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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for COVID-19

A red button on a yellow box labeled emergency

Emergency Powers in Washington State, Post COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic local governments operated under a series of emergency orders, some of which drew legal challenges. As these proclamations have ended, now is a good time to look at what happened to the challenges, and how (or if) they affected emergency powers.

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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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Continued Use of the Public Right-of-Way for Outside Dining

This blog examines the key components of local parklet/streatery programs that were established during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and how Washington’s local governments are now evaluating the future of those programs.

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OPMA/PRA Emergency Proclamation Will Expire June 1

Pandemic-related restrictions on public meetings and the processing of public records will no longer be in effect this coming June, per the newly released Proclamation 20-28.16. 

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Statewide Mask Mandate Lifted

Governor Inslee has lifted Washington's statewide mask mandate. This blog looks at where masks are still required, what happens next, and how local governments may be impacted.

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Pierce County Offers a Model for Distributing Pandemic-Related Assistance Funding

With just three staff, the Pierce County’s Rental & Utility Assistance Program has distributed $59,100 in overdue rental payments and $14,800 in utility payments to needy households since late 2020. This blog looks at how the program works and what makes it successful. 

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Treasury Releases Final Rule on American Rescue Plan Fiscal Recovery Funds

Local governments seeking guidance on how to use Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) now have an answer in the recently released Final Rule from the ​U.S. Department of Treasury.

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Supreme Court Issues First Opinions on Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily stopped the implementation and enforcement of a federal rule calling for large U.S. employers to require employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. Following the decision, OSHA withdrew the proposed rule.

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Vaccine Mandates: Accommodating Disability and Religious Belief Exemptions

At this point in the pandemic, vaccine mandates of some form can be found at the national, state, and local levels. For those employees seeking exemptions from the mandate, what is the process employers must undergo to review and possibly accommodate such requests?

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Utility Late Fee/Shutoff Moratorium Expires September 30: Now What?

With the expiration of Governor Inslee's moratorium on utility shutoff drawing near, local governments are wondering what comes next. 
 

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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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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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Employee Bonuses and the COVID-19 Pandemic

This blog considers whether local governments may give bonuses to employees for working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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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Treasury Issues Guidance for Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

This blog post reviews the May 2021 interim guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury regarding how Local Fiscal Recovery Funds may be spent under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), including allowed uses, replacing lost revenues, and reporting requirements.

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Countering Racial Bias and Harassment Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

This blog post looks at how local governments can counter racial bias and harassment that's arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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American Rescue Plan Provides More Relief to Local Governments

The American Rescue Plan Act ("ARP" or "ARPA") provides significant new funds for local governments, as well as an optional expansion of FFCRA leave. While we don't yet know all the logistics, this blog post provides a preliminary overview.

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New Federal Funding for Rent and Utility Assistance

This blog provides an overview of new funding available through the Coronavirus Response Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) to help with rent and utility assistance for any households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Caring for the Homeless Challenged by Winter Weather, COVID-19

This blog post looks at how local governments are providing for the homeless, despite the twin challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and winter weather.

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