Forgot Password?

Fast Facts

Monday, April 21

AWB Institute launches Leadership Washington program

AWB Institute launches Leadership Washington program

Leadership Washington, a premiere nine-month program by the AWB Institute, is a new effort to build the ranks of young professionals to fill the leadership vacuum created by the “silver tsunami” of baby boomer retirements. The program is set in six diverse regions of the state, exposing leaders to different industry sectors and relevant topics, including the political landscape facing the business community. Graduates will be strong, articulate, informed leaders for Washington’s industry in a globally competitive economy. The Institute is now accepting applications for Leadership Washington; the deadline is May 15. Contact the AWB Institute’s Amy Johnson for sponsorship information.

$15 minimum wage activists file initiative as Seattle mayor gives deadline to committee

The activist group pushing for a blanket $15 minimum wage in Seattle upped the pressure last week by filing a ballot initiative, although they have yet to begin collecting the 30,000 signatures needed to force a vote. Mayor Ed Murray responded by giving his advisory group, which includes business and labor, until this Thursday to agree on a plan — or Murray said he will go with his own proposal. Some business leaders say the minimum wage discussion should include credit for health insurance benefits and helping workers improve their skills to look beyond minimum wage jobs. Meanwhile, there are new reports showing that some of the labor unions supporting the $15 minimum wage aren’t paying their own employees that much.

Specifics lacking as lawmakers finalize McCleary report to Supreme Court

Legislators will meet again next week to finalize a progress report due to the state Supreme Court on fully funding basic education as required under the court’s 2012 McCleary decision. The report probably won’t have many specifics on how lawmakers will raise an extra $1.2 to $1.4 billion during the 2015 legislative session, Crosscut writes. The legislative report is likely to include a list of bills that were considered but rejected, according to The News Tribune. The high court gave the Legislature until 2018 to meet its ruling, which is estimated to require an additional $3.5 billion in increased education funding.

New report from AWB Institute highlights state’s energy production

Washington’s economy is strong, in large part, because of our state’s abundant, clean, inexpensive hydroelectric supply. The region is also blessed with significant biomass and wind resources. Yet even as 82 percent of the state’s energy comes from renewable sources, Washington’s energy mandates and policies are increasing costs for businesses and end users. Those are a few of the conclusions in “Electrical Energy Generation in Washington State,” the latest report from the AWB Institute. The report also found that the state faces a growing need to train new employees to replace engineers and front-line workers who are about to retire. The report was generated from information gathered during a series of focus groups last year in Moses Lake, Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.

Connect with legislative leaders and attorney general at AWB’s Spring Meeting

With less than a month until the AWB Spring Meeting in Spokane, it’s time to sign up for this roundup of the 2014 legislative session and look ahead at what promises to be a barn-burner session next year. The AWB Spring Meeting, May 13-14 in Spokane, is where you can meet the lawmakers and candidates who will create the future shape of taxation, regulation and governance in 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, and you’ll meet the winners of the 2014 Environmental Excellence Awardsand Community Service Awards. Learn more and register here. You can also follow on Twitter by searching #awbspring14.

McBride switches to House race as Habib announces run for Senate

Rep. Cyrus Habib, D-Bellevue, announced today that he will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue. Former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride, who had been running against Tom with the support of the Democratic establishment, will now campaign for Habib’s seat in the House. It’s essentially a swap on the November ballot, The Seattle Times writes, and is a response to Tom’s surprise announcement that he would step down because of health and family issues. The Redmond Reporter has more.

Two more candidates emerge for House seat in 14th District

Two longtime business leaders have announced Republican candidacies for the state House seat being vacated by Rep. Charles Ross, R-Naches. Ben Shoval helped lead a successful 2013 ballot measure requiring a two-thirds majority vote of the Yakima City Council to raise taxes. He is endorsed by Ross. Gina McCabe has been CEO and general manager of the Goldendale Quality Inn and Suites Hotel, and served as vice president and director of the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce. A third Republican, Adam Yoest, is also in the race. No Democrats have yet announced a run.

Supreme Court justice Debra Stephens to run for reelection

State Supreme Court Justice Debra Stephens kicked off a reelection bid last week in Spokane, hoping to retain her seat on the state’s high court. Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Stephens to the Supreme Court in 2007, and the Gonzaga University Law School graduate ran unopposed for her seat the following year, the Spokesman-Review reports. She has no challengers so far.

Elway poll shows support for higher taxes on roads, other specific causes

A new Elway Poll suggests that voters would vote 3 to 1 in favor of higher taxes for specific public projects, with 74 percent saying they would support a tax increase on roads. Sixty percent said they would support higher taxes for mass transit. The Seattle Times and Spokesman-Review have the story.

Auditor Troy Kelley deployed to South Korea for two weeks with the National Guard

State Auditor Troy Kelley, who is a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard, has been deployed to South Korea for two weeks. Kelley works as a judge advocate general officer in the National Guard. In addition to his military duties, Kelley will consult with a South Korean counterpart, the chairman of the Audit and Inspection Commission for the Jeju Special Governing Province.

Passages: Bob Graham, who served seven terms as state auditor, dies at age 93

Robert V. “Bob” Graham, who served as state auditor from 1965 to 1993, died Wednesday at age 93 after a period of declining health, The News Tribune reports. Graham, a Democrat, initiated the state’s whistle blower program and was one of the first to use performance audits. These rankled enough lawmakers that his authority to conduct them was taken away by the Legislature in 1971, The News Tribune reported. A citizen initiative in 2005 renewed the ability of the auditor’s office to conduct performance audits.

Inslee hires former Gregoire staffer-turned-coal lobbyist to lead his policy team

Gov. Jay Inslee has hired Matt Steuerwalt, Gov. Chris Gregoire’s former advisor on energy and climate, to lead his policy team. Steuerwalt, senior vice president at Strategies 360, has recently worked on behalf of energy firms, including those working to build export terminals in Washington. He also represented TransAlta during its negotiations with Gregoire to end coal power production in Washington.

Highway 99 tunnel work in Seattle won’t resume for another year

“Bertha,” the world biggest deep-bore tunneling machine, won’t get back to work until March 2015, the Department of Transportation announced today. Construction will begin next month on an enormous pit in downtown Seattle to allow access to Bertha for repairs. The machine has been idled since December after overheating due to failed seals. By running the drill around the clock once it’s back online, the company running the dig still hopes to open the tunnel to drivers by the originally proposed date of November 2016 (Seattle Tunnel Partners had initially proposed finishing the tunnel 11 months early, by late 2015.)

State’s unemployment rate shows slow growth

Washington is doing better than the rest of the nation, and Seattle is doing better than the rest of the state, but the overall Washington jobless picture is basically holding steady, KUOW reports. The state’s unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in March, but rural counties continue to struggle with jobless rates that are twice as bad.

Boeing hits milestone with delivery of 8,000th 737

The most popular commercial aircraft in history, the Boeing 737, hit a new height on Wednesday when the company delivered its 8,000th 737. The jet went to United Airlines, which has purchased more than 550 737s of various makes and models since 1965. The 737 is built in Renton, where the record production of 42 planes per month is set to increase to 47 with the addition of a third assembly line.

Last chance: Sign up for Tuesday’s webinar on high-tech legal issues

Who owns that mobile app 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 webinar tomorrow 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.

Webinar: Health care reform — do you play or do you pay?

It’s been four years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, and federal agencies have now issued final regulations on many health reform issues. That means you and your business face an important question: do you play — or pay? Attorney Howard Bye-Torre of Stoel Rives will give you the facts and explain the details 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.

EEOC paying more attention to poster violations

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has nearly doubled the fine for failure to post its required federal nondiscrimination notice. As of April 18, the cost for not posting the notice is $210 per violation, up from $110. This poster was initially revised back in 2009, so the update itself is not new. However, it does illustrate that the federal government is taking poster violations more seriously. Do you have current employment law posters? Order your poster sets today to ensure you're in compliance! As a member convenience, AWB offers up-to-date laminated state and federal posting sets for $39.99 per complete set, plus local tax and shipping or $19.99 for a single poster. To place your order, call Karlee Keith at 800.521.9325 or e-mail her at


“We're hiring in Seattle! Field Organizers start @ $12.25/hr...” ~ A job posting from Working America, a union-backed group that is pushing for a universal $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle. After employees gain experience, the group offers to up the pay to $15 per hour.

High-tech plastic cup shows how research can fuel the economy, by AWB President Kris Johnson

If you would like to unsubscribe to Fast Facts, please contact

Back To News