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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for COVID-19

Continued Use of the Public Right-of-Way for Outside Dining

Continued Use of the Public Right-of-Way for Outside Dining

May 12, 2022  by  Steve Butler
Category:  Streets and Sidewalks COVID-19

This blog examines the key components of local parklet/streatery programs that were established during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and how Washington’s local governments are now evaluating the future of those programs.

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OPMA/PRA Emergency Proclamation Will Expire June 1

OPMA/PRA Emergency Proclamation Will Expire June 1

May 2, 2022  by  Steve Gross
Category:  Open Public Meetings Act Public Records Act COVID-19

Pandemic-related restrictions on public meetings and the processing of public records will no longer be in effect this coming June, per the newly released Proclamation 20-28.16. 

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Statewide Mask Mandate Lifted

Statewide Mask Mandate Lifted

March 21, 2022  by  Linda Gallagher
Category:  COVID-19

Governor Inslee has lifted Washington's statewide mask mandate. This blog looks at where masks are still required, what happens next, and how local governments may be impacted.

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Pierce County Offers a Model for Distributing Pandemic-Related Assistance Funding

Pierce County Offers a Model for Distributing Pandemic-Related Assistance Funding

January 31, 2022  by  Leah LaCivita
Category:  Revenues COVID-19

With just three staff, the Pierce County’s Rental & Utility Assistance Program has distributed $59,100 in overdue rental payments and $14,800 in utility payments to needy households since late 2020. This blog looks at how the program works and what makes it successful. 

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Treasury Releases Final Rule on American Rescue Plan Fiscal Recovery Funds

Treasury Releases Final Rule on American Rescue Plan Fiscal Recovery Funds

January 24, 2022  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  COVID-19 Federal Funding

Local governments seeking guidance on how to use Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) now have an answer in the recently released Final Rule from the ​U.S. Department of Treasury.

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Supreme Court Issues First Opinions on Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

Supreme Court Issues First Opinions on Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

January 18, 2022  by  Steve Gross
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Personnel Policies Operating Policies COVID-19

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily stopped the implementation and enforcement of a federal rule calling for large U.S. employers to require employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. Following the decision, OSHA withdrew the proposed rule.

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Vaccine Mandates: Accommodating Disability and Religious Belief Exemptions

Vaccine Mandates: Accommodating Disability and Religious Belief Exemptions

October 11, 2021  by  Linda Gallagher
Category:  COVID-19

At this point in the pandemic, vaccine mandates of some form can be found at the national, state, and local levels. For those employees seeking exemptions from the mandate, what is the process employers must undergo to review and possibly accommodate such requests?

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Utility Late Fee/Shutoff Moratorium Expires September 30: Now What?

Utility Late Fee/Shutoff Moratorium Expires September 30: Now What?

September 7, 2021  by  Steve Gross
Category:  Utilities - Billing and Collection COVID-19

With the expiration of Governor Inslee's moratorium on utility shutoff drawing near, local governments are wondering what comes next. 
 

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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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COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements in the Local Government Workplace

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements in the Local Government Workplace

August 11, 2021  by  Flannary Collins
Category:  Personnel Policies COVID-19

This blog post looks at the legal authority for government employers to require employees to be vaccinated, as well as the main issues to consider before establishing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program.

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Employee Bonuses and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Employee Bonuses and the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 10, 2021  by  Oskar Rey
Category:  Compensation COVID-19

This blog considers whether local governments may give bonuses to employees for working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Vaccine Incentive Policies in the Local Government Workplace

Vaccine Incentive Policies in the Local Government Workplace

June 3, 2021  by  Flannary Collins
Category:  Operating Policies COVID-19

This blog looks at considerations around vaccine incentive policies in the local government workplace.

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Treasury Issues Guidance for Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

Treasury Issues Guidance for Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

May 13, 2021  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  COVID-19 Federal Funding

This blog post reviews the May 2021 interim guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury regarding how Local Fiscal Recovery Funds may be spent under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), including allowed uses, replacing lost revenues, and reporting requirements.

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Countering Racial Bias and Harassment Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Countering Racial Bias and Harassment Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 22, 2021  by  Byron Katsuyama
Category:  Inclusive Communities COVID-19

This blog post looks at how local governments can counter racial bias and harassment that's arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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American Rescue Plan Provides More Relief to Local Governments

American Rescue Plan Provides More Relief to Local Governments

March 17, 2021  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  COVID-19 Federal Funding

The American Rescue Plan Act ("ARP" or "ARPA") provides significant new funds for local governments, as well as an optional expansion of FFCRA leave. While we don't yet know all the logistics, this blog post provides a preliminary overview.

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New Federal Funding for Rent and Utility Assistance

New Federal Funding for Rent and Utility Assistance

March 1, 2021  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  COVID-19 Federal Funding

This blog provides an overview of new funding available through the Coronavirus Response Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) to help with rent and utility assistance for any households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Caring for the Homeless Challenged by Winter Weather, COVID-19

Caring for the Homeless Challenged by Winter Weather, COVID-19

January 25, 2021  by  Leah LaCivita
Category:  Homelessness COVID-19

This blog post looks at how local governments are providing for the homeless, despite the twin challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and winter weather.

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W-2 Reporting for FFCRA Wages and Social Security Tax Deferrals

W-2 Reporting for FFCRA Wages and Social Security Tax Deferrals

January 14, 2021  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  Accounting Leave Policies COVID-19

This blog reviews how to properly report Families First Coronavirus Response Act leave wages and Social Security tax deferrals on Form W-2.

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Disaster Zone: COVID After-Action Reports

Disaster Zone: COVID After-Action Reports

January 11, 2021  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog looks at the role of the after-action response in disaster planning and offers shared after-action insights local governments are finding in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Trial by Zoom: Using Online Platforms in Administrative Proceedings, Trials, and Oral Arguments

Trial by Zoom: Using Online Platforms in Administrative Proceedings, Trials, and Oral Arguments

December 28, 2020  by  Clara Park
Category:  Land Use Administration Courts and Criminal Justice System COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post discusses the current state of virtual proceedings and offers pointers for anyone navigating the shift from in-person to virtual proceedings.

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Protecting Public Works Projects from COVID-19 Economic Impacts

Protecting Public Works Projects from COVID-19 Economic Impacts

December 11, 2020  by  Lane Powell
Category:  Administration COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post reviews how local governments can protect public works projects from COVID-19-related economic impacts. 

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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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Six-County Pilot Program to Help with Eviction Backlog

Six-County Pilot Program to Help with Eviction Backlog

November 25, 2020  by  Leah LaCivita
Category:  Housing COVID-19

This blog covers the pilot Eviction Resolution Program, a court-based approach to resolve more eviction-related cases before a landlord has the need to file an unlawful detainer action. 

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COVID-19 Pandemic Makes Economic Development More Important Than Ever

COVID-19 Pandemic Makes Economic Development More Important Than Ever

November 19, 2020  by  Steve Butler
Category:  Strategies and Programs COVID-19

This blog looks at what activities local governments can undertake to assist local businesses. 

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Encouraging Small-Scale Manufacturing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Encouraging Small-Scale Manufacturing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

September 25, 2020  by  Steve Butler
Category:  Strategies and Programs COVID-19

This blog post looks at small-scale manufacturing, its role in a strong local economy, and how local governments can encourage the growth of these critical businesses. 

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Keeping People Housed: Homelessness Prevention Strategies to Bridge Emergencies

Keeping People Housed: Homelessness Prevention Strategies to Bridge Emergencies

September 10, 2020  by  Laura Crandall
Category:  Housing Homelessness COVID-19

This blog post identifies root cause contributors to homelessness and details a variety of prevention strategies for local governments.

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President’s Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations

President’s Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations

September 1, 2020  by  Toni Nelson
Category:  Compensation COVID-19

This blog post reviews a recent federal memorandum directing the U.S. Treasury to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of Social Security taxes on wages and compensation paid during September 1 through December 31, 2020.

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Locating Good Data for Your Revenue Forecasting

Locating Good Data for Your Revenue Forecasting

August 21, 2020  by  Mike Bailey
Category:  Revenues COVID-19

Traditional approaches to revenue forecasting will not be sufficient during the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog post explores where to find good data and get more accurate ways to predict future revenues. 

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Election Season Rules – Does COVID-19 Change the Game?

Election Season Rules – Does COVID-19 Change the Game?

August 10, 2020  by  Steve Gross
Category:  Elections COVID-19

Can an employee post a political sign in their home office? Should elected officials take part in PSA's? This blog explores how standard rules governing what government resources can and cannot be used for during campaign season, and how these rules apply during the pandemic. 

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Quickly Switching Over to an Online Permitting/Plan Review System

Quickly Switching Over to an Online Permitting/Plan Review System

June 18, 2020  by  Steve Butler
Category:  Land Use Administration COVID-19

This blog post highlights local planning/building departments that quickly converted from a traditional permitting/plan review process to an online system.

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Creative Use of Street ROW During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Creative Use of Street ROW During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 3, 2020  by  Steve Butler
Category:  Streets and Sidewalks COVID-19

This blog post reviews how local governments can allow temporary use of the public ROW for business activity during the pandemic. 

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Planning for the Safe Reopening of Public Buildings

Planning for the Safe Reopening of Public Buildings

May 14, 2020  by  Steve Butler
Category:  COVID-19

Local governments are in the process of planning how and when they will reopen facilities, both for staff and for the public. This blog post offers some suggestions to consider in a phased reopening. 

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Engaging in a Pixelated Public Square

Engaging in a Pixelated Public Square

April 20, 2020  by  Laura Crandall
Category:  Legislative Body COVID-19

This blog post looks at which video platforms are best for what use, how public comment may be made for remote public meetings, and discusses various electronic public engagement platforms.

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Furloughs and More: Employer Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Furloughs and More: Employer Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 16, 2020  by  Oskar Rey
Category:  Termination and Retirement COVID-19

This blog post looks at an employer's options for managing its workforce during the region-wide shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Additional Rights for Employees at High Risk for Coronavirus Complications

Additional Rights for Employees at High Risk for Coronavirus Complications

April 15, 2020  by  Karen Sutherland
Category:  Leave Policies COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post reviews Proclamation 20-46, which provides additional rights and protections for workers at high risk for coronavirus complications.

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Using Electronic Signatures During Emergencies

Using Electronic Signatures During Emergencies

April 13, 2020  by  Flannary Collins
Category:  COVID-19

This blog post looks at how an agency can use electronic rather than ink signatures to process documents and keep its operations going, even in the event of an emergency. 

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Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

April 9, 2020  by  Roger Neal
Category:  Management COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post looks at how agencies can apply risk management strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Being Cyber Aware in the Age of COVID-19

Being Cyber Aware in the Age of COVID-19

April 8, 2020  by  Tracy Burrows
Category:  Cybersecurity COVID-19

This blog posts looks at cyber threats that have taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and offers tips for local governments to help protect their resources. 

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Waiving Competitive Bidding Requirements in the Event of an Emergency

Waiving Competitive Bidding Requirements in the Event of an Emergency

April 6, 2020  by  MRSC Insight
Category:  Emergency Management Purchasing and Contracting COVID-19

This blog post reviews the rules relating to waiving competitive bidding requirements during emergency situations.

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The PRA and Third-Party Notice During Emergency Court Shutdowns

The PRA and Third-Party Notice During Emergency Court Shutdowns

March 31, 2020  by  Morgan Damerow
Category:  Public Records Act COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post offers public agencies guidance on how to provide third-party notification for public records requests during a period when local superior courts have shut down or drastically cut back on hours. 

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Continuity of Operations During the COVID-19 Emergency

Continuity of Operations During the COVID-19 Emergency

March 27, 2020  by  Byron Katsuyama
Category:  Emergency Management COVID-19

This article discusses measures that local governments have taken or may want to consider taking to ensure the continuity of their operations as they respond to COVID-19, including governance and management, remote work, website communications, employee support, and more.

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Tips for Government Bodies Meeting Remotely

Tips for Government Bodies Meeting Remotely

March 26, 2020  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post offers guidelines and tips for conducting successful remote local government meetings.

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