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New Rule Requires Notice When Transporting Oil

New Rule Requires Notice When Transporting Oil

September 28, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Pipeline Safety

The Department of Ecology (DOE) recently adopted a new regulation, chapter 173-185 WAC, requiring that the DOE receive advance notification when crude oil is moved to certain facilities in the state by railroad car, as well as biannual reports from the owners of certain oil transmission pipelines regarding the volume of crude oil transported through their pipelines. Local governments can, upon request, get this information from the DOE.

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Regulating Political Signs in Election Season: Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign…

Regulating Political Signs in Election Season: Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign…

September 26, 2016 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Elections

Reed presents a significant problem for local governments because most, if not all, sign codes adopted before that decision regulate categories of signs based on content, such as a category for political or real estate signs. Even though the Reed decision was issued over a year ago, local governments are still struggling with how to revise their sign codes to comply with its holding. Today’s blog post will consider how Reed may affect the regulation of political and other types of temporary signs going forward.
 

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Electronic Signatures, Submissions, and Bids for Local Governments

Electronic Signatures, Submissions, and Bids for Local Governments

September 21, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

SHB 2427 has significantly expanded the ability of local governments to send and receive electronic signatures, submissions, and bid documents. But what exactly are electronic signatures, and how do you use them?

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Register for Upcoming MRSC/CAEC Purchasing and Contracting Workshops

Register for Upcoming MRSC/CAEC Purchasing and Contracting Workshops

September 19, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

Want to learn more about purchasing and public works contracting? MRSC and CAEC will be presenting a series of two-day workshops across the state from October 2016 through June 2017. Register now!

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Election Season Perils & Pitfalls

Election Season Perils & Pitfalls

September 15, 2016 by Jim Doherty
Category: Elections

MRSC is again starting to receive a diverse range of questions related to what local governments and public employees can and cannot do in regard to election campaigning. This blog post provides a brief overview of the relevant considerations related to the use of public facilities, and the actions of public employees during election season.

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PRA Performance Audit: The Costs of Fulfilling PRA Requests

PRA Performance Audit: The Costs of Fulfilling PRA Requests

September 14, 2016 by Flannary Collins
Category: Public Records Act

This blog post is the first in a series analyzing the State Auditor’s Office’s (SAO’s) PRA performance audit: The Effect of Public Records Requests on State and Local Governments, and will provide a general overview of the audit with a particular focus on the SAO’s findings related to the costs incurred by public agencies, with future blog posts focusing on other aspects of the audit.

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Spokane County Uses Lean to Improve Its Job Application Process

Spokane County Uses Lean to Improve Its Job Application Process

September 13, 2016 by John Dickson
Category: Performance Management-Measurement , Government Performance Advisor

Spokane County COO John Dickson shares another story about how the county is using lean principles to improve its services - this time, an account from Linda McGlocklin about how the HR department switched to NEOGOV software for its job application process.

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New Federal Rules Governing Commercial Drones

New Federal Rules Governing Commercial Drones

September 8, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Licensing and Regulation

On August 29, 2016, new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone regulations came into effect that govern the operation of certain “small unmanned aircraft systems” (sUAS) operated for commercial purposes (“sUAS” is what the FAA calls drones weighing less than 55 pounds).

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Regulating Uber, Lyft, and Other Transportation Network Companies

Regulating Uber, Lyft, and Other Transportation Network Companies

September 7, 2016 by Byron Katsuyama
Category: Licensing and Regulation

Cities and counties in Washington have begun to regulate "transportation network companies" such as Uber and Lyft, and some jurisdictions have taken a more regional approach.

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Introducing Oskar Rey, MRSC’s New Legal Consultant

Introducing Oskar Rey, MRSC’s New Legal Consultant

September 1, 2016 by Oskar Rey
Category:

Oskar Rey has practiced municipal law since 1995 and served as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Kirkland from 2005 to 2016, where he worked on a wide range of municipal topics, including land use, public records, and public works.

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Should Legislative Bodies Conduct Quasi-Judicial Hearings?

Should Legislative Bodies Conduct Quasi-Judicial Hearings?

August 31, 2016 by Joseph W. Tovar
Category: Land Use Administration , Planning Advisor

In our latest Planning Advisor column, Joe Tovar argues that city, town, and county councils should remove themselves from quasi-judicial roles and delegate that authority to hearing examiners instead.

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Recapping the August Ballot Measures

Recapping the August Ballot Measures

August 30, 2016 by Steve Hawley
Category: Elections

This post highlights selected ballot measures from the August 2 primary election, including a sales tax to help address the opioid epidemic, large capital projects in Eastern Washington, and a police funding measure that experienced a 180-degree turnaround from last year.

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Washington Cities Have More Powers Than We Think

Washington Cities Have More Powers Than We Think

August 25, 2016 by Hugh Spitzer
Category: Classification

Optional municipal code (code) and first class (charter) cities in Washington have many more powers than we think. City officials and their lawyers frequently wrestle with whether they have sufficient authority to do one thing or another, and then run to the legislature for express permission. But that’s often not necessary.

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Informal AG Opinion Clarifies Lodging Tax Awards

Informal AG Opinion Clarifies Lodging Tax Awards

August 24, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Lodging Tax (Hotel-Motel Tax)

An informal opinion from the Attorney General's office states that a municipality may award lodging tax revenues to a recipient in an amount that differs from the LTAC recommendations, as long as the legislative body follows the right process.

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The Common Interest Doctrine and the PRA

The Common Interest Doctrine and the PRA

August 22, 2016 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Public Records Act

A recent case from Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals (Division III), Kittitas County v. Allphin, provides strong support for the ability of local governments to work with state agencies in enforcing state and local laws, and to have certain communications related to these enforcement actions protected as privileged under the common interest doctrine. 

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Financial Management of Municipal Court Services

Financial Management of Municipal Court Services

August 18, 2016 by Tracey Dunlap
Category: Finance Advisor

This Advisor column addresses how municipalities can work together with the judicial system to provide effective financial management of the municipal courts.

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Paper or Plastic? An Overview of Plastic Bag Bans in Washington State

Paper or Plastic? An Overview of Plastic Bag Bans in Washington State

August 17, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Property Nuisances

This post aims to provide a general overview of what plastic bag bans look like, how effective they’ve been, and what authority cities and counties in Washington have to implement such bans.

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Ecology Seeks Comments on Draft Amendments to Shoreline Management Act Rules

Ecology Seeks Comments on Draft Amendments to Shoreline Management Act Rules

August 11, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Shorelines

The Department of Ecology is in the process of amending several of the rules related to the Shoreline Management Act. Informal comments on the preliminary draft rules are due by August 26.

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Summer Celebrations: How to Hold an Event Without Gifting Public Funds

Summer Celebrations: How to Hold an Event Without Gifting Public Funds

August 10, 2016 by Flannary Collins
Category:

Summer is a perfect time to celebrate—the days are longer, the weather is warmer, and the community-vibe is in full swing. Cities, counties, and other municipalities like to join in the summertime fun by organizing community celebrations and events. While municipalities can sponsor such events, they do need to be mindful of the gift of public funds prohibition contained in article 8, section 7 of the Washington State Constitution.

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Addressing Free Speech in your Social Media Comment Policy

Addressing Free Speech in your Social Media Comment Policy

August 9, 2016 by Josh Mahar
Category: Social Media

This post is about giving local governments some information on how and what a good approach to take is when addressing public comments on their Facebook or other social media pages.

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