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MRSC Insight Blog

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A diverse group of happy adults and kids sitting in a garden

Whatcom County Boosts Engagement Efforts to Build a More Equitable Advisory Board

In order to contribute to building the health and well-being of young children and their families, Whatcom County developed a diverse, community-driven Child and Family Well-Being Task Force through innovative policies and increased community engagement. 

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Man asks question during political meeting

Don’t Get into Back-and-Forth Exchanges During Public Comment

The public comment period of a public meeting can be a great time to hear from constituents and to be heard. However, elected officials should not use this period to get into back-and-forth exchanges with members of the public — for a variety of reasons.

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Tree on stack of silver coins and hand filling glass jar with coins

Implementation Strategies for Climate Action and Sustainability Plans, Part 2

The Inflation Reduction Act (2022) funds infrastructure projects focused on clean energy and climate resilience through tax credits. With a total of $47 billion available to local governments, even the smaller funding programs established through the Act are significant.

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A hand chooses among several options of social media apps

Navigating the Shifting Landscape of Social Media

Despite the many challenges local governments face in using social media platforms, these tools offer huge benefits in terms of immediacy and reach. Agencies can put safeguards in place to stay focused even when the social media landscape seems to be in turmoil. 

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Two people with opposing views

Managing Conflict at Work with Strategies that Actually Work

By putting certain strategies into place, organizations and teams can set themselves up for healthy conflict that results in better outputs and greater inclusion and satisfaction among employees. 

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Female colleagues, one wearing a hijab, working at computer desk

New Supreme Court Ruling Clarifies Undue Hardship Standard, Makes It Harder to Prove

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on a religious accommodation claim in the case of Gross v. DeJoy, rejecting the prior standard that employers could deny a requested accommodation if the cost would be “more than de minimis."

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Two sets of hands nestled into one another holding an image of a house

How Local Governments Can Effectively Partner with Community Land Trusts

Local governments can tap into numerous financial, administrative, and related tools to help community land trusts kickstart affordable housing development efforts, sustain ongoing operations, or promote new development. 

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Close up of a hand choosing a mini wooden house from among several models offered

Building Affordable Housing Through Community Land Trusts

Affordable housing options developed via community land trusts offer significant community development benefits, such as stabilizing hot real estate markets, ensuring long-term tenant stability, and providing investment opportunities to can build household wealth.

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Smartphone on wooden table shows a whistleblower alert from an anonymous caller

Personnel Issues of Note from the 2023 Legislative Session

New state personnel laws establish protections for certain whistleblowers, amend the statutory definition of employment, modify procedures for reviewing and approving requests for partial wage replacement for unemployed workers, and update hospital staffing standards.

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A notebook for meeting minutes, lies between a pen and an hourglass

Less Is More: Action Minutes Save Time, Serve the Agency Best

Public meetings of a governing body can cover a variety of topics and include countless important decisions that will impact the agency and its communities. Action minutes can help the body focus on what was done during the meeting rather than what was said.

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A woman in a wheelchair attends a remote work meeting from home using a desktop computer.

Telecommuting in the Post-Pandemic Age and Legal Considerations

In the post-pandemic age, remote work appears here to stay, but has your public agency holistically addressed telecommuting such that it realizes the benefits of the approach and avoids creating excessive legal liabilities? 

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Close up of a hand interacting with an AI prompt on a computer screen

Use of Generative AI by Local Governments

Local government employees are among some of the 100 million individuals beginning to embrace generative artificial intelligence (AI) at work, but agencies should carefully consider both the legal and ethical ramifications related to use of this new technology

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An hourglass filled with sand sits in front of a calendar

JLARC Public Records Reporting Deadline 7/1

Many local governments will be reporting public records request data from 2022 to the JLARC Public Records Reporting System. Learn answers to frequently asked questions regarding the reporting process before the July 1 reporting deadline.

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Many hands in a multitude of colors surround and stretch towards the earth

Centering Equity in Climate Plans and Programs

As new legislation (HB 1181) has added equity components to the Growth Management Act, it is essential to understand what climate equity means and how it is successfully being carried out by local governments across the state.

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During a meeting of a small group around a table, one of the members puts his head down on the table because he is dismayed at what is happening.

Four Bad Habits Governing Bodies Should Avoid When Meeting

Whether it's due to heightened emotions or misunderstanding how to apply Roberts Rules, meetings of public agencies can sometimes go awry. Guest author and Parliamentarian Ann Macfarlane provides some procedural tips to governing bodies seeking more effective meetings. 

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Rights and Limits on Filming in Public Facilities

First Amendment Audits, when a person records an interaction with a government official or staff member, can be uncomfortable at best, and possibly even veer into harassment. How can an agency ensure the safety of staff without violating the First Amendment Rights of the auditor?

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Hands are protecting a logo

Protecting Your Local Brand: Federal, State, and Local Strategies

Local governments wishing to trademark a logo or seal may find an uphill battle in getting federal protection, but other options exist for protecting local brands.

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Integrating Best Available Science: New Tools for Land Use Planning & Emergency Management

The state's Washington Geological Survey is offering new and updated resources to help local governments integrate the best available science into their land use planning and emergency management efforts. 

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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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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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