January 28, 2019
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Top Stories Legislation of Note Other News AWB Events & Resources Key Hearings/Meetings Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

It's Time: Legislative Day and Hill Climb sold out, but tickets still available to evening reception

The Hill will be hopping tomorrow as AWB brings its annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb straight to the Capitol in a new format. The day's Hill Climb and sit-down discussions with lawmakers are full, but there are still tickets available to the evening reception in the Capitol Rotunda.

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Hairdressers make a powerful impression at the Capitol over opposition to SB 5326

More than 2,700 hair stylists and salon owners converged on Olympia this morning to testify against Senate Bill 5326, which would impose a new tax burden on small hair salon owners and independent stylists and cosmetologists. An AWB panel was the first to testify against the bill this morning. AWB News was on scene and has a full report.

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Public hearing on transportation package draws widespread interest

About 80 people spoke last week on a state transportation package proposed by Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. AWB is active in the discussions about the proposal to continue the work of the 2015 Connecting Washington package.

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Lobby Lunch series to kick off this Thursday with updates from David Postman, Gov. Inslee's chief of staff

With the start of the legislative session comes the return of Olympia's "power lunch," the weekly Lobby Lunch series of meetings at AWB with top decision-makers. The series begins this Thursday. David Postman, Gov. Jay Inslee's chief of staff, will meet with AWB members. The series will continue with top Democrats, Republicans and other leading voices.

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Congress, president reach deal to end partial government shutdown -- for now

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history ended on Friday, as the president and congressional leaders agreed to re-open the government and pay federal workers for three weeks. The effects of the 35-day shutdown will be enduring, experts say. One impact: without staff from the Federal Aviation Administration to offer certification, Alaska Airlines delayed the start of passenger service out of Paine Field in Everett.

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Legislation of Note

HB 1348: Business and Occupation Tax relief for manufacturers

House Bill 1348 would standardize the B&O tax rate for all manufacturers in Washington, offering support for this pillar of the state's economy. The bill will be up for a public hearing on Wednesday at 8 a.m. before the House Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Committee. The bill, which AWB supports, would lower the B&O rate for manufacturers and commercial printers and extends a low rate for timber extraction and manufacturing. AWB's Clay Hill is coordinating testimony. Please email him or call 360.943.1600 if you are interested in learning more or testifying on the bill.

HB 1336 and SB 5327: Career-connected learning

The House will hold an executive session this week on House Bill 1336 a comprehensive career-connected learning bill. AWB supports this bill and its Senate companion, Senate Bill 5327, which work to address the longstanding AWB priority of career-connected learning. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson to learn more.

HB 1523: Creating a 'public option' health insurance option

House Bill 1523, introduced by Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, is the "Cascade Care" public health insurance option requested by Gov. Jay Inslee. AWB will testify in opposition to the bill during its public hearing on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. before the House Health Care & Wellness Committee. AWB has several concerns with the bill, including the residual impact of increased cost to employers through cost shifting as well as a decrease in access for consumers who will find it difficult to identify a provider who will accept the plan that is capped at Medicare rates. Contact AWB's Amy Anderson to learn more or to testify on the bill.

SB 5376, SB 5064 and HB 1071: Data breach and European-style privacy protections

Several bills aiming to protect consumer data and personal information contain provisions that are problematic. Senate Bill SB 5376 would adopt the privacy standards of the European Union's GDPR with a low threshold of 100,000 transaction, which would require most business in the state to comply with the GDPR standards. In addition, Senate Bill 5064 and House Bill 1071 would expand the definition of "personal information" in the data breach notice laws and modify data breach notice requirements. While substantial changes have been made during negotiations, AWB still has concerns with the reporting timelines set for in the bill. AWB continues to push for a simultaneous reporting requirement as opposed to different timelines for reporting to the state and the consumer. Contact Bob Battles to learn more.

SB 5513 and HB 1515: Independent contractors

Senate Bill 5513 and House Bill HB 1515 would substantially change the independent contractor law in the state of Washington. As written, most individuals who are currently considered independent contractors would no longer be independent contractors. AWB opposes the bills, which were heard in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee and the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee today. Contact Bob Battles to learn more, or watch his Senate testimony on SB 5513 on TVW.

SB 5478 and HB 1450: Limiting non-compete agreements

AWB has been working the sponsors of Senate Bill 5478 and House Bill 1450, which restrain non-compete agreements, but AWB has major concerns with the general terms of the bill. It still requires a salary threshold three times the average yearly wage ($180,000) and has other issues of concern to the business community. The bills are scheduled for hearing in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on Tuesday at 8 a.m. and the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Contact Bob Battles to learn more or arrange to testify.

HB 1324 and SB 5423: Creating the Washington Rural Development and Opportunity Zone Act

The Daily World reported on last week's public hearing on Senate Bill 5423, quoting AWB's Mike Ennis in support of the bill: "Washington's rural areas have struggled to keep pace in many key economic measures like unemployment, job growth, labor force trends, median wages and home prices when compared to the urban centers around the state." Contact Mike Ennis to learn more about this bill, which is a priority of AWB's Rural Jobs Task Force.

Other News

AWB seeking employers to be surveyed on cumulative effects of state regulatory and tax policies

The Washington Research Council is looking for businesses willing to be interviewed by email about the cumulative impact of recent state regulatory or tax policies on their business. All information will be published anonymously in the final report. Anyone interested in being part of the survey or wanting to learn more can contact Clay Hill, AWB government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy.

Study finds states that depend on income tax are seeing revenues fall

The 10 biggest states with a state income tax saw almost across-the-board tax revenue declines last month, according to an analysis by Governing magazine. That's something to consider as Washington lawmakers consider a highly volatile capital gains tax for revenue.

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Avista and Hydro One drop plans for $5.3 billion merger

Spokane's Avista and the Canadian utility Hydro One will no longer pursue a merger. They cited opposition from regulators in Idaho and Washington as the reasons for dropping the $5.3 billion deal.

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Groups from southeast Washington and Idaho push governor to remove funding for dam-breaching study

The proposal by Gov. Jay Inslee to study breaching the Snake River dams has prompted concern from both sides of the river. Port of Lewiston commissioners in Idaho are formally opposing the idea of their neighboring state spending $750,000 to study dam breaching. Community leaders in the Tri-Cities region are also opposed to the study and sent a joint letter to Gov. Jay Inslee today.

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Boeing's autonomous air taxi takes to the skies

Boeing's "flying car," which takes off and lands like a small helicopter, took its test flight last week. The Wall Street Journal reports that the autonomous air taxi faces an uncertain path to commercial use, however.

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Edgar Martinez named to baseball's Hall of Fame

After 10 years of suspense, beloved Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez received the call last week that he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Martinez reacted with the typical calm that he was known to bring to the plate during clutch situations, but his adopted hometown of Seattle had no such reserve about celebrating Edgar's induction.

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AWB Events & Resources

Learn employment law basics for your business with AWB's popular webinar series

An early-bird discount is available for the 2019 installment of AWB's popular Human Resources and Employment Law Webinar Series, which begins in February. These six classes will give employers of all sizes an overview of topics like performance evaluations, wage and hour rules, accident prevention efforts and more. The first webinar begins Feb. 13. Register today for early-bird pricing, which expires Jan. 31.

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Register now for 2019 Workforce Summit March 6 at the Hilton Bellevue

Join workplace law experts, human resource professionals and other cutting-edge employment innovators at the 2019 AWB Workforce Summit on Wednesday, March 6, at the Hilton Bellevue. Check back for more details and reserve your space today.

Key Hearings/Meetings

MTCA/PBT Committee to meet Wednesday

AWB's committee on MTCA and PBT issues will meet on Wednesday from noon-1 p.m. at AWB. Among the issues and legislative bills to be discussed: a statewide plastic bag ban (HB1205/SB5323); extended producer responsibility for plastic packaging (HB1204/SB5397) and preventing toxic pollution (HB1194/SB5134). Contact Peter Godlewski to learn more or Tommy Gill at 360.943.1600 for call-in information.

Weekly conference calls will discuss rural jobs, transportation, land use and related issues

Every Friday, AWB's Mike Ennis will hold conference calls to discuss bills coming up for hearings in his Government Affairs issue areas. He has scheduled separate conference calls for transportation, rural jobs, and land use. Each call will include discussion of bills, formulation of an AWB position, decision whether to testify, and general sharing of information. Contact Mike Ennis to learn more or Tommy Gill at 360.943.1600 for call-in information.

Tweet of the Week

Picturing Scientific Progress

They Said It

Fall Way Back

"Even the cows don't like it." ~ Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, explaining the negative impacts on human -- and bovine -- health from the twice-yearly Daylight Saving Time shifts. Honeyford has introduced bipartisan bills to eliminate Daylight Saving Time in Washington.

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Legislative Day and Hill Climb Preview
Important Topic

Keep debate going on 'Son of Connecting Washington'

By The Editorial Board of The Herald, Everett

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, has put forth an intriguing plan that would fund more than $16 billion in transportation projects across the state, with particular attention paid to work in his home county and his district, including desperately needed improvements to the U.S. 2 trestle, Highway 9 and Highway 522.

It's the leadership we hoped to see from Hobbs when we endorsed his bid for election to a fourth term in the Legislature last year, noting the position he held as chairman of the Senate transportation committee and his ability to set the agenda there.

The plan is far-reaching and bold...

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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