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MRSC Insight Blog


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Elected Officials and Benefits Programs

Are elected officials considered employees? If so, are they eligible for the various benefits programs provided for in state law? This simple question requires a case-by-case examination of eligible state-based benefits programs. 

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Are You Up-to-Date on the Open Public Meetings Act? Test Your Knowledge

Are You Up-to-Date on the Open Public Meetings Act? Test Your Knowledge

Since 2020, the Open Public Meetings Act has gone through significant changes, requiring local government staff and elected officials to stay abreast of the changes. How confident are you in your OPMA knowledge?

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Map of Washington State showing how frequency of days reaching a humidity index over 90 degrees might change from 2050-2079

A New Climate Planning Tool for Local Governments

The online tool, Climate Mapping for a Resilient Washington, is a compilation of the best existing climate projection information for the state and includes information on state-specific climate hazards such as reduced snowpack, sea level rise, flooding, and more. 

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New Legal Requirements for Job Postings

New Legal Requirements for Job Postings

Beginning January 1, 2023, public and private employers in Washington State with 15 or more employees are now required to include compensation and benefits information in job postings.

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Taking a Break – A Primer on Legal and Other Holidays

Taking a Break – A Primer on Legal and Other Holidays

People love holidays, but how do these impact government? Which holidays will an agency observe? Will offices be closed? Will it include paid time off for staff? To answer these questions, an agency should make its holiday schedule and policies around holidays readily available.

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New Technology, Same Old Open Government Challenges

New Technology, Same Old Open Government Challenges

Software such as Microsoft Teams can help to facilitate communication in a workplace, but the use of such tools is tricky for governing bodies whose meetings must be open to the public and whose communications should be easily searchable if a public records request arises.

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The Breakdown of Compost Product Purchasing

The Breakdown of Compost Product Purchasing

Any agency required to adopt a Compost Procurement Ordinance must also use compost for four specified types of projects and will need to report to the state on compost-related purchases. These agencies have some options in terms of where and how to purchase the product.

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Public Safety Tools — Is a Stay Out of Drug Area Ordinance the Right Tool for You?

Public Safety Tools — Is a Stay Out of Drug Area Ordinance the Right Tool for You?

A Stay Out of Drug Area (SODA) ordinance is one way a local government can restrict the sales or use of illegal drugs in public places. However, SODA ordinances must be well-designed to avoid legal scrutiny and to ensure they do not disproportionally affect certain populations.

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Funding for Broadband Expansion

Funding for Broadband Expansion

Is your local government looking to expand broadband access to un- or underserved communities? Fortunately, there are existing state and federal grant programs to tap for help as well as exciting new federal funding opportunities.

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Local Governments Prepare for Broadband Expansion

Local Governments Prepare for Broadband Expansion

With potential new sources of funding to support the expansion of reliable broadband services, local governments across Washington are busy building partnerships, identifying un- and underserved areas, and planning equitable deployment strategies to reach all communities.

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The Role of Cities and Counties in Keeping Winter Walking (and Driving) Safe

The Role of Cities and Counties in Keeping Winter Walking (and Driving) Safe

When winter approaches, a local government should encourage property owners to maintain sidewalks and keep them safe for pedestrians while also ensuring that it has a well-thought-out plan for keeping its municipal roadways safe and navigable.

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Privacy v. Security: Use of Security Cameras on Government Property

Privacy v. Security: Use of Security Cameras on Government Property

While governmental use of security cameras can be a useful tool, agencies should take care to adopt a policy that outlines the precise ways in which the cameras will be used and how the recordings will be managed. 

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Recapping the November 2022 Ballot Measure Results

Recapping the November 2022 Ballot Measure Results

As with many past elections, this past November brought voters over 100 local ballot measures across the state, from libraries to bond measures to levy lid lifts. New this year, however, were several measures involving ranked-choice voting and home rule charter propositions.

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A Gift? For Me? The Basics of Gifts for Municipal Officers and Employees

A Gift? For Me? The Basics of Gifts for Municipal Officers and Employees

Among many issues that municipal officials and employees should treat with caution is the acceptance of gifts — especially those given in connection with their position or duties. In addition to raising concerns about propriety, acceptance of such a gift may violate state law.

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Complete Streets Flourishing in Washington

Complete Streets Flourishing in Washington

Many Washington cities, towns, and counties have implemented complete streets programs to encourage safe access for all users, regardless of mode of transit. These programs vary from place to place, each meeting the specialized needs of local communities. 

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New Law Requires Compost Procurement Ordinances by January 1

New Law Requires Compost Procurement Ordinances by January 1

A new state law covering organic materials management requires compost procurement ordinances for certain cities, towns, and counties by January 1, 2023. These ordinances must set forth how compost will be procured, purchased, and incorporated into applicable projects.

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Infill Housing Approaches: Targeting the Missing Middle and Accessory Dwellings

Infill Housing Approaches: Targeting the Missing Middle and Accessory Dwellings

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

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?

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

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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