December 11, 2017
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Other News Key Hearings/Meetings Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Employers meet with national leaders during AWB D.C. Fly-in

Nearly two dozen Washington employers met with Washington's congressional delegation and other national leaders during the fourth-annual AWB D.C. Fly-in last week. From immigration to taxes, trade to health care, this was a chance for employers to be heard in the U.S. capital.

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Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell appointed to tax bill conference committee

Both of Washington's U.S. senators will be on the conference committee that is aiming to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the federal tax overhaul. The tax bill lowers corporate tax rates to help employers create jobs, and will lower tax bills for most taxpayers.

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Millennium sues Department of Ecology over alleged manipulation of study

Millennium Bulk Terminals has filed a lawsuit alleging that the state Department of Ecology dismissed findings from its own consultants when it wrote the study that denied permits for the proposed export facility in Longview.

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Patrick Jones, economic analyst, to give lunchtime keynote at Legislative Day and Hill Climb

Track the economic trends shaping your community with Patrick Jones, the executive director at the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis at Eastern Washington University. He'll be giving the lunchtime keynote at the 2018 Legislative Day and Hill Climb. He'll be joined by other legislative and policy leaders during an informative day that ends with our well-organized Hill Climb. The event will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Olympia.

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Federal Issues

Ex-Im Bank nominee Scott Garrett to face key Senate text

The Senate banking panel could vote as early as this week on the nomination of former congressman Scott Garrett to head the Export-Import Bank. Garrett has called for dissolution of the bank, and AWB President Kris Johnson joins other business leaders in saying Garrett would be the wrong choice to lead this crucial American institution.

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Congress averts shutdown with stopgap spending measure

The federal government has a two-week extension on a looming shutdown. Congress passed a temporary spending measure, giving itself two more weeks to hammer out a longer-term deal to keep the government running.

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Other News

Secretary of State honors top employers with 'Corporations for Communities' Award

A number of AWB members were among the top 'Corporations for Communities' that Secretary of State Kim Wyman honored last week for service to their neighbors, employees and customers.

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Beware of phone scam targeting businesses, Department of Revenue warns

Scammers are targeting businesses by calling and claiming to be from the state Department of Revenue. The callers ask for over-the-phone payment to renew expired business licenses -- something the actual Department of Revenue will never do.

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Seattle adding taxes on consumers as cost-of-living continues to rise

On Jan. 1, a new tax on beverages will hit Seattle consumers, causing the prices on many products to double. The new taxes, passed hastily without a public vote, will make Seattle an even more expensive place to live, work and play.

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Rulemaking proceeds for paid family leave

Rulemaking is underway for the new bipartisan paid family leave program that passed the Legislature this year.

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Paid safe and sick program leave begins Jan. 1

The voter-approved safe and sick leave law, initiative 1433, will take effect starting Jan. 1.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Climate Committee to meet Tuesday in Lacey

The AWB Climate Committee will meet Tuesday morning. Among the topics of discussion: the latest draft of the 2018 Legislative Objectives and fundraising for the Washington Climate Collaborative. Due to the ongoing construction project at AWB, the meeting will be held at the Washington Farm Bureau office in Lacey at 9 a.m. Contact Mary Catherine McAleer at 360.943.1600 to learn more.

New Rural Jobs Task Force to meet Tuesday in Olympia

The need for rural job growth is clear, as two new reports in The Hill and Opportunity Washington point out. AWB has led the way on rural job growth this year, and the newly formed AWB Rural Jobs Task force will be meeting this week to continue those efforts. The meeting will be held this Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Because of renovation in AWB's offices, the meeting will be held at the Washington Hospital Association, 510 Plum St. SE Olympia. Contact Mike Ennis at 360.943.1600 to learn more and Connie Carlson for call-in information.

Tweet of the Week


They Said It

Rural Jobs Now

"In this century so far, there's been a giant sucking sound coming from each major metropolitan area of the United States as it vacuums talent out of surrounding small towns and rural areas." ~ Cheryl Russell, a demographer and editorial director of New Strategist Press, discussing the demographic and "skills gap" challenges facing rural parts of America.

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Bridging the Skills Gap

Look to community colleges for diverse tech-industry talent

By Sheila Edwards Lange, president of Seattle Central College

Seattle's technology industry has a diversity problem. While tech companies have publicly committed to changing their hiring practices, people of color and women are still being left out of what feels more and more like an exclusive club.

Only one in five STEM workers identify as black or Latino, and less than 25 percent of STEM jobs are held by women. With equity front and center at the recent Washington STEM Summit, we must do more than talk. We must work together -- and two-year colleges are a natural partner in the effort to achieve this important goal...

It is not hard to see the tremendous potential of teaming up, where colleges such as ours and tech companies work together to create cutting-edge programs that teach the skills they need, in ways that are accessible to diverse students. Working together, we can train more local workers to fill the growing number of great jobs in the technology sector, thousands of which remain unfilled..

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Dams Provide Clean, Green Power

Inslee support for possible dam-breaching 'unfathomable'

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

This issue needs to be decided at the highest level. You can't manage a hydro system this big and this important from the bench. Congress passed the laws that protect endangered species, and it paid for the dams in the first place. It is in the best position to decide whether we take a balanced view, or submit to environmental overkill.

You'd think a governor so concerned with our carbon footprint would be interested in preserving clean power in the Pacific Northwest. There really is no middle ground here, and he ought to know better. What's he saying? Dam breaching is OK if we just take a little from the top?

Read the full news release
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