April 10, 2017
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Legislation of Note Other News AWB Institute Key Hearings/Meetings AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

House Finance Committee passes $3 billion tax package, but without full House vote, budget negotiations with Senate uncertain

The House Finance Committee voted 6-5 last week in favor of a $3 billion tax increase to fund the Democratic budget. Party leaders say the entire House will not vote on the tax package until a budget deal is reached with the Senate. That's a non-starter for Senate Republicans, who have passed their budget which relies on transfering local property tax capacity to the state and say the House needs to pass its taxes before coming to the negotiating table.

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Washington Research Council compares education funding proposals

The Washington Research Council has continued to update and refine its comparison of the different plans from the governor and legislative caucuses to fund public K-12 education. The latest report was released last week.

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Washington's community college system celebrates 50 years

Happy birthday to the Washington community college system, which turned 50 years old. Former Gov. Dan Evans, who helped pass the legislation unifying the system in the 1960s, took part in a celebration at the Capitol. The network of schools now enrolls 381,000 students, training them in skills that are directly linked to workplace needs.

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Thank you, and congratulations to AWB-member Gonzaga University and the men's basketball team

Last Monday, the Zag's men's basketball team took on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA National Championship, and fell just short. Thank you, Gonzaga, for your historic 2017 tournament run.

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Bertha finally breaks through, ending years of tunnel-digging and anxiety

Nearly three years behind its original schedule, Seattle's deep-bore tunneling machine emerged last week at the end of its journey under the city. The "Bertha Breakthrough" marks a major milestone in the Highway 99 rebuild, but the overall project is only at the halfway mark.

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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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Federal Issues

Neil Gorsuch confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court justice

The U.S. Senate voted Friday to confirm United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He replaces the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Legislation of Note

HB 2005 and SB 5777: Simplifying municipal general business licenses

Both House Bill 2005 and Senate Bill 5777, which would simplify business licensing, have been pulled to the floor calendar and are eligible for a vote. They have already passed their respective house of origin with broad support. AWB strongly supports these bills.

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HB 1593: Crowdfunding bill passes the Senate, moves to the governor for signature

A small-business crowdfunding bill supported by AWB has crossed the legislative finish line, and now only awaits Gov. Jay Inslee's signature to become law.

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HB 2182: Hazardous substance tax

AWB opposes House Bill 2182, which would increase the tax rate on more than 8,000 different substances used by farmers, drivers and employers who rely on fuel to operate.

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HB 1130: Customized job training bill passes the Legislature, awaits governor's signature

Washington's Customized Job Training program will become permanent, providing a key tool for employers who want to add jobs. AWB has strongly supported House Bill 1130, which has now passed both chambers.

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HB 1120: Regulatory relief for small businesses

House Bill 1120, which would provide some regulatory relief for small businesses, unanimously passed the Senate last week. This AWB priority bill aims to protect small businesses from the excessive piling on impact of rulemaking.

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SB 5239: Ensuring rural development by addressing the Hirst ruling

AWB is urging members to contact their lawmakers in support of Senate Bill 5239, which would address last year's state Supreme Court ruling that has largely shut down rural development in broad swaths of the state. The bill, which has passed the Senate, is now sitting in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

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HB 1904: B&O tax on sale of personal information

AWB joined a long list of employers, including associations representing high-tech and retail, who sent a letter to lawmakers last week opposing House Bill 1904. This bill would create a tax on the sale of personal information, but would create confusion and risk for employers. It would stifle innovation but would not bring consumers additional control over their data.

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Paid Family Leave

AWB continues to work alongside employers of all sizes as part of bipartisan negotiations with House and Senate leaders to find a balanced and workable approach to address the long-discussed issue of a statewide Paid Family Leave policy. The goal is to find agreement on a clear and consistent statewide policy that meets the needs of employers and their employees. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles at 360.943.1600 to learn more.

Other News

U.S. ambassador to Togo will visit Alaffia and AWB this week

Alaffia, an international company headquartered in Tumwater, will host U.S. Ambassador to Togo David Gilmour during a visit this week.

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AWB videos win big in international Hermes Creative Awards contest

AWB Digital Media Coordinator Brian Temple won six honors in this year's Hermes Creative Awards, including two platinum and two gold trophies for his videos. AWB Communications Specialist Brian Mittge also won two gold awards for his stories in Washington Business magazine.

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Gov. Inslee seeks federal disaster assistance for severe winter storms

Gov. Jay Inslee has requested financial assistance for 15 Washington counties whose infrastructures were damaged in the severe winter storm from Jan. 30-Feb. 22.

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University of Washington ranked ninth among world's universities

The University of Washington was ranked ninth in the world by the Center for World University Rankings' inaugural subjects report. The UW recorded 45 top-ten ranked subjects in all science and social science academic disciplines.

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WGU Washington surprises Everett woman with $10K scholarship

Last week, WGU Washington awarded Paula Kohring, a WGU Washington student, a $10,000 scholarship as part of their celebration of enrolling 10,000 students. The scholarship is expected to cover nearly all of her tuition bill.

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Federal Maritime Commissioner Rebecca Dye to speak at fifth annual Trends in Ocean Shipping event

Federal Maritime Commissioner Rebecca Dye will headline the Washington Council on International Trade's fifth annual Trends in Ocean Shipping event in Seattle.

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AWB Institute

AWB Institute offers internship bulletin board website to connect employers with interns

The Association of Washington Business Institute is helping connect employers with community and technical college students across Washington state to set up internships. Employers will receive support throughout the internship process. The new internship bulletin board website is now live.

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Leadership Washington tours Bellingham; applications being accepted for Class of 2018

The Leadership Washington Class of 2017 toured Bellingham this week. Applications are now being accepted for the AWB Institute's 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

Tax & Fiscal Policy Council to meet every Monday

The AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council will be meeting each Monday at 9:30 at the AWB office. Some of the meetings may be held by phone. Contact Eric Lohnes for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details.

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. Contact Anderson at 360.943.1600 to learn more and Connie Carlson for call-in information.

AWB Events & Resources

Employment Law Webinar -- Non-Competes, Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Solicitations & Intellectual Property Protection

Chrystina R. Solum of Ledger Square Law will discuss Non-Competes, Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Solicitations & Intellectual Property Protection during the next AWB employment law webinar. Register now to reserve a spot for this timely and informative May 3 webinar.
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Spring Meeting is just one month away

Reserve your space today for the AWB Spring Meeting May 8-9 at the Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane. Hear from communications and public opinion expert Frank Luntz, Alaska Airlines VP Joseph Sprague, and many other speakers.

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Employment Law Webinar -- Accident Investigation Plans

Did you know that all employers in Washington are required to create a written Accident Prevention Plan or Program? Learn about what your company needs to do to be in compliance with state law during a June 14 webinar with Bruce Cross of Perkins Coie. Read more »

Reserve your space at Policy Summit, Sept. 19-21 at Suncadia Resort

Registration is now open for the 2017 AWB Policy Summit at Suncadia Resort. Reserve your space now at AWB's largest public policy gathering for employers.

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Tweet of the Week

Happy Birthday!

They Said It

Lessons from Bertha

"This state highway-tunnel excavation project should offer hope to slow-moving behemoths everywhere: Don't give up. Stay the course. Someday, you will reach daylight. That means you, too, 2017 Washington Legislature."~ The News Tribune editorial board, taking inspiration from the eventual success of Seattle's deep-bore tunneling machine.

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Rural Crisis

Flawed water-rights ruling must be reversed

By Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville

Rarely does the Legislature see an issue that causes as much alarm as the state Supreme Court's ruling last year in a water-rights case.

The decision in Hirst vs. Whatcom County has become one of those issues that wells up from the ground and forces the Legislature to take notice -- or at least it should.

The Hirst ruling essentially junked decades of water law that allowed property owners to drill household-size wells for new homes -- when there was no other reliable source of water.

The ruling tramples the right of property owners to build on their own land, reduces property values, and imperils the stream of property-tax revenue that local governments and school districts use for vital programs...

Read the full op-ed in The News Tribune
Meaningful Education and Careers

Washington state should fund K-12 training for careers in trades

By Colleen McAleer (Washington Business Alliance) and Shannon Affholter (Master Builders of King and Snohomish Counties)

To do this, we must encourage more young people to enter the trades. However, an estimated 70 percent of Washington state high school students don't complete college, or earn any type of post-secondary credential. Young people are left unprepared for the workforce and unable to benefit from these opportunities.

Unfortunately, the K-12 system is not fully equipped to train young people for the residential building industry, or other important trades. In recent years, funding for materials, supplies and operating costs for career and technical education (CTE) and skill centers has been reduced in Washington schools.

In 1996, 28 percent of total education spending was directed at career and technical education. In 2006, CTE spending fell to 8 percent and by 2016, to just 2.14 percent. Part of the challenge is that the equipment and faculty expertise required for these courses can be expensive.

As the Legislature prepares to vote on new K-12 investments driven by the McCleary decision, increasing the state's investment in career and technical education programs throughout middle and high schools must be a part of the solution...

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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