April 11, 2016
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New on the blog: Flame retardant ban celebration should have happened in 2012

House Bill 2545, also known as the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act, finally passed this year after common ground was reached on how to address flame retardants in children's products.

The goal of the legislation, which AWB worked on since 2012, is to ensure proper reporting and monitoring of flame retardants and other chemicals in products sold in Washington. Employers already do a good job of meeting the current strict state reporting requirements, but there is always room for reevaluating what they do currently and how they can do better.

Which is why AWB worked so hard to get the legislation passed since 2012. Unfortunately, for four years, the debate centered around sweeping additions that would give rule-making authority to the Department of Health and add new certificates of compliance.

AWB didn’t support those expansive changes, but did work toward the reasonable compromise that was finally approved this year.

In a blog post at Olympia Business Watch, AWB Government Affairs Director Brandon Houskeeper writes, “Today is a good day for the state, and AWB is pleased to see this important, bipartisan measure now law. We hope future efforts to address public policy will build off the compromise approach of this year, and not delay the achievable for both businesses and consumers of Washington.”

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Let's Seek Solutions Together

It's time to move forward on charter schools

By Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education and an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington Bothell

Charter schools aren't some magic solution. But they are proving themselves a valued component of 21st-century public schooling by demonstrating what's possible when schools are freed from certain rules and regulations in exchange for being held accountable for student outcomes. Far from a distraction, charter schools are here to stay. Far from damaging public education, when ably implemented, charter schools enrich and strengthen the fabric of public education.

It is time to move on and focus on students, not battle lines...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Workers Needed for Good Jobs

A job in the trades can bring financial, personal success

By Mike Sotelo, co-founder of the Combined Ethnic Chamber

A four-year apprenticeship program can equal or exceed the earning potential of a postsecondary degree. An apprentice electrician earns $19 an hour, which can be achieved the first year out of high school. By the time an electrician completes a five-year apprenticeship program, he or she could be making close to $100,000 a year.

Unfortunately, every time trade employers need workers, they scratch their heads and do whatever they can to attract and retain employees to fit their business models. Contractors are hiring anyone who can fog a mirror because there aren't enough bodies...

Shop classes are disappearing because schools are losing funding. The deeper challenge is we need to start instilling pride into the traditional trades. Even when I was young, I used to say, "I am just a construction worker." I almost apologized for it. We have to start recognizing that our society would grind to a halt without skilled carpenters, laborers, chefs and hotel managers...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
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