Election this week needs your attention and vote
Election this week needs your attention and vote
Tomorrow is Election Day and the deadline to return ballots by mail or drop box. It’s an important election for the state’s business community, so return your ballot by tomorrow. Here’s a quick summary of AWB’s endorsements on several important races and ballot measures:
- Jan Angel for Senate: Control of the state Senate hangs in part on the 26th district race between Republican Rep. Jan Angel and Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher. Angel, a longtime business owner, has a 91 percent lifetime voting record according to AWB tallies. Schlicher, appointed less than a year ago, has a 64 percent record. Learn more at www.janangel.com.
- Brown, Smith for state Senate: AWB has endorsed Sen. John Smith, R-Colville, in the 7th district and Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick in the 8th district.
- Vote no on I-522: Every major newspaper editorial board opposes this initiative to require warning labels on some genetically modified foods. The News Tribune calls it a “fright campaign” and “superstitious witch hunt.” Scientists fear the initiative would “demonize” the many current and future benefits of genetic engineering.
- Vote no on I-517: By creating a special protected class for signature gatherers, this “initiative on initiatives” would infringe on private property rights and open up public spaces (including libraries and sports stadiums) to paid signature collectors, KIRO radio reports. The more people learn about this initiative, the more opposition grows. The Olympian reports (tiered paywall).Vote no on SeaTac Proposition 1 – The $15 minimum wage measure on the ballot in SeaTac would create a costly new city bureaucracy, exempt unionized workplaces and, The Seattle Times writes, devastate small businesses owned by immigrants. The newspaper also writes that Proposition 1 “imposes what amounts to a labor contract written by social activists. The employers are not asked about it, nor are the workers…” Learn more at www.commonsenseseatac.com.
With the Obamacare health insurance exchange all over the news, you may have questions about how Washington’s exchange is working. Attend AWB’s Health Care forum on Nov. 6 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel for a chance to pose questions directly to Richard Onizuka, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. The forum, “Health Care Changes: Employer Options, Incentives & Perspectives,” will also feature John Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis. Goodman, who widely known as the father of health savings accounts, will also field questions about the ACA and offer insight in how to fix it. And Goodman will have copies available of his new book, “Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.”Sessions will include:
- “Impact of the Affordable Care Act: Fact or Fiction,” Joel White, president, Council for Affordable Health Care Coverage
- Employer Incentives: Can my company really reduce health care costs? Panelists: Machelle Johnson, director of human resources, Pearson Packaging Systems; Laura Pierron, senior benefits consultant, Premera Blue Cross; and Lindsey Gregerson, wellness manager, Trident Seafoods.
- Consumer Driven Health Care Trends with Rebecca Norlander and Rachel Lanham, founders of Health123, and Dr. Sarah de la Torre, medical advisor with the Seattle-based wellness startup.
AWB files Friend of the Court brief in important workers’ comp case
AWB and the Washington Self-Insurers Association filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief today in the Washington Court of Appeals in Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals v. South Kitsap School District, an important case better known as the “Zimmerman” decision. The case is the first judicial test for the 2011 workers’ compensation structured settlement reform, and stems from the two-person majority of the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals’ misapplication of the new law that dramatically cut down on the number of settlements that would be approved for claimants with attorneys. Fixing the Zimmerman decision was debated alongside broader workers’ comp settlement changes throughout the 2013 legislative sessions, but ultimately no action was taken. The AWB and WSIA brief encourage the court to confirm the correct standards for the board to approve settlements when claimants have an attorney or don’t have an attorney representing them. For more information, contact AWB’s Kris Tefft.
Key legislative leaders met Wednesday with Gov. Jay Inslee about a possible comprehensive transportation package to pay for preservation and expansion of the state’s key infrastructure. Inslee has called for a plan to be ready for vote during a short special session by the end of the month. Senate Transportation co-chair Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, was noncommittal about the status of a project. Other lawmakers left out a back door, Northwest News Network’s Austin Jenkins reported.OTHER NEWS
Immigration bill shows signs of life
Three Republicans in the U.S. House have signed on as co-sponsors of a Democratic measure to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, although the bill still falls short of a majority in the House. “It doesn't matter how conservative of a district you come from,” said U.S. Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., the son of Portuguese immigrants. “We have a system that we need to fix.” The Senate has already passed a bipartisan immigration bill that helps address a nationwide – and Washington state – need for top-to-bottom reform.Inslee signs West Coast climate change pact, named to national panel
Gov. Jay Inslee and the leaders of California, Oregon and British Columbia signed a pact Oct. 28 to continue a focus on climate change reduction they began in 2008. The non-binding plan is a package of good intentions and a status update. “Otherwise, not that much at this point,” wrote The Seattle Times in an editorial pushing for a bipartisan approach to environmental issues. However, the signing ceremony in San Francisco leaves Inslee’s own bipartisan climate task force in a bit of an awkward position, Crosscut reports. Climate task force member Sen. Doug Erickson, R-Ferndale, said he’s left wondering how committed Inslee is to the workgroup. Also last week, Inslee was one of eight governors appointed by President Obama to a new task force on how to respond to climate change.Add your voice of support to Millennium export terminal in Longview
Hundreds of people have demonstrated strong local support for the plans by Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview to redevelop an old aluminum smelter site on the Columbia River in Longview. Millennium is committed to the environmental clean-up and redevelopment of this site into a vibrant, world-class coal export facility that will create family-wage jobs and help keep Longview and Cowlitz County working. Now it is time to let your voice be heard as state and federal regulators give the project an unprecedented level of scrutiny. We encourage business community members to participate by showing their support for a fair evaluation of the Millennium project, just like we expect for all other projects in Washington. Learn more about this project or to submit a comment online.
AWB EVENTS & RESOURCES
Explore the benefits of hiring veterans at ‘Standing Shoulder to Shoulder’ seminar
Returning veterans ask the basic question of “Where can I find a job?” Business owners will soon have a chance to learn about federal incentives and the many other solid benefits – beyond patriotism alone – of hiring veterans. Learn more at “Standing Should to Shoulder With Our Military Veterans” on Nov. 13 in Tacoma. Topics include “The Legal Ins and Outs of Hiring a Veteran,” “I Want to Hire a Veteran – How Do I Find the Right Match for my Business Needs?” and “Hiring Veterans Makes Good Business Sense – a Company’s Perspective.” The seminar at TrueBlue, Inc., 1015 A St, Tacoma, runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Contact Anne Haller for information or learn more here.
AWB is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Better Workplace Awards. This 18th annual competition is open to AWB members of any size. We want to recognize companies for innovation, uniqueness, creativity and quantifiable results in programs that result in higher employee morale and well-being, increased productivity and reduced turnover. The awards, sponsored by Davis Wright Tremaine, will be presented during our Legislative Day luncheon Feb. 6. Take a look at this year’s winners, then download the nomination form and help us pick the best workplaces of 2014!THEY SAID IT
“He saved up his money and put it into businesses he hoped would sustain him and his family. And SeaTac voters are about to light a bomb over his head.” ~ Seattle Times editorial writer Sharon Pian Chan about the owner of a 104-bed SeaTac hotel, James Shin, who will have to declare bankruptcy if his workers receive an automatic 63 percent raise under SeaTac Proposition 1.This Week's President's Perspective: Congress Should Rebuild Obamacare
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