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Monday, December 9

Study: Technology not available to meet proposed water quality standards

Study: Technology not available to meet proposed water quality standards

Consumers and municipal ratepayers would face billions of dollars in costs trying to achieve proposed new water quality standards that simply can’t be met with any existing technology, according to a new report jointly sponsored by AWB, the Association of Washington Cities and the Washington State Association of Counties. A dramatically more stringent water quality standard would expose municipalities and businesses to heavy costs and exposure to lawsuits if approved. “We need clean water and we need to protect human life, but we also need a standard that can be reasonably met with existing technology,” said AWB President Don Brunell. Read the press release here.

Lights, Santa, action: Holiday Kids’ Tree Project celebrates 25th anniversary

AWB’s annual fundraiser for children and families turned 25 Friday evening with a celebration beneath the Capitol dome that included Gov. Jay Inslee, First Lady Trudi Inslee, an Air Force family — and Santa Claus himself. AWB President Don Brunell kicked off the evening by welcoming fire officials from 15 departments to a ceremony where the governor and First Lady helped present checks totaling more than $16,000, plus bags of toys donated by Walmart. It ended with the lighting of a 24-foot noble fir donated by Port Blakeley Tree Farms. Read more, and check out the countdown video, on Olympia Business Watch.

Tuesday is deadline to submit proposals as more states court Boeing’s 777X program

More than a dozen states, including Washington, are rushing to finish and submit proposals to build the 777X after Puget Sound workers rejected a contract that would have guaranteed the plane was built here. The Missouri Senate voted 23-8 for a $1.7 billion incentive plan to lure the 8,000 777X jobs, and the St. Louis-area building trades unions have agreed to work around the clock without overtime to build a Boeing assembly plant. Meanwhile, Alabama, Utah, Kansas, North and South Carolina and Texas are touting their right to work laws. “Everyone wants this,” said former Charlotte, N.C., city aviation director Jerry Orr. “This is the big prize.” Elected officials from around Snohomish County published an open letter calling for Machinists and Boeing to return to the table and build the 777X here.

Brunell talks transportation, $15 minimum wage, Boeing vote in TVW ‘exit interview’

AWB President Don Brunell sat down with TVW host Austin Jenkins on last week’s “Inside Olympia” in what they jokingly characterized as an “exit interview” for the retiring Brunell. The interview focused on the delicate but important statewide transportation package, the decision by the aerospace Machinists’ union to reject a Boeing contract to build the 777X, and the unique costs and difficulties of Washington’s business climate. The full interview is online at TVW (video), and we break the interview down on Olympia Business Watch.

Climate change panel hits ‘meltdown’ as deadline nears

Tempers flared Friday in one of the final meetings of a special bipartisan climate change panel as Gov. Jay Inslee pushed for a “yes” vote on five measures he supports to limit carbon emissions, including a cap-and-trade program and new taxes. Republicans said they can’t vote on such measures without knowing how they would affect the economy. ‘State climate panel melts down,” The Seattle Times reported, as Inslee pushed to add teeth to goals set in 2008 that would cut the state’s carbon emissions to half of 1990 levels by 2050. “My God, we are playing with people’s lives, their businesses, whether we can do manufacturing in this state, whether we can be competitive,” said Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy. Watch the full hearing on TVW (video).

Push for $15 minimum wage takes to the streets as activists march from SeaTac to Seattle

About 150 union activists marched from SeaTac to downtown Seattle on Thursday carrying signs and chanting for a $15 minimum wage – a nearly 70 percent increase. While city council members pledged to meet the crowd’s demands, business owners said the costs would be daunting, perhaps even deadly if customers weren’t willing to see their costs increase by 70 percent as well. Another likely outcome would be for restaurants to automate more jobs, cutting the number of people they employ at the new higher wages. The Seattle Times notes a 1990 study of previous major Washington minimum wage increases that reported for every 10 workers who got a raise, one was laid off. Seattle would be wise to wait and study SeaTac as a test case on jobs gained and lost, consumer spending and business investment, the Times concludes.

Battle brewing over L&I this year, but 2.7 percent rate increase won’t be the main issue

Washington’s workers’ compensation rates will increase by 2.7 percent next year – a relatively modest increase, considering the double-digit increases of years past. Still, the system faces a $2 billion shortfall in the years ahead, the Washington State Wire reports. In fact, because 2011 reforms haven’t been implemented as intended, the state-run system faces structural problems, said AWB’s Kris Tefft. L&I could have reduced rates by 1 percent but for those problems, Tefft said.

Transportation package: ‘We can get this done’

Legislative leaders were “locked in lengthy negotiations” last week over a transportation package that would build new highways and bridges, fund mass transit, pay for highway upkeep, raise the gas tax and reform project methods, the AP reports. A spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee said the governor hopes to have a deal before the end of the year.

Former Democratic campaign official sentenced to 25 months in prison

The former head of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, Michael Walker King, was sentenced to 25 1/2 months in prison and community custody on Tuesday for embezzling at least $330,000 in campaign contributions, The Seattle Times reports (tiered paywall). The money, which King spent on gambling and booze, could have changed the outcome of the ultra-tight 2012 Senate race in Clark County, and perhaps the balance of power in the Legislature, according to several sources cited by the Times, including Democrat Tim Probst, who lost to Sen. Don Benton by 78 votes.

Names emerge to fill House vacancies after incumbents move up to the Senate

Republicans chose Jesse Young of Gig Harbor as their top pick to replace Senator-elect Jan Angel in the 26th District. Young is a business consultant who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year, The News Tribune reports (tiered paywall). In Seattle, State Rep. Jamie Pedersen was the consensus choice among Democratic activists to fill the Senate seat of mayor-elect Ed Murray. Democratic precinct committee officers then recommended that the King County Council pick Brady Walkinshaw, a program officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to fill Pedersen’s seat, The Seattle Times reports (tiered paywall).

U.S. House nearing a shutdown for the year; no immigration vote but hope for budget deal

The U.S. House will recess for the year by Friday, Speaker John Boehner announced last week, putting pressure on Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to ink a budget deal. While the decision appears to close the door on comprehensive immigration reform for this year, some hopeful news emerged last week when Boehner hired an immigration advisor who has laid out a roadmap for “the politics of the possible” in helping a reform bill navigate the House. Meanwhile, Ryan, last year’s Republican vice presidential candidate, argues that comprehensive immigration reform is a vital pro-growth strategy for the nation.

Last call: Deadline near for nominations in AWB’s 2014 Better Workplace Awards
The deadline to submit nominations for the 2014 AWB Better Workplace Awards has been extended to tomorrow. Please consider nominating your workplace – or any AWB member company – for this annual tribute to employers that display innovation, uniqueness, creativity and quantifiable results in programs that result in higher employee morale and well-being, increased productivity and reduced turnover. The awards, sponsored by Davis Wright Tremaine, will be presented during our Legislative Day luncheon Feb. 6. Take a look at this year’s winners, then download the nomination form and help us pick the best workplaces of 2014!

Save the date: Legislative Summit set for Feb. 5-6 at Red Lion Hotel, Olympia

In response to member feedback, a new format for this year’s Legislative Summit will allow more time for participation in the Legislative Reception, issue panels and board meeting. The legislative reception the evening of Feb. 5 will allow attendees to get to know their legislators in an informal setting. The next morning the event kicks off with an AWB board meeting followed by legislative issue panels and policy analysis by AWB’s government affairs experts. The summit concludes the afternoon of Feb. 6 with the Better Workplace Awards. Gov. Jay Inslee will give the keynote luncheon address. Register online now and reserve a room at the Red Lion Hotel. For event sponsorship information, contact Anne Haller at or 800.521.9325.

With minimum wage increasing Jan. 1, be sure to post updated information

Washington’s minimum wage will increase to $9.32 per hour, and employers of every size are required to post up-to-date information. A notice is available for download and printout at the L&I website. For the convenience of members, AWB also offers laminated state and federal posting sets for $39.99 per set, or $19.99 for a single poster, plus local tax and shipping. Contact Karlee Keith at 800.521.9325 or to order or for more information.

‘Train the Trainer’ forklift safety workshop coming Jan. 8

Without realizing it, many companies fail to fully comply with the increasingly stringent safety laws for forklifts and other power industrial trucks. Proper forklift safety training will make your company a safer place to work — and keep you in compliance with the law. This seminar, from 8 a.m. to noon on Jan. 18 at the AWB office in Olympia, will teach current operators how to conduct safety training for their employees. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion, a CD with a PowerPoint presentation and a PDF manual they can reproduce to train their own employees on proper forklift safety. Register now or contact Karlee Keith by email or at 800.521.9325 with questions.

At the Speed of Now: Crisis Communications in a 24/7 World webinar Jan. 15, 10:30 a.m. - noon

When and how should you respond to a reporter’s questions? What should you do when a television crew shows up at your facility? Find out answers to these questions and more during a Jan. 15th webinar featuring strategic communication veterans Randy Pepple and Jennifer West. Members: $49, Non-members: $79. Register online or contact AWB’s Karlee Keith for more information.


We have gotten a tremendous response, and it's obviously created a lot of interest and a lot of excitement.” ~ Boeing spokesman Doug Alder, as the Associated Press reports that more than a dozen states compete for its high-paying 777X jobs.

This Week's President's Perspective: The Ethanol Shuffle and Other Bad Ideas

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