December 19, 2016
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Federal Issues

President Obama signs 21st Century Cures Act

A bill that was years in the making became law last week when President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act. The bipartisan measure is worth an estimated $6.3 billion. It will allocate nearly $5 billion to fund National Institutes of Health projects, including Vice President Joe Biden's "cancer moonshot" research and the president's Precision Medicine Initiative. The bill also puts $500 million into the Food & Drug Administration to help it improve the speed and efficiency of the pharmaceutical approval process, which can take 10 years or more.

"We are bringing to reality the possibility of new breakthroughs to some of the greatest health challenges of our time," Obama said in a Tuesday afternoon signing ceremony at the White House.

CBS, UPI and the Washington Post have more on the bill, which passed 94-5 in the Senate and 392-26 in House.

Not all is rosy on the federal healthcare front, however. A report released last week said taxpayers will pay nearly $10 billion more next year for health insurance to cover double-digit premium increases for subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The Columbian carries an AP story on the issue.

For more on health care issues, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Sheri Nelson.

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Sustainability in Action

Aslan Brewing Company: Refreshing Environmental Success

By Washington Business magazine

Taking beer and building to a new, sustainable level, a craft brewer demonstrates how a time-honored cold beverage can take the edge off the climate.

With a commitment to organic ingredients, locally-sourced goods, and low-impact practices, the owners offer the community something new and refreshing, the sustainable way .
Read the full article in Washington Business magazine
Workforce Matters

We must train next generation for the jobs Washington is creating

By Amy Morrison Goings and Gary Oertli

In these politically stressful times, there's one priority everyone can agree on: putting people to work in Washington. People need great jobs just as employers need great talent.

The most recent proof comes in the form of research by the Boston Consulting Group and the Washington Roundtable. The report projects there will be 740,000 job openings in Washington over the next five years. Most of those openings will be filled by people who have postsecondary education or training.

The jobs range from entry-level positions, to "pathway" jobs that then lead to well-paying careers. Many positions require not just a high school diploma and not necessarily a bachelor's degree, but somewhere in between -- such as an associate degree, or a certificate backed by industry need, or an apprenticeship. Others require a bachelor's degree or higher.

That's why it's so important for the Legislature to fund the entire pipeline of education in Washington, from pre-kindergarten through college. At the center of that pipeline is Washington's community and technical college system.
Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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