January 15, 2018
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Top Stories

It's time! AWB's annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb begins Tuesday morning

Hundreds of employers and community leaders will gather in Olympia tomorrow for AWB's annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb. Attendees will hear from issue experts on employment law, education, climate, manufacturing and much more. Onling registration is closed, but walk-in registrations will be available as space allows for the conference at the Hotel RL in Olympia, but not for the Hill Climb.

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State of the State: Inslee calls for carbon tax, speed-up of school funding

Gov. Jay Inslee opened the 60-day legislative session last week with a big-picture call for a carbon tax, an accelerated pace of education funding through a nearly $1 billion withdrawal from state's rainy-day fund, and a suite of other policy proposals.

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Governor's carbon tax bill to have hearing in Senate on Tuesday

AWB and member companies will testify Tuesday morning about the impacts of Senate Bill 6203, which would place a tax on carbon. The bill would increase the cost of energy and transportation,, according to figures from the governor's office.

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Agreement on Hirst fix appears; full floor vote reportedly could come

A bipartisan breakthrough on the Hirst water rights issue could be in the works after a Senate subcommittee unanimously passed a bill last week. This AWB priority issue could come up for a full Senate vote as soon as this week.

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Bill to reinstate manufacturer B&O tax reduction introduced

Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Felida, introduced House Bill 2293 last week in an effort to reinstate the manufacturing tax break Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed last summer. The bill starts the conversation on ways to support the manufacturing sector in rural Washington.

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Federal Issues

Manufacturers pushing Senate to approve Ex-Im board members

The National Association of Manufacturers last week urged Senate leaders to quickly approve four nominees to the board of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. This would enable the bank to make larger loans, fulfilling its purpose of supporting American manufacturers and exporters.

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Walmart, Waste Management, U.S. Bank among the latest employers to give raises, bonuses due to federal tax overhaul

Walmart will raise its minimum wage, give bonuses to longtime employees and offer maternity leave. Waste Management is giving $2,000 in special bonuses to 34,000 employees. U.S. Bank is giving bonuses, increasing its minimum wage to $15 and improving health insurance benefits. Those are some of the latest employers to pass along some of the savings from federal tax reform.

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SEL founder Edmund O. Schweitzer III: 'It's time to do the right thing for Dreamers'

Edmund O. Schweitzer III, president of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, wrote an op-ed in The Spokesman-Review calling for agreement in Congress on a deal to reform the nation's immigration system and to ensure that the young immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can stay in America.

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Legislation of Note

SB 5919 and HB 2200: Internet privacy

A pair of companion bills, SB 5919 and HB 2200, would add regulation on the collection of consumer information on the internet at the state level. This would create a two-tiered compliance system, adding a state system to the longstanding federal oversight. AWB opposes the legislation as currently written.

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HB 2177: Rural job training

AWB and several members testified in support of House Bill 2177 last week. This bipartisan bill would expand job training opportunities in rural counties, helping support rural families and employers by paying tuition for training to build a skilled workforce that can fill good-paying rural jobs.

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Other News

Boeing sets a new production record: 763 jetliners in 2017

Boeing delivered a record number of commercial airplanes last year, delivering 763 planes -- one more than the previous high set in 2015.

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Report: Columbia Generating Station lights up Washington's economy

A new report from the Nuclear Energy Institute shows how the Columbia Generating Station is a heavy-hitter, not just in Washington but throughout the Pacific Northwest and across the country.

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Washington Research Council: Legislature has dipped into state Rainy Day Fund every biennium except 2011-13

In the 11 years since the Legislature created its rainy-day Budget Stabilization Account, lawmakers have dipped into that reserve fund in every biennium except one.

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Small Business Administration announces appointment of Jeremy Field as regional administrator

Jeremy Field will oversee operations in SBA Region X, which serves the Pacific Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

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AWB Events & Resources

AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series begins in February; early bird pricing still available

AWB's popular employment law webinar series is back for the third year. Top legal experts will again look at the many facets of increasingly complex labor laws, offering up-to-date information to keep your workplace in compliance with the latest legal changes. Sign up for all the classes now to receive an early-bird package discount and a complete kit of all presentations.

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Save the date: AWB Institute Workforce Summit takes place March 21

Back by popular demand, AWB's Workforce Summit will again be held in the Seattle area. Registrations are now open for this March 21 event, which will zero in on the latest in employment law, best practices, and ideas for how to successfully recruit, train and keep your workforce.

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Spring Meeting dates set for May 15-16

Reserve your room in the AWB room block now for the 2018 Spring Meeting, to be held in the new Davenport Grand hotel in downtown Spokane. AWB's annual meeting in Spokane is only going to be bigger and better as it moves to this deluxe new hotel near the city's Riverside Park.


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Tweet of the Week

Superheroes of Education



They Said It

Workforce Training

"We have got to stop telling our children that a four-year degree is the only path to success. That simply is not true. Let's leave a legacy of opportunity for all our students by expanding career-connected learning." ~ Gov. Jay Inslee in his State of the State address.


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Fix Hirst, Support Manufacturers

Support rural Washington

By The Wenatchee World Editorial Board

The Puget Sound region's economy is booming. But across the state, the post-recession economic recovery has been uneven. Much of rural Washington is still struggling, with higher rates of unemployment and comparatively modest economic gains.

Fixing Hirst and delivering tax relief to manufacturers will help expand our state's prosperity to rural counties.

Read the full editorial in The Wenatchee World
Costly and Unnecessary


No sense in carbon tax

By The (Longview) Daily News Editorial Board

Gov. Inslee is urging legislators to pass a $20 per ton carbon tax during the current legislative session. We urge you to call your local legislators and tell them to vote "no" on carbon tax legislation.

If passed, money raised from a carbon tax reportedly would fund schools; provide incentives for renewable energy, such as solar energy; be applied to research for new clean technologies; manage storm water runoff; help prevent forest fires; and more.

While all of these issues are worthwhile, the effects of a carbon tax on citizens and businesses far outweighs the benefits, which is why we don't support the tax.

The governor's staff indicated a carbon tax likely will increase power rates 4 percent to 5 percent for electricity, 9 percent to 11 percent for natural gas and 6 percent to 9 percent for gasoline.

If a carbon tax law is passed, utilities such as the Cowlitz PUD, will be negatively impacted and we believe the power rate increases would be pushed much higher than the governor's staff estimates. Citizens and businesses can't afford those types of increases...

Read the full editorial in The Daily News
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