December 1, 2014
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Lame-duck Congress enters crunch time with important work undone

Federal lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C., with a thick to-do list and very little time left before the new Congress convenes in January. From renewing expiring tax breaks for individuals and businesses to keeping the government running into the new year, the stakes are high.

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Passages: Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, champion of three-strikes law and sex-offender crackdowns

Former state Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, R-Mercer Island, died last week at age 78. After her daughter was murdered by a sex offender in Seattle, she pushed for strong laws to keep dangerous criminals off the streets.
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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Port slowdown's potential devastating impacts on Washington businesses


By AWB President Kris Johnson and Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association

The contract dispute between West Coast dockworkers unions and the Pacific Maritime Association has nearly ground Seattle and Tacoma port traffic to a halt at the worst possible time. In our trade-heavy state, businesses are rightly worried this contract standstill could lead to a complete work stoppage.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), when a breakdown in contract negotiations resulted in a 10-day lockout in 2002, it cost the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion a day, and took half a year to clear the backlog. A shutdown now could be even more costly, an estimated $2 billion each day, according to a study conducted by NAM and the National Retail Federation.

Given our dependence on ports for nearly all industries -- imports and exports --  the slowdown could ultimately impact already-stressed state and local budgets.

The timing is devastating for agriculturists and retailers...

READ MORE: Click here for the full op-ed column from Kris Johnson and Jon DeVaney in The Seattle Times
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