MRSC Insight Blog
Posts for Flannary Collins
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?
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.
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.
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?
Washington State mostly preempts the field of firearm regulation under state law but there are a handful of areas in which local governments can adopt measures to regulate the sale, possession, use, and storage of firearms within their jurisdictions.
Many employers are finding employee recruitment challenging. This blog explores some out-of-the-box approaches to attracting new talent, from signing and referral bonuses, telecommute options and other incentives, as well as what to consider if you hire out-of-state staff.
The 2022 legislative session made changes to the Open Public Meetings Act, some of which take effect immediately and others not until June. This blog looks at new requirements about physical location, special meeting notice, and public comment and clarifies the effective dates.
With new legislation, the WA Cares long-term care insurance program (and the premiums employers were to collect from employees) has been put on hold. This blog looks at the steps local government employers should take at this time.
A recent ruling in Port of Tacoma v. Sacks defines what is considered compensable hours when an employee travels for a work-related purpose.
As of January 2022, employees will begin paying into the state's long-term care insurance benefit, but local governments still have a lot of questions, such as how to handle premiums and program eligibility.
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.
This blog provides an overview of leave-related bills as well as a new state holiday passed during the 2021 regular legislative session.
This blog looks at considerations around vaccine incentive policies in the local government workplace.
This blog provides an overview of the recent state supreme court decision in State v. Blake, which found that Washington’s strict liability drug possession statute was unconstitutional.
This blog explores the options available for local government contracting and agreements related to non-public woks projects.
This blog provides a general overview of firearm regulation in Washington State.
The purpose of this blog post is to highlight the requirements in ESSB 6280, Washington State's new law regulating the use of facial technology software.
This blog post looks at how local governments can avoid violating the Open Public Meetings Act — using questions recently submitted by Washington cites, counties, and special purpose districts.
This blog post provides an overview of the recent Washington Supreme Court ruling addressing whether individual state legislators are subject to the Public Records Act.
This blog post provides an overview of two recent Washington State Supreme Court cases that involved the Public Records Act and offers some key takeaways for local governments to consider.
A new decision from the Washington State Supreme Court addresses the extent of the “Public Records” definition, which now provides more clarity for local governments.
This blog reviews some of the public records bills affecting local governments from the 2019 legislative session.
The Governor’s Women’s Commission has partnered with the Washington State Historical Society and the Women’s History Consortium to create a campaign commemorating the historical achievement of granting women the right to vote in Washington State in 1910.
Is the era of plastic over in Seattle? Managing Attorney Flannary Collins looks at the city's, and other jurisdictions, attempts to ban various products made of plastic, from straws to bags to food-service ware.
The Washington State Legislature passed several bills in the 2017-2018 legislative session related to gender equality and sexual harassment that local governments should be aware of.
A recent ruling in the Washington State Court of Appeals (Division Two) has clarified the circumstances under which personal Facebook posts can be considered public records. Legal Consultant Flannary Collins looks at the case of West v. City of Puyallup.
Seattle rolled out a dockless bike pilot program this past July and the colorful, 2-wheeled results can be seen all over the city. What's next for this program and what do neighboring jurisdictions think about it?
Claiming the lives of 142 Americans every day by drug overdose, the opioid crisis has been called a “Killer Drug Epidemic” and each level of government is reacting. In this blog post, MRSC Legal Consultant Flannary Collins gives a brief overview of the steps that federal, state, and local governments have taken so far to address this crisis.
Governor Inslee signed ESHB 1594 and EHB 1595 on May 16, putting into place a number of notable changes to the PRA and records retention laws applicable to electronic records. So, what has changed in the PRA? In this blog, Flannary Collins takes a look at the highlights.
On March 21, 2017, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office (AGO) issued a new opinion on the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), opining on whether a governing body can conduct a public meeting by telephone (or video) conference call.
It’s a new year and a perfect time for a 2016 PRA case law round up. This blog post recaps major PRA cases from 2016 that should be of continuing interest to Washington's local governments in 2017. Drum roll, please…
The SAO’s performance audit on the PRA highlighted ways to improve records management and the PRA response experience for both agencies and requestors. This blog post will focus on those tips, as well as adding some anecdotes and insights I have gleaned over the past 14 years from working with the PRA.
In my recent PRA Performance Audit: The Costs of Fulfilling PRA Requests blog post, I focused on the SAO’s audit findings related to the costs incurred by public agencies in responding to records requests. This blog post will focus on another aspect of the SAO’s audit: approaches other states and the federal government have taken with their public records laws.
This blog post is the first in a series analyzing the State Auditor’s Office’s (SAO’s) PRA performance audit: The Effect of Public Records Requests on State and Local Governments, and will provide a general overview of the audit with a particular focus on the SAO’s findings related to the costs incurred by public agencies, with future blog posts focusing on other aspects of the audit.
This blog provides answers to a number of interesting questions on disclosure of police records.
Thanks to EHB 2362, there’s a new Public Records Act (PRA) exemption for body camera recordings. However, the new exemption only applies to agencies with body camera programs in effect as of June 9, 2016, so act soon if your agency wants to take advantage of it.
People submit their personal information to public agencies in various contexts, including when a citizen signs up for public comment at an agency meeting, a witness to a crime is interviewed by the police, a new employee is hired by an agency, or a homeowner starts receiving utility services. How much of this personal information is subject to public disclosure?
Effective December 26, 2015, the Washington State Human Rights Commission (HRC) adopted new rules requiring that individuals be allowed to use gender-segregated facilities, such as restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and homeless or emergency shelters, that are consistent with their gender expression or gender identity.
The Local Government Common Records Retention Schedule (CORE) has a new category concerning destruction of Sensitive Authentication Data obtained during financial transactions, such as credit card verification codes.
There’s been quite a bit of buzz recently around the issue of police body cameras – cameras attached to a police officer’s uniform or cap that record conversations and actions of people within the camera’s purview. In addition to the national focus on police body cameras resulting from the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri – for which there was no video recording – a number of jurisdictions in this state, including Spokane and Seattle, are looking at implementing or have implemented police body camera programs. And the Washington State Attorney General just opined on privacy law considerations regarding their use.
Can local governments allow employees and members of the public to charge their personal electric vehicles without a fee or provide other electric charging benefits?
A federal district court judge recently ruled that the City of Yakima’s city council election system violates Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §1973. Observing that no...
Has your agency received "health care information" about a person that it never requested and is not authorized to receive? ("Health care information" is defined in RCW 70.02.010(16).) If so, you need to pay attention to new legislation related to such health care information that took effect on July 1, 2014. This legislation amends the Washington State’s Uniform Health Care Information Act...