October 23, 2017
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Department of Labor & Industries files latest rulemaking documents on Initiative 1433

Last year, voters approved Initiative 1433, which requires employers to provide paid safe and sick leave starting Jan. 1 of 2018. Last week, the Department of Labor & Industries filed the latest rulemaking documents as it implements the sick and safe leave provisions of I-1433. A series of public meetings will be held to solicit more input.

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M3 Biotechnology launches clinical trials for Alzheimer's drug

The Alzheimer's disease therapy pioneered by M3 Biotechnology in Seattle is about to begin phase I clinical trials. If successful, the drug would be the first to restore lost connections in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, slowing or even stopping disease progression. M3 Biotechnology founder Leen Kawas was named AWB's Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016, and the company was featured in this year's Grow Here campaign.

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Washington gets REAL ID extension through October 2018

Seventeen states, including Washington, have been granted a yearlong extension from the enforcement of stricter federal requirements on driver's licenses and ID cards. The extension to the REAL ID act will last through October 2018.

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Boeing makes $5 million commitment to USO after success of pilot project in Washington

Boeing has announced a $5 million, multi-year donation to help expand United Service Organizations (USO) Pathfinder -- the nation's first comprehensive employment readiness program for transitioning military service members.

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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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