October 23, 2017
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Department of Labor & Industries files latest rulemaking documents on Initiative 1433

The voter-approved Initiative 1433 requires employers to provide paid safe and sick leave for employees. The initiative is in the final phase of rulemaking for the leave provision to take effect on Jan. 1.

Last week, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) released the latest step in its rulemaking process.

A set of public hearings will be held in Spokane and Tumwater to take input in the rulemaking. The meetings will be held:

  • Spokane Center Place Auditorium, Nov. 8, at 10 a.m.
  • L&I – Tumwater Auditorium, Nov. 9, at 10 a.m.

AWB will host a second webinar on Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. to offer employers insights and take questions on the sick and safe leave required under I-1433. Details and registration are on the website.

More information on the rulemaking is available from L&I, or contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for workplace issues, to see how the issue will affect your workplace.

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We must keep trains rolling safely and fairly

By Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom

As a state representative, I've spent quite a bit of time studying and learning about rail safety. It's a subject I take seriously. I live in the Town of Steilacoom, where trains are a way of life.

In fact, the Puget Sound coastline in my district is defined by the rail line. And, it's not just about moving freight. Amtrak will soon transport passengers at a very high speed through Lakewood and DuPont. Rail safety is a big deal for our communities.

In 2014, more than 119 million tons of freight traveled by rail over more than 3,000 miles of rail tracks across the state. This activity supports Washington businesses across a variety of important industries, from lumber to agriculture to oil.

Freight rail is also directly responsible for nearly 4,000 jobs and supports tens of thousands more throughout the state...

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The Washington Department of Ecology seems determined to oppose any industrial development in Cowlitz County. And the rest of the 19th Legislative District.

About three weeks ago, Ecology issued an opinion denying a water-quality permit sought by Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) to complete its coal export facility. Ecology bureaucrats claimed that the project would cause "significant and unavoidable harm" to nine environmental areas: global air quality, vehicle traffic, vessel traffic, rail capacity, rail safety, noise pollution, social and community resources, cultural resources and tribal access to traditional fishing locations near Bonneville Dam.

A few of these factors -- particularly "global air quality" -- are not described in any relevant federal or state law. Rationalizing the unprecedented opinion, Ecology Director Maia Bellon relied on some broad rhetorical strokes...

The Department of Ecology's focus on "global impacts" is a luxury paid for by limiting the prospects for the working people of Cowlitz County. Director Bellon and the other Department of Ecology bureaucrats need to return their focus from global ambitions to local concerns.

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