February 3, 2020
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Employers call on lawmakers to keep Washington competitive during annual Legislative Day

Tuesday's Legislative Day and Hill Climb was a major success by any measure. More than 200 business leaders and employers travelled to Olympia from across Washington to connect with top legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee.

Key takeaways include new attention to Washington's affordable child care crisis; a lack of workforce housing; and a record-breaking state budget that has lawmakers breathing easier but is raising concern among employers about whether the growth is sustainable.

Tuesday's event covered many topics, but the overall message was clear: Washington employers are actively engaged in a dialogue with state leaders to keep our state's economy competitive.

The state's top budget writers in the House, Senate and governor's office met with employers for a panel discussion and lunch to kick off the day.

The chairs of the House and Senate transportation committees also met with members, talking about issues such as the loss of nearly $500 million in state transportation revenue resulting from the passage of I-976.

And a panel on workplace law brought together the top Senate Democrat and top House Republican on the relevant committees.

After lunch, more than 50 employers covered the Capitol Campus to meet with their lawmakers to discuss everything from tax and fiscal policy to support for rural communities and much more.

House and Senate legislative leaders, and Gov. Jay Inslee visited the AWB Board meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The Legislative Day and Hill Climb ended with a packed reception in the Capitol Rotunda. Dozens of lawmakers, employers and local chamber of commerce leaders from AWB's Grassroots Alliance enjoyed networking.

AWB's next big event is the AWB Workforce Summit on March 19 at the Tacoma Convention Center. Learn more and register today!

AWB News: 2020 Legislative Day and Hill Climb from Association of WA Business on Vimeo.

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News: Legislative Day and Hill Climb
Focus on Puget Sound

Removing Snake River dams is misguided approach to saving orcas

By Todd Myers and Steve Martin

The struggle to increase salmon populations and help Southern Resident killer whales will be won or lost through recovery projects across the state, perhaps most importantly in Puget Sound.

That simple, scientific reality should guide salmon recovery in Washington. Distractions, like the destruction of the Snake River dams, will end up harming salmon, orcas and those who care about them.

The science is clear that Puget Sound is the most important source of food for starving orcas. NOAA Fisheries and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife ranked their sources of food for orca and found that the Puget Sound, Strait of Georgia, the Lower Columbia and the Fraser rivers are the top priorities. The Snake River ranked ninth.

This is why NOAA Fisheries has repeatedly concluded that destroying the four lower Snake River dams would have a "marginal" impact on orca recovery, despite a very high cost...

Todd Myers is a member of the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council and environmental director of the Washington Policy Center in Seattle. Steve Martin previously served as executive coordinator of Gov. Jay Inslee's Salmon Recovery Office.

Read the full op-ed in The News Tribune