April 24, 2017
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Legislation of Note

Work continues to craft paid family leave and pay equity legislation

As legislative overtime begins today to focus on a budget deal, two important issues for employers are considered "Necessary to Implement the Budget": paid family leave and equal pay.

AWB has led an employer coalition that is working on crafting a business proposal on paid family leave. This is part of a conversation in the Legislature that includes AWB and other business groups, organized labor and Republican and Democratic leaders.

The paid family leave business group has been meeting regularly at AWB to discuss the issues.

Pay equity legislation continues to move forward. The main legislators involved with the issue are Rep. Tana Senn, D-Mercer Island; Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver; Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn; and, Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver. AWB opposed the version passed by the House, House Bill 1506. In the Senate, a title-only bill, Senate Bill 5836, moved out of the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee. It remains in the Senate Rules Committee.

AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles is discussing options with lawmakers and said the issue will continue to be worked on during the special session.

To keep up with discussions on these issues, contact Battles.

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Nothing 'Special' About It

Here we go! The usual 'special legislative session' on the horizon

By The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Editorial Board

This time around, a deadline with real consequences will be looming. The state's budget year starts on July 1 and funding must be approved in order for government to operate and for its employees to be paid.

If this drags on until the end of June, it could be a mess -- particularly if lawmakers do not use their time wisely. If senators and representatives continue to just hiss at each other for two months and then cobble together a make-do budget that doesn't satisfy the high court, it will be a failure.

Lawmakers need to get the people's work accomplished sooner rather than later. Getting a budget approved that fully funds basic education is essential.

Read the full op-ed in The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Focus on the Main Problems

Hirst, budget should be priorities

By The Daily Sun News Editorial Board

We think lawmakers should postpone further discussion and action on remaining secondary bills until after problems relating to the Hirst decision are resolved and a budget approved, in that order.

The Hirst decision is already causing undo economic hardship on rural communities, and rural schools by essentially banning drilling of new wells. That ban, in turn, is putting a dent in state tax revenues as property values fall and rural development slows.

Meanwhile, the Legislature remains under a court order to fully fund basic education statewide. But without resolving Hirst first, any education funding measure is just a Band-Aid...

Read the full op-ed in The Daily Sun News
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