July 24, 2017
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Top Stories

Without Hirst fix, capital budget negotiations stall

The third legislative special session ended on Thursday without an agreement on a capital budget or a fix for the state Supreme Court's Hirst ruling on rural water supplies. The governor said he will not call a fourth special session to bring lawmakers together to pass a capital budget and Hirst fix unless and until legislative leaders come to agreement.

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Millennium Bulk Terminals receives first permit

Cowlitz County officials have issued the first of eight county permits needed for Millennium Bulk Terminals to build its export facility in Longview. The Critical Areas Permit approval marks a "new phase" for the project, which is now five years into the permitting process. The company needs a total of 23 federal, state and local permits to proceed.

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Analysis: Washington Research Council takes a deep look at the 2017-19 operating budget

The budget deal that averted a partial state government shutdown increases state spending by nearly $5.3 billion, or 13.7 percent. More than half of this $43.7 billion budget will go to public schools. What else is in this two-year spending plan? The Washington Research Council has a new policy brief that takes a look at this budget.

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Senate Majority Leader Schoesler and Speaker of the House Chopp to speak at Rural Jobs Summit

Top legislative leaders from both parties have confirmed that they will speak at AWB's Rural Jobs Summit this fall. Plan now to join AWB, legislative, business and chamber leaders and other organizations Oct. 23-24 to continue the discussion started this spring about how to bring jobs to rural Washington and economic prosperity to the entire state. More details to come.

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Federal Issues

U.S. House works on modernizing NAFTA

The U.S. House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Dave Reichert, R-WA, is holding hearings with job creators on how to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for the 21st century.

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U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen wins leadership award from Washington International Trade Association

Congressman Rick Larsen, D-WA, was honored last week by the Washington International Trade Association for his commitment to trade policies that improve U.S. competitiveness.

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Other News

Washington's unemployment rate stays steady at 4.5 percent

The jobless rate was unchanged last month. The state saw a gain of 2,800 public-sector jobs and a loss of 300 private-sector jobs overall. The Seattle area's job market continues to be white hot, but rural Washington still has not fully recovered from the recession that began a decade ago.

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Avista to become part of Canadian energy firm

During a time of major transition and change in the electricity industry, Avista announced last week that it would become a subsidiary of Hydro One, Canada's largest electricity transmission and distribution provider. Avista will continue to operate with the same name and community engagement from its Spokane headquarters, with CEO Scott Morris remaining at the helm.

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Spokane City Council passes climate change ordinance

By a 6-1 vote, the Spokane City Council last week added its 2010 sustainability action plan to city code. The move solidifies the city's push for sustainability, council members said, but does not commit the city to any of the provisions of the Paris Agreement.

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Rep. John Koster stepping down to lead state agency on road projects

Longtime Snohomish County politician, state Rep. John Koster, R-Arlington, is stepping down from the Legislature to lead a small state agency that distributes gas tax dollars for county road projects.

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Janicki Industries wins award for innovative fiberglass roof made from recycled water bottles

A free-form structural roof made of recycled water bottles earned an innovation in design award for Sedro-Woolley-based Janicki Industries and its British partner. The free-form roof is remarkably light and highly insulated, creating new design possibilities for the futuristic-looking home.

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Secretary of State Kim Wyman said her cancerous tumor is gone

After being diagnosed with colon cancer in March, Secretary of State Kim Wyman said her tumor has responded well to treatment.

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Amazon to match up to $1 million raised from opening of FareStart restaurants

New nonprofit restaurants have opened in retail space donated by Amazon at its South Lake Union campus. The restaurants are operated by FareStart, which aims to help people out of poverty or homelessness by training them for culinary and hospitality jobs. Amazon is supporting the 25-year-old nonprofit by matching donations and revenue as the new eateries open.

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AWB Events & Resources

Windermere chief economist to deliver Policy Summit breakfast keynote address

New speakers are joining the line-up for the 2017 AWB Policy Summit. For more than a quarter century, the Policy Summit has been the premier gathering to discuss statewide policy and look ahead to upcoming issues. This year's expanded agenda also includes a focus on federal affairs and will feature Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate's chief economist, who will kick off the event with a look at Washington state's economy. Rooms at the resort sell out quickly, so reserve your space today.

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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 October in a week-long tour. A new video looks at all that's ahead during this busy, insight-filled week.

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Save the date for Manufacturing Summit Oct. 5

The AWB Institute's annual Manufacturing Summit will be held Oct. 5. Highlights will include a roundtable discussion on manufacturing issues with state and national leaders, as well as presentation of the Manufacturing Excellence awards.

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Manufacturing Day will open up shop floors to neighbors, lawmakers and students

Washington's manufacturers are often too busy designing and creating products to open their doors to the public, and that means that the innovative work they do is often not visible to the general public. To tell the great story of modern manufacturing, Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6 will help Washington's manufacturers swing their doors open to a curious and admiring public.

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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 »

Tweet of the Week

Supporting Workforce Education



They Said It

Simple Fairness

"Is it fair for government to be able to build anything they want, using taxpayer dollars, but the people who paid those taxes -- to pay for those schools and hospitals and all the great things we've got in the capital budget -- is it fair for government to be able to build that stuff in the same neighborhoods that the citizens who live there can't provide housing for their own family?" ~ Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, House minority leader, about the collapse of negotiations to include a Hirst rural water fix in capital budget negotiations.




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Good Collaboration, Important Policy


Passage of paid-family-leave act shows power of working together.

By Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Washington's new paid family and medical leave policy makes me proud of my state. It's not just the groundbreaking policy, which fills a need for every worker in Washington. It's also the way our state government worked together to hammer out a paid-leave bill that people across the political spectrum wanted to support...

Starting in 2020, Washington's workers will be able to take up to 16 weeks paid leave, which gives them the time they need to tend to their loved ones. The wage replacement, up to $1,000 a week, means people will be able to support themselves while taking advantage of the policy.

The eligibility criteria are flexible: new parents, people caring for a sick relative and people fighting a severe illness are covered.

Finally, the way the paid leave is funded is sensible and fair. Employees and employers share the costs, and small-business owners receive extra support so they don't struggle when an employee needs to take leave...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Rural Economic Development


From the vineyards to the cloud to the water, achieving the goal of shared prosperity

We've written often about the challenges facing rural communities. For recent examples, see here, here, and here. In our state -- and across the nation -- economic growth has become increasingly concentrated in metropolitan areas, leaving small towns and rural counties struggling to fund public services and provide employment opportunities for their residents.

So we were struck by a couple of stories in our news feeds this week. It's a bit of an odd pairing, an appropriate term given the implications of one item for wine country...

Read the full blog post at opportunitywa.org
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