February 26, 2016
LEAD: Legislative Education, Advocacy & Direction
2016 Edition 7

LEAD Alert:
Funding for Municipal Research Service Center

The Senate supplemental budget proposal cuts the funding to the Municipal Research Service Center (MRSC) 90% in the amount of $2.8 million. Section 936, 937 (http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/Budget/Detail/2016/SOBill0224.pdf).

Specifically, Section 937 states: "For fiscal year 2017, no distribution may be made for the municipal research center, and it is the intent of the legislature to continue this policy into the 2017-2019 fiscal biennium as it investigates whether contracts for such services should continue or be modified or terminated."

The Senate is voting today, Friday, February 26, 2016, on this item. Please call your Senator and ask that they support the MSRC and oppose this harm to this valuable local government asset. Contact information for all Senators:
http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Senators/Pages/default.aspx

The following are a few points to highlight in support of MRSC: 

  • MRSC has been providing high quality service to local governments in Washington for over 80 years.
  • MRSC is also a key resource for state legislative staff.
  • Over the most recent year (2015) MRSC: 
    • Responded to over 7,100 legal and policy inquiry requests from more than 350 local and state government officials;
    • Provided essential information via its publicly-available website, which received more than 1.4 million web visitors who logged over 50,000 research hours;
    • Conducted 56 training sessions for over 4,000 attendees on key topics, including related to open government.
  • MRSC is a lifeline for medium and small-sized cities and counties that couldn't afford to contract for this service otherwise.
  • MRSC's services are made possible by pooling a small portion of the liquor taxes and revenues that would otherwise be distributed to local governments.

Questions?                                     
If you have any questions about the Chapter's Legislative Committee (LC), please contact Yorik Stevens-Wajda or Esther Larsen, the LC Co-Chairs. A big thanks to Michael Shaw and all the members of the Legislative Committee for contributing their time, bill summaries, and discussion this regular session.

American Planning Association, Washington Chapter
office@washington-apa.org  206-682-7436  www.washington-apa.org