Fast Facts

Monday, December 2

Holiday tree lighting ceremony set for Friday at 6 p.m.

Holiday tree lighting ceremony set for Friday at 6 p.m.

After a few dramatic moments (video), workers and volunteers with ropes and steady hands pulled the state’s holiday tree into place last week, “setting the mood for the season,” as a volunteer said. Gov. Jay Inslee and a military family from Joint Base Lewis-McChord will light the tree this Friday in AWB’s annual ceremony, which you can follow online under the hashtag #awbkidstree. The public is invited to join the festivities at 6 p.m. in the Capitol rotunda. It’s not too late to donate to the Holiday Kids’ Tree Project, which brings joy to children and rural communities around the state. Learn more online or contact AWB’s Bonnie Millikan at 360.943.1600 or to donate to this worthy cause.

Recount ahead for SeaTac $15 minimum wage measure

Opponents of the measure setting a $15 minimum wage for transportation and travel-related workers in SeaTac will pay for a hand recount after the King County Canvassing Board ruled that Proposition 1 officially won by 77 votes out of 6,003 ballots cast. Businesses and other groups have also sued to prevent the measure from taking effect in January, arguing that the city lacks the authority to impose a minimum wage on Port of Seattle property, including the airport, Reuters reports. Supporters hope to spread the $15 minimum wage to Seattle and beyond, according to the Seattle Times (tiered paywall).

Missouri governor calling for $150 million in tax incentives to attract Boeing 777X program

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon convened a special session of the Legislature today, calling for an economic incentives package worth up to $150 million a year to lure the Boeing 777X program to the Show Me State. Nixon, a Democrat, is urging fast action. States face a Dec. 10 deadline to submit proposals to build the new long-haul commercial airplane. Boeing already employs about 15,000 people in Missouri (Washington has 83,000 Boeing workers). After Washington aerospace workers rejected a contract that would have guaranteed 777X construction in Washington, the company is reportedly considering a dozen other states for the program.

L&I confirms 2.7 percent workers’ comp rate hike for 2014

Washington employers will pay an average of 2.7 percent more next year for workers’ compensation insurance, the Department of Labor & Industries announced today. The agency announced formal adoption of rates first proposed in September. It’s the first increase since 2011 when AWB-led workers’ compensation reforms helped reign in years of rate hikes. The rate increase is expected to raise an additional $55 million in premiums, money that officials say they need to rebuild reserves that were drawn down during the recession. Although officials are touting the rate hike as modest, Washington’s workers’ compensation costs are still among the highest in the nation, creating a significant drag on the state’s competitiveness. That’s why AWB will continue to push for additional reforms during the 2014 Legislative session. For more information, contact AWB’s Kris Tefft.

Comprehensive transportation package faces ‘narrow pathway’ but a deal is possible

Work continues on crafting a $10 to $12 billion transportation package, but no deal is ready yet, The Seattle Times reports (tiered paywall). A number of issues are in play, including an end to diversion of sales tax from transportation projects to the general fund and the use of Model Toxic Control Act funds to pay for treatment of stormwater and other runoff. The Everett Herald urges immediate action, calling this “transportation’s last chance.”

Supreme Court to decide if employers with moral objections can opt out of birth control coverage

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the case of employers who have religious objections to paying for insurance that includes contraceptive coverage, including the “morning after pill.” Such coverage is required under the Affordable Care Act as preventive health benefits, although churches are exempt. The case means the nation’s highest court will decide if businesses, like people, have a right to religious expression, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Rep. McCoy appointed to fill Senate seat vacated by Nick Harper

John McCoy was appointed and sworn in Wednesday morning as the newest member of the state Senate. The Tulalip Democrat, who has served as a state representative for the past 10 years, fills the 38th district seat vacated by the recent retirement of Sen. Nick Harper. The Snohomish County Council unanimously chose McCoy, who was the top choice of Democratic precinct committee officers. The same group of Democrats PCOs will meet next month to fill McCoy’s now vacant House seat.

State releases list of marijuana business license applicants

Nearly 1,000 people and businesses submitted applications to grow, produce and sell marijuana products in the first week of a month-long sign-up window. The Washington Liquor Control Board released the first week’s list on Tuesday. has a full list by county. The state plans to license up to 334 retail pot shops statewide, with no limits on the number of growers or processors. Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Olympia and many other cities already have more retail applicants than approved slots, likely triggering a lottery for licenses, the Seattle Times (tiered paywall) reports.

It’s a girl! Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers delivers her third child

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, gave birth to her third child, a girl, Nov. 24in Washington, D.C. Brynn Catherine joins brother Cole, 6, and sister Grace, 2. McMorris Rodgers, chair of House Republican Conference, made history with the birth, becoming the first member of Congress to have three children while in office (she broke her own record, which she had set with her second birth). “Nothing compares to the miracle of bringing a new life into the world. She’s beautiful and seems to be taking it all in stride. Our hearts are full,” she said in a tweet announcing her new baby.

First students in joint Microsoft-St. Martin’s University-JBLM classes set to graduate

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray gave the keynote address this afternoon as the first 22 service members to take part in a high-tech training program were honored in a private ceremony in Lacey. The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy is a pilot project training active-duty service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. After 16 weeks of IT classes, students are guaranteed a job at either Microsoft or Launch Consulting, the technology consulting firm administering the program. The academy is part of the “VOW to Hire Heroes Act,” which sets up training to help ensure a seamless transition from active military duty to other careers.

Save the date: Legislative Summit set for Feb. 5-6 at Red Lion Hotel, Olympia

In response to member feedback, a new format for this year’s Legislative Summit will allow more time for participation in the Legislative Reception, issue panels and board meeting. The legislative reception the evening of Feb. 5 will allow attendees to get to know their legislators in an informal setting. The next morning the event kicks off with an AWB board meeting followed by legislative issue panels and policy analysis by AWB’s government affairs experts. The summit concludes the afternoon of Feb. 6 with the Better Workplace Awards. Gov. Jay Inslee has been invited to give the keynote luncheon address. Register online now and reserve a room at the Red Lion Hotel. For event sponsorship information, contact Anne Haller at or 800.521.9325.

Help AWB recognize the state’s best places to work

Work for a great company? Nominate it for AWB’s 2014 Better Workplace Awards, our annual tribute to employers that display 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!

‘Train the Trainer’ forklift safety workshop coming Jan. 8

Without realizing it, many companies fail to fully comply with the increasingly stringent safety laws for forklifts and other power industrial trucks. Proper forklift safety training will make your company a safer place to work — and keep you in compliance with the law. This seminar, from 8 a.m. to noon on Jan. 18 at the AWB office in Olympia, will teach current operators how to conduct safety training for their employees. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion, a CD with a PowerPoint presentation and a PDF manual they can reproduce to train their own employees on proper forklift safety. Register now or contact Karlee Keith by email or at 800.521.9325 with questions.

At the Speed of Now: Crisis Communications in a 24/7 World webinar Jan. 15, 10:30 a.m. - noon

When and how should you respond to a reporter’s questions? What should you do when a television crew shows up at your facility? Find out answers to these questions and more during a Jan. 15th webinar featuring strategic communication veterans Randy Pepple and Jennifer West. Members: $49, Non-members: $79. Register online or contact AWB’s Karlee Keith for more information.


“Best marijuana biz names filed with state: YE OLDE DOPE SHOPPE, HAPPY DAZE, ORGANICCARE, DANK'S WONDER EMPORIUM, SEA OF GREEN FARMS.” ~ Tweet from Associated Press reporter Mike Baker.

This Week's President's Perspective: Preserve Affordable Health Insurance

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