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Posts by Robert Sepler

Ninth Circuit Holds Reed v. Town of Gilbert Does Not Extend to Commercial Speech

Ninth Circuit Holds Reed v. Town of Gilbert Does Not Extend to Commercial Speech

October 3, 2017 by Robert Sepler
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Sign Control

On August 16, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Contest Promotions v. City and County of San Francisco, providing its first official guidance on the question of whether Reed v. Town of Gilbert controls the regulation of commercial speech as well as noncommercial speech. In this blog post, MRSC Legal Consultant Robert Sepler gives an overview of this case.

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New Open Government Legislation: The Odds & Ends

New Open Government Legislation: The Odds & Ends

August 28, 2017 by Robert Sepler
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Public Records Act

In addition to some big changes to the PRA, the legislature also made a number of other, relatively minor, tweaks to both the PRA and the OPMA this session. In this blog post, MRSC Legal Consultant Robert Sepler gives a quick overview of these odds and ends.

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What Can Local Governments Do About Drones

What Can Local Governments Do About Drones

March 10, 2017 by Robert Sepler
Category: Licensing and Regulation

Wondering what the latest is regarding drones? This blog post provides a quick overview of what local governments in Washington can and cannot do to regulate drone use in their jurisdiction.

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Sanctuary Cities and Counties

Sanctuary Cities and Counties

February 16, 2017 by Robert Sepler
Category: Governance

Sanctuary cities and counties have recently taken center stage in the national debate on immigration. Given the relevance of this issue to local governments in Washington State, this blog post will explore what “sanctuary” jurisdictions are, how they are designated, and reasons local governments have cited for and against becoming a “sanctuary” jurisdiction.

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Windstorms, Blizzards & More: What Can Be Done When Weather-Related Issues Cancel a Public Meeting?

Windstorms, Blizzards & More: What Can Be Done When Weather-Related Issues Cancel a Public Meeting?

December 5, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Open Public Meetings Act

Bad weather cancel your public meeting? Fear not, the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) provides a relatively straightforward procedure through which your public meeting can quickly be rescheduled to a day with clearer skies (or potentially working lights). That procedure is outlined in RCW 42.30.090, as discussed below, and allows a public agency to adjourn any type of public meeting to a later time and place.

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Post-Election Odds & Ends: Bonds, Oaths, and Taking Office

Post-Election Odds & Ends: Bonds, Oaths, and Taking Office

November 18, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Elections

This blog discusses some of the odds and ends that need to be wrapped up before those recently elected on November 8, 2016 can get down to the business of governing.

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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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A Practical View on Records Requests for Judicial Records

A Practical View on Records Requests for Judicial Records

July 6, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Public Records Act

In my previous Records Requests for Judicial Records blog post, I recommended the following:

If a city or county receives a request for certain judicial records, I think that the request should be forwarded to the PRO designated by the court to ...

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Records Requests for Judicial Records

Records Requests for Judicial Records

May 6, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Public Records Act

It’s been about four months since the new court rule governing administrative judicial records, GR 31.1, became effective, so here's a quick refresher on the law governing records requests for judicial records.

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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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New Federal Drone Regulations and Guidance

New Federal Drone Regulations and Guidance

January 27, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Licensing and Regulation

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently took two actions related to the regulation of “unmanned aircraft”—more commonly known as “drones”—that I think are relevant to local governments here in Washington State.

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Courts in the Ninth Circuit Decline to Extend Reed v. Town of Gilbert to Commercial Speech

Courts in the Ninth Circuit Decline to Extend Reed v. Town of Gilbert to Commercial Speech

October 23, 2015 by Robert Sepler
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Sign Control

After the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert four months ago striking down that Arizona town’s sign code as being unconstitutionally content-based, some commentators, including one from The New York Times, were quick to raise the alarm that the decision would have consequences far beyond local sign codes. Although the decision has undoubtedly created uncertainty, it has not yet led to any such consequences so far in the Ninth Circuit, the federal circuit that includes Washington State.   

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Introducing Robert Sepler, MRSC

Introducing Robert Sepler, MRSC's Newest Legal Consultant

August 19, 2015 by Robert Sepler
Category:

I am very excited to be able to introduce myself to you as the new MRSC legal consultant, a position where I can work directly with local governments across the state every day I come into work. I look forward to meeting and working with many of you as time goes forward, but, for now, let me tell you a little about myself. 

Before becoming a legal consultant, I was hired by ...

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Drones: Whether Local Governments Can Regulate Unmanned Aircraft

Drones: Whether Local Governments Can Regulate Unmanned Aircraft

February 25, 2015 by Robert Sepler
Category: Licensing and Regulation

Throughout the country, law enforcement, businesses, and private citizens have begun to use drones—or have considered doing so—for a variety of purposes. This raises important issues, including how local governments in Washington State can or should regulate the use of this new technology.

Wait, don’t the feds regulate aircraft?
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