December 1, 2014
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Top Stories

It's time! The lighting of the Holiday Kids' Tree is this Friday

The tree arrived at the Capitol dome this morning and Gov. Jay Inslee helped set it into place as preparations ramp up for this Friday's official lighting of the state's Holiday Kids' Tree at 6 p.m. The event is free and family-friendly, with a chance to meet with a very jolly special guest and his elves.
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Port slowdown continues; as economy loses millions, calls grow for federal mediation

The Washington apple industry is losing millions of dollars a week in sales as a longshore labor dispute has slowed dock work to a crawl. Impacts to the rest of the economy are just as serious, prompting growing calls for federal mediation.
Read more »

L&I lowers next year's increase in workers' comp rates

On average, employers will pay 0.8 percent more for workers' compensation in 2015, down from an earlier estimate of a 1.8 percent increase. The Department of Labor & Industries announced the smaller-than-expected increase last week.

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'The most expensive regulation of all time' moves forward in Washington, D.C.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a new draft ozone standard last week, one that fails the crucial test of reasonably balancing environmental protection with economic growth. Manufacturers, take note.
Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Climate Committee to meet Tuesday

The AWB Climate Committee will meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. to discuss policy ideas that can be part of AWB's climate legislative package. Contact Brandon Houskeeper to submit policy ideas or learn more.



Legislative health care leaders to attend Thursday's AWB Health Care Committee meeting

Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, and ranking minority member Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, will speak to the AWB Health Care Committee 1-2 p.m. Thursday at AWB. Contact Sheri Nelson for more information.



Other News

Lame-duck Congress enters crunch time with important work undone

Federal lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C., with a thick to-do list and very little time left before the new Congress convenes in January. From renewing expiring tax breaks for individuals and businesses to keeping the government running into the new year, the stakes are high.

Read more »

Passages: Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, champion of three-strikes law and sex-offender crackdowns

Former state Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, R-Mercer Island, died last week at age 78. After her daughter was murdered by a sex offender in Seattle, she pushed for strong laws to keep dangerous criminals off the streets.
Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Prevent workplace violence and bullying at Wednesday's HR Training in Seattle

Is your company doing what it takes to provide a workplace free of intimidation, bullying and harassment? Get the latest tips and techniques at a morning human resources training in Seattle this Wednesday. Read more »

AWB Legislative Summit: Jan. 27 at the Olympia Red Lion

Mark your calendars for the 2015 AWB Legislative Summit, to be held Jan. 27 at the Red Lion hotel in Olympia. Register today!
Read more »

They Said It

Can you hear me now?


"Remote testimony to the Legislature is in the no-brainer category of government reforms."
~ The Seattle Times editorial board, supporting proposals to allow citizens to speak to lawmakers via video testimony.


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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Port slowdown's potential devastating impacts on Washington businesses


By AWB President Kris Johnson and Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association

The contract dispute between West Coast dockworkers unions and the Pacific Maritime Association has nearly ground Seattle and Tacoma port traffic to a halt at the worst possible time. In our trade-heavy state, businesses are rightly worried this contract standstill could lead to a complete work stoppage.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), when a breakdown in contract negotiations resulted in a 10-day lockout in 2002, it cost the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion a day, and took half a year to clear the backlog. A shutdown now could be even more costly, an estimated $2 billion each day, according to a study conducted by NAM and the National Retail Federation.

Given our dependence on ports for nearly all industries -- imports and exports --  the slowdown could ultimately impact already-stressed state and local budgets.

The timing is devastating for agriculturists and retailers...

READ MORE: Click here for the full op-ed column from Kris Johnson and Jon DeVaney in The Seattle Times
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