June 19, 2017
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Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Legislation of Note Other News AWB Events & Resources AWB Institute Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

At the Legislature, the clock is ticking

A third special session appears inevitable as the Legislature continues its slow walk toward the rapidly approaching end of the fiscal year. Lawmakers have until midnight June 30 to pass a budget. If not, state government will go into a partial shutdown unless a short-term spending plan is adopted.

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Paid family leave bill takes shape as business, labor find a path forward

After months of negotiations, a bipartisan agreement was struck last week on a paid family leave bill. The bill, negotiated between leaders of both parties, along with representatives of business and labor, takes into account the needs of employees and the economic impacts to employers.

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Leadership Washington application deadline extended to June 30

There is still time to join the state's premier leadership development program -- Leadership Washington. The deadline to apply to be part of the Leadership Washington class of 2018 has been extended to June 30. Watch the latest graduates talk about the program, download an application and click here to learn more about this growing program!

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Only two weeks left to apply for AWB's Manufacturing Excellence and Evening of Excellence awards

The deadline for this year's AWB award nominations is quickly approaching! Nominate 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. The deadline for award applications is June 30.

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Federal Issues

What is the real impact of U.S. withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord?

What does it mean now that the president has announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord? K&L Gates takes a deep look at the issue in their latest Legal Insight alert.

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Legislation of Note

Hirst fix passes Senate for the third time; House moving backward with bill requiring well metering

The Senate last week passed SB 5239 by a 28-20 vote. AWB strongly supports the bill, which would fix the problems created by last year's Hirst water rights ruling by the state Supreme Court. The House has not voted on a Hirst fix bill, but last week a new bill, HB 2226, was introduced, which is generally considered worse than original House proposals on the issue.

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Other News

Statewide unemployment rate drops to historic lows, but rural Washington still has high jobless rates

The tale of two Washingtons continues. Thanks to the galloping economy in the Seattle area, May's statewide unemployment rate dropped to its lowest point since record-keeping began four decades ago. Meanwhile, other parts of the state have jobless rates that are more than double or even triple the rate in King County.

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Seattle moves forward on income tax proposal

The Seattle City Council held a public hearing last week on a proposed city-wide income tax measure. Questions remain about whether the measure could pass state constitutional muster, and there are concerns about whether the city has the resources to function as a "mini-Internal Revenue Service."

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Javier Valdez appointed to replace Jessyn Farrell in Legislature

Democratic party activist Javier Valdez was appointed last week to fill the House seat vacated by Rep. Jessyn Farrell, who has stepped down to run for mayor. Valdez will serve until the November 2018 general election.

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Spokane voters likely to see initiative on rail cars and fossil fuels

An initiative taking aim at train cargo appears headed for the November ballot in Spokane. The initiative would require additional regulations on oil and coal shipments, and would fine railroads for violations. Supporters call it a safety issue; opponents say the initiative is legally unenforceable and opens the city up to lawsuits and legal costs.

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Boeing launches MAX 10 at Paris Air Show

With 240 orders and commitments already booked by the day of its launch, Boeing officially unveiled the MAX 10 at the Paris Air Show today. The MAX 10 is a larger version of the 737.

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Amazon will buy Whole Foods Market

The Seattle-based online retailer Amazon has announced that it is buying Austin-based grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.

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Walmart celebrates opening of new training academy in Bonney Lake with graduation of first class

The first class of associates graduated last week from the new Bonney Lake Walmart Training Academy. The academy is one of hundreds being opened by Walmart for career advancement, part of a $2.7 billion investment in greater training, more education and higher wages for associates.

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Studies begin on Kennewick site for Washington's biggest solar project

A French renewable energy company has begun site studies for the largest utility-scale photovoltaic power plant in Washington. The 20-megawatt solar project in Benton County is scheduled for completion in 2019.

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AWB Events & Resources

Hear from members of Congress, international consuls at Policy Summit

Big names have confirmed that they will be part of the 2017 AWB Policy Summit at Suncadia Resort. From members of Congress to international consults from Canada and Mexico, this will be a memorable and meaningful event. Rooms at the resort sell out quickly, so reserve your space today to be part of AWB's largest public policy gathering for employers.

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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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AWB Institute

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 »

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 »

Tweet of the Week

Raising the Needle



They Said It

Competitiveness Matters

"In Seattle's case, it is a beautiful place to live. It is a place, now, that is a center of talent in the tech industry, and success and talent will breed startups and more of that sort of thing. What are the things that can undo it? Unfavorable business climate." ~ Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, on KIRO radio, speaking against Seattle's proposed income tax on "high earners."




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Time to Finish


Lawmakers playing game of chicken as shutdown of government looms

By The Walla Wall Union-Bulletin Editorial Board

For the third time in the past five years, Washington state is preparing for a partial shutdown of government.

And for the third time the state is wasting precious tax dollars preparing for an event lawmakers have the power to prevent...

The Legislature needs to act, and act now.

The sense of urgency lawmakers will feel in the last few days of June needs to be felt now. The budget needs to get done right and so, too, does school funding. This is too important to be left to whomever blinks first in a game of chicken.
Read the full editorial in The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Fix Hirst Now


Court water-well ruling imposes undue burden on rural families

By Madi Clark Washington Policy Center

Like millions of families, I grew up in the country, blessed with a few acres in which to roam. To some it was just a couple of acres of grass. To me it was peace and adventure in my own backyard and the best way to grow up. One day I hoped to be able to afford the same opportunity for my children.

Now a harsh ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court in Hirst v. Whatcom County, blocks access to water for rural families -- making that life unaffordable and simply impossible for the average Washington citizen.

Declaring that counties can no longer rely on the Washington State Department of Ecology to determine if there is enough water for permit-exempt wells, the court brought the state's Growth Management Act into conflict with 80 years of water law.

Supporters of Hirst argue the court's strict new interpretation helps salmon. However, that is just a political disguise for the underlying motivation of impeding development and stopping families from being able to live in rural areas...

Read the full op-ed in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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