March 5, 2018
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Gov. Inslee signs state version of net neutrality into law

House Bill 2282, a state net neutrality measure, passed the Senate 35-14 last week after earlier passing the House 93-5. The bill would require internet providers to treat all information coming through their networks equally, and imposes new regulations on internet service providers, The Seattle Times reports. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law earlier this afternoon.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, is a response to the December ruling by the Federal Communications Commission to rescind Obama-era internet regulations known as “net neutrality.” The "sweeping legislation" means Washington now has "the country's toughest net neutrality legislation," Fast Company reports.

Telecom companies have said those regulations could undermine investment in broadband. Advocates say the rules protect an open internet.

"States must act to protect the internet," said Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island. "States must act to protect net neutrality."

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, had a different perspective.

"The reality is you're going to go to court," Ericksen said. "I think the likelihood is very strong that we will lose that litigation with regards to this particular action taken by the Legislature."

The Associated Press and The News Tribune have more.

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A Lifetime of Learning

Workforce development begins young, continues over lifetime

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We all want our kids to grow up in a state with good-paying job prospects and the training to match them.

Today, there is a laser focus by our association's membership and other groups about the need to fill the workforce pipeline with skilled, job-ready workers. There simply aren't enough workers to fill the high-tech, high-wage jobs available in our state and nation.

We're working to address that problem by advocating for robust career and technical programming in our middle and high schools, training and certificate programs for high-demand jobs at our state's community and technical colleges.

We'll be talking about those very issues at the second-annual AWB Workforce Summit on March 21 in Bellevue.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Business World
Dealing with Debt

State needs to begin paying down its bond debt

By The Everett Herald Editorial Board

Duane Davidson, now in his second year of office, hasn't been one to pursue many policy issues with lawmakers, unlike his predecessor who outlined an ambitious tax reform proposal that earned little interest. But Davidson has taken a stand to defend against raids of the "rainy day" fund and asked lawmakers to consider using some of the additional revenue to pay down the state's bond debt, add to its "rainy day" reserves or pay more toward its unfunded pension obligations. Their choice.

"I think that money would be better spent paying down any debt, pick your debt," Davidson said.

And there's significant debt to pay down.

The state's Debt Affordability Study for 2018, released by Davidson's office, reports that the state's debt portfolio has over the course of the last 20 years grown from $6.8 billion to more than $19 billion and totals $21 billion when financing contracts are included....

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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