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Elections Integrity and Security: Part 2

Elections Integrity and Security: Part 2

October 3, 2022  by  Linda Gallagher
Category:  Elections

In the second part of our series on election security measures, we look at how elections offices verify and tabulate votes to ensure a complete result, and under what conditions and how a recount happens.

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Can the Mayor Take Part in Discussion?

Can the Mayor Take Part in Discussion?

September 28, 2022  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Forms of Government-City Legislative Body Guest Author

In many cities, the mayor also acts as the meeting chair. While Robert's Rules directs the chair of large groups of 12 or more members to refrain from taking part in a discussion (and focus on facilitating), these rules do not automatically apply to smaller groups.

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Elections Integrity and Security: Part 1

Elections Integrity and Security: Part 1

September 26, 2022  by  Linda Gallagher
Category:  Elections

Free, fair, and accurate elections are a hallmark of our democratic system. Washington State has enacted a number of measures to protect each person’s right to vote and to ensure that elections statewide are safe and secure.

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Equitable Community Engagement in Comprehensive Plan Updates

Equitable Community Engagement in Comprehensive Plan Updates

September 21, 2022  by  Rosie Cullen
Category:  Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management Inclusive Communities Guest Author

Many local governments are updating their comprehensive plans, and in doing so, some are looking at how to develop intentional strategies that actively engage underrepresented communities in order to build a more equitable plan update in the process. 

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2022 Court Legislation Impacting Local Governments

2022 Court Legislation Impacting Local Governments

September 19, 2022  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Courts and Criminal Justice System New Legislation and Regulations

A few bills from the 2022 Regular Legislative Session deal with courts in a manner that will impact local governments, including giving courts more flexibility to not impose certain legal financial obligations or to waive those obligations.  

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Increasing Local Housing Supply Through Missing Middle Housing

Increasing Local Housing Supply Through Missing Middle Housing

September 14, 2022  by  Steve Butler
Category:  Housing

Local governments seeking to expand housing options may want to consider a missing middle program that champions use of housing types which may fly under the radar, such as cottage housing, duplexes, and triplexes, alongside more trendy approaches like live-work developments. 

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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Censuring Members of a Governing Body

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Censuring Members of a Governing Body

September 12, 2022  by  Steve Gross
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Legislative Body

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling supports the ability of a governing body to censure one of its members if that person's action obstructs or hinders the body's ability to perform its day-to-day functions. 

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Beat the Heat with Heat Pumps

Beat the Heat with Heat Pumps

September 7, 2022  by  Lou Finazzo
Category:  Climate Change Energy Resources and Conservation Guest Author

Some local governments are turning to high-efficiency, electric-powered heat pumps as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including developing programs that incentivize homeowners to install them in their place of residence. 

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Why Are There so Many Types of Cities and Counties? A Guide to Municipal Classifications and Forms of Government

Why Are There so Many Types of Cities and Counties? A Guide to Municipal Classifications and Forms of Government

September 6, 2022  by  Oskar Rey
Category:  Classification Forms of Government-City Forms of Government-County

Washington State has a broad array of local governments that vary in terms of classification as well as form, and these concepts highlight the parameters under which cities, towns, and counties operate and govern.

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New Resource Helps Local Government and Private Contractors Dig Into Public Works

New Resource Helps Local Government and Private Contractors Dig Into Public Works

August 31, 2022  by  Josh Klika
Category:  Purchasing and Contracting

In partnership with the Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), MRSC is launching "Digging Into Public Works," an initiative that will connect, educate, and engage local government staff and private contractors in the field of public works.

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Budget Hearings: How Many Do You Need?

Budget Hearings: How Many Do You Need?

August 29, 2022  by  MRSC Insight
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting Legislative Body

During budget season, many local government staff and elected officials often wonder how many public hearings are required to complete the budget process. The answer generally depends on type of government and the reason for the hearing. 

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Funding Local Affordable Housing Efforts

Funding Local Affordable Housing Efforts

August 24, 2022  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  Revenues Housing

It can be difficult for cities, towns, and counties to fund local affordable housing programs, but there are some options available, from taxing options to federal and state grant programs. 

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New Legislation, Guidance Targets a Green Energy Future in Washington

New Legislation, Guidance Targets a Green Energy Future in Washington

August 22, 2022  by  Leah LaCivita
Category:  Climate Change Energy Resources and Conservation New Legislation and Regulations

In a push to carbon neutrality, Washington State agencies and the legislature have put in place laws and mandates designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in buildings, invest in transportation alternatives, reduce waste, and expedite the approval of green energy projects.  

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Supporting/Opposing Ballot Measures and Candidates

Supporting/Opposing Ballot Measures and Candidates

August 17, 2022  by  MRSC Insight
Category:  Elections

Election season raises many questions for local government staff and elected officials, especially when it comes to ballot measures and candidates running for office. What are the rules for supporting or opposing an issue or a candidate and how do these apply?  

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Closed Captioning: A Language Access Tool

Closed Captioning: A Language Access Tool

August 16, 2022  by  Linda Gallagher
Category:  New Legislation and Regulations Inclusive Communities

SB 5027, which passed during the 2021 legislative session, requires closed captioning be used on televisions in public places, including in local government-owned facilities, when the technology is available.

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Natural Hazards Planning Expertise and Resources for Local Governments

Natural Hazards Planning Expertise and Resources for Local Governments

August 10, 2022  by  Tricia Sears Greg Wessel
Category:  Emergency Management Guest Author

Because local governments focus on safety and welfare of their communities, they are the first to be called on when a natural hazard strikes. Fortunately state agencies and nonprofits can offer assistance and expertise to better mitigate risk of hazards when regulating land use.

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Responding to Sea Level Rise: A Multijurisdictional Approach to Protecting Downtown Olympia

Responding to Sea Level Rise: A Multijurisdictional Approach to Protecting Downtown Olympia

August 8, 2022  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Climate Change Interlocal Cooperation

With a history of flooding and concerns about sea level rise due to climate change, Olympia has teamed up with other jurisdictions to address this potential challenge and safeguard vital services.

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A New Approach for Dealing with Conditional Uses in Your Zoning Code

A New Approach for Dealing with Conditional Uses in Your Zoning Code

August 3, 2022  by  Steve Butler
Category:  Development Regulations and Zoning

Conditional use permits, most often used for certain land uses that might not normally fit into a zoning category but could work if the proposed use meets certain conditions, can be made into a more efficient and effective zoning tool with some modifications. 

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2023 Budget Suggestions is Here

2023 Budget Suggestions is Here

August 1, 2022  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting New Legislation and Regulations

With legislative updates, state shared revenue projections, a preview of the implicit price deflator, and other budgetary and economic information, MRSC’s 2023 Budget Suggestions can help cities and counties develop their budgets for the coming year.

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Transportation Network Companies: New Legislation Addresses Long-Standing Issues

Transportation Network Companies: New Legislation Addresses Long-Standing Issues

July 27, 2022  by  Steve Gross
Category:  Licensing and Regulation

ESHB 2076 creates uniform statewide regulations for Transportation Network Companies to ensure vehicles are safe and fares are transparent, but also to establish minimum per mile, minute, and trip rates for company drivers and provide them with benefits like paid sick time.

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