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MRSC Insight Blog

Posts for Flannary Collins

A woman abstains from voting on a topic by holding her hand over her mouth

Abstentions, Proxies, and Other Unusual Legislative Body Voting Scenarios

MRSC gets asked about unusual voting situations that can occur during council or commission meetings, such as tie votes or abstentions. Either Robert’s Rules of Order or the agency’s local rules of procedure can offer guidance on how the legislative body should proceed. 

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Bundle of mail marked "return to sender"

Residency Requirements for Local Government Officials and Appointees

Must an elected official, advisory (e.g., volunteer) board member, or city or county administrator reside in the jurisdiction they serve or work for? The answer to this question depends on the position, and in some cases, local policies. 

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A form for purchasing a gun

2023 Brings New Firearms Legislation to Washington State

Several firearms-related bills were passed during the 2023 legislative session, including a ban on assault weapons, and new requirements for firearms purchase, such as background checks and a 10-day waiting period. 

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New Materials Help Local Governments Comply with the Open Public Meetings Act

From our comprehensive Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) publication to new guidance sheets on meeting minutes and meeting agendas, MRSC has revamped and completely updated its OPMA materials — including webpages and downloadable materials — to help agencies stay compliant. 

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A close up of handcuffs set against illegal drugs

New Law on Drug Possession, Use Takes Effect July 1, 2023

After being called back to a special session, the Washington State Legislature passed SB 5536, also known as the Blake Fix, adding a new statewide law on drug use and possession, with most provisions taking effect on July 1, 2023.

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Two officials sitting at a dais during an open public meeting as seen through the lens of a video camera

Practical Tips for Holding Hybrid Meetings

After years of practice during the pandemic, local governments have become accustomed to holding hybrid public meetings, but that doesn't mean the process is always seamless. Fortunately many have developed procedures and methods to address the most common problems.

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A close up of a person working on a laptop to retrieve files while sitting in a sunbeam

It’s Sunshine Week Somewhere

Even during the gloomy winter months, we can all applaud Sunshine Week, which celebrates open government. 

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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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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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Governor Inslee Ends the COVID-19 Emergency

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.

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Washington’s COVID-19 State of Emergency Ends October 31: What Does this Mean for Local Governments?

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?  

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Regulating Firearms in Washington State

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.

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Recruiting for Local Government Positions

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. 

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The OPMA Gets an Update from the Legislature

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.

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State Puts WA Cares on Hold for Now

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.

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Appeals Court Finds Non-Exempt Workers Must be Paid for All Required Out-of-Town Travel 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.

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An Update on the Long-Term Care Trust Act

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.

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COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements in the Local Government Workplace

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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An Overview of New Personnel-Related Bills Adopted in the 2021 Regular Legislative Session

This blog provides an overview of leave-related bills as well as a new state holiday passed during the 2021 regular legislative session. 

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Vaccine Incentive Policies in the Local Government Workplace

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

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