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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Guest Author

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

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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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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Can the Mayor Take Part in Discussion?

Can the Mayor Take Part in Discussion?

In many cities, the mayor also acts as the meeting chair. While Robert's Rules directs the chair of large groups of 12 or more members to refrain from taking part in a discussion (and focus on facilitating), these rules do not automatically apply to smaller groups.

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Equitable Community Engagement in Comprehensive Plan Updates

Equitable Community Engagement in Comprehensive Plan Updates

Many local governments are updating their comprehensive plans, and in doing so, some are looking at how to develop intentional strategies that actively engage underrepresented communities in order to build a more equitable plan update in the process. 

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Beat the Heat with Heat Pumps

Beat the Heat with Heat Pumps

Some local governments are turning to high-efficiency, electric-powered heat pumps as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including developing programs that incentivize homeowners to install them in their place of residence. 

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Natural Hazards Planning Expertise and Resources for Local Governments

Natural Hazards Planning Expertise and Resources for Local Governments

Because local governments focus on safety and welfare of their communities, they are the first to be called on when a natural hazard strikes. Fortunately state agencies and nonprofits can offer assistance and expertise to better mitigate risk of hazards when regulating land use.

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JLARC Public Records Program Reporting Deadline Coming Up Fast

JLARC Public Records Program Reporting Deadline Coming Up Fast

The JLARC Public Records Program reporting deadline is July 1. This guest blog covers major findings from the 2020 report as well as answers to frequently asked questions regarding the reporting process. 

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Agencies Relate Successes, Challenges to VMT Reduction

Agencies Relate Successes, Challenges to VMT Reduction

Across the state, local governments have been looking at how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing vehicle miles traveled in their communities. This blog looks at some successful strategies and common challenges. 

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Understanding and Defending Against Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

Understanding and Defending Against Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

This guest blog focuses on Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, including how to identify them, types of attacks, and some tips on protecting your mission-critical services against them. 

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Tapping the Power of Emerging Leaders for Climate Resilience

Tapping the Power of Emerging Leaders for Climate Resilience

CivicSpark is a service program that pairs talented young adult Fellows with local governments, state agencies, Tribes, and nonprofits to tackle climate-related projects, research, and programs. It is expanding to Washington State and accepting applications for the 2022-23 year. 

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Anacortes is Getting Housing Done

Anacortes is Getting Housing Done

Written by guest author and Anacortes city councilmember Ryan Walters, this blog discusses how the city reworked its development codes to encourage new affordable housing developments, and how it was able to take advantage of SHB 1406 to fund these efforts. 

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Adverse Employment Action for Employee Social Media Use: Balancing First Amendment Rights and Governmental Efficiency

Adverse Employment Action for Employee Social Media Use: Balancing First Amendment Rights and Governmental Efficiency

Private companies can discipline or fire employees for offensive personal social media posts. However public employers cannot retaliate against their employees in the same way due to First Amendment rights to free speech. This blog shows how the courts weigh this tension.

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Capital Facilities Planning: If There’s No Math, You’re Not Doing It Right

Capital Facilities Planning: If There’s No Math, You’re Not Doing It Right

Guest author Ryan Walters suggests that capital facilities planning is as much about building new facilities as it is about accounting for the substantial expense of maintaining that infrastructure in the future.

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State Seeks Input on Its Vehicle Miles Traveled Reduction Strategy

State Seeks Input on Its Vehicle Miles Traveled Reduction Strategy

The State of Washington is seeking input from local governments across the state as it works to establish reduction targets for local vehicle miles traveled and other proposed programs in order to meet key climate action targets.
 

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Severe Weather Shelters for Winter and Beyond

Severe Weather Shelters for Winter and Beyond

During a severe weather event, unsheltered individuals are most at risk of adverse impacts. This blog looks at how local governments in Washington State have prepared to care for at-risk populations during periods of extreme heat, extreme cold, or poor air quality.

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in Washington State – 2021 Update

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in Washington State – 2021 Update

This blog looks at the many ways that local governments can build diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in their communities by highlighting specific policy examples from across Washington State.

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Green Building Incentives that Work: Follow the Roadmap

Green Building Incentives that Work: Follow the Roadmap

This guest blog introduces the Zero Carbon Buildings Policy Toolkit, a free resource available to help cities, towns, and counties understand and apply green building incentives in their communities.

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To Reduce Greenhouse Gases, Consider Buildings

To Reduce Greenhouse Gases, Consider Buildings

In this blog, guest author Deepa Sivarajan discusses why local governments should add building electrification to their toolkit when looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their jurisdiction. 

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Sanctioning Rogue Board Members

Sanctioning Rogue Board Members

Sometimes the actions of a member of a governing body cause such disruption that that body will not be able to move forward on important matters. This blog reviews what a council, commission, or board can do when dealing with rogue members. 

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An Emerging Issue: Robot Delivery Devices May Be Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

An Emerging Issue: Robot Delivery Devices May Be Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

Coming soon: delivery by robot! While the state offers some guidance on safety requirements and where these devices can operate, local governments will need to consider creating their own regulations, including where device storage units can be located.

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Non-Traditional Approaches Used by Local Governments to Address Homelessness

Non-Traditional Approaches Used by Local Governments to Address Homelessness

This blog looks at municipal programs that use hotels and motels to provide temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness. 

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Streamlining Meetings Through the Consent Agenda

Streamlining Meetings Through the Consent Agenda

This blog offers an overview of consent agendas and how some Washington local governments are using this tool.

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Disaster Zone: Heat Waves in the Pacific Northwest

Disaster Zone: Heat Waves in the Pacific Northwest

Heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest? This blog looks at a possible future where this is the norm, not the exception. 

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Expanding Olympia’s Residential Building Capacity Under HB 1923

Expanding Olympia’s Residential Building Capacity Under HB 1923

This blog, the second in a two-part series on how finding missing middle housing can expand affordable housing options, will focus on how Olympia used state-based legislation, E2SHB 1923 and SHB 2343, to encourage the development of more missing middle housing in the city.

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Expanding Affordable Housing Options Through Missing Middle Housing

Expanding Affordable Housing Options Through Missing Middle Housing

Part 1 of this two-part blog series looks at how a missing middle housing program can bring new affordable housing options to a city, using case studies from Wenatchee, Orting, Lake Stevens, Fife, and Walla Walla.

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Disaster Zone: Emergency Operations Center Facilities

Disaster Zone: Emergency Operations Center Facilities

This blog reviews what an Emergency Operations Center should include to allow staff to function effectively during an emergency. 

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Disaster Zone: Lessons from Texas and Lebanon

Disaster Zone: Lessons from Texas and Lebanon

This blog looks at the 2021 winter storm in Texas and the 2020 Beirut port explosion and asks how lessons learned from each might apply to earthquake preparedness in Washington. 

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Meeting the Challenge of Washington’s New Clean Buildings Standard

Meeting the Challenge of Washington’s New Clean Buildings Standard

This blog post will provide an overview of the New Clean Building Standard and how it applies to your publicly owned buildings. 

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Changing Course: Using Robert’s Rules to Alter a Prior Action

Changing Course: Using Robert’s Rules to Alter a Prior Action

Using Robert's Rules of Order, this blog looks at when and how a governing body can change course on a prior action.

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Disaster Zone: COVID After-Action Reports

Disaster Zone: COVID After-Action Reports

This blog looks at the role of the after-action response in disaster planning and offers shared after-action insights local governments are finding in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Trial by Zoom: Using Online Platforms in Administrative Proceedings, Trials, and Oral Arguments

Trial by Zoom: Using Online Platforms in Administrative Proceedings, Trials, and Oral Arguments

This blog post discusses the current state of virtual proceedings and offers pointers for anyone navigating the shift from in-person to virtual proceedings.

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Protecting Public Works Projects from COVID-19 Economic Impacts

Protecting Public Works Projects from COVID-19 Economic Impacts

This blog post reviews how local governments can protect public works projects from COVID-19-related economic impacts. 

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What Does the New Robert’s Rules Mean for You?

What Does the New Robert’s Rules Mean for You?

From guest author and Professional Registered Parliamentarian Ann Macfarlane, this blog post looks at the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised.

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The 9th Circuit Backs the FCC in Small Wireless Appeal

The 9th Circuit Backs the FCC in Small Wireless Appeal

This post covers a recent ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding Federal Communications Commission Orders preempting many aspects of local government regulation of small wireless facilities.

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Additional Rights for Employees at High Risk for Coronavirus Complications

Additional Rights for Employees at High Risk for Coronavirus Complications

This blog post reviews Proclamation 20-46, which provides additional rights and protections for workers at high risk for coronavirus complications.

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Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

This blog post looks at how agencies can apply risk management strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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The PRA and Third-Party Notice During Emergency Court Shutdowns

The PRA and Third-Party Notice During Emergency Court Shutdowns

This blog post offers public agencies guidance on how to provide third-party notification for public records requests during a period when local superior courts have shut down or drastically cut back on hours. 

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Tips for Government Bodies Meeting Remotely

Tips for Government Bodies Meeting Remotely

This blog post offers guidelines and tips for conducting successful remote local government meetings.

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The Importance of Urban Design for Your Community

The Importance of Urban Design for Your Community

This blog looks at the key components of urban design and the role it plays in healthy communities. 

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Disaster Zone: Unreinforced Masonry Buildings

Disaster Zone: Unreinforced Masonry Buildings

This blog post looks at the dangers of unreinforced masonry buildings. 

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Yim I and Yim II Clarify Washington Regulatory Takings and Substantive Due Process Law

Yim I and Yim II Clarify Washington Regulatory Takings and Substantive Due Process Law

This blog post addresses Yim I and Yim II,  two recent Washington Supreme Court rulings that clarify the state's regulatory takings and substantive due process jurisprudence.

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New FCC Order on Cable Franchising

New FCC Order on Cable Franchising

This blog post looks at the recent order from the Federal Communications Commission, which addresses franchise fees local governments often charge cable operators, as well as what defines an in-kind contribution. 

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

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, these meetings should not devolve into back-and-forth exchanges between elected officials and their constituents. 

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HB 1696: Updating Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act

HB 1696: Updating Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act

HB 1696 updates Washington’s existing Equal Pay and Opportunities Act by requiring more transparency on pay ranges and by prohibiting employers from asking for an applicant’s wage history.

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The Hidden Power of the Government Form Letter

The Hidden Power of the Government Form Letter

Your routine letters and forms may be creating more internal costs and constituent frustration than you realize. This post shows how reducing the jargon, simplifying the message, and talking to the reader can, instead, win over citizens.

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The Importance of Documentation in Risk Management

The Importance of Documentation in Risk Management

This blog explores the importance of documentation as it relates to risk management. 

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Regulating Sky Lanterns

Regulating Sky Lanterns

This blog post explores how sky lanterns—or mini air balloons—are regulated in Washington State.

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Successful Staff Interaction in Local Government Meetings

Successful Staff Interaction in Local Government Meetings

This MRSC Insight blog offers a few suggestions on how to structure successful staff participation in a council meeting. 

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Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 2

Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 2

The second of a 2-part series looking at the City of ‚ÄčOlympia’s 2-year experience to encourage the growth of missing middle housing. Part 2 covers lessons learned. 

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