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Infill Housing Approaches: Targeting the Missing Middle and Accessory Dwellings

Infill Housing Approaches: Targeting the Missing Middle and Accessory Dwellings

November 16, 2022  by  Steve Butler
Category:  Housing

As cities and counties look to expand housing supply in their communities, many are considering infill development, or developing vacant or under-utilized parcels within existing, developed areas. Missing middle housing and accessory dwelling units are two options to consider.

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Data as Records: PRA Disclosure of Database Information

Data as Records: PRA Disclosure of Database Information

November 14, 2022  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Public Records Act

Fulfilling a public records request that seeks information contained in a database can be challenging. Local government staff must understand they have an obligation to produce data within a database but must come up with a practical method to do so. 

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How Can Local Governments Celebrate the Holidays?

How Can Local Governments Celebrate the Holidays?

November 9, 2022  by  MRSC Insight
Category:  Governance Gift of Public Funds

Celebrating the winter holidays can be fun, but local governments and their staff and elected officials must think carefully before pulling out decorations, planning parties, or accepting gifts. 

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Care and Feeding of Your Library Collection Policy

Care and Feeding of Your Library Collection Policy

November 7, 2022  by  Steve Gross Tamara R. Meredith
Category:  Management Guest Author

All libraries, whether they are independent districts or part of a city or town, should have both a sound collection management policy and an understanding of how to implement that policy in a way that furthers the library’s mission while reducing legal risks.

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Governor Inslee Ends the COVID-19 Emergency

Governor Inslee Ends the COVID-19 Emergency

November 2, 2022  by  Flannary Collins
Category:  COVID-19

The governor officially terminated all remaining proclamations effective at 11:59 PM on October 31. The new documents confirm what we wrote previously, but this article provides a few small clarifications regarding vaccination requirements, face masks, and reporting/notification.

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Legal Publication Requirements and the Decline of the Local Newspaper

Legal Publication Requirements and the Decline of the Local Newspaper

October 31, 2022  by  Jill Dvorkin
Category:  Legislative Body

Cities, towns, and counties must designate an “official newspaper” to meet certain publication requirements. Other statutes require notice or publication in a “newspaper of general circulation.” What happens when there are fewer qualified newspapers to choose from?

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Using Levy Lid Lifts to Finance Public Salaries and Services

Using Levy Lid Lifts to Finance Public Salaries and Services

October 27, 2022  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  Property Taxes

Local governments looking to use levy lid lifts to help with increased costs should carefully consider several issues, such as type, duration, future fiscal need, capacity, and how to best frame the lid lift for a successful vote.

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Annexing Non-Contiguous Territory Outside City or Town Limits

Annexing Non-Contiguous Territory Outside City or Town Limits

October 24, 2022  by  MRSC Insight
Category:  Annexation

The Municipal Purpose Method of annexation is the only method available for a city or town wishing to annex territory non-contiguous to its jurisdictional boundaries. 

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Parking Reform: Part 2

Parking Reform: Part 2

October 19, 2022  by  Lisa Pool
Category:  Climate Change Housing Parking

Increasingly, many local governments are shifting away from requiring too much off-street parking, citing social, economic, and/or environmental reasons. What tools can these communities use to better manage existing parking supply and to anticipate future needs?

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New Ninth Circuit Ruling Addresses Anti-Camping Ordinances

New Ninth Circuit Ruling Addresses Anti-Camping Ordinances

October 17, 2022  by  Oskar Rey
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Homelessness

Last month, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that provides clarification and guidance to local governments on camping bans and ordinances. 

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Parking Reform Advances Climate Action, Housing Affordability, and More: Part 1

Parking Reform Advances Climate Action, Housing Affordability, and More: Part 1

October 12, 2022  by  Lisa Pool
Category:  Climate Change Housing Parking

While parking is an important commodity for a community, too much parking can prevent the land from being used for another purpose, encourage excess car travel, and possibly make other forms of transportation, like biking or walking, both more complicated and dangerous.

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Managing Unexpected Elections Issues

Managing Unexpected Elections Issues

October 10, 2022  by  MRSC Insight
Category:  Elections

Sometimes unexpected and unusual situations can arise during the election process, such as a tie between candidates or the withdrawal or death of a candidate before the election takes place.

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Washington’s COVID-19 State of Emergency Ends October 31: What Does this Mean for Local Governments?

Washington’s COVID-19 State of Emergency Ends October 31: What Does this Mean for Local Governments?

October 6, 2022  by  Flannary Collins
Category:  Open Public Meetings Act COVID-19

Washington's state of emergency and remaining emergency proclamations related to the COVID-19 pandemic are scheduled to be lifted on October 31, 2022. What impact will this have on open public meetings, vaccine mandates, and requirements related to masking and disease tracking?  

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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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