November 13, 2017
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Spokane voters reject initiative that would have imposed fines on coal- and oil-carrying rail cars

Proposition 2, a local ballot measure to fine coal and oil trains, has been rejected by Spokane voters. The measure had only 41 percent support.

A coalition of employers and civic leaders, including the mayor and county sheriff, opposed the measure, "arguing it would ensnare the city in potential legal battles and unduly burden commerce," The Spokesman-Review reports.

Opportunity Washington wrapped up the issues surrounding these kinds of measures, saying "These patchwork, selective efforts to disrupt trade threaten our state economy. The double standard on rail is simply another attempt to bend regulatory processes to advance other agendas."

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Rural Jobs Summit

Why Rural Economic Development Is Top of Mind in Washington State and Elsewhere

By Joshua Wright

Rural economic development is a thorny, multi-layered topic with many challenges and few obvious answers. But the summit -- hosted in Moses Lake by the Association of Washington Businesses -- was encouraging, not just because it focused on solutions for small towns and regions but also because so many people attended the event.

Sweeney himself said it speaks well for Washington that 250 decision-makers from every part of the state came together to talk rural jobs and economies.

"We put our focus on where the need is, and the need is the biggest in rural communities," said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington Department of Commerce.

Read the full essay at
Quality Health Insurance

Association Health Plans offer model for the nation

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Since they were created, Association Health Plans (AHP) have grown in popularity, insuring as many as 400,000 people at their peak. Many of those people were not previously insured. For AWB's plan, approximately 40 percent of employers did not have prior coverage. It's clear that AHPs expand health care access and choices for small employers, their employees and families.

What's more, employers that start with an AHP tend to renew. Historically, as many as 90 percent renew coverage year after year...

Washington's AHPs offer high-quality health insurance plans with consumer protections like guaranteed issue (nobody can be denied coverage) and renewal built in. They are fully insured and comply with all state and federal mandates, including those contained in the Affordable Care Act such as dependent coverage up to age 26, lab and X-ray, preventative care and mental health services.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
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