October 20, 2014
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Key Hearings/Meetings Other News AWB Events & Resources They Said It
Top Stories

Election begins as ballots mailed out across the state -- remember to vote!

This election will determine the balance of the Legislature in advance of what will likely be one of the biggest -- and most contentious -- legislative sessions in decades.    Read more »

California billionaire Tom Steyer adds another $250,000 to push for Democratic control in Olympia

Climate change activist and California hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer has poured another quarter of a million dollars into his PAC devoted to tipping control of the Washington Legislature to Democrats.
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Raises, health care costs in proposed state employee contract pegged at $583 million

The price tag is in for proposed state employee labor contracts. Giving raises while keeping the employee share of health care premiums unchanged would cost the state more than half a billion dollars.
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I-1351 leads in the polls despite concerns about $5 billion cost and limited effectiveness

The simplicity of Initiative 1351 -- reduce class sizes without worrying how to pay for it -- is giving the measure a lead in the polls. A closer examination, however, leads elected officials and observers on all sides of the political spectrum to oppose this $5 billion unfunded mandate.
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Lawmakers introduce House's first bipartisan bill for long-term renewal of Ex-Im Bank

A bipartisan pair of senior U.S. House members introduced a bill last week that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for another five years.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

Climate Committee to meet Oct. 31 at AWB

The AWB Climate Committee will meet Friday, Oct. 31, at 9 a.m. at AWB to discuss AWB's policy objectives and opportunities on alternative ways to reduce carbon. Contact Brandon Houskeeper with questions or Connie Grande for call-in options.

Other News

Lt. Governor and state schools chief attend weeklong trade mission in China

Thirty business and education leaders -- and Miss Washington Kailee Dunn -- will return this week from a trade mission to southeastern China.

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State's revenue collections $14.4 million above projections

The latest state revenue report shows a slight gain in state tax collections, giving a tiny boost to the state budget in advance of a multi-billion-dollar budget battle in the 2015 legislative session. Read more »

Refinancing of nearly $1 billion in state debt projected to save $29 million over three years

The Washington state treasurer's office refinanced more than $934 million in state bonds last week. The new lower interest rates will save the state $172 million over the next 17 years. Read more »

Second judge OKs right of cities to limit or ban marijuana businesses

A Chelan County superior court judge last week upheld Wenatchee's ban on marijuana businesses. It's the second court to rule that the state's marijuana legalization initiative does not prevent municipalities from banning pot businesses. Read more »

State computer system goes down, idling agency workers for four hours

A technology breakdown largely shut down work in most state agencies Tuesday afternoon and cut access to email and computer networks for employees across many departments. Read more »

'Math is What You Do' conference inspires 800 middle school students with real-life STEM opportunities

Employers know that math matters, whether it's calculating plane trajectories or helping create new building materials. A STEM conference at Clover Park Technical College helped bring the possibilities to life for the next generation. Read more »

Ethics panel votes to limit free meals for lawmakers

A new legislative ethics rule will limit lawmakers to no more than 12 free meals from lobbyists each year. Read more »

U.S. Chamber and JBLM to host their biggest-ever veterans job fair

The latest "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair at Joint Base Lewis McChord will draw more than 200 employers and at least 4,000 job seekers over three days, making it twice the size of other large job fairs.

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Passages: Former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Utter

Robert F. Utter, who served as a justice of the state Supreme Court for 23 years, died last week at age 84. He is remembered as a principled jurist, opponent of the death penalty, and international humanitarian.

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AWB Events & Resources

Is your workplace extraordinary? Tell us all about it

Help AWB recognize the state's best places to work. It's time to nominate top Washington employers for the 2015 Better Workplace Awards.

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Join us in creating the next generation of manufacturing leaders

Learn from the best and celebrate the accomplishments of Washington manufacturers at the 2014 AWB Manufacturing Summit. Register now for the Oct. 28 summit in Kent.

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They Said It

Opposition to I-1351

"In the short run, I don't know how to pay for it and so I'm not supporting it." ~ Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Bellevue, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, on his opposition of the billion-dollar unfunded mandates of class size reduction Initiative 1351.

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Northwest must preserve salmon and hydro dams

By Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners

Last month at Bonneville Dam, an extraordinary coalition of Northwest tribes, government agencies and river users -- including farmers, businesses and utilities -- gathered to celebrate a landmark event for our region's iconic salmon.

This year's return of about 2.3 million salmon and steelhead to the Columbia River Basin shattered the modern-day record for total annual salmon returns -- an abundance we haven't seen since fish counting began at the dam more than 75 years ago.
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