Explaining the Open Government Trainings Act

Recognizing that, “whether due to error or ignorance, violations of the public records act and open public meetings act are very costly for state and local governments,” the Legislature enacted and the Governor signed ESB 5964 (Laws of 2014, ch. 66), named the “Open Government Trainings Act.” This new law, effective on July 1, 2014, mandates that persons filling certain state and local government offices and positions complete training  regarding one or both of those two laws – and, for some, regarding records retention laws – within 90 days of assuming office or entering into their position. I would say that ESB 5964 is somewhat short on specifics, but, apparently, it was intended to be that way. Continue reading

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Online Posting of Regular Meeting Agendas To Be Required (Though Not for All)

New legislation (SHB 2105) amends the Open Public Meetings Act and requires, with some exceptions, that public agencies with governing bodies post online the agenda of each regular meeting of their governing bodies at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. The legislation becomes effective on June 12.

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June Department of Revenue Partnership Meetings Offer Opportunity for State/Local Collaboration

DORThe Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR)  has scheduled its annual Local Government Partnership meetings, one in Western Washington at Tumwater on June 4th, and another in Eastern Washington at Pasco on June 11th. This is a great opportunity to share information between local governments and the DOR. Continue reading

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New Medical Marijuana Court Decision Adds to the Confusion!

Courtesy of Chuck Coker

Courtesy of Chuck Coker

On March 31st, Division I of the state court of appeals issued its decision on the legal challenge filed against the City of Kent’s prohibition of collective gardens. The appellate court upheld the city’s prohibition, ruling that collective gardens are not legal under Washington’s current law. When viewed in conjunction with the 2014 Legislature’s failure to act, confusion reigns!

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Our Legislature Talks Marijuana, But That’s All (Sigh)

Courtesy of Chuck Coker

Courtesy of Chuck Coker

This was supposed to be the year that the Legislature finally sorted out the absurdity of having a highly-regulated recreational marijuana market alongside an unregulated medical marijuana market. It didn’t happen. No bills dealing with the many marijuana issues before the Legislature passed, in spite of lots of effort by local government officials and lobbyists, and encouragement from the governor.

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Blitzkrieg-Style Community Assistance Teams Help Build Consensus and Generate Energy

Sue's blog photoWhat’s a community to do when faced with a difficult, multi-faceted issue that has stymied the community, perhaps for years? It may be a question about how to best renew a downtown core area, redevelop a key corridor with aging retail strips, or stem the loss of viable agricultural land. Everyone agrees that it’s time to do something, and they may even agree on many goals. But your community just hasn’t been able to get traction and build consensus on what needs to be done. To compound the problem, local governments have limited discretionary funds to address the problem.

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