March 5, 2018
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Top Stories

Legislature heads into the home stretch; still time to support manufacturers with B&O tax relief

This Thursday is the last scheduled day of the legislative session. Budget-writers in both chambers are negotiating on the final shape of a budget, including the potential for both new taxes and tax relief. AWB continues to advocate for statewide manufacturing tax relief.

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Carbon tax bill does not advance through Senate; citizen initiative filed Friday

A carbon tax proposal advocated by Gov. Jay Inslee fell short of the votes needed in the Senate, supporters said last week. Meanwhile, advocates for a carbon tax filed an initiative last week. If enough signatures are collected, voters will decide on the issue this fall. Manufacturers, household energy customers and drivers would see costs rise.

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Rural broadband bill passes Senate, moving forward in House

A top priority for AWB this legislative session, to follow up on last year's two Rural Jobs Summits, is rural broadband. The primary broadband bill this session, Senate Bill 5935, passed the Senate 45-3, and had a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on Saturday.

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After public outcry, Gov. Inslee vetoes public records law

Gov. Jay Inslee announced late Thursday that he would veto a public records bill for the Legislature that had drawn heavy criticism, both for the content of the bill and for the hasty pace of its passage. Lawmakers and media companies agreed to a more deliberative and inclusive process in crafting a replacement law that opens the Legislature up to the state Public Records Act yet protects sensitive constituent information.

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Races emerge as incumbents announce intent to leave Legislature

Familiar faces are leaving Olympia. A handful of lawmakers announced last week that they will not run for reelection this year. Among those departing the Legislature: Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane; Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup; Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland; and Rep. Jay Rodne, R-Snoqualmie.

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Other News

Gov. Inslee signs state version of net neutrality into law

Both chambers of the Legislature have passed House Bill 2282, a state net neutrality measure crafted in response to the Federal Communications Commission's recent repeal of federal net neutrality rules. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill this afternoon.

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Starbucks showcases sustainability, flexibility with stores inside shipping containers

The global coffee giant has created 45 stores in shipping containers so far. Last month, it moved one across a Colorado town to a new location and opened it within just a few weeks. The speedy relocation gives new meaning to the phrase "coffee to go."

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Lamb Weston creating new jobs at new facility

Seven months after opening the expansion of its processing facility in Richland, Lamb Weston can now process 300 million pounds of potato products each year at the plant.

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Vancouver Energy ends bid to build nation's biggest oil-train terminal along Columbia River

Vancouver Energy will not appeal the governor's recent rejection of its permit application to build the nation's largest oil train terminal. The project would have generated $2 billion in economic impact.

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Can Swiss apprenticeship model help Washington boost high school graduation rates?

Business leader Maud Daudon, who's leading a strategic workforce plan, took a look at workforce development, including the Swiss apprenticeship model, with The Seattle Times.

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April 18 conference to focus on emerging technology and liability

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform will explore emerging technologies and liability issues at an April 18 conference in Seattle. Topics include autonomous vehicles, drones and more.

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Passages: Former Starbucks CEO and philanthropist Orin C. Smith dies at 75

Iconic business leader Orin C. Smith, who never forgot his small-town Washington roots, died last Thursday at 75. The kid from Chehalis achieved great success in the business world and gave back to his community generously.

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Call for nominations: Help bring more great business leaders to AWB's board of directors

It's time to step up and help AWB remain a leader and voice for solutions in Olympia. Nominations are now being accepted for seats on the AWB Board of Directors. Businesses of all sizes and business leaders of all ages are invited to apply. Nominations are due to Bonnie Millikan by March 23.

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AWB Events & Resources

Save the Date: AWB and U.S. Chamber to co-host Early Childhood Learning Summit on April 17

AWB will join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in hosting an Early Childhood Learning event on April 17. Learn more and register online.

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AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series continues with 'Employee Handbook' talk

AWB's popular employment law webinar series is back for the third year. The March 14 webinar will focus on updating Employee Handbooks with Greg Hendershott & Angela Vogel of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. Over the coming months, other legal experts will 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.

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Hear from apprenticeship advocate at AWB Institute Workforce Summit March 21 in Bellevue

Back by popular demand, the AWB Institute Workforce Summit will be held this year at the Hilton Bellevue on Wednesday, March 21. Matt Poischbeg, vice president and general manager at Sea-Lect Plastics, will give the keynote, offering an enthusiastic and experienced take on apprenticeships and workforce development. Registration is now open!

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April 4 tax reform webinar: Key provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

How will the recent federal tax overhaul affect your business? Join AWB for a tax webinar on April 4 for a general overview of the new provisions affecting corporations, pass-through entities and others under the new federal tax law. Continuing education credits available upon request.

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Labor relations for beginners: for union and non-union workplaces

Whether or not your employees are represented by a union, recent changes in federal labor law impact your workplace. Join us on April 26 to learn more about employers' rights and obligations under key federal labor law principles.

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A new home for Spring Meeting -- the Davenport Grand hotel

Reserve your room May 15 and 16 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 Riverfront Park.

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AWB HealthChoice members can get access to medical care anytime, anywhere

AWB members enrolled in the HealthChoice Trust Premera plans have access to Teladoc, which offers 24/7 access to U.S. board-certified doctors via phone or video consults. Teladoc doctors can diagnose, treat, and send prescriptions to the pharmacy of your choice, all from the comfort of your own home.

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Tweet of the Week

Flying with the Best



They Said It

Effective Workforce Education

"This is as much about getting students to completion ... as it is about any particular way to get there." ~ Maud Daudon, chair of the Washington Student Achievement Council, on the importance of career-connected learning.




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A Lifetime of Learning


Workforce development begins young, continues over lifetime

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We all want our kids to grow up in a state with good-paying job prospects and the training to match them.

Today, there is a laser focus by our association's membership and other groups about the need to fill the workforce pipeline with skilled, job-ready workers. There simply aren't enough workers to fill the high-tech, high-wage jobs available in our state and nation.

We're working to address that problem by advocating for robust career and technical programming in our middle and high schools, training and certificate programs for high-demand jobs at our state's community and technical colleges.

We'll be talking about those very issues at the second-annual AWB Workforce Summit on March 21 in Bellevue.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Business World
Dealing with Debt

State needs to begin paying down its bond debt

By The Everett Herald Editorial Board

Duane Davidson, now in his second year of office, hasn't been one to pursue many policy issues with lawmakers, unlike his predecessor who outlined an ambitious tax reform proposal that earned little interest. But Davidson has taken a stand to defend against raids of the "rainy day" fund and asked lawmakers to consider using some of the additional revenue to pay down the state's bond debt, add to its "rainy day" reserves or pay more toward its unfunded pension obligations. Their choice.

"I think that money would be better spent paying down any debt, pick your debt," Davidson said.

And there's significant debt to pay down.

The state's Debt Affordability Study for 2018, released by Davidson's office, reports that the state's debt portfolio has over the course of the last 20 years grown from $6.8 billion to more than $19 billion and totals $21 billion when financing contracts are included....

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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