August 21, 2017
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Top Stories

AWB's new app offers a smart way to prepare for Policy Summit, Manufacturing Week and other events

Hot off the digital press, AWB's new smartphone and tablet app -- AWB Events 365 -- is now available in Apple and Google app stores. This easy-to-use app has detailed information on speakers, schedules, and more -- plus ways to connect with other attendees. The app is free. Download it before heading to Policy Summit next month to get the latest agenda and speaker updates.

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NAFTA renegotiation effort kicks off

Trade leaders from the United States, Canada and Mexico met last week for a five-day talk in the first round of renegotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The trade agreement went into effect in 1994, and the three nations issued a joint statement saying they hope to make quick progress in "updating the rules governing the world's largest free trade area."

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U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry visits PNNL, Hanford and Northwest hydroelectric dams

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Washington state last week for a tour of high-tech research, energy resources and legacy of the Tri-Cities area. He toured the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Hanford and the Columbia-Snake River hydroelectric system.

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Washington Research Council: Has the state finally closed the book on McCleary?

In a new special report, the Washington Research Council takes a look at the Legislature's multi-year increases in education funding. Since 2011, lawmakers have increased public school spending by $8.4 billion, or 62 percent. But, the question remains: Have lawmakers finally met the requirements set out by the state Supreme Court in its 2012 McCleary decision?

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Get ready for policy summit customized survey, new event smartphone app

With Policy Summit just a month away, now is the time to reserve a spot -- and to take a customized employee experience survey that futurist Jacob Morgan has developed for companies like Facebook and Apple. This is also the first time you can access AWB's brand new smartphone and tablet app. Suncadia Resort is nearly sold out, so book your room and reserve your spot at the table for this year's Policy Summit Sept. 19-21.

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Federal Issues

Administration releases executive order on infrastructure permitting

An executive order signed last week aims to reduce the federal permitting timeline for major infrastructure projects to two years. A new process would create "one federal decision" and appoint one federal agency to take the lead on major infrastructure projects.

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Other News

State trade council votes to support Millennium project in Longview

The Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council voted unanimously last week to endorse the Millennium Bulk Terminals project in Longview. The $680 million project "is a transformational project" that will create more than 1,000 construction jobs, 130 permanent jobs and generate $5.4 million in state and local taxes.

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AP: Lots of high-tech factory jobs, but where are the skilled workers?

There are plenty of jobs available in today's manufacturing world, but they need workers who have technical know-how or specialized skills. How to ensure that workers are prepared to fill these jobs is a major challenge -- and opportunity.

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Attorney General Ferguson asks U.S. Supreme Court to review culvert case ruling

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the wide-ranging Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on culvert replacement. AWB joined other associations in July in asking for the attorney general to request the high court's review of the case.

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WSU's first class of medical students begins studies in Spokane

The inaugural class of Washington State University's new medical school began their work last week. It's the latest step in a long journey to help establish strong training focused on ensuring medical workforce security for rural and underserved areas.

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Political fight brewing in Spokane over trains carrying coal, oil

The Spokane County sheriff is promising an immediate legal challenge to stop fines on coal and oil companies sending their energy products through Spokane by train. It's the latest chapter in a fight over energy products travelling to their destinations via rail that is headed for a November ballot initiative.

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Vancouver Energy Project deadline extended again as EFSEC chair resigns

The head of the state's Energy Facility and Site Evaluation Council resigned last week, shortly after the panel announced another extension of the Vancouver Energy permit process. What impact the resignation might have on the project is unclear.

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Seattle hires outside lawyers to defend new income tax

Three lawsuits have been filed against Seattle's new income tax on high-level earners. The city has hired outside attorneys to defend itself in a case that is expected to eventually be decided by the state Supreme Court.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Climate & Energy Committee to meet Aug. 23

The AWB Climate & Energy Committee will meet at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 23, at AWB in Olympia. The Nature Conservancy's policy team will be at the meeting. Contact Mary Catherine McAleer, AWB government affairs director for environmental policy, to learn more, or Connie Carlson for call-in options.

Join AWB Employment Law Committee on Aug. 28

The AWB Employment Law Committee will meet at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, at AWB in Olympia. Contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for workplace, labor and employment issues, to learn more, or Connie Carlson for call-in options.

AWB Events & Resources

Webinar: Learn how to prepare for I-1433 paid sick and safe leave that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018

Washington voters approved Initiative 1433, which raised the statewide minimum wage and created a new mandate on employers to provide Paid Safe and Sick Leave. The new leave policy goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018, and will apply to every employer in the state with hourly employees. Find out what's required, and how to prepare, in a Sept. 6 webinar with Tim O'Connell of the law firm Stoel Rives.

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Webinar: Learn the latest on Washington's new Paid Family & Medical Leave law

Washington's new Paid Family and Medical Leave law was negotiated with employer concerns front and center, especially small businesses. Learn what's happening with this new law during an Oct. 19 webinar with AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles, who was a major employer advocate at the table during this legislative session.

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Rural Jobs Summit to be held at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake

Top legislative leaders from both parties will gather in Moses Lake Oct 23-24 for AWB's Rural Jobs Summit. Big Bend Community College will host the event, which will continue the discussion started this spring about how to bring jobs to rural Washington and economic prosperity to the entire state. Watch this new video for more.

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Webinar: Learn how to navigate the Legislature online

Follow the latest legislative news right from your computer or phone with the tips, tricks and details that we'll teach you at the upcoming "Navigating leg.wa.gov & Bill Tracking" webinar. Cheri Randich of the Legislative Information Center will offer her insights on tracking the legislative process at this Nov. 8 AWB webinar.

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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 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. Check out the internship bulletin board!

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

In the Driver's Seat



They Said It

Jobs for Rural Washington

"Millennium is a transformational project." ~ Mike Bridges, president, Longview/Kelso Building Trades, IBEW Local 48, in support of the Millennium Bulk Terminal project in Longview.




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Fix Hirst Now


What the state moratorium on new water wells means to you, and how to fix it

By Linda Twitchell, Building Industry Association of Whatcom County

We need your help.

Before the state Legislature adjourned, the Senate and House negotiated a deal where a vote would be allowed on SB 5239 -- returning to the practice of letting the Department of Ecology decide whether proposed private wells in this state endanger our water supplies. In turn, SB 5239 supporters would vote on a capital projects budget, setting aside money for infrastructure improvement projects across the state. Leaders in the House backpedaled, however, refusing to bring 5239 to a vote as planned, so the Legislature adjourned without action on either item. Both are important.

This is about the water rights half of that deal -- the Hirst Decision.

Read the full op-ed in The Bellingham Herald
Labor Stability


Hurray for long-term labor peace on Tacoma waterfront

By The News Tribune Editorial Board

If the Port of Tacoma is Pierce County's economic engine, as local officials like to say, then a three-year extension of a crucial labor contract is like a well-timed spark plug replacement. Tacoma and other West Coast ports are now more likely to fire on all cylinders heading into the next decade.

The deal between the longshore union and shipping industry employers, ratified earlier this month, is a piece of preventive maintenance they were smart to take care of. The contract had been set to expire in 2019; it will now run until July 2022.

It was just three years ago that relations between the two sides blew up, as deep wage and labor disagreements caused the previous contract to expire. A months-long dockworker slowdown in 2014-15 crippled productivity, forcing the intervention of a federal mediator. West Coast ports staggered away with a black eye they could ill afford in the increasingly competitive freight world...

Kudos to the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association for putting any petty grievances behind them, while holding the disastrous memories close enough to motivate an early contract extension.

Read the full editorial in The News Tribune
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