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Fast Facts

Monday, April 14

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom drops re-election campaign

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom drops re-election campaign

State Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, announced today that he is ending his re-election campaign due to his own health problems and a desire to help his 85-year-old father recover from injuries suffered last week when he was struck by a car. The surprise announcement could hold significant consequences for the Legislature; Tom, a fiscally conservative Democrat, crossed party lines in 2012 and joined with Republicans to form the Majority Coalition Caucus. Along with Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, the predominantly Republican caucus took control of the Senate away from Democrats and successfully pushed the state toward more responsible spending. But his move angered Democrats and Tom was facing what was expected to be a tough campaign this fall with many in his own party supporting a rival Democrat, former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride. Sen. Mark Schoesler, the Republican Senate leader, praised Tom’s leadership and said his work “had a historic impact on Washington.”

Washington needs ‘sensible precaution’ regarding water quality

Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to make a decision sometime soon that carries huge consequences for Washington employers and municipal ratepayers. Specifically, the governor is expected to set a new standard regarding the stormwater and wastewater discharged into the state’s waterways. AWB, like many other business organizations, is concerned that Inslee will bow to pressure from the federal government to adopt a standard like Oregon’s that’s simply unattainable given current technology. Doing so would drive up costs for employers and ratepayers alike, and pose a serious threat to Washington’s economy. Some of the state’s biggest newspapers also share our concern; The Seattle Times, The News Tribune, the Tri-City Herald and The Daily News have all published editorials recently calling on Inslee to exercise caution. You can join the effort, as well. Please email Joby Shimomura, Inslee’s chief of staff, or call the Governor’s Office today at 360.902.4111360.902.4111360.902.4111360.902.4111 and ask Inslee to avoid setting a water quality standard that is impossible to attain.

Travelers Institute brings ‘Small Business – Big Opportunity’ symposium to Seattle

Seattle and Washington are optimistic about the year ahead, according to the nearly 100 attendees at Thursday’s “Small Business – Big Opportunity symposium held by the Travelers Institute at the Seattle Center. Using hand-held voting machines, most people in the crowd said they plan to expand their businesses in the next 12 months – but 83 percent of attendees said policymakers also need to focus on lifting the regulatory burdens on small businesses. This was the 12th in a national series of talks aimed at uncovering the issues facing small businesses. Also discussed: cybersecurity, having a business succession plan, Washington’s “Red Tape Index” and how companies can access capital. Read more at Olympia Business Watch.

Mazama pocket gopher to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it will list four subspecies of the Mazama pocket gopher as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Olympia, Roy Prairie, Tenino and Yelm subspecies of pocket gopher live only in Pierce and Thurston counties. The federal agency designated 1,607 acres in Thurston County as critical habitat, but will allow farming and ranching activities to continue, The News Tribune reports.

Hear from legislative leaders and attorney general at AWB’s Spring Meeting

Sign up now for the AWB Spring Meeting, May 13-14 in Spokane, where you will meet the lawmakers who are defining the future of taxation, regulation and governance in Olympia. You’ll also be able to connect with candidates and other future leaders who can bring the perspective of employers to Olympia. You’ll hear from Attorney General Bob Ferguson and get briefings from other legislative leaders:

  • House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle (invited)
  • Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina
  • Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville
  • Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane
  • Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda

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 this Wednesday. Learn more and register here.

Two Democrats announce runs for 30th District Senate seat

Roger Flygare, a small business owner and Vietnam War veteran, announced last week that he will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Rep. Tracey Eide. That news was followed by an announcement from Shari Song, a real estate agent who has deep roots in the 30th District but has been living in Bellevue. She said she has just movedback to Federal Way. Song, who lost a race for the King County Council last year, has the endorsements of Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson and Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, The Seattle Times reports. The race has one Republican candidate, former Democratic state Rep. Mark Miloscia.

Yakima Republican will run for House seat in 14th District
Adam Yoest, a 29-year-old master’s degree student and sergeant in the National Guard, announced last week that he will run for the state House as a Republican. The incumbent, Rep. Charles Ross, is not seeking re-election. The Yakima Herald-Republic quotes Yoest as saying he would focus on “cultivating an economic environment with less tax, less government and more freedom.”

Enumclaw City Council member to run for 31st District House seat

Mike Sando, an Enumclaw City Council member who teaches high school government and history, announced Thursday that he will run for the 31st District House seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Cathy Dahlquist as she runs for the Senate. Sando, a Democrat, once worked as an aide to former state Sen. Valoria Loveland, D-Pasco.

After beating cancer, Justice Mary Fairhurt running again for Supreme Court

State Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst announced last week that she would again seek reelection to the high court. The 56-year-old said she has “won her battle with cancer” and is ready to run for a third term on the court, The News Tribune reports.

Department of Revenue offering free webinar about taxes for business

While federal income taxes are in the headlines as tomorrow’s deadline looms, state taxes are just as important for business owners. The Department of Revenue offers a series of free webinars offering information and guidance on when and how to report tax information. The next webinar in the series will be held Wednesday, April 30, from 10-11 a.m. It will cover reporting excise tax classifications, deductions, sales tax collection and record-keeping requirements, and will include time for a Q&A. Learn more and register here. The deadline to register is April 25.

Tax relief available for businesses affected to Oso mudslide

Businesses in Snohomish County affected by the SR 530 mudslide are eligible for an extension on their April taxes, which are due April 25 for monthly reporting businesses and April 30 for quarterly reporters. Businesses can apply for an extension by calling the Department of Revenue at 800.647.7706800.647.7706800.647.7706800.647.7706 and asking for a filing extension. A business can also apply for a late payment penalty waiver after the fact for taxes due in March or the upcoming April payments. Businesses can also request relief through their “My Account” feature in DOR’s e-file service.

Five students named as recipients of Don C. Brunell Scholarship for Future Leaders
Five young men and women will be able to study business in college thanks to the Don C. Brunell Scholarship. The recipients of this year’s award are:

  • Talia Haller, Olympia, who will be attending the University of Washington
  • Ana Delgadillo, Vancouver, who will be attending Concordia University in Portland
  • Kenny Raymond, Woodinville, currently attending the University of Washington
  • Deziree Iams, who attended Fife High School and is now studying at the University of Colorado
  • Bryce Remington, Redmond, attending the University of Michigan

The Don. C. Brunell Scholarship was established in 2004 to honor the former president of AWB. Learn more online.

Passages: Val Ogden, former House speaker pro tem

Val Ogden, a six-term House representative who served as speaker pro tem, died Wednesday at age 90. Ogden was “a tireless community advocate,” a pathfinder for women’s rights and was declared “First Citizen of Clark County” in 2006, The Columbian reports. She is survived by Dan, her husband of 67 years; three children; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Sebelius resigns after rocky rollout of Affordable Care Act website and mandate
Kathleen Sebelius announced last week that she would step down as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Her term was marked by the crash-prone rollout of the nation’s online health care exchanges and the recent announcement that more than 7 million people signed up for health coverage under the ACA, exceeding the target number. President Barack Obama plans to nominate Sylvia Mathews, the head of his budget office, to replace Sebelius.

Last chance to sign up for Thursday’s webinar: Social Media Dos and DON’Ts

The legal issues surrounding social media are complicated for employers, but understanding them is vital. Set your mind at ease by joining employment attorney Selena Smith of Davis Grimm Payne & Marra for a quick webinar Thursday morning that will explain the “DO’s and DON’Ts” for policies and discipline issues surrounding Facebook, Twitter and all manner of online conduct. In just 90 minutes, you’ll learn what your workplace policies on social media can and can’t include, how to effectively discipline for online misconduct, your obligations in responding to employee complains about online behavior, and much more. Register now!

Webinar: Who owns that smartphone app? What about the cloud?

Who owns that mobile app that your business paid a developer to create? What exactly is Bitcoin, and how is it treated for tax purposes? And what exactly happens to your data once it goes into the cloud? Bring your high-tech questions to our April 22 webinar on the legal issues of today’s high-tech world. “Apps, Bitcoin, the Cloud and more: Learn the ABCs of licensing, buying and selling technology” will be led by Garry Fujita and Rick Leitner, partners at Eisenhower Carlson and 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.

Will your company pay or play in the new world of health care reform?

Federal agencies have issued final regulations on many health reform issues, and it’s time for your business to play – or pay. Attorney Howard Bye-Torre of Stoel Rives will give you the facts and explain their implications 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 and register here.


“It's not the case everywhere in the country that you see the entrepreneurial spirit you see here in Seattle. It's another great asset.” ~ Joan Woodward, president of the Travelers Institute, after seeing the optimism registered in the crowd from Seattle – and the rest of Washington – at Thursday’s “Small Business – Big Opportunity” symposium.

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