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Conestoga Huts Offer More Options for Housing the Homeless

Conestoga Huts Offer More Options for Housing the Homeless

April 23, 2018 by Subir Mukerjee
Category: Homelessness

A housing for the homeless program in Eugene using Conestoga Hut program is immensely popular with long waiting lists. Learn more about this program and the city regulations that have allowed it to flourish.

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Is Your City Ready for the New Business Licensing Requirements?

Is Your City Ready for the New Business Licensing Requirements?

April 17, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Licensing and Regulation

EHB 2005, which was passed last year, is intended to simplify the administration of municipal general business licenses for the applicant. This post looks at the actions cities and towns must take to comply.

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New Legislation Targets E-Bikes

New Legislation Targets E-Bikes

April 16, 2018 by Leah LaCivita
Category: Cycling and Walking

As Seattle prepares to make its dockless bike share program permanent, new legislation recently signed by Gov. Jay Inslee set statewide standards and regulations for riding using electric assist bikes (e-bikes).

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Salaries for Elected Officials

Salaries for Elected Officials

April 12, 2018 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials , Administrative and Elected Officials-County

This blog discusses how salaries for elected officials are set, how they can be changed, and whether an official can request not to be paid.

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Where Do Our Sales Taxes Go?

Where Do Our Sales Taxes Go?

April 9, 2018 by Steve Hawley
Category: Revenues

Have you ever wondered exactly where local sales taxes go or why one jurisdiction has higher (or lower) sales taxes than another?  A new tool from MRSC can help provide some answers.

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Why Are We (Sometimes) So Protective of Public Records?

Why Are We (Sometimes) So Protective of Public Records?

April 6, 2018 by Jim Doherty
Category: Public Records Act

There are strong reasons for not disclosing information in public records that appears to be covered by the statutory exemptions and prohibitions. However, MRSC Legal Consultant Jim Doherty argues local government staff should lean toward disclosing records rather than withholding them.

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Using RFPs as a Competitive Procurement Tool

Using RFPs as a Competitive Procurement Tool

April 3, 2018 by Judy Isaac
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

In this post, Public Works Consultant Judy Isaac examines how an agency can use a Request for Proposals (RFP) as a competitive procurement tool.

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The Future of Voting in Washington

The Future of Voting in Washington

March 29, 2018 by Linda Gallagher
Category: Elections

With the Voting Rights Act of 2018, â€‹Washington State took a step towards ensuring the right to vote for all Washingtonians, especially those in certain protected classes. Legal Consultant Linda Gallagher provides an overview. 

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Increased Marijuana Excise Tax Distributions for Cities and Counties

Increased Marijuana Excise Tax Distributions for Cities and Counties

March 28, 2018 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues , Recreational and Medical Marijuana

Cities and counties that allow marijuana businesses will soon be seeing an increase in state shared revenue distributions following passage of the 2018-2019 state supplemental budget. Finance Consultant Toni Nelson addresses the issue. 

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Having Great Budget Discussions

Having Great Budget Discussions

March 26, 2018 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

Budget discussions offer local governments the opportunity to identify concerns, priorities, and goals. It's also a great opportunity to get and provide updates on key issues, challenges, and accomplishments across the organization. Finance Advisor Mike Bailey offers suggestions on how to make your budget conversations work more efficiently.

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Firearms Regulation at the Local Government Level

Firearms Regulation at the Local Government Level

March 20, 2018 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Licensing and Regulation

In the wake of the latest mass shooting, many are asking what their local governments can do to prevent such tragedies.This blog post discusses state preemption of firearms regulation and explores known options available to municipalities.

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Autonomous Vehicles: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

Autonomous Vehicles: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

March 16, 2018 by Steve Butler
Category: Planning , Transportation and Land Use

Widespread use of autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) may seem too futuristic to seriously contemplate, but autonomous ridesharing vehicles will be here before you know it. Planning Consultant Steve Butler discusses what it means for local governments.

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Safe Parking Programs: A Safe Place to Sleep in Your Car

Safe Parking Programs: A Safe Place to Sleep in Your Car

March 14, 2018 by Oskar Rey
Category: Homelessness

In light of a recent Superior Court ruling, safe parking programs, often sponsored by religious organizations, can offer relief for individuals living in vehicles. Legal Consultant Oskar Rey examines the regulatory role of local government when a religious organization seeks to establish a safe parking program.

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New Ruling Finds Facebook Posts Can Be a Public Record

New Ruling Finds Facebook Posts Can Be a Public Record

March 7, 2018 by Flannary Collins
Category: Public Records Act

A recent ruling in the Washington State Court of Appeals (Division Two) has clarified the circumstances under which personal Facebook posts can be considered public records. Legal Consultant Flannary Collins looks at the case of West v. City of Puyallup

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Street Names: Where Policy and History Meet

Street Names: Where Policy and History Meet

March 5, 2018 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Streets and Sidewalks

Wherever you travel the names of the local streets can help you find your way, confuse you, or very often tell you a bit about the unique history of the community. Having a logical, local policy on street naming (or renaming) can provide help future generations understand and retain the original meaning.

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My Can of Coke Costs What?!!!

My Can of Coke Costs What?!!!

March 1, 2018 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Revenues

Since January 1, 2018, Seattle residents and visitors have found that drinking sweetened drinks cost a little bit more. Legal Consultant Paul Sullivan looks at the city's new sweetened beverage tax, one that is projected to raise almost $15 million in 2018. 

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Is Your Organization Prepared for the #MeToo Movement?

Is Your Organization Prepared for the #MeToo Movement?

February 26, 2018 by Sebris Busto James
Category:

The consequences of failing to prevent or ignoring sexual harassment are significant for an organization, including millions of dollars in litigation and settlements, low employee morale, high turnover, and low productivity. This post looks at recent EEOC activity in this area and offers basic advice to organizations seeking to create a workplace free of any type of harassment. 

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Supreme Court: Fire District Email Policy Violated First Amendment

Supreme Court: Fire District Email Policy Violated First Amendment

February 22, 2018 by Ramsey Ramerman
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Open Government Advisor

A recent Washington Supreme Court ruling found that the Spokane Valley Fire District's policy prohibiting employees from using department email accounts to send religious messages violated the First Amendment. This post looks at the implications for public agencies statewide. 

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Landslide Hazards: Regulating Them Can Be Hazardous

Landslide Hazards: Regulating Them Can Be Hazardous

February 20, 2018 by Greg Wessel
Category: Critical Areas , Emergency Management

Landslides are common throughout the Pacific Northwest. Regulatory agencies and local governments must do their best to understand and document the hazard potential in their jurisdictions. Guest author Greg Wessel looks at the issue and the role of local government in hazard awareness and mitigation. 

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Recapping the February Election Results

Recapping the February Election Results

February 16, 2018 by Steve Hawley
Category: Elections

Olympia passed the state’s second affordable housing sales tax, the Naches fire district will replace its outdated fire station, and Pullman is passing two bond measures, following uncertainty about whether the measures reached their validation requirements in November.

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