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Monday, September 16

AWB Policy Summit kicks off tomorrow in Cle Elum

AWB Policy Summit kicks off tomorrow in Cle Elum
Pre-registration has closed for the 24th annual AWB Policy Summit, but you can still register on-site as a walk-in to attend the state’s biggest business event of the year. From Tuesday through Thursday, Suncadia Resort will host AWB members and speakers that include the “Morning Joe” team of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Gov. Jay Inslee, TIME Magazine’s Rana Foroohar and more. Note to attendees: watch for road construction on I-90 that includes rolling slowdowns and night-time single lane closures. Check out the Snoqualmie Pass traffic cameras for a real-time view. Can’t attend? Follow Policy Summit on Twitter at @AWBSummit or by searching the hashtag #awbsummit13.

Annual golf tournament begins tomorrow at Rope Rider Golf Course Are you attending Policy Summit? Don’t miss the annual golf tournament, hosted by the AWB Institute and sponsored Altria. The tournament is a benefit for Washington Business Week and will be played at the beautiful Rope Rider Golf Course. Pre-registration has closed, but walk-ins are welcome. Note the Cle Elum weather forecast, which calls for highs in the low 60s with a 30 percent chance of rain. We’ll see you there!

Prepare for Policy Summit by downloading new mobile appTake a few moments before you leave for Policy Summit to download our new mobile app (available for Apple and Android devices). It has a full, detailed event schedule, maps of Suncadia Resort, and perhaps our favorite feature, a way to virtually introduce yourself to other attendees. This social feature is fully opt-in, so it will only share what you choose to share, up to and including a photo. It’s best to set it up on your laptop or desktop computer then enjoy on your mobile device. Registered attendees have already received an email with login information. Email Anne Haller, AWB’s director of member relations and events, or contact her by phone at 360.943.1600 for more information.

Labor & Industries proposing 2.7 percent workers’ comp rate hike for 2014
After two years of no rate increases, state Department of Labor & Industries officials announced today that they will propose a 2.7 percent average hike in next year’s workers’ compensation insurance rates. An AWB-led overhaul of the state’s workers’ compensation system in 2011 helped keep rates flat the last two years, but officials are under pressure to rebuild reserves that were drawn down during the recession. The proposal is 3.7 percent above the break-even point for next year which is actually a 1 percent decrease. The 3.7 percent increase is expected to raise up to $95 million for the reserves. A key component of the proposal is an estimated $35-70 million in cost savings the state hopes to realize from safety and return to work initiatives under Gov. Jay Inslee's Results Washington agenda. AWB pushed for additional reforms this year that would have helped reduce pressure to raise rates as the reserves are replenished, but they failed to receive a hearing in the House of Representatives after being passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. For more information, contact AWB’s Kris Tefft.

As new I-5 bridge slips into place over Skagit River, new report finds nation’s bridges in poor shape
Four months after an oversize load demolished part of the Skagit River I-5 bridge, a permanent $8.5 million replacement was eased into place over the weekend. Meanwhile, an Associated Press analysis of the nation’s 607,380 bridges showed 65,605 that are “structurally deficient” and 20,808 are “fracture critical.” In Washington, 50 bridges have one or both of those labels. The scope of the problem is large, and a three-decade-old national fund dedicated to bridge repair was eliminated last year.

Three more stops added on statewide transportation listening tour

An “overwhelming public response” has prompted state Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, to add three stops to a statewide listening tour about a comprehensive transportation funding and reform package. Legislative leaders from both parties will tour the state starting Tuesday to hear from the public about the need for increased transportation funding and accompanying reforms. Their expanded slate of hearings now includes Pasco (Sept. 26), Seattle (Oct.14) and Bellingham (Oct. 15). Mike Ennis, AWB’s government affairs director for transportation, encourages those who plan to attend one of the meetings, or who have questions, to contact him.

Gov. Inslee releases Results Washington with a few details missing

Gov. Jay Inslee and his administration released the state’s new performance management system, Results Washington, with a press conference and Twitter town hall this week. The governor’s list of benchmarks is short on detail, The Olympian notes (tiered paywall). The governor hopes to hear from the public to fill in those blanks.

By Oct. 1, make sure you are complying with requirement for Affordable Care Act notice

More than two thirds of employees in a national survey said they hadn’t heard from their employers about how the Affordable Care Act will affect them. Employers, even those with fewer than 50 employees, have until Oct. 1 to notify their workers in writing, the Puget Sound Business Journal notes in a story called “The Obamacare deadline that applies to all businesses – yes, yours too.” Learn more about this new ACA requirement here.

State’s revenue up more than expected

Washington state government collected $65 million more in tax revenue last month than it had expected. On top of other unexpected revenue, largely real-estate excise taxes on large sales of commercial property, the state has collected an unpredicted $116 million windfall since its June revenue forecast, The Olympian reports (tiered paywall). Still, that’s just a drop in the state’s two-year $33.5 billion budget.

Liberty Bottleworks, Watson Furniture win national awards for pollution prevention

Two green Washington companies recognized earlier this year by AWB have now received national honors for innovative work in protecting the environment. Liberty Bottleworks of Yakima has received a 2013 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention award from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable. Watson Furniture of Poulsbo received an honorable mention. Learn more about these eco-friendly Washington success stories with AWB award videos profiling Liberty Bottleworks and Watson Furniture.

New report concludes GMO initiative 522 is costly, flawed and ill-conceived

Initiative 522 would increase costs for Washington consumers and food producers while exempting many products from the new food labeling requirements, the Washington Research Council concludes after studying the citizen initiative that opposes genetically modified products. An executive summary of the report is here; the full report is here. Washington Business magazine’s recent story, “Putting Fear on the Table,” notes that a supposedly simple labeling initiative is actually the forward push of a sweeping anti-science, anti-GMO agenda.

GMO initiative fight could be one of the most expensive in state history

The fight over whether to label foods containing genetically modified organisms received a major infusion of cash last week as Monsanto pledged $4.6 million and DuPont Pioneer $3.2 million to the group opposing Initiative 522. The group supporting the mandatory labeling initiative has raised $3.5 million, the Seattle Times reports (tiered paywall). So far voters are leaning toward the initiative. A similar proposal in California last year failed, with support dropping as people learned more. A wide coalition of farmers, retailers, businesses and scientists warn that I-522 is misleading, expensive and unnecessary.

How algae just might save the world, and more news from Washington Business magazine

Inland Empire Paper in Spokane is inventing technology to meet some of North America’s strictest water quality standards. The unlikely hero just might be algae. Learn more about this and much more in the latest edition of Washington Business magazine.

King-sized fall Chinook runs in Columbia-Snake rivers setting record

A record set 10 years ago came crashing down Sept. 7 when 48,710 adult fall Chinook were counted in one day at Bonneville Dam. The previous record was 45,884. The daily count grew even higher Monday with a one-day return of 63,870 Chinook. “The new one-day record for returning adults of over 63,000 Chinook would average 2,700 salmon per hour,” said Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners. “The fish counters at Bonneville Dam must have blisters on their fingers! This phenomenal run throws cold water on anti-dam groups’ assertions that salmon runs are going extinct and is further evidence that the federal salmon restoration plan is working.” Read more online at Olympia Business Watch.

Supreme Court rejects Kemper Freeman attempt to stop light rail on I-90

The Washington state Supreme Court turned by a push by Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman Jr. to prevent Sound Transit from building a light-rail line on the I-90 floating bridge, the Seattle Times reports (tiered paywall). The 7-2 decision clears the way for the $2.8 billion East Link project. By 2023 it will bring light rail from Seattle to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Overlake.

Governor have given raises totaling nearly $100,000 to a dozen cabinet members
Gov. Jay Inslee has given a total of about $100,000 in raises to his cabinet, Northwest Public Radio reports. The head of the Department of Licensing got a 17 percent raise to $141,000 a year. The new director of the state’s Health Care Authority got a 15 percent boost to nearly $152,000. Other raises were in the 2 to 8 percent range. Half of the 25-person cabinet did not get a raise. The salary for the head of the Puget Sound Partnership was the only one to decrease, dropping by 17 percent (Olympian/tiered paywall).

Mercer Island councilwoman Tana Senn sworn in as state representative

Tana Senn, a city councilwoman from Mercer Island, was sworn in last week to serve the 41st district in the state House of Representatives. A Democrat, she fills the seat of Rep. Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton, who resigned to serve as Gov. Jay Inslee’s senior education policy advisor. Senn will serve out her term until the 2014 general election. Senn is a cousin of former Washington Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn.

WRC: expanding commodity exports will create jobs, increase investment

Over the decades ahead, Washington’s increased exports will provide jobs directly and indirectly, the Washington Research Council concludes in the final piece of a four-part series on trade. Proposed bulk terminals for coal and other commodities in Longview and Cherry Point will add to this demand, but not constitute the majority of it, the WRC notes.

Tickets now on sale for Washington Business Week breakfast fundraiser at CenturyLink Field

Show your support for Washington Business Week by attending its first-ever fundraiser breakfast at 7 a.m. Oct. 23 in the Root Sports Lounge at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. KOMO-TV news anchor and business reporter Brad Goode will be master of ceremonies. Students and alumni will share stories of how Business Week helped them. Register online now for “Takin’ Care of Business: Breakfast Benefit for Washington Business Week”.

Two Washington early-learning organizations announce merger

Thrive By Five, a group founded by businesses and foundations in 2006 to advocate for early childhood education, has merged with the Foundation for Early Learning, a group that has its roots with former Gov. Gary Locke and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The combined group will give grants to organizations working to boost early learning and increase the awareness of parents and other caregivers about child development, the Seattle Times reports (tiered paywall).

Consider donating to the Don Brunell scholarship and Washington Business Week

As you develop your corporate giving budgets for 2014, consider donating to the Don Brunell Scholarship Fund administered by AWB Institute, which supports higher education in business-related fields. Contact AWB Institute’s Mike Hudson for donation information. Another worthy recipient is Washington Business Week, which gives real-life entrepreneurial experience to more than 3,000 teens a year thanks to generous donors. Contributions to AWB Institute and Washington Business Week are tax deductible under IRS code.

AWB Climate Committee to meet Sept. 24, discuss work of legislative climate working group

The AWB Climate Committee will meet Sept. 24 to go over the latest work by the state’s Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup and its review of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. AWB’s committee will discuss the role of AWB and its members in upcoming CLEW public hearings, as well as possible updates to the AWB Greenbook. The meeting is set for Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. at AWB. Call Connie Grande at 800.521.9325 for conference call sign-up. For information on the Climate Committee, contact Brandon Houskeeper.

Is your organization ready for Seattle’s new rules limiting criminal background checks?

Are you ready for Seattle’s new “ban the box” ordinance, limiting an employer’s ability to ask about an applicant’s criminal background? Kris Teft, AWB director of government affairs for employment law, and Greg Hendershott, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, will answer your questions on this hot topic on Oct. 3 from 10-11:30 a.m. in the John Davis Conference Center at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, in Seattle. Cost is $40 for members, $65 for non-members. This program is pending recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. Contact AWB’s Anne Haller at 360.943.1600 for more information.

Registration is now open for the 2013 Manufacturing Summit on Oct. 25 at Cedarbrook Lodge, SeaTac

Mark your calendars for the second annual AWB Manufacturing Summit. This 2013 summit sponsored by McGladrey includes our ninth-annual Manufacturing Excellence Awards, sponsored by UPS. Sessions include:

  • “Developing Local Relationships That Build Your Workforce,” panel moderated by Gary Chandler, AWB vice president, government affairs.
  • “Manufacturing Challenges and Opportunities in Washington,” panel moderated Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.
  • McGladrey 2013 Monitor Results, presented by Wendy Sancewich, CPA, CFE, National Manufacturing Team Director, McGladrey.
  • Manufacturing Excellence Awards Luncheon sponsored by The Boeing Company.

A limited number of rooms are available at Cedarbrook Lodge. Reserve by Sept. 30 to receive the AWB group rate of $179. Contact Anne Haller at 800.521.9325 for more information or to learn about sponsorship opportunities.

Save the date: AWB 2013 Health Care Forum, Nov. 6
Still trying to make sense of the Affordable Care Act? Plan now to attend AWB’s 2013 Health Care Forum, Nov. 6 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel. The forum, “Understanding & Implementing the Changes in Health Care,” features John Goodman, president & CEO, National Center for Policy Analysis. Goodman is widely known as the father of health savings accounts, and Modern Healthcare named him as one of four people who have most influenced the modern health care system. Goodman’s new book, “Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis,” will be available at the event.

Additional sessions to include:

  • Affordable Care Act Impact on Employers: What do employers need to be ready for and what’s next?
  • Opportunity for Employers: Can my company really reduce health care costs?
  • Transform Your Workforce. Strengthen Your Bottom Line: Panel of successful case studies in wellness programs
Registration opens next week. Group rate lodging is available for $179. Sponsorships available now; contact Anne Haller.


“Increase customer satisfaction from X to X by 20XX (TBD).” ~ A section of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Results Washington document on effective, efficient and accountable government. The xs are left undefined, the governor’s office said, as they await public input.

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