February 27, 2017
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Top Stories

AWB debuts 2017 Grow Here campaign during Oscars red carpet telecast

AWB rolled out the red carpet Sunday for the 2017 Grow Here advertisements with an Oscars debut of three new television commercials. The 30-second spots highlight M3 Biotechnology, Alaffia Skin Care and The McGregor Company. Watch for the ads on your television or view them -- plus longer versions that delve more deeply into their compelling stories -- at www.GrowHereWashington.com.

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Education funding debate is on after House passes bill, but funding questions remain

House Democrats passed their $7.6 billion education funding bill on Wednesday. With the Senate Republican plan also approved on the other side of the rotunda, the stage is now set for negotiations on a final McCleary compromise. One major sticking point: the Democratic plan doesn't identify how it would pay for its billions in new spending.

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Superintendent of Public Instruction speaks to AWB at Lobby Lunch

Chris Reykdal, Washington's superintendent of public instruction, spoke at last week's Lobby Lunch. He noted that Washington's graduation rates are increasing, but that high-stakes tests are making it hard for career and technical education to have the prominence it needs in high schools.

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Talks resume on a new Vancouver-Portland bridge over the Columbia River

Discussions are taking place again about a replacement for the aging Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver. AWB supports the conversation about this crucial regional transportation corridor.

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Employer groups petition EPA to reconsider unattainable water rule

A number of employer groups, including AWB, are challenging the federal Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards saying the new rule establishes standards that cannot be met with existing or foreseeable technologies.

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Legislation of Note

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

AWB continues to push for the common-sense workers' compensation reforms in Senate Bill 5822, which is in the Senate Rules Committee. The bill is expected to be part of any possible compromise on the budget.

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HB 2005: Simplifying municipal general business licenses

A bill that would make life easier for small businesses passed the House Finance Committee last week. AWB strongly supports House Bill 2005, which streamlines and simplifies business licensing.

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SB 5239: Water availability and addressing the Hirst state Supreme Court decision

Last fall's Hirst decision by the state Supreme Court has left rural landowners across the state unable to secure building permits. An AWB-supported bill that would address the issue passed the Senate Ways & Means Committee last week.

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HB 1296: Simplifying tax incentive reports and surveys

The House unanimously passed House Bill 1296 today. The bill consolidates and simplifies annual reports and surveys used for economic development tax incentives.

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HB 1266: Petroleum storage tank systems

With support from both the business and environmental communities, House Bill 1266 passed the House Appropriations Committee last week.

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Federal Issues

Draft of Affordable Care Act replacement is leaked, hinting at route Congress could take on health care

A draft of the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was leaked to the media last week. AWB is reviewing the document and assessing the impact to members. Meanwhile, state lawmakers and the governor disagree on the right way to handle possible changes to the ACA.

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Other News

BNSF plans $175 million in Washington state rail upgrades this year

Washington's rail network will see a significant upgrade this year. BNSF Railway plans $175 million in rail upgrades as part of a $3.4 billion national track and rail infrastructure upgrade and maintenance plan.

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New RiverPartners video highlights value of hydroelectric dams

The Northwest's extensive network of hydroelectric dams help keep the lights on, the air clean and the fields of Washington's farmlands productive. A new video helps show the importance of hydroelectric dams to Washington's high quality of life and clean environment.

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L&I offers new smartphone apps to reinforce workplace safety, train teen workers

The Department of Labor & Industries has two new smartphone apps designed to help train workers on safety and reduce workplace injuries.

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AWB Events & Resources

This Wednesday: 12 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When 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. This Wednesday 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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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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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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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.

Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Carbon Task Force to meet March 6

The AWB Carbon Task Force will meet at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 6, at AWB. Because this group has work to do before reporting to the larger Climate & Energy Committee, the scheduled meeting of the Climate & Energy Committee on March 6 will be canceled. Contact Mary Catherine McAleer for more information.

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. 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.

Tweet of the Week

#GrowHere on the Red Carpet



They Said It

Hiring People to Improve Their Lives

"Private enterprise alleviates poverty." ~ Olowo-n'djo Tchala, founder and president of Alaffia. Tchala is featured in AWB's 2017 Grow Here employer image campaign. His Olympia company is a mission-driven fair trade skin care company that makes products with shea butter, coconut oil and other material sourced from the West African nation of Togo. Tchala grew up in Togo and started the business with his wife, Rose, because he wanted to raise the standard of living in his home country.




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Effective Education Funding


Washington's workforce pipeline needs support

By Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for workforce and education

A good education is the best investment we can make for future generations of Washington's diverse workforce and for the health of the economy.

That's why the Association of Washington Business and its nearly 7,000 employer members have collaborated with lawmakers and college leaders on thoughtful education funding and reform solutions even before the 2012 state Supreme Court McCleary education funding ruling.

A study released last fall found that Washington is expected to have 740,000 job openings in the next five years, most of them requiring some level of postsecondary education -- a trade certificate, or a two-year or four-year degree. It's an issue that must be addressed if we are to have Washington kids fill Washington jobs.

For business, it's not just about allocating more money to the K-12 education system, although we wholeheartedly supported the $4.5 billion in new education spending since 2013 and additional smart investments this year. But it's also about producing a skilled, prepared and diverse workforce ready to fill the job openings today and into the future -- filling the so-called "workforce pipeline."
Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
Time to Give Charters a Chance


Big victory for charter schools and students

By The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

Washington state's charter schools scored a huge victory Feb. 17 when they won the latest round in court. Hopefully, opponents will concede defeat and move on...

There's no word yet on whether charter school opponents will appeal the ruling. If they want what's best for students, they should back away and give charter a chance. Just ask the students' parents.

Thus far, charter schools have demonstrated an ability to close the opportunity gap by improving outcomes for students who struggled in traditional settings. School districts offer all kinds of nontraditional alternatives, including Running Start, Odyssey and Montessori. SPS believes charter schools are another option, not a threat.

Schools should have the flexibility to try different approaches, and the notion that traditional schools are harmed by this is far-fetched.
Read the full editorial in The Spokesman-Review
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