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Monday, April 7

Manufacturers' Showcase visits Tacoma for a look at industry and exports

Manufacturers’ Showcase visits Tacoma for a look at industry and exports

“Made in America” stories abounded Tuesday as the AWB Institute’s third Manufacturers’ Showcase toured Tacoma. Olympia Business Watch has the story of the tour, which included a look at the export-powered economy at the Port of Tacoma, the advanced casting technology at Bradken, and the bustling aerospace jobs in Puyallup’s P&J Machining. The next Manufacturers’ Showcase tours will be in Spokane on June 19 and in Seattle on Aug. 19. Contact Amy Johnson of the AWB Institute to learn more.

Governor signs budget but with a partial veto

Gov. Jay Inslee signed the state’s supplemental operating budget Friday, but not before issuing a surprise veto that drew complaints from Senate budget writers. The budget, passed overwhelmingly in both chambers, is the first in years with no tax increases, spending cuts or elimination of tax breaks, The Herald writes. Still, Inslee called it “disappointing,” saying it didn’t spend enough on education. At the same time, he vetoed a portion of the bill that would have diverted $20 million from the state’s Life Sciences Discovery Fund into the general fund, where it could be used for education. Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, the Senate’s chief budget writer, said the governor’s line-item veto makes it harder to meet the Supreme Court’s McCleary school funding order, and will also make it harder for legislators to negotiate a budget next year. “We’ll always be looking over our shoulder,” said Hill.

Ecology opens extended comment period for two export terminals in Grays Harbor County

The state Department of Ecology and the city of Hoquiam will begin accepting comments this week on setting the scope for an eventual environmental review of two proposed Grays Harbor export terminals. The comment period will run for 47 days – more than double the normal 21 days – as the agencies take input on what to study before they consider proposals from Westway Terminal Company and Imperium Renewables. In addition to written comments, public meetings will be held April 24 in Hoquiam and April 29 in Centralia. Similar scoping processes for the Gateway and Millenium export terminals in Longview and Bellingham resulted in unprecedented studies looking at global impacts. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Brandon Houskeeper to learn more.

Nearly 1 million enroll in health insurance on state’s Healthplanfinder by March 31 deadline

More than 958,000 people used the state’s health exchange website to sign up for health insurance by March 31, a key deadline for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The state fell short of its goal on enrolling new paying insurance customers, but the effort was overwhelmingly successful in signing up people newly eligible for government-run Medicaid coverage, The Seattle Times reports. The Puget Sound Business Journal broke down the numbers, which include 146,000 people who bought plans online and more than 800,000 who enrolled in Medicaid through the site. Meanwhile, those who weren’t able to sign up because of technical problems with the website can still finish their applications, as long as they started before midnight March 31.

Last chance to register: ‘Small Business – Big Opportunity’ comes to Seattle Thursday

There is still time to register for a free seminar this Thursday in Seattle. Join AWB and the Travelers Institute for a breakfast and panel discussion: “Small Business – Big Opportunity,” which will discuss risk management, regulations, cyber security, access to capital and many other issues affecting small business growth and job creation. Speakers will include Washington Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender; AWB Government Affairs Vice President Gary Chandler; and Gregor Hodgson, vice president, account executive, Parker Smith & Feek. Joan Woodward, president of the Travelers Institute and executive vice president for public policy at The Travelers Companies, will moderate. The event will be held in McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center. Attendance and parking will be free. Please RSVP.

Rep. Cathy Dahlquist to run against fellow Republican, Sen. Pam Roach

State Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R- Enumclaw, announced last week that she will challenge fellow Republican Pam Roach for the Senate seat Roach has held for 24 years. The race could be “more of a brawl than most fights between Republicans and Democrats, if past elections are any indication,” The News Tribune writes. A battle between two lawmakers of the same party is rare, The Seattle Times reports, but with the state’s top-two primary, it’s possible that both Republicans will advance to the general election in the 3rd District in east Pierce and King counties.

Two young candidates run to replace Rep. Dahlquist in 31st District

Two candidates have emerged in the now open 31st District House race. Jonathon Dunn, 24, a Democrat and consultant to hospitals and clinics on diagnostic and training methods, announced his candidacy on Wednesday. Drew Stokesbary, 29, an Auburn Republican who works as an aide to King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer, announced his candidacy on Thursday.

Nathan Schlicher announces run for House; Judy Arbogast to run for Senate in 26th District

Nathan Schlicher, a Gig Harbor Democrat who was appointed to the Senate last year and lost the seat in November to Republican Rep. Jan Angel, will run this year for the House in the 26th District. He’ll take on Republican Jesse Young, who was appointed to fill Angel’s vacant House seat in January. Democrat Judy Arbogast of Olalla plans to announce this week that she is running for Angel’s Senate position, The News Tribune reports.

Chris Eggen, deputy mayor of Shoreline, challenges fellow Democrat, Sen. Maralyn Chase

Shoreline Deputy Mayor Chris Eggen, a Democrat, has announced that he will run against longtime Democratic Sen. Maralyn Chase, setting up a rare intraparty battle in the liberal 32nd District. Chase has represented this district northeast of Seattle for 14 years.

Bill would link preferential tax rate to lower carbon emissions

SB 6440, which awaits Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature, would be the first bill in Washington to link a tax rate with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, The Olympian reports. The bill would give Puget Sound Energy a lower tax rate on construction of a $250 million liquefied natural gas plant at the Port of Tacoma, taxing the natural gas at transportation-fuel rates, far lower than the normal heating-fuel rates. Negotiations between PSE and the Port of Tacoma are still ongoing on the facility, which would fuel ocean-going ships with the alternative fuel.

Teachers’ union backs class-size initiative

Richard Davis, president of the Washington Research Council, notes on the organization’s blog today that the Washington Education Association has formally endorsed Initiative 1351, an unfunded mandate to reduce class size. The Legislature will already be facing a huge funding challenge next year as a result of the McCleary court decision, Davis writes. If the measure qualifies for the ballot, the WRC will assess the fiscal impact.

Bob Drewel, former Snohomish County executive, will lead WSU’s new Everett campus

The former executive of Snohomish County, Bob Drewel, will serve as interim chancellor of the education center now known as WSU North Puget Sound at Everett. Washington State University is taking over management of the University Center from Everett Community College on July 1. Drewel has served as president of Everett Community College and retired in December after more than a decade as executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council, The Herald reports.

Kris Johnson op-ed shows why workforce development is important

In a guest column published Saturday in The Daily News of Longview, AWB President Kris Johnson told the story of an out-of-work welder who landed a stable manufacturing job after going back to school. There are good jobs available in manufacturing, Johnson said, but one challenge is to make sure that young people understand there are quality careers to be had in the technical trades. Another challenge is to help adults who are out of work, like Juan Rodriguez was, get the training they need to move into new careers.

Hear from legislative leaders, up-and-coming candidates at AWB’s Spring Meeting

The legislative session is over and campaign season is upon us. What impacts will the recently concluded 2014 legislative session have on your business? Who are the future leaders who will bring the perspective of employers to Olympia? Find out at AWB’s Spring Meeting May 13-14 in Spokane. You’ll hear from top legislative leaders and meet newly announced candidates. Sign up now to also hear from Attorney General Bob Ferguson and former Gov. Gary Locke. They’ll be joined by Tom Malone, president and CEO of MicroGREEN Polymers, who will talk about his fast-growing high-tech cup company. Doug Krapas, environmental manager for Inland Empire Paper Co., will speak about his company’s innovative water treatment projects. You’ll also meet the winners of the 2014 Environmental Excellence and Community Service awards. Reserve your room at The Davenport Hotel before the group rate expires on April 16th. Learn more and register here.

Stay ahead of technology and the law with AWB’s intellectual property webinar

Technology is a brave new world of opportunity – and legal pitfalls. Stay on top of the issues and learn how to use the latest online resources to help your business at AWB’s April 22 webinar, “Apps, Bitcoin, the Cloud and more: Learn the ABCs of licensing, buying and selling technology.” Garry Fujita and Rick Leitner, partners at Eisenhower Carlson, are experts in technology and intellectual property transactions. They’ll lead this online discussion of tax issues, licensing laws and latest developments related to smartphone apps and digital currencies. Details and registration are available online.

Webinar: Health Care Reform: Learn how to play so you won’t have to pay the price

Like it or not, it’s now a “pay or play” world when it comes to health care regulations. Get the latest information from Howard Bye-Torre of Stoel Rives during AWB’s May 7 webinar, “Health Care Reform: Next Steps for Employers.” Bye-Torre, an author and attorney who specializes in health care law, will detail:

  • Delay of pay-or-play penalties for certain small employers
  • Pay-or-play penalty transition relief for all employers
  • Mandates for coverage of dependents
  • Changes in the definitions of “full-time” and “seasonal” employees
  • Developments in 90-day waiting period rule
  • Reporting rules for plans and employers

Get the details here.


“Texas lawmakers acted last year to rejoin the mainstream by adopting new R&D tax incentives. That leaves Washington as the sole outlier among the top tech states.” ~ Richard Davis, president of the Washington Research Council, about the decision by Texas to drop a high-tech research and development tax credit in 2007. This year – shortly after Texas reconsidered – Washington’s Legislature failed to renew its own tax credits.


The problem with a $15 minimum wage for Dick’s Drive-In, by Jasmine Donovan, vice president at Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants and granddaughter of company co-founder Dick Spady

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