January 2, 2018
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New Year brings new paid leave program and higher minimum wage

Employers are seeing big changes to pay and benefits this year due to passage of Initiative 1433 by voters in fall 2016. The initiative increases the minimum wage incrementally over four years and requires all employers with employees to provide paid sick and safe leave.

As part of the implementation of the initiative, the statewide minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $11.50 per hour and ensures that employees earn at least an hour of paid time off for every 40 hours worked. That time can be used when the worker or a family member is ill, when an office or school has been closed for any health-related reason or as provided under the domestic-violence leave law. The changes took effect yesterday, Jan. 1.

Eric Grimstead, of the Small Business Development Center, has been helping small businesses through the process of implementing this new phase of Initiative 1433. He told The Herald that business owners should prepare to fund the leave program as if every employee will use it.

“The smartest thing to do is look at the real dollar and cents impact of what might be the maximum exposure,” Grimstead said. “Prepare for the worst-case scenario. And, then if it winds up being slightly different than that, then you’re going to be better off.”

The Seattle Times and The Puget Sound Business Journal have more details on the changes.

The state Department of Labor and Industries oversees minimum wage changes and will also be in charge of enforcing the new paid leave benefit. The agency posted a fact sheet on the paid leave program on its website.

For more information on the new paid leave program or the minimum wage increase, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles at 360.943.1600.

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Rule of Law Matters

Washington's carbon overreach

By The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls climate change an "existential threat," and he has channeled President Obama in using executive powers to impose his policy response. But like Mr. Obama he suffered a major blow this month when a Washington court ruled that he exceeded his authority under state law.

Washington lawmakers have declined to pass Mr. Inslee's signature cap-and-trade legislation, and in 2016 voters rejected a carbon-tax ballot measure. So "now we have to do it administratively," the Sierra Club's Doug Howell said last year.

Mr. Inslee suddenly discovered authority to act unilaterally under the Washington Clean Air Act and a 2008 law that required greenhouse gas reductions...

And in a Dec. 15 oral ruling, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon found that the Inslee Administration lacked the legal authority to regulate indirect emitters.

The decision is a victory for the rule of law and another rebuke to progressives who try to ignore democratic consent to impose their climate agenda by regulatory fiat.

Read the full editorial in The Wall Street Journal
Innovation is Key to Carbon Reductions

Washington can have energy independence without economic damage of carbon tax

By State Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union

Here in the United States, Washington is the leading producer of hydroelectric power, contributing nearly one quarter of the nation's total hydro generation. We rank only behind California in terms of the amount of renewable energy we produce each year.

That is why it is so critical that as we continue to debate the merits of a carbon tax, we be mindful of the steps we have already taken toward establishing a greener economy. Proposing a carbon tax to fund education or increase general fund spending is the wrong approach.

I truly believe Washington can achieve energy independence one day, but we must be strategic in how we get there. Causing self-inflicted economic hardship along the way would be foolish.

Read the full column in The Olympian
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