant Byron Katsuyama identifies some of the emerging issues and innovations that local government leaders should be aware of.

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2016 Legislature: Recap of Some Public Agency Records and Open Meetings Bills

2016 Legislature: Recap of Some Public Agency Records and Open Meetings Bills

April 11, 2016 by Nancy Krier
Category:

Highlights of some of the open government-related bills that may be of interest to local governments from the 2016 Washington State Legislature.

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Our Deepest Appreciation: MRSC Fully Funded, Thanks to Your Support

Our Deepest Appreciation: MRSC Fully Funded, Thanks to Your Support

April 7, 2016 by Tracy Burrows
Category:

We are pleased to announce that after considering a proposal to zero-out MRSC’s funding, the State Legislature recognized MRSC’s value and enacted a final budget that maintains MRSC’s funding at the same level as it has been in recent years.

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Washington Supreme Court Upholds Per Page Penalties Under the Public Records Act

Washington Supreme Court Upholds Per Page Penalties Under the Public Records Act

March 31, 2016 by Joe Levan
Category: Public Records Act

In a recently issued 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court, in Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop, Inc. v. Department of Labor & Industries, interpreted the Public Records Act (PRA) in a manner that provides very broad discretion to courts to impose appropriate penalties for illegally withholding public records. According to the four dissenting justices (see below), that discretion is now so broad that it is, arguably, without limit. The Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s imposition of per page penalties against the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), which amounted to penalties of over a half a million dollars. This decision is likely to have far-reaching implications.

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What’s New for the 2015 Annual Financial Report?

What’s New for the 2015 Annual Financial Report?

March 30, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

The deadline for filing your 2015 financial report is May 29. Learn what's new in the requirements for this year.

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Time for a Change in Your Local Government Organization?

Time for a Change in Your Local Government Organization?

March 29, 2016 by Bob Jean
Category: Legislative Body , Council-Commission Advisor

Changes to the form or organization of a city presents both a leadership challenge and opportunity for the city council. Make sure to handle the transition properly.

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Explaining the PRA

Explaining the PRA's Deliberative Process Exemption

March 24, 2016 by Jim Doherty
Category:

The purpose of the Public Records Act (PRA) exemption in RCW 42.56.280, named the "deliberative process" exemption by the courts, is "to safeguard the free exchange of ideas, recommendations, and opinions prior to decision" (Hearst Corp. v. Hoppe (1978)), "to protect the 'give and take' of deliberations that are necessary to agency decision-making and to formulate agency policy." (ACLU v. City of Seattle (2004)). Like many PRA exemptions, it is a layered provision that has to be carefully peeled to understand what it covers. This post will address the basic considerations in applying this exemption.

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8 Key Components of an Effective Planning-related Staff Report

8 Key Components of an Effective Planning-related Staff Report

March 23, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Land Use Administration

An overview and some tips about what makes a quality planning staff report.

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5 Takeaways from the Regional Smart Cities Workshop

5 Takeaways from the Regional Smart Cities Workshop

March 22, 2016 by Josh Mahar
Category: Information Technology

The decreasing costs of smart city technology and the importance of trust are just a few of the insights from the regional smart cities workshop in Redmond earlier this year.

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It’s Time to Implement Your Affordable Housing Policies

It’s Time to Implement Your Affordable Housing Policies

March 18, 2016 by Andy Lane
Category: Housing , Planning Advisor

The need for affordable housing is not new. The Growth Management Act ensures that cities and counties have policies that address affordable housing. Although most jurisdictions have the required housing policies, there are still many cities and counties that have never adopted regulations that implement their stated policies.

When affordable housing developers step up to meet this ne...

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The PRA and Nextdoor.com: 3 Things Public Officials Should Know Before They Log On

The PRA and Nextdoor.com: 3 Things Public Officials Should Know Before They Log On

March 16, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Public Records Act


You’ve likely heard a lot about the public records concerns with social media, but Nextdoor, a relatively new social networking website focused on distinct neighborhoods, represents a new twist on social media that has some unique Public Records Act (PRA) implications.

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Capturing O&M Knowledge and Expertise from (Soon-to-be) Retirees

Capturing O&M Knowledge and Expertise from (Soon-to-be) Retirees

March 14, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration

Some advice from local government public works leaders on what types of strategies to use to help ensure a smooth transition as employees retire.

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Supreme Court Lets Stand King County Metro Bus Ad Rejection

Supreme Court Lets Stand King County Metro Bus Ad Rejection

March 11, 2016 by Bob Meinig
Category:


You may have seen the news that, on March 7, 2016, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, AFDI v. King County, refusing to enjoin King County Metro’s 2013 rejection of an ad, titled “Faces of Global Terrorism,” for display on its buses. Metro had concluded that the ad failed to meet its advertising guidelines, and the plaintiff American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) sought to overturn Metro’s decision on free speech grounds. This action by the Court will likely be significant for local governments as they consider the extent to which they can enact and enforce similar restrictions.

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