May 22, 2017
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Top Stories

Legislative update -- special session adjourns tomorrow without major progress on budget, McCleary

The first overtime session of the Legislature ends tomorrow, with no significant progress since it began a month ago. Although there is speculation that a last-minute deal on school funding could be announced, many observers expect quiet closed-door negotiations to continue.

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Alaska Airlines will begin offering passenger flights out of Paine Field in Everett

By the fall of 2018, passenger air service will be available in Everett. Alaska Airlines announced last week that it will be the first carrier offering passenger service from Paine Field. The news will be welcome for residents of Snohomish County and north Seattle, who currently face heavy and unpredictable traffic getting to SeaTac.

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Canadian prime minister meets with Gov. Inslee, speaks at Microsoft during Washington visit

The leader of Canada visited Washington last week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke at Microsoft's CEO Summit and met with Gov. Jay Inslee during his visit. Canada is the second-largest destination for Washington exports, behind China.

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Governor signs distracted driving bill, pushes effective date forward to this summer

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that bans holding a cell phone or mobile device while behind the wheel. The governor vetoed a section of the bill that would have delayed implementation until 2019. The law will now take effect in mid-July.

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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

What's the status of the AHCA and health care reform efforts?

The long road to health care reform continues in Congress, where the Senate has received the American Health Care Act after its narrow passage in the House on May 4. What exactly is in the new AHCA, and what are its legislative prospects? K&L Gates takes a deeper look at the status of the bill and health care reform in a new public policy and law alert.

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Perkins Act (career and technical education) reauthorization moves forward

Reauthorization of a key federal career and technical education bill passed out of the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee.

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NAFTA survey asks for input on revisions to free trade agreement; Federal administration signals intent to initiate negotiations with Canada, Mexico to modernize NAFTA

The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region is asking employers for input on business needs relating to possible changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in a free and anonymous online survey. This outreach comes just as U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) issued a joint statement praising the federal administration's willingness to entertain talks with Mexico and Canada to modernize NAFTA.

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Legislation of Note

'Shot Clock' bill signed into law, setting goal of two-year limit on environmental reviews

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill last week that urges regulators to finish reviews of development projects within two years. The "shot clock" bill was born out of frustration with environmental reviews of the Millennium Bulk Terminals project, which is five years into a permit review process.

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Paid family leave negotiations continue

AWB continues to work with lawmakers in both chambers and both sides of the aisle to represent the interests of employers as a paid family leave bill is formed. AWB is hosting regular meetings to update employers on the status of negotiations, including a meeting tomorrow afternoon that will include Sens. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, and Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick.

Read more »

Other News

Washington's overall jobless rate drops to 2007 levels, but pockets of high unemployment remain

On the one hand, it was good news as Washington's unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent, matching the historic low rate last reached in 2007. But in much of Washington, stubbornly high unemployment remains a decade after the start of the Great Recession.

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Salary commission announces raises for lawmakers, statewide elected officials

The state's independent salary commission for elected officials announced raises of 2 to 4 percent over the next two years for Washington legislators and statewide officials. That's much less than the 11.2 percent raise the commission gave to lawmakers in 2015.

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Washington delegation visits Mexico to promote state's products

Employers, farmers, business group leaders and governmental officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee, were in Mexico last week on a trade mission focused on many Washington industries, including agriculture.

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New director named for Public Disclosure Commission

Peter Lavallee was appointed last week as the new executive director of the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Lavallee is currently the communications director at the Washington State Attorney General's Office.

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AWB to be closed for Memorial Day; Fast Facts will be sent May 30

AWB's office will be closed Monday, May 29, in honor of Memorial Day. Next week's Fast Facts will be sent Tuesday.

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AWB Events & Resources

AWB offers long-term care solutions for you and your employees

As part of its range of services to help employers provide great benefits to their employees, AWB now offers a long-term care product. In partnership with Long Term Care Associates, this plan will help employers and employees protect their assets and experience peace of mind

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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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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.

Read more »

Celebrate Washington's vibrant manufacturing sector during Manufacturing Week this October!

Manufacturing is the backbone of Washington's economy. To help highlight manufacturing in Washington, AWB will cross the state this Oct. 2-6 in a week-long tour culminating with AWB Institute's annual Manufacturing Summit and presentation of the Manufacturing Excellence awards and Manufacturing Day that takes place on Friday, Oct. 6.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

A Clear Answer



They Said It

New Commercial Flights at Paine Field

"Businesses will have easier access to major markets and leisure travelers can skip the commute down south, saving time and fuel. For decades, Alaska Airlines has been a responsible neighbor in our region, and we welcome them even closer to home at Paine Field." ~ Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers on welcome news that Alaska Airlines will begin offering commercial flights from Paine Field near Everett.


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Rural Jobs Now


Time to work on policies that advance rural economy

By AWB President Kris Johnson

A few weeks ago, 70 people gathered at the Association of Washington Business on a Saturday afternoon to talk about how to bring jobs to rural Washington.

It was heartening to see so many people interested in tackling a problem that's beginning to gain attention, but has yet to be addressed in a significant way...

There are no easy answers to the problem and it will require a consistent effort. But there was an energy in the room during the first Rural Jobs Summit. AWB intends to build on the momentum by hosting a larger Rural Jobs Summit later this summer.

It's not enough for one pocket of the state to flourish. We need economic prosperity throughout all of Washington.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
Video Rewind


Spring Meeting highlights

"AWB's Spring Meeting was collaborative, informative and insightful."

"I've met so many amazing contacts, I've made great business connections -- I will definitely return."

"I wish we'd joined much earlier."

Hear from other Spring Meeting attendees in this quick video rewind.

Watch the full video
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