March 28, 2016
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Senate back in session today and House members return Tuesday as budget deal reportedly reached

Top legislative leaders are saying they expect to have news on a budget deal this afternoon. All lawmakers have been asked to come to the Capitol Tuesday morning for votes. The session could be wrapped up by Tuesday night, according to Jerry Cornfield in The Herald. A long-overdue agreement would come after the special legislative session passed the halfway point last week.

Lead Senate budget writer Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, told The Lens that the four-year balanced budget law is one of the few issues the entire Senate Majority Coalition Caucus completely agrees on, and that the Senate was firm on the issue.

Aside from a budget deal, the Senate today began overriding the governor’s mass veto of 27 bills at the end of the regular session. This action, The Herald reports, is the first override of a gubernatorial veto in nearly 20 years. Among the bills Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed: two bills supported by AWB, Senate bills 6569 and 6220, which would study how to address out-of-pocket health care costs and help leverage federal economic development funds for research and development.

The special session can last up to 30 days, meaning this one is scheduled to end April 9.

The battle over the four-year balanced budget law is a taste of things to come during next year’s big biennial budget battle, according to Eric Lohnes, AWB government affairs director for fiscal issues – especially with recent signs showing an economic slowdown.

The budget fight also points to a tense election-year climate, reports Austin Jenkins of the Northwest News Network, who runs down major events of the session here.

AWB’s Government Affairs team also went over the session, including a look at what’s to come, in a free webinar for AWB members last week. A video replay of the webinar is available here.

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Public Charter Schools Are Working

Gov. Inslee should sign charter school bill, let students achieve their dreams

By Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle

As a state, we cannot let go of our ability to lift hardworking people out of poverty. We must do everything within our power to ensure public education remains a powerful ladder to success for every child in Washington. We cannot allow the leaders and innovators of future generations to slip through the cracks simply because we were too stuck in our ways to create the change we know they needed.

ESSSB 6194, a bill to keep Washington's public charter schools open for the long-term and an option for all communities across the state, now sits on Inslee's desk awaiting his signature. The bill, which passed both houses of the Legislature with bipartisan support, provides excellent educational opportunities for hundreds of students today, and potentially thousands of students in the future. ...

I have heard some of my fellow legislators who oppose ESSSB 6194 say we either need to fix every problem in public education for every student in Washington or do nothing at all. I urge the governor to reject such false choices.

I urge the governor to sign the charter-school bill, which would keep these students on the path to achieving their dreams and build upon Washington's foundation of innovation and accountability in public education.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Washington Employers Are Leading the Way

Something old and something new: How Seattle's viaduct is being recycled in the tunnel

By Richard D. Oxley,

Parts of Seattle's viaduct may be torn down, but in a way, those parts won't truly be gone.

Nucor, the state's largest metal recycler, takes scrap steel from portions of the torn down Alaskan Way Viaduct through downtown Seattle and forges it into new product.

The recycling effort is currently featured in a commercial produced by the Association of Washington Business...

Click here to read the full story at
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