April 17, 2017
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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

State Senate and U.S. ambassador to Togo join AWB in honoring Alaffia

Alaffia, an international company headquartered in Tumwater, hosted U.S. Ambassador to Togo David Gilmour during a visit last week. The state Senate also honored the growing trade relationship between Washington and Togo thanks to the opportunities provided by AWB member Alaffia.

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Will the Legislature adjourn on time?

The Legislature is scheduled to conclude its work on Sunday, but with no budget deal in sight, the odds are that a special session is in the cards. As expected, the main sticking point in the budget is the McCleary education funding issue. The House has proposed $3 billion in new taxes to balance their spending proposal, but has no plans to vote on those tax increases. 

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Expanding Washington's culture of opportunity -- Opportunity Washington updates foundation report

What needs to be done to preserve and expand a culture of opportunity and growth in Washington? The latest update to the Opportunity Washington foundation report has ideas, information and solutions on how to live up to the group's founding goal: Priorities for Shared Prosperity. 

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Legislative race shapes up in 45th District, a key position for control of the state Senate

Two leading candidates have emerged in what might be this year's top legislative race. Jinyoung Lee Englund, a Republican, and Manka Dhingra, a Democrat, are running to fill the seat left vacant by last year's death of Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond. Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Sammamish, is temporarily filling the seat until this November's special election. 

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Spring Meeting is just a few weeks away

New speakers have been confirmed -- it's time to reserve a seat 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 Senior Vice President, External Affairs Joseph Sprague, and many other speakers.

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Federal Issues

President reverses course on Ex-Im Bank, says he will fill vacant board seats

The hundreds of companies and thousands of employees whose exports depend on credit guarantees from the U.S. Export-Import Bank got good news last week. The president said he would appoint members to the bank's board, giving it the quorum it needs to be fully operational and help American companies sell their goods overseas.

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Legislation of Note

HB 2182: Tax on fuel, industrial products and other chemicals

House passes hazardous substance tax increase on party-line vote; outcome in Senate is uncertain. 

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HB 1296: Tax incentive report consolidation and simplification bill moves on to the governor's desk

The Legislature has overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1296, which consolidates and simplifies the annual report and survey used for economic development tax incentives. 

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House passes REAL ID bill

The House last week passed a bill that would create a two-tiered licensing system and bring Washington into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act, but the bill differs from a version approved in the Senate. That means further negotiations will be required, and a key Senate leader said he won't concur with the House amendments. 

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HB 1352: Licensing and regulatory requirements for small-business owners

There was good news for small-business owners last week, as House Bill 1352 unanimously passed the House after already passing the Senate. The bill will lead to a review of rules and regulations on audits and inspections for small businesses, with the aim of ensuring the least disruption possible for our state's small employers.

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Employer groups continue negotiating paid family leave

AWB is leading a wide range of business groups who are meeting with Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, and with labor groups, on a paid family leave policy. 

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Employers given a chance to weigh in on draft I-1433 rules

As the Department of Labor & Industries prepares its draft rules for implementing last year's voter-approved minimum wage and safe/sick leave initiative, AWB will be submitting comments. An AWB workgroup will meet to discuss the comments before they are submitted later this month.

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Other News

M3 Biotechnology raises $12 million to begin clinical trial on Alzheimer's treatment

By the end of the year, M3 Biotechnology will begin testing its Alzheimer's treatment on people with the disease, thanks to a new $12 million round of investment in the Seattle biotech firm. M3 Biotechnology founder Leen Kawas, AWB's 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year, said pre-clinical studies have suggested that her company's medicine has the ability to halt Alzheimer's and regrow brain cells. 

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Alaska Airlines tops annual Airline Quality Rating rankings

Alaska Airlines has jumped to the No. 1 position in this year's Airline Quality Ratings, which are compiled by business and aeronautics experts based on U.S. Department of Transportation reports. Alaska was the nation's best carrier after coming in No. 5 last year.   

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AWB Director of Finance Greg Welch named a finalist for South Sound Financial Executive of the Year

Greg Welch, who has served as AWB's director of finance since 2014, is a finalist in the South Sound Financial Executive of the Year competition. The Puget Sound Business Examiner noted Welch's two decades of high-level operational experience as well as his belief that people are the most important part of an organization's success.

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New storage system helps Avista cope with peak demands

New Avista battery technology could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by storing renewable energy, such as wind, solar and hydropower, for use when it is most needed. 

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Stripe rust forecast shows potential wheat yield loss of 32 percent

Washington State University researchers have found stripe rust, one of three wheat rust diseases, in Adams, Lincoln, Whitman and Walla Walla counties. WSU released a report in March, giving eastern Washington wheat farmers three recommendations for the coming months. 

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WSU in Everett earns spot on Mars rover contest for second year

For the second consecutive year, Washington State University's Mars Rover Team has advanced to the University Rover Challenge in Utah. 

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Tacoma students help build airplanes in new apprenticeship program

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee has launched a student-focused apprenticeship program that prepares young workers for manufacturing jobs. Students learn in a hands-on environment, all while they are getting paid and earning college credit. 

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Earthquake early-warning system arrives, but it's not ready for public use yet

A Bothell engineering firm was the first company in Washington to use the prototype ShakeAlert earthquake warning system. The U.S. Geological Survey says that a public version could be available by next year. 

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AWB Institute

Leadership Washington applications being accepted for Class of 2018

The Leadership Washington Class of 2017 will graduate in just a few weeks. Applications are now being accepted for the 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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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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Key Hearings/Meetings

Tax & Fiscal Policy Council to hold final scheduled call next Monday

The AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council will hold its last scheduled weekly meeting next Monday at 9:30 by telephone. Contact Eric Lohnes for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details. After Monday's meeting, future calls will be held as needed.

AWB Education & Training Committee will hold final call this Friday morning

Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for education, will hold her final session update call this 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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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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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.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

From Tumwater to Togo

They Said It

Excellence at Alaffia

"It's such a model of really the best of American business. Really high quality products done with a social conscience."~ David Gilmour, U.S. ambassador to Togo, during a visit to Alaffia in Tumwater last week, as quoted on KING 5 television.

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Hirst Ruling

Fix court decision: Property without water is worthless

By Rep. John Koster, R-Arlington, and Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic

If you own undeveloped rural property or you are an urban property owner with access to water, a Washington State Supreme Court ruling is going to cost you money -- lots of it -- unless the Legislature acts before the session adjourns April 23.

Last October, the high court ruled Whatcom County's comprehensive plan failed to protect water resources under the Growth Management Act. Known as the Hirst decision, it means landowners with undeveloped properties may never be able to dig a well on their property unless they can prove not a single drop of water would be removed from instream flows. An instream flow is a water right for a river or a stream that protects and preserves instream resources like fish habitat. Without available water, banks won't issue loans on these properties and counties will not issue building permits. Without water, there is no development, so these lands become worthless, or significantly lose their market value.

A couple in Arlington recently expressed their concerns to us. They want to sell property so they can buy a home and downsize in retirement. They have been good stewards of this land and consider it their life investment. Unless they can have a well drilled, their property value will be greatly reduced, jeopardizing their finances and future. Who wants property that is useless without water? This is happening all across Washington...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
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