October 16, 2017
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ONE WEEK AWAY: Rural Jobs Summit will push toward solutions to expand economic opportunity

Top legislative leaders from both parties will gather with economic development advocates and local leaders 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. This video has more. The event is now sold out. Contact Kelli Schueler for waitlist information.

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New Paid Family and Medical Leave law webinar takes place Thursday

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 a webinar this Thursday with AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles, who was a major employer advocate at the table during the legislative session.

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As challenge to Seattle's income tax continues, city council proposes a new tax on employers

Even as emails questioning the legality of Seattle's income tax continue to surface, the Seattle City Council will hear a new proposal to tax employers based on the number of employees they have, a so-called "head tax," which is an idea that has been floated and rejected for years.

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SAVE THE DATE: Evening of Excellence to honor employers at red-carpet awards event Nov. 29

Mark your calendars for the second-annual AWB Evening of Excellence. The gala black-tie event at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle highlights achievements of the state's top employers.

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Washington ranks No. 1 in workers' compensation costs for eighth straight year

The National Academy of Social Insurance released its annual findings on workers' compensation insurance rates across the nation this month and for the eighth straight year Washington state retained the top spot for benefits, coverage and cost. In 2015, Washington's benefit costs were $788.62 per covered worker, followed by California at $751.70 and Alaska at $719.93. Public hearings for the proposed 2018 workers' comp rates begin this week.

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Federal Issues

EPA announces changes to Clean Power Plan

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt last week rescinded Obama-era limits on carbon emissions. On Tuesday, he signed a repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to lower carbon emissions by a third by 2030. The plan, mired in legal challenges, had never been put into effect.

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Presidential action aims to expand access to Association Health Plans

Created by Democratic Gov. Mike Lowry in 1995, Association Health Plans like AWB's HealthChoice are a success story in Washington state. And, more small-business owners could have access to the high-quality health care plans due to an executive order signed by President Trump last week.

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Department of Interior tells Congress it supports saving Snake River dams

The acting commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation told a congressional subcommittee last week that the U.S. Department of the Interior supports a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers that would allow continued operation of four Snake River dams at least until 2022. The bill, also co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler, supports the Federal Columbia River Biological Opinion, or BiOp, to protect salmon while operating the dams.

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Other News

Seattle Times endorses Englund in pivotal 45th District Senate race

Jinyoung Lee Englund is the best choice for the state Senate race in the 45th District, The Seattle Times said in a weekend endorsement. Electing Englund would help preserve a key balance of power in Olympia between Democratic and Republican control of state government, the newspaper said. The AWB board also voted in support of endorsing Englund for the Senate race as well as a slate of other candidates running in the November special elections.

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Lamb Weston celebrates completion of Richland plant expansion

AWB President Kris Johnson joined Lamb Weston employees and community leaders from throughout the Columbia Basin today in Richland to celebrate the grand opening of a $200 million expansion of the company's processing plant. The expansion will add 150 jobs to the local economy. AWB's Manufacturing Week bus tour earlier this month included a stop at the Lamb Weston offices in Kennewick.

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Amazon's HQ2 likely not landing in Washington state

A top Amazon executive said last week that the online retailer's second headquarters would probably not be located in the Pacific Northwest. The company quickly clarified, however, to say that Amazon "will give serious consideration to every HQ2 proposal we receive from across North America, including from communities across the Pacific Northwest."

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KC-46 air-refueling tanker program is milestone for home-grown Boeing

Over Northwest skies recently, one of Boeing's KC-46 aerial refueling tankers refueled a second KC-46 tanker for the first time. It was an important milestone for the program. Both of the Everett-made tankers took off from Boeing Field in Seattle for the test flight.

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Port of Seattle picks new maritime division director

Stephanie Jones Stebbins will lead the port's cruise operations, fishing and commercial operations, recreational marinas, marine maintenance, and industrial properties.

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British-American Business Connections Aerospace Conference takes place Oct. 19 in Seattle

"Shaping the Future of the U.S. and U.K. Aerospace Ecosystem" is the theme of this year's British-American Business Connections Aerospace Conference that will take place this Thursday at The Museum of Flight in Seattle.

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Small Business Saturday is Nov. 25

Sign up to be a Neighborhood Champion for Small Business Saturday, which takes place Nov. 25. The goal of the day is to highlight and support local small businesses that create jobs and serve as the backbone of the nation's economy.

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AWB Events & Resources

Oct. 24: Introduction to Private Equity Investing

Private equity investing is a source of capital for manufacturers and digital infrastructure companies and an alternative asset for accredited investors. Register today to attend the workshop hosted by Davis Wright Tremaine in Bellevue and featuring Kristofer Gray, CFP of Integrity Financial, on Oct.24, 6-8:30 p.m.

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Oct. 24 'Return to Work/Stay at Work' webinar available free to AWB members in the CompWise manufacturing retrospective rating group

A free CompWise Safety Academy class for AWB's manufacturing retrospective rating group will be held via WebEx on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 9-10:30 a.m. and cover employer Return to Work and Stay at Work programs. The Safety Academy is free for employers participating in AWB's CompWise manufacturing retrospective rating group. Course information and registration details are on the website.

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Webinar Nov. 8: 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 Holiday Kids' Tree lighting ceremony is Dec. 1

AWB hosts the Holiday Kids' Tree Project each year with the goal to help as many deserving families as possible during the Christmas season. Since 1989, the Holiday Kids' Tree Project has raised over $390,000 to purchase gifts at Christmas for families in need. All donations are funded by AWB members and the private sector. This year's funds will be distributed to rural fire districts at the annual tree-lighting ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda on Friday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. The theme of this year's tree is "Friends of the Forest" and will feature stuffed ornaments of animals native to Washington state.

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Registration is open for fourth-annual AWB D.C. Fly-in

Meet with members of Congress. Tell your story. Be part of the solution. AWB's 2017 D.C. Fly-in Dec. 4-6 offers business leaders and owners a chance to talk directly with members of Congress and other decision-makers in the nation's capital. Registration is now open for the fourth-annual D.C. Fly-in.

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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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Tweet of the Week

Washington Farmers Feed the World



They Said It

Staying Healthy

"We hope that Washington's successful Association Health Plans market will serve as a model for the rest of the nation." ~ AWB President Kris Johnson, about Washington's flourishing Association Health Plan marketplace, including AWB's HealthChoice product used by thousands of Washington employers.




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SKILLED WORKERS NEEDED


Rebooting the Manufacturing Workforce

By Savannah Gilmore, research analyst, NCSL Fiscal Affairs Program

The days of rote assembly line wor -- when workers simply had to know their machine or their step in the production proces -- are long gone, replaced by new technology and automation that have improved the products or the processes used to create them. Such "advanced manufacturing" requires skilled employees who are more adaptable and flexible than in previous year -- workers who understand how the entire production process works. They must be familiar with a variety of machines and have the critical thinking and computer skills (some would add math and reading skills) needed to fix the machines or the processes when they fail.

"While some remaining job roles will require less technically skilled workers, ironically, these trends and innovations actually demand more skilled workers," write the authors of a joint report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute.

Are we preparing enough of these skilled workers?

Read the full column in NCSL magazine
Employers Need Stability, Predictability


Seattle Must Improve -- With or Without Amazon's HQ2

By Jon Scholes, president and CEO, Downtown Seattle Association

... Stability and predictability are critical for employers. To continue to attract companies to urban locations, business leaders require predictability in exchange for the premium paid to be in an urban environment.

With increasing uncertainty at the national level, the ability for cities to provide stable operating environments will become even more important as they compete for investment. As the Seattle City Council enters its budget season, it should carefully consider how its actions will create more predictability for Seattle businesses large and small.

Read the full column in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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