August 19, 2019
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Employers bring concerns to final hearing on new overtime salary limit; public comment still open



As regulators look at setting a new minimum overtime-exempt salary of $79,000, employers brought their concerns last week to the final public hearing on the proposed changes. AWB Amplified covered this issue in a recent video featuring Washington employers.

Of 16 people who testified last week in Vancouver, 10 said they wanted to see the Department of Labor & Industries rework its proposed rule to ease the impact on businesses, The Columbian reports.

“This will only make things more difficult for us,” said Lois Cook, who together with her husband runs a small business that sells telephone services.

John McDonagh, president of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, said that an informal survey of his members showed that most agree that the overtime rules need an update, but said that L&I's proposal would hurt their ability to provide benefits and flexible schedules.

The Department of Labor & Industries will accept written comments until Sept. 6. Comments can be emailed to eaprules@lni.wa.gov.

L&I will spend several months reviewing the comments and formulating a final rule. The agency expects to adopt the final rules by the end of the year, with a phase-in period beginning around July 1, 2020.

Contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for labor and employment law, to learn more.



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America Needs the Ex-Im Bank


Help state's diverse exporters keep making sales

By The (Everett) Herald Editorial Board

As a "good, and easy to win" trade war escalates with China, now would be a dumb time to take a useful tool away from Washington state's exporters of wine, seafood, software and -- oh, yes -- airliners and other advanced manufactured products.

Especially so, since that tool's full utility was restored only earlier this spring after being left hobbled for nearly four years.

That tool is the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

The Export-Import Bank, in operation for 85 years, helps businesses large and small by providing loans, insurance and other assistance that help promote exports by those businesses. That trade assistance helps those businesses secure sales that otherwise might not be facilitated by private-sector banks. While the federal government provides some funding for the bank's administration, its lending makes the bank self-supporting, and it actually is a money-maker for the nation, returning $5.2 billion to the U.S. Treasury during the last 10 years...

Read the full editorial in The Herald
Trade War Casualties


The Tariff Battle With China Threatens Washington's Well-Being

By Spencer Cohen

If left unchecked, the trade war between the U.S. and China has the potential for long-lasting damage to the Washington state economy. U.S. businesses have many legitimate grievances toward China, including intellectual property theft and industrial policies that seemingly disadvantage them in China. But the longer the dispute remains unresolved, the greater the risk to Washington's historically prosperous trade relationship with China. Trade wars, as a general rule, yield no true winners. The collateral damage -- in terms of lost overseas market share, aggravated supply chains, a reduction of cargo handled at our ports, reduced investment, and impacts to households in the form of higher costs -- can be pernicious.

Washington's close linkages with China make this region all the more vulnerable to an extended contraction of trade, impacting local businesses and communities across the state. For years, U.S.-China economic ties have helped mollify impulses for more aggressive agitation and flare-ups. A reduction in economic interdependence means less economic benefits are immediately at stake from a more strained relationship or even confrontation, a dangerous scenario for the world and Washington state's economic well-being.

Read the full editorial in Seattle Business Magazine