January 8, 2018
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Other News Key Hearings/Meetings AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Legislature convenes today with heavy workload for 'short' session

From manufacturing tax relief to education, Hirst to the capital budget, there's a lot for lawmakers to tackle in what is supposed to be a short 60-day legislative session. AWB's Government Affairs team went over the issues last week in a webinar highlighting the main issues for the legislative session that begins today.

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One week away: reserve your spot at AWB's annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb

The agenda is filling up -- and so are registration spots -- as AWB's Legislative Day and Hill Climb approaches. Register now to hear from issue experts on employment law, education, climate, manufacturing and much more. Don't miss this chance to engage directly with state leaders on issues that affect job creation. The event takes place Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Hotel RL in Olympia.

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Gov. Inslee to release carbon tax plan on Tuesday, as other policy makers offer carbon-pricing plans

From Gov. Jay Inslee to Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, there are a number of carbon-pricing plans being made public this week as the 2018 legislative session kicks off. AWB is actively engaged in the policy discussions, working to find a solution that will ensure carbon emissions decline and Washington's economic landscape can remain competitive.

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AWB's Legislative Review offers a big-picture look at important employer issues as session begins

With lawmakers beginning their work this year, AWB's wide-ranging Legislative Review and Vote Record is a timely look at what transpired last year and what issues remain for lawmakers. The newly released Legislative Review -- including the always popular Vote Record -- was mailed out last week and is available to read online.

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Audit: Washington could be a doing a much better job on workforce training

A new report by the Washington state auditor says that Washington has a lot of room to improve in its work to help students build career and technical education skills. The 78-page report offers specific recommendations on how to improve the state's career and technical education programs.

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Federal Issues

Businesses give bonuses, raises because of federal tax overhaul

The federal tax overhaul that Congress and the president approved last month is already paying dividends for workers. Employers around the state and nation have announced bonuses and raises to pass along the savings from the bill's wide-ranging tax cuts.

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Other News

AWB creating Telcom Task Force to focus on rural broadband and other telecommunications

One of the common refrains at AWB's two Rural Jobs Summits last year was the need for rural broadband. The issue of high-speed internet access is important to the business community in urban areas as well as rural. To focus on these issues, AWB is creating a Telecom Task Force, and is looking for members to be part of the new committee.

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Keith Wagoner, Sedro-Woolley mayor, appointed to state Senate, replacing former Sen. Kirk Pearson

County officials in the 39th Legislative District have chosen Sedro-Woolley Mayor Keith Wagoner to serve as a state senator for the rest of the year, replacing Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe.

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Susan Hutchison retiring from leadership of state Republican Party

The chair of the Washington State Republican Party, Susan Hutchison, has announced that she is stepping down from the post she has held since 2013.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB to host bipartisan call with legislators on Hirst water rights issue this Wednesday

The 2016 Hirst ruling on well-water drilling by the state Supreme Court has tied up rural development. This is an issue that affects areas across Washington. AWB held a conference call with Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, about the issue last week. It will follow up with another conference call this Wednesday that will include Rep. Springer and Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee.

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AWB Events & Resources

Save the date: AWB Institute Workforce Summit takes place March 21

Back by popular demand, AWB's Workforce Summit will again be held in the Seattle area. Registrations are now open for this March 21 event, which will zero in on the latest in employment law, best practices, and idea for how to successfully recruit, train and keep your workforce.

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AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series begins in February; early bird pricing is still available

AWB's popular employment law webinar series is back for the third year. Top legal experts will again look at the many facets of increasingly complex labor laws, offering up-to-date information to keep your workplace in compliance with the latest legal changes. Sign up for all the classes now to receive an early-bird package discount and a complete kit of all presentations.

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Spring Meeting dates set for May 15-16

Reserve your room in the AWB room block now for the 2018 Spring Meeting, to be held in the new Davenport Grand hotel in downtown Spokane. AWB's annual meeting in Spokane is only going to be bigger and better as it moves to this deluxe new hotel near the city's Riverside Park.

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Tweet of the Week

Carbon-Free Energy

They Said It

Mounting costs for employers

"If you look at the broad picture, new Labor and Industries rates go into effect, the new unemployment rate. It's small increments of increase, but added together they make a lot. It's a constant drain, there's more and more costs." ~ Bob McEndoo, co-owner of Gepetto's Italian Restaurant in Montesano, about the new $11.50 minimum wage and other increasing costs on employers.

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Don't Spend Rainy Day Fund

Washington's debt level a cause for concern

By The Editorial Board of The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

... Washington state Treasurer Duane Davidson has urged lawmakers and the governor to keep their hands off the state's rainy-day fund, noting that we are in an economic expansion, which is the time to be saving, not borrowing.

With that, we heartily agree.

Read the full editorial in The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Fiscal Restraint

Our Voice: It's not raining hard enough to dip into state reserves

By The Editorial Board of The Tri-City Herald

The state's rainy-day fund is supposed to grow when times are good so there is money available when times are tough.

A simple enough plan to understand, yet apparently difficult for some lawmakers to follow.

Gov. Jay Inslee's budget includes taking money from the state's emergency reserves to help pay for teacher salaries in the 2018-19 school year, but we think this would be a mistake.

The legislative session begins Monday, and we advise the Legislature to find some other way to meet its obligation to public education without "borrowing" from reserves...

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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