January 2, 2018
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Sixty-day, 2018 legislative session begins Monday

After ending the record-long 2017 legislative session in July, the Legislature reconvenes Monday with a new Democratic majority in the Senate after the fall special election in the 45th District. Of the many issues on the table for the 60-day session are passage of the supplemental state operating budget, reaching agreement on a permanent fix for the Hirst water rights ruling and passage of the capital budget. These issues and more will be discussed during the Government Affairs team Legislative Preview webinar on Wednesday and at AWB's annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb on Jan. 16 at the Hotel RL in Olympia.

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AWB's annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb is Jan. 16

Hear from issue experts on education, climate and tax and fiscal policies and learn more about the economic trends shaping your community during the lunchtime keynote at the 2018 Legislative Day and Hill Climb. This event gives employers and business leaders the chance to engage on issues that impact job creation directly with state leaders. Online registration is now open.

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AWB Government Affairs team to host 2018 Legislative Preview webinar tomorrow

What are the key issues facing the state's employer community during the 2018 session? Find out during the AWB Government Affairs team Legislative Preview webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 10-11:30 a.m. The webinar is free for all AWB members and online registration is open.

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New Year brings new paid leave program and higher minimum wage

As of Jan. 1, the statewide minimum wage increased from $11 to $11.50 per hour and employers are now required to provide paid sick and safe leave to all their employees. The changes are the result of the passage of Initiative 1433 by voters in 2016.

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Heroes come to aid of victims of train derailment

Amid the tragedy of the Amtrak train derailment in DuPont, heroes rushed to rescue strangers and provide life-saving aid to the victims. Dozens of military personnel from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near the derailment, were first on the scene to render aid. An Eagle Scout driving to work and a surgeon from Portland also stopped to tend to the injured. As always, hundreds of brave first responders -- firefighters, police and emergency medics -- arrived promptly to ensure the roadway was secured, passengers were led to safety and the many injured were tended to in a timely manner.

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Rule of Law Matters

Washington's carbon overreach

By The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls climate change an "existential threat," and he has channeled President Obama in using executive powers to impose his policy response. But like Mr. Obama he suffered a major blow this month when a Washington court ruled that he exceeded his authority under state law.

Washington lawmakers have declined to pass Mr. Inslee's signature cap-and-trade legislation, and in 2016 voters rejected a carbon-tax ballot measure. So "now we have to do it administratively," the Sierra Club's Doug Howell said last year.

Mr. Inslee suddenly discovered authority to act unilaterally under the Washington Clean Air Act and a 2008 law that required greenhouse gas reductions...

And in a Dec. 15 oral ruling, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon found that the Inslee Administration lacked the legal authority to regulate indirect emitters.

The decision is a victory for the rule of law and another rebuke to progressives who try to ignore democratic consent to impose their climate agenda by regulatory fiat.

Read the full editorial in The Wall Street Journal
Innovation is Key to Carbon Reductions

Washington can have energy independence without economic damage of carbon tax

By State Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union

Here in the United States, Washington is the leading producer of hydroelectric power, contributing nearly one quarter of the nation's total hydro generation. We rank only behind California in terms of the amount of renewable energy we produce each year.

That is why it is so critical that as we continue to debate the merits of a carbon tax, we be mindful of the steps we have already taken toward establishing a greener economy. Proposing a carbon tax to fund education or increase general fund spending is the wrong approach.

I truly believe Washington can achieve energy independence one day, but we must be strategic in how we get there. Causing self-inflicted economic hardship along the way would be foolish.

Read the full column in The Olympian
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