October 23, 2017
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STARTING TONIGHT: We'll see you in Moses Lake for Rural Jobs Summit

Starting tonight, dozens of legislative leaders from both parties will gather with economic development advocates and local leaders in Moses Lake for AWB's second Rural Jobs Summit. Big Bend Community College will host the sold-out event, which will continue the discussion started this spring about how to bring jobs to rural Washington and economic prosperity to the entire state.

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Tax Foundation takes note of flurry of Seattle tax proposals

From a tax on sugary drinks to an income tax and even a tax on jobs, Seattle has plenty of income-generating ideas in the hopper. The Tax Foundation took note in a blog post about "the sheer number of new tax proposals" in Seattle.

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Bipartisan bill co-negotiated by Sen. Murray aims to stabilize Affordable Care Act

Two dozen senators from both parties have signed on to a bipartisan deal to stabilize the federal health insurance system under the Affordable Care Act and replace cost-sharing subsidies canceled by the Trump administration. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., negotiated the deal over recent months with U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. The deal faces an uncertain future in the House and mixed messages from the administration.

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Supreme Court to hear McCleary arguments this week

The Washington State Supreme Court will hear arguments this Tuesday on whether the state has finally and fully complied with the 2012 McCleary education funding ruling, requiring full and equal state funding of K-12 basic education.

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Amazon received 238 bids for its HQ2; what's next after last week's bid deadline?

The deadline last week for cities to submit proposals to host Amazon's "HQ2" meant a flurry of activity for cities from Tacoma to Atlanta. Cities around Washington were among a reported 238 bid submissions from cities across North America. The company is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.

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Rail Keeps Our Economy Rolling

We must keep trains rolling safely and fairly

By Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom

As a state representative, I've spent quite a bit of time studying and learning about rail safety. It's a subject I take seriously. I live in the Town of Steilacoom, where trains are a way of life.

In fact, the Puget Sound coastline in my district is defined by the rail line. And, it's not just about moving freight. Amtrak will soon transport passengers at a very high speed through Lakewood and DuPont. Rail safety is a big deal for our communities.

In 2014, more than 119 million tons of freight traveled by rail over more than 3,000 miles of rail tracks across the state. This activity supports Washington businesses across a variety of important industries, from lumber to agriculture to oil.

Freight rail is also directly responsible for nearly 4,000 jobs and supports tens of thousands more throughout the state...

Read the full column in The News Tribune
Regulatory Overreach

Ecology's decision harming state's future

By Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen

The Washington Department of Ecology seems determined to oppose any industrial development in Cowlitz County. And the rest of the 19th Legislative District.

About three weeks ago, Ecology issued an opinion denying a water-quality permit sought by Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) to complete its coal export facility. Ecology bureaucrats claimed that the project would cause "significant and unavoidable harm" to nine environmental areas: global air quality, vehicle traffic, vessel traffic, rail capacity, rail safety, noise pollution, social and community resources, cultural resources and tribal access to traditional fishing locations near Bonneville Dam.

A few of these factors -- particularly "global air quality" -- are not described in any relevant federal or state law. Rationalizing the unprecedented opinion, Ecology Director Maia Bellon relied on some broad rhetorical strokes...

The Department of Ecology's focus on "global impacts" is a luxury paid for by limiting the prospects for the working people of Cowlitz County. Director Bellon and the other Department of Ecology bureaucrats need to return their focus from global ambitions to local concerns.

Read the full column in The Daily News
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