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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts by Sarah Doar

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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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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2022 Legislative Updates to Personnel Laws — Salary and Leave

2022 Legislative Updates to Personnel Laws — Salary and Leave

June 27, 2022  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Compensation Leave Policies New Legislation and Regulations

New legislation requires many employers to include wage and benefit information in all job postings and makes changes to the state's Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

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Resolving Financial Conflicts of Interest: Is Abstaining from Voting Enough?

Resolving Financial Conflicts of Interest: Is Abstaining from Voting Enough?

February 22, 2022  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Ethics and Conflicts of Interest

When a governing body votes on contracts, it's important that the individual members not have a conflict of interest in it being awarded to a specific firm. Is it enough for an individual to abstain from voting or should the governing body avoid any chance a conflict may arise?

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You Can’t Ask That! Pop Quiz on Preemployment Inquiries

You Can’t Ask That! Pop Quiz on Preemployment Inquiries

October 4, 2021  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring

Do you know what questions you can and cannot ask job applicants in Washington State? Let’s find out with this pop quiz! 

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Face Coverings and Vaccine Requirements: Where Things Stand as of August 23, 2021

Face Coverings and Vaccine Requirements: Where Things Stand as of August 23, 2021

August 24, 2021  by  Sarah Doar Steve Gross
Category:  Operating Policies COVID-19

This blog covers the latest state-issued face mask requirements, new vaccination requirements for education/childcare staff (including youth parks and recreation programs), and clarifications to existing provisions such as vaccine requirements for law enforcement and contractors.

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Recent Developments in Washington Public Records — June 2021

Recent Developments in Washington Public Records — June 2021

June 14, 2021  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Public Records Act New Legislation and Regulations

This blog reviews recent developments in the law that impacts the disclosure of public records.

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Public Records Act Reports Due July 1, 2021

Public Records Act Reports Due July 1, 2021

May 10, 2021  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Public Records Act

Any public agency that spends over $100,000 in activities associated with managing public records and responding to public records requests will need to file a report on these activities with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee by July 1, 2021. 

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Troublesome Behavior: Defending Against Harassment of Public Officials and Employees

Troublesome Behavior: Defending Against Harassment of Public Officials and Employees

March 18, 2021  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Personnel Policies Administrative and Elected Officials Administrative and Elected Officials-County

This blog explores strategies for dealing with members of the public who cross the line into harassing elected officials or local government staff.

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Taking the Oath of Office During a Pandemic

Taking the Oath of Office During a Pandemic

November 30, 2020  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Administrative and Elected Officials COVID-19

This blog post considers the options available to administer and take the oath of office during a pandemic. 

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Allegations and the PRA: Navigating the Disclosure of Internal Investigations

Allegations and the PRA: Navigating the Disclosure of Internal Investigations

October 19, 2020  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Public Records Act

This blog post looks at questions that might arise when a request is made for a public record pertaining to the internal investigation of an employee. 

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New Legislation Expands Washington’s Anti-Discrimination Law

New Legislation Expands Washington’s Anti-Discrimination Law

June 11, 2020  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring New Legislation and Regulations

This blog post reviews new laws, passed during the 2020 legislative session, that expand the state's anti-discrimination law to prohibit racial discrimination on the basis of hair and discrimination on the basis of citizenship status.

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New Privacy in Public Employment

New Privacy in Public Employment

June 4, 2020  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Public Records Act New Legislation and Regulations

This blog post reviews SSHB 1888, which creates new public records exemptions for certain information in personnel and public employment records and goes into effect on June 11.

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Public Records Considerations in the Era of Telecommuting

Public Records Considerations in the Era of Telecommuting

April 27, 2020  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Public Records Act Operating Policies

This blog post looks at how an agency can exercise some control over its public records when these may be located — or taken — outside the workplace.

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Are Your Public Meetings Truly “Open” to the Public?

Are Your Public Meetings Truly “Open” to the Public?

January 27, 2020  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Public Participation Open Public Meetings Act

This blog post considers how local governments could make public meetings even more accessible to the public. 

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The Oath of Office for Local Elected Officials

The Oath of Office for Local Elected Officials

December 6, 2019  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Administrative and Elected Officials

This blog post covers the basics of the oath of office for local elected officials, such as when it can be taken, who can administer it, and how it should be worded. 

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Preparing for and Responding to Emergencies: 2019 Legislation

Preparing for and Responding to Emergencies: 2019 Legislation

September 26, 2019  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Emergency Management New Legislation and Regulations

This blog post looks at SB 5514, HB 1147, and SB 5012, three pieces of recent legislation that address how local governments and law enforcement should respond during active emergencies. 

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New Workplace Protections for Washington Public Employees

New Workplace Protections for Washington Public Employees

July 22, 2019  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring New Legislation and Regulations

With recent changes in statutes and caselaw, now is a good time for Washington State public employers to review their personnel policies and ensure that they are up to date.

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Limits on Pre-Election Litigation Involving Local Ballot Initiatives

Limits on Pre-Election Litigation Involving Local Ballot Initiatives

June 13, 2019  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Elections Court Decisions and AGO Opinions

A recent court ruling now means that Washington local governments cannot spend public funds to judicially challenge proposed ballot initiatives. This blog post provides an overview of that ruling. 

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It’s a Dirty Job, But Somebody Has To Do It: Meeting the Public Records Challenge

It’s a Dirty Job, But Somebody Has To Do It: Meeting the Public Records Challenge

April 23, 2019  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Public Records Act

Written by Sarah Doar, MRSC Legal Consultant, this blog post looks at some common questions MRSC receives regarding public records management. 

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Nothing but a Number: Age-Based Employment Discrimination After <em>Mount Lemmon</em>

Nothing but a Number: Age-Based Employment Discrimination After Mount Lemmon

January 3, 2019  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring Termination and Retirement

Examining age discrimination laws that apply to local governments in Washington, following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Mount Lemmon which held that all local governments, including those with less than 20 employees, are subject to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

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Walking on Murky Waters: The New PRA Exemption for Religious Affiliation

Walking on Murky Waters: The New PRA Exemption for Religious Affiliation

November 5, 2018  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Public Records Act New Legislation and Regulations

With the passage of HB 2097, the Washington State Legislature prohibited state or local agencies from providing personally identifiable information that could be used to create a federal religious affiliation, national origin, or ethnicity registry for law enforcement or immigration purposes. 

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Introducing Sarah Doar, Legal Consultant

Introducing Sarah Doar, Legal Consultant

September 25, 2018  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  MRSC News and Updates

This blog post introduces Sarah Doar, MRSC's newest Legal Consultant. 

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