Indigent Defense Standards – Misdemeanor Caseload Limits Take Effect Soon

On January 1, 2015, the misdemeanor caseload limits for public defense attorneys adopted by the Washington State Supreme Court in the new Standards for Indigent Defense take effect. The court had in 2013 delayed the implementation of the caseload limits until that date, to provide time for the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) to conduct a statewide attorney time study”and to develop a model misdemeanor case weighting policy that is consistent with the indigent defense standards adopted by the court. Washington State Supreme Court Order No. 25700-A-1016, 04/08/2013. In compliance with the state Supreme Court’s order, the OPD conducted the time study and has developed a Model Misdemeanor Case Weighting Policy. Continue reading

Posted in Legal, Public Safety | Leave a comment

Public Works Board’s FirstStop Initiative Aims to Better Connect Local Governments to Infrastructure Resources

FirstStop LogoWashington’s Public Works Board (PWB) is a well-loved organization among public works professionals. Through their most popular program, the Public Works Assistance Account (PWAA), local governments in Washington State have received over 1,900 low-interest loans to finance much-needed public infrastructure construction and rehabilitation. But PWB is, indeed, about much more than just money. Through their new FirstStop Initiative, PWB has brought together a host of resources, including a robust online tool, to provide local governments like yours with both the financial and technical support to develop sustainable infrastructure systems in their communities. Continue reading

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Cooperative Senior Housing: An Alternative to Meet the Needs of Today’s Senior Citizens

Delano Sr Housing

Proposed Delano Crossing Senior Cooperative in Delano, MN

A tsunami of baby boomers (some 75 million strong) are joining the ranks of America’s senior citizens.  The boomers’ different life expectancy, ethnic diversity, lifestyle preferences, and attitudes are changing the complexion of our aging population.  The needs of retirees who preceded the boomers continue to change as they age.  Addressing these needs will require some creative thinking on the part of policy makers and planners.  Innovative alternatives such as senior co-operative housing may better address the needs of today’s seniors than traditional senior housing models. Continue reading

Posted in Demographics, Housing, Planning, Best Practices | Leave a comment

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: To Charge or Not to Charge?

courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation

courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation

In recent years, local governments in Washington State have been installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at their government facilities.  MRSC recently partnered with Western Washington Clean Cities for an EV Charging Conference, where I gave a presentation on the legal concerns with providing agency employees and members of the public free charging at agency-owned EV charging stations. Continue reading

Posted in Legal, Personnel, Transportation and Infrastructure | 3 Comments

2014 General Election: Bonds and Levy Lid Lifts Struggling

Spokane Riverfront Park adam_jones

Spokane voters approved bonds to overhaul Riverfront Park, one of just two bond measures to pass easily. Photo courtesy of Adam Jones.

It’s three days after Election Day here in Washington, which means the mail-in ballots are still being counted, but we know the fates of most of the local ballot measures.

The measures ranged from the usual taxes and bonds to the slightly quixotic, such as a sixth vote on the Seattle monorail and an attempt to change Blaine’s name.

I’ll be updating the MRSC Local Ballot Measure Database in a few weeks once the results have been certified. In the meantime, let’s look at how voters responded to different types of measures.

Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Finance, Governance, Levies | 1 Comment

What if Some of Your Elected or Appointed Officials Have Not Yet Completed Open Government Training Act Requirements?

The Open Government Trainings Act enacted by the 2014 Legislature (ESB 5964, Laws of 2014, ch. 66) requires training for some local government officials in the fundamentals of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), Public Records Act (PRA), and records retention requirements. Many local government officials have already completed these training requirements, which are not burdensome. However, we are receiving calls from some local governments asking what to do about those officials who haven’t completed this training yet this year. Basically, is that a problem? Continue reading

Posted in Legal, Open Meetings, Public Records | 2 Comments