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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Sarah Doar

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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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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2022 Court Legislation Impacting Local Governments

2022 Court Legislation Impacting Local Governments

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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 Mount Lemmon

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

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Mount Lemmon held that all local governments, including those with less than 20 employees, are subject to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). How does that impact local governments in Washington?

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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

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

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

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