May 4, 2020
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COVID-19

Employers call on governor to pause rulemaking during pandemic



Fifty-five Washington employers and trade associations signed a letter AWB sent to Gov. Jay Inslee last week requesting a temporary six-month halt to all non-critical rulemaking at state agencies. The letter asks for a pause lasting the duration of the crisis, similar to a moratorium enacted during the Great Recession.

Despite the ongoing health crisis, state agency rulemaking has been proceeding on previously established timelines. However, the hardship caused by the crisis and the economic toll on the economy has meant that businesses have not been able to fully participate in the stakeholder outreach process and provide important feedback to help craft workable regulations.

With that in mind, AWB and the other employer advocates asked the governor for a temporary halt to all non-critical rulemaking at state agencies for the duration of this crisis, similar to a moratorium enacted during the Great Recession.

"A temporary pause in new rules and regulations would allow employers to focus on getting through the next few months of the coronavirus pandemic," AWB President Kris Johnson said. "Many small businesses are entirely focused on financing, making payroll and adapting to new safety measures. This pause would allow employers to focus their energy on adapting to this historic crisis."

The letter was signed by AWB, the Washington Farm Bureau, Washington State Hospital Association, Washington State Dairy Federation, Washington Hospitality Association, Washington Retail Association, Associated General Contractors, the Building Industry Association of Washington, several chambers of commerce and other private employers and trade groups.

Read more in AWB's press release. Contact Peter Godlewski, AWB government affairs director for environmental issues, to learn more.



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Don't Punish Job-Creators


Seattle's war on employers must end now

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

To sustain core services through the current economic and public-health hurricane, cities must cut spending.

They are no different than households and businesses forced to spend less to get through the downturn.

Yet, instead of preparing and confronting this painful reality, some Seattle City Council members are instead exploiting fear and uncertainty during the crisis, to make another run at a punitive jobs tax. This must end.

Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales propose a payroll tax penalizing 800 businesses employing some 300,000 people. Piggybacking on labor's crusade against Jeff Bezos, it's dubbed an "Amazon tax" even though Amazon is just 0.125% of the number of companies affected.

It's a new twist on Seattle's failed head tax. That was canceled in 2018, after union interests seeking the tax gave up in the face of widespread community opposition.

Shouldn't business pay its share? Yes, it already does in Seattle. The city has unusually high business taxes, and business generates a majority of its revenue...

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Science Leads the Way


Richland scientists respond to COVID-19 global pandemic with research and technology

By Steven Ashby, director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

When I devoted my February column to biodefense research, I had no idea how timely that piece would be. It touched on studies at the Department of Energy's Pacific National Laboratory that seek to unravel the disease-causing mechanisms of pathogens -- even if they were previously unknown -- and how that research could lead to new diagnostics and treatment.

Fast forward to today, and we see the devastating impact of COVID-19 around the world and close to home.

At PNNL, we are exploring additional ways to apply our expertise, research and technology to help address this global pandemic...

From supporting local businesses to helping elderly neighbors or volunteering at the food bank, I am impressed by how our community is responding to the challenges created by COVID-19.

I hope you also share my pride in the role DOE and PNNL are taking in the fight against this new disease. Meanwhile, please stay home and stay healthy.

Read the full column in The Tri-City Herald