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Fast Facts

Monday, June 2

EPA releases controversial plan to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030

TOP STORIES
EPA releases controversial plan to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030

The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft rule Monday that seeks to impose strict new regulations on the nation’s fossil-fired power plants. The proposal, considered the cornerstone of President Obama’s climate-change agenda, would cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, but critics warn that it will also drive up electricity rates and harm the economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers both issued statements saying the rule will be expensive for employers and cost the economy jobs. AWB President Kris Johnson said the plan would devastate the manufacturing industry, one of the country’s leading providers of family-wage jobs. “We must work together to find solutions that balance our economic and job needs with protection of the environment,” said Johnson.

Business rep calls process a ‘charade’ as Seattle City Council prepares for $15 minimum wage vote

The Seattle City Council will vote today on a $15 minimum wage plan after a committee vote last week to slightly delay by three months, to April 1 2015. A standing-room-only crowd of union members and activists booed that amendment to delay but cheered the final unanimous vote in favor of a complex seven-year plan to bring a $15 minimum wage to all Seattle workers. Still, the Socialist-aligned, compromise-averse 15 Now group is gathering signatures for an initiative that would require a quicker phase-in and earlier start date. That violates the spirit of the hard-forged compromise in Mayor Ed Murray’s Income Equality Advisory Committee, said David Meinert, a business representative to the mayor’s panel, who blasted the process as “a charade.” Meanwhile, a similar initiative in SeaTac has apparently caused problems and unhappiness for the workers it was designed to help.

Office Depot worker testifies as Kreidler whistleblower case continues to ignite concern

An Office Depot employee gave a deposition last Wednesday about his unwitting role in a troubling Olympia whodunit. Lawyers want to know who asked the worker to email a copy of a whistleblower complaint against Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. It was sent anonymously to attorneys representing Seattle Children’s Hospital. In the documents, a judge in the insurance commissioner’s office, Patricia Petersen, said Kreidler’s top deputy was pressuring her — “clearly threatening my job,” she wrote — to decide a case in favor of their boss and against Seattle Children’s. The issue has prompted widespread concern in Olympia and beyond, with lawmakers discussing a reorganization to ensure that rulings in the insurance commissioner’s office can’t be influenced by the person who signs the judge’s paychecks. With difficulties settling over the case and its administrative process, Kreidler’s office — which has hired a new judge to take over Petersen’s cases — is pushing to delay the Seattle Children’s case. The hospital decries as “yet another example of their efforts to delay this proceeding and deny (Children’s) its opportunity for a hearing and for relief from the OIC’s wrongful approval of the intervenors’ exchange plans.”

Registration begins today for the 25th AWB Policy Summit

Online registration has now opened for the 2014 AWB Policy Summit. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the state’s biggest annual business event. We’ll spend Sept. 16-18 at the beautiful Suncadia Resort near Cle Elum as we celebrate 25 years’ worth of politics, policy and people. Sign up early, and consider sponsoring this enjoyable and valuable event. Contact Anne Haller for sponsorship information and visit www.policysummit.com for a list of last year’s sponsors and check out this video rewind of highlights from the 2013 Policy Summit.

Oregon delays decision on coal export terminal in case with parallels to delays in Washington

Regulators in Oregon announced Friday they would postpone a decision on a permit for work to create a coal export terminal at the Point of Morrow. Oregon has been moving the goalposts on the development plan by Ambre Energy, according to The Oregonian, and the latest delay comes amid Gov. John Kitzhaber's strong opposition to the project. In Washington the story is similar, as Gov. Jay Inslee and environmental regulators have set up an unprecedented global impact review for two proposed bulk export terminals. AWB is part of Keep Washington Competitive, a diverse coalition, including organized labor, that has come together to support the jobs and economic growth that would come with these export terminals.

KEY HEARINGS/MEETINGS
AWB Land Use Committee will meet Tuesday to discuss legislative objectives

AWB’s Land Use Committee will meet at noon Tuesday in Seattle to discuss legislative objectives, including land use and construction. The meeting will be held in the Seattle office of Foster Pepper PLLC. Contact Connie Grande for conference call-in details. Government Affairs Director Brandon Houskeeper is the contact for information on the committee.

Lawmakers to address joint meeting of Education & Workforce Training, Tax & Fiscal Policy committees

Lawmakers from Education, Finance, Appropriations and the Joint Title IX Task Force will address a joint meeting of the AWB Education & Workforce Training and Tax & Fiscal Policy committees on June 17 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on the Microsoft campus. The discussion will include levy swap proposals and other issues relating to the school funding McCleary decision. Contact AWB’s Sheri Nelson for more information.

OTHER NEWS
Puget Sound named a national ‘manufacturing community’

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced last Wednesday that the Puget Sound region is one of 12 areas around the nation newly designated as “manufacturing communities.” These 12 regions will be the first to receive special attention and preferential status for $1.3 billion in federal grants under a new program designed to make them more attractive to manufacturing companies looking to set up shop. The Puget Sound Regional Council will lead the effort in four Western Washington and three Eastern Washington counties to develop long-term plans to compete for manufacturing jobs under the designation. The Associated Press has a full list of the winners and the Puget Sound Business Journal has details on the plans.

Consensus grows about importance of Export-Import Bank and need for reauthorization

A push is on to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, an 80-year-old institution that helps ease cross-border credit issues and supports American exports. The bank doesn’t cost the public a cent — in fact, it returns a surplus to the U.S. Treasury — but it faces congressional opposition ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline when its current funding runs out, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Washington state receives more assistance from the bank than any other state, to the tune of $110 billion in state exports since 2007. While much of that comes from ensuring credit for sales of Boeing aircraft, the bank is a big help to small businesses as well. Of the 183 Washington companies supported by the bank, 133 are small businesses, The Seattle Times writes.

Bumper cherry crop tastes sweet for state’s exporters and growers

Cherry prices are high and the state’s trees are laden with a near-record crop, making for happy orchardists and exporters, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Washington growers anticipate a crop of up to 21 million boxes this summer. If that estimate holds, it would be the second-biggest crop in Washington history, behind only 2012. Prices are $70 a box — about 50 percent higher than normal — due to drought in California.

AWB EVENTS & RESOURCES
LinkedIn executive to join other experts at July 10 AWB HR Forum in Seattle

Hundreds of millions of employers and workers connect online using LinkedIn, and you can hear from LinkedIn’s enterprise manager for talent solutions, Michelle Cowden, at AWB’s Human Resources Forum July 10 in Seattle. She’ll be joined by other experts with practical ideas about recruiting, retaining and managing your employees. “Strategies for Securing Your Competitive Advantage,” will kick off with an interactive “LinkedIn” breakfast and Employment Law Update with Bob Battles, AWB’s general counsel and government affairs director for employment law.

Participatory sessions include:

  • “Go Social or Go Home” — LinkedIn’s Michelle Cowden, Enterprise Account Manager, Talent Solutions will explain how to keep up with HR trends and challenges using social media tools.
  • “Your Survival Guide to Generational Communications in the Workplace” — With four distinct generations now actively participating in the workplace, it doesn't always go smoothly! Learn tested coping strategies from a seasoned HR professional Michael Lee, Seattle franchise owner, Express Professionals.
  • Ryan, Swanson, & Cleveland’s Susan Fox, Gulliver Swenson and Kristin Meier will shine the light on opposing views in real-life legal cases. “How the simple act of hiring spawned two lawsuits and derailed a company’s strategy to secure a competitive advantage” in Employment Law Court.

The forum will run from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle. Learn more and register here. Send two or more staff and receive a discount. Sponsorships still available, contact AnneH@AWB.org. Follow the event online at with the hashtag #HRforum.

Equity Crowdfunding Summit will explore options available under new state law

A new law this year, HB 2023, allows “equity crowdfunding” — which is a bit like Kickstarter, but with donors actually becoming investors who receive a small piece of the company. AWB is co-sponsoring the 2014 Equity Crowdfunding Summit to learn more about this new law. Our panel will include Joe Wallin, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, who wrote a good summary of the new law. The panel will also include the prime sponsor of HB 2023, Rep. Cyrus Habib. They will be joined by two top administrators from the Securities Division of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Director Bill Beatty and Chief of Registration Faith Anderson. High-tech lobbyist Lewis McMurran will round out the panel. The summit will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 26 in “The Grove” building at North Seattle College.

For more information, contact Anne Haller.

Deadline approaching for Leadership Washington, AWB’s newest statewide program

With an eye on the silver tsunami of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce, AWB is helping prepare the next wave of business leadership. This is the inaugural year of Leadership Washington, the AWB Institute’s new statewide leadership development program. Over nine months, young leaders will travel the state for a series of training and networking events focusing on the different industry sectors and political landscapes of Washington. Graduates from the program will be strong, articulate, informed leaders who will help Washington move forward in a globally competitive economy. Contact Amy Johnson for information on this exciting and valuable new opportunity. Applications for the program are due June 15.

Learn what to look for in the fine print

How do you avoid the pitfalls of legalese? Can you navigate the world of non-compete agreements? At our June 11 forum in Seattle, we’ll guide you through the pitfalls of terms like “integration,” “severability,” “choice of law” and “indemnification.” Davis Wright Tremaine partner and employment law attorney Greg Hendershott will lead two sessions, “Don’t Get Burned by Boilerplate Contracts” and “How to Manage Non-Compete Agreements.” The classes are approved for PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification hours through the HR Certification Institute. Register online today or contact Karlee Keith at 800.521.9325 with any questions.

We need to hear your manufacturing story — please join the AWB Institute’s statewide listening tour

The AWB Institute will visit Mount Vernon, Everett and Federal Way this Thursday as we continue our statewide Manufacturing Listening Sessions. We need your participation as we gather ideas on how to support the economic climate in Washington. We want to hear your ideas on how to address the economic, regulatory and workforce challenges Washington manufacturers face. The information will go into a follow-up to the 2012 report, Challenges & Opportunities for Manufacturers in Washington state. A full list of upcoming listening sessions is online. Contact the AWB Institute’s Amy Johnson to attend a listening session near you.

THEY SAID IT

“It sounds good, but it’s not good. I lost my 401k, health insurance, paid holiday, and vacation.” ~ A SeaTac worker when asked by the publisher of the Northwest Asian Weekly newspaper if she is happy with her new $15 minimum wage.

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