February 20, 2017
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Legislation of Note Federal Issues Other News AWB Institute Key Hearings/Meetings AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Democratic vision for education funding on display at second in AWB webinar series

AWB continued its ongoing education webinar series last week as House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, discussed the House Democrats' education funding plan. Senate Democrats will discuss their proposals this Thursday as the AWB webinar series continues.

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State's top economist speaks at fourth Lobby Lunch of 2017

Seattle's economy is booming, but don't make the mistake of thinking that the rest of the state is doing as well. That was the message from Steve Lerch, the state's top economist, at last week's Lobby Lunch. He said much of rural Washington is still struggling to recover from the recession.

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Without R&D tax credit, Washington's life sciences sector shrinks

Biotech is flourishing across the world -- but Washington state is losing jobs in the important life science sector. Supporters are calling for the state to renew the high-tech research and development tax credit, which lawmakers let expire in 2015. They also note the burden of the business and occupation tax on startup research companies.

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King County Superior Court judge rules in favor of Washington's public charter schools

Washington's public charter school law, passed by voters in 2012 and improved by the Legislature last year, passed legal muster in a ruling issued Friday by a King County superior court judge. The decision is a victory for parents and students looking to find strong educational options within the public school system.

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Legislation of Note

SB 5822: Improving workers' compensation system costs/administration and worker outcomes

Senate Bill 5822, an important workers' compensation reform bill, passed out of committee last Friday and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. The AWB priority bill is expected to be part of any possible compromise on the budget.

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HB 1541: Addressing prescription drug cost transparency

AWB continues to be concerned about the dangerous precedent that would be set by House Bill 1541: the requirement for justification of pricing and disclosure of extensive company data for manufacturers who conduct business in Washington.

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SB 5836: Equal pay/pay equity

Pay equity legislation could still be part of the budget process. Bills that would address the issue are considered necessary to implement the budget (NTIB) and thus survived last week's deadline for policy bills to pass out of committee. AWB is working with sponsors of several pay equity bills on bills to address the issue in a way that works for employers and employees.

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SB 5829: Paid family leave

Paid family leave, as with pay equity, could still be passed as part of the budget process and is considered NTIB. A title-only paid family leave bill passed out of committee on Friday as a vehicle for a possible compromise bill. AWB is part of the discussion.

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SB 5835 and HB 1796: Promoting healthy outcomes for pregnant women and infants

Senate Bill 5835 is an attempt to pass a bipartisan pregnancy accommodation bill out of the Senate. This compromise bill was introduced and passed out of the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee last Monday. House Bill 1796 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

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HB 2005 and SB 5777: Simplifying the administration of municipal general business licenses

Committees in both the House and Senate held hearings last week on bills that would help small businesses by simplifying the municipal business license process.

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House Bill 1809: Tax credits for clean alternative fuel commercial vehicles

The bipartisan House Bill 1809 would help make Washington's air even clear and the commercial vehicles on its highways even greener. This bill came about through AWB's Alternative Fuels Task Force. The bill unanimously passed the House Finance Committee last Tuesday and is now in the House Rules Committee.

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Federal Issues

Prospects improving for quorum on Ex-Im Bank board

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Penn., said last week that he sees positive signs for the board of the Export-Import Bank to finally have a quorum. The board has been hampered by a lack of a quorum since mid-2015, leaving it unable to authorize transactions of more than $10 million.

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Other News

Blue Origin to manufacture new BE-4 rocket engines and boosters in Kent

A building in Kent that Blue Origin acquired last fall will be home to manufacturing for the aerospace company's rocket and boosters. The company will begin testing the new BE-4 rocket within months, and hopes the engines will be ready for the U.S. space sector to use by 2019.

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Boeing, Alaska work to power every Sea-Tac departure with biofuel

Eventually, every flight leaving Sea-Tac International Airport could be powered by sustainable aviation biofuel. A new yearlong study by Boeing, Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle looked at 30 sites around Washington that could potentially supply the airport with 5 to 50 million gallons of biofuel a year.

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Washington state scores near the top in evidence-based policymaking

A new analysis by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative finds that Washington is doing well in making its public policy decisions based on evidence. In fact, Washington is among the top five states leading the nation on the use of findings from program evaluations and analyses to guide government policy and funding decisions.

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New report finds 1 in 20 Washington bridges are structurally deficient

There was more reason to celebrate the repairs that are coming from Washington's 2015 transportation package last week, as an annual report on the nation's infrastructure found that 5 percent of Washington's bridges are structurally deficient.

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Call for nominations: Help bring more great business leaders to AWB's board of directors

It's time to step up and help AWB remain a leader and voice for solutions in Olympia! Nominations are now being accepted for seats on the AWB Board of Directors. Businesses of all sizes and business leaders of all ages are invited to apply. Nominations are due by March 24.

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Submit your company for AWB's Manufacturing Excellence and Evening of Excellence Awards

Now is the time to submit your business for consideration in AWB's two awards programs: Manufacturing Excellence and Evening of Excellence. Finalists and winners will be honored at events this fall, including a formal downtown Seattle soiree at Benaroya Hall that will honor Evening of Excellence Award finalists and winners. Nominate your company today! The deadline for award applications is June 30.

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AWB Institute

Apply now to be part of Leadership Washington's Class of 2018

Apply now to be part of the state's premiere leadership development program. Applications are now being accepted for the Leadership Washington class of 2018. This seven-session program helps the next generation of Washington leaders learn about the business and political landscape of Washington.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Water Quality, MTCA, PBT and PSP committees to meet every other Monday

The AWB Water Quality, MTCA, PBT and PSP committees will meet at AWB every other Monday at 11 a.m. The next meeting is Feb. 27. Contact Mary Catherine McAleer for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details.

AWB Climate and Energy committees to meet every other Monday

The AWB Climate and Energy committees will meet at AWB every other Monday at 11 a.m. The next meeting is Feb. 6. Contact Mary Catherine McAleer for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details.

AWB Education & Training Committee to hold weekly update calls each Friday morning

Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for education, will hold update phone calls with the Education & Training Committee each Friday at 8 a.m. Additionally, because education funding is tied so closely to tax issues, the AWB education and tax/fiscal committees will be holding a joint meeting soon. Contact Anderson at AmyA@awb.org to learn more and Connie Carlson for call-in information.

AWB Events & Resources

Employment Law Webinar -- Wage and hour

The third AWB employment law webinar is coming March 8. Mona McPhee, director of litigation at Desh International and Business Law, will present this useful and timely webinar. Register here to reserve a space.

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Seminar: 12 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid in Selling Your Business

For most people, exiting their business is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It can be exciting and rewarding, but it can also be scary, frustrating, and even painful. AWB and Integrity Financial will give tips to create a well-structured succession planning process, helping business owners attain their vision of life after business.

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Register now for the first-ever Workforce Summit at Motif Seattle

Join Rebecca Ryan, a noted futurist, economist and "brain shaker," at the AWB Workforce Summit on March 22 at the Motif Seattle. This new event will look at generational change in the workplace and highlight the strengths that each generation brings. This event is perfect for employers, business leaders and human resources professionals looking to plan ahead for workforce needs and learn how to harness the opportunities presented by a multi-generational workforce.

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Registration open for Spring Meeting in Spokane May 8-9

Alaska Airlines' Joseph Sprague will give the lunchtime keynote address at the 2017 AWB Spring Meeting in Spokane. Sprague, senior vice president for communications and external affairs for Alaska Air Group, will be among many relevant and timely speakers. Register now for Spring Meeting May 8-9 at The Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane.

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Tweet of the Week

Making Sasquatch the Official State Crypto-Creature

They Said It

Uneven Economy

"The Seattle metro area is doing fantastically, but not all of the state is growing like that." ~ Steve Lerch, executive director of the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, speaking to AWB members at the Feb. 16 Lobby Lunch. He noted that Seattle's employment has rebounded by 11 percent since its pre-recession height, but rural areas like Mount Vernon are still below their pre-recession employment levels nearly 10 years later.

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Helping Rural Schools

Education funding must be equitable

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

Senate Republicans and House Democrats have unveiled their education funding plans; negotiations are under way and the clock is running.

Both proposals include controversial details, but the Senate's plan to eliminate the reliance on local levy money to finance schools and teacher pay hits the bull's eye.

We are in this dilemma because for far too long the state failed in its constitutional duty to amply fund K-12 education. To make up for that failure, communities that could afford it, used local tax money from school levies to bridge the difference.

That meant that students in wealthier areas could get far more resources than those in poorer school districts.

Senate Bill 5607 includes a course correction that would bring balance to the state. School districts would retain some authority to use local tax money for extra programs, but teacher salaries and other basic school needs would be covered at the state level through a property tax swap...

How the legislative give-and-take goes remains to be seen. But bringing equity to the state is at the crux of McCleary decision, and the Senate bill comes closer to addressing that than any other proposal we have seen so far.
Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
An Education Leader

Columbia Basin College and community will miss Cummins' visionary leadership

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

We took the news of Rich Cummins' departure from Columbia Basin College with a mix of emotions -- a sense of sadness to lose such a leader and visionary from our community's higher education system; admiration for Cummins' decision to take on a new role with a new institution; and, mostly, gratitude for all he has done for higher learning, generations of students in the Tri-Cities and the community in general.

Cummins' leadership and vision have truly changed the face of higher education in our community by looking at the big picture. He has done that through cooperative efforts with four-year institutions and pathways to bachelor's degrees, having the foresight to see the value in reinvigorating skills-specific training tracks (think nursing, nuclear, agriculture, etc.), or blowing up the perception that most folks once had of community colleges...
Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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