February 11, 2019
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Top Stories

Snowfall prompts a rare closure of the Legislature

For the first time in at least 14 years, the Legislature was largely closed today due to snowfall. House and Senate hearings will be rescheduled for a day when traveling in and to Olympia is safer.

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Employers continue to speak up as bills take aim at independent contractors

Although a bill aimed at cosmetologists has been shelved, other active bills would still restrict independent contractors. AWB continues to work with small-business owners and independent contractors, testifying about the impact of these new proposed regulations. AWB Amplified has a new video on the issue.

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Democratic leaders speak at packed Lobby Lunch

Democratic leaders from the House and Senate spoke to a full house at AWB's second Lobby Lunch of the year. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington; Sen. Rebecca Saldana, D-Seattle; and, Deputy House Majority Leader Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, answered questions on the budget, independent contractors, mental health, housing, environmental issues, and much more. Republican leaders speak this week.

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Port of Seattle finds partner to bring massive next-generation cargo ships to Terminal 5

Terminal 5, just north of the West Seattle bridge in Seattle's industrial zone, could see a major upgrade to handle the next generation of huge container ships. Port commissioners will soon vote on plans for a $500 million upgrade to handle these megaships.

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Legislation of Note

SB 5489: Environmental justice

AWB will testify this Wednesday against Senate Bill 5489, a broad measure that would subvert the legislative process in a quest for "environmental justice." The bill would require state agencies to enter into rulemaking and adopt recommendations from a task force that would be created by the bill. The bill will be up for a hearing at 8 a.m. on February 13. Contact AWB's Mike Ennis or Peter Godlewski to learn more.

HB 1597: A 'regrettable' fossil fuels bill

AWB is putting together a panel of employers to testify against House Bill 1597. The bill title is "Incorporating comprehensive measurements of greenhouse gas emissions from certain fossil fuels into state environmental laws." Among other things, the bill classifies natural gas as a "regrettable" fuel source. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Peter Godlewski to learn more, give input on AWB's testimony, or sign up to be part of the panel testifying on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in the House Environment and Energy Committee.

SB 5589: Prohibiting head taxes

Senate Bill 5589 would prohibit Seattle-style head taxes on employers -- specifically, local taxes based on employee wages, employee hours, or the number of employment positions. This bill has bipartisan support. Clay Hill, AWB government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy, will testify in support during a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday at 8 a.m. in the Senate Local Government Committee.

SB 5717: Restrictive scheduling

Today's hearing was postponed, but AWB will continue to stand up for small businesses, entrepreneurs and employees whose options will be limited by restrictive scheduling legislation (also known as predictive or secured scheduling) being discussed in Olympia. Senate Bill 5717 and House Bill 1155 would be more restrictive than the Seattle ordinance. This bill would require employers to provide schedules two weeks in advance, If they are changed penalties could be assessed. The bill restricts employers and employees from negotiating changes to schedules with short notice, and restrict the flexibility of employees to change their schedule to accommodate unforeseen circumstances that may arise. Contact AWB's Bob Battles to learn more, or read this update from Olympia Business Watch.

HB 1110: Low-carbon fuel standards

A proposed California-style low-carbon fuel standard (LCFC) is scheduled for executive session this Wednesday in the House Transportation Committee. The bill would violate the bipartisan agreement that was key to passage of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package. AWB's Mike Ennis has testified about the impact low-carbon fuel standards are having on fuel prices in California. Those LCFS rules have increased the cost of traditional fuel by 13.3 cents per gallon, and have increased diesel costs by 9.5 cents per gallon, according to the California Energy Commission -- and that's when the program is only at 50 percent implementation. The costs are expected to increase as the program ramps up to 100 percent. House Bill 1110 would implement similar standards in Washington.

HB 1311/1340: Post-secondary education scholarships

Two bills addressing post-secondary education scholarships were heard and advanced through committee last week. House Bill 1311 allows eligible students to sign a College Bound Scholarship (CBS) pledge in the ninth and tenth grade if the student was previously ineligible in the seventh or eighth grade as a Washington student. It also prioritizes eligible CBS students for a State Need Grant if they have a family income in the 0-100 percent median family income range. House Bill 1340 establishes a statewide free college program by changing the state need grant to the Washington college promise scholarship. AWB supports both bills. Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for education and workforce, to learn more.

HB 1738: Relieving tax burdens on small business

House Bill 1738, sponsored by Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, would relieve burdens on small businesses by updating the tax return filing thresholds to reflect inflation. AWB's Clay Hill will testify in support during a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday at 8 a.m. in the House Finance Committee.

Federal Issues

Upcoming IRS hearings on Opportunity Zones could provide clarity

The Internal Revenue Service on Valentine's Day will hold a public hearing on the first round of regulations on Opportunity Zones.

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Other News

Liz Lovelett will represent 40th Legislative District in state Senate

Anacortes City Council member Liz Lovelett has been tapped to fill an open seat in the state Senate. A Democrat, she fills the seat vacated by former Sen. Kevin Ranker.

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Alaffia founder meets with president and top U.S. leaders at unveiling of Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative

Olowo-n'djo Tchala, founder and CEO of the Tumwater-based skin care company Alaffia, met with President Donald Trump and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump last week during a ceremony at the White House unveiling the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.

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Alcoa Intalco Works highlights contributions of women in manufacturing

Alcoa Intalco Works has released a video highlighting the women who work at the Ferndale smelter. It's a reminder of the value that manufacturing jobs have for their communities, and of the crucial role played by women in modern manufacturing.

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AWB members' input sought on WSDOT aviation study

Aviation is an important part of the state's economy and infrastructure. The state's 136 public use airports directly contribute to 248,500 jobs, $15.3 billion in wages, and $50.9 billion in total economic activity. To help support the state's aviation industry, AWB members are being asked to participate in a WSDOT survey on business uses of airports.

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WGU Washington honors AWB's Amy Anderson with induction into its Sage Society

Amy Anderson, AWB's lead on workforce and education issues, was inducted into the Sage Society at WGU Washington last week. It's the online university's equivalent of its Hall of Fame, celebrating individuals committed to high-quality education and the pursuit of learning opportunities for others.

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Applications for WPC's annual Jennifer Dunn Scholarship now being accepted

The Washington Policy Center is now taking applications for its annual Jennifer Dunn Scholarship, which is awarded to female students and recent undergraduates looking to attend graduate school who embody the leadership and values of the former congresswoman.

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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.



AWB Events & Resources

Learn about Opportunity Zone tax incentives at Feb. 27 seminar

What are Opportunity Zones and how can they help you? AWB is hosting a seminar Feb. 27 in SeaTac that will focus on new federal tax incentives in agriculture. The 2017 tax reform package led to the creation of Qualified Opportunity Zones, which offer new tax advantages to investors with capital gains. Mary B. Baker of K&L Gates will lead the presentation. Registration is open! Read more »

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

AWB's popular Human Resources and Employment Law Webinar Series begins this Wednesday with a talk on "Pre-Hire, Hiring & Job Description." It's the first of six classes which will give employers of all sizes an overview of topics like performance evaluations, wage and hour rules, accident prevention efforts and more. Read more »

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

Tune in to weekly Employment & Labor Law Committee meeting/call

AWB's Bob Battles is hosting a weekly Friday morning call with the latest legislative news on employment and labor law issues. There is also a conference room for those who want to attend in person. The meeting/call is from 8-9:15 a.m. Contact Bob Battles 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.



Best of the Blog

Employers share concerns over predictive scheduling bill

Lisa Castro, manager of a UPS store in Moses Lake, came to Olympia last week to speak out on the impacts of restrictive scheduling legislation on her business. She joined other employers and employees to testify with AWB about the major consequences for both businesses and workers from the proposal. Read more at Olympia Business Watch.

Tweet of the Week

Hill Climbers



They Said It

Invest in Infrastructure

"The time is now to pass a bipartisan, comprehensive package that transforms U.S. infrastructure systems beyond the status quo and maintains U.S. competitiveness in a 21st century economy." ~ the Infrastructure Working Group, a national coalition which includes a range of labor unions and trade associations, in a letter to House and Senate leadership, urging bipartisan legislation to improve America's infrastructure systems.




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Restrictive Scheduling
State Revenue Is Growing


Legislative session focused on spending, taxes

By AWB President Kris Johnson

The 66th Legislature convened Jan. 14 and is slated to end on April 28. During that time, the top job for lawmakers is to craft the state's two-year operating budget.

The good news is they have record tax collections to work with -- more than $50 billion for the 2019-2021 budget cycle.

To put that into perspective, in 2011-2013 the state collected $31.3 billion in tax revenue.

This revenue growth was illustrated in a large display last fall at the Association of Washington Business's annual Policy Summit. The tallest of the revenue lines was over 6-feet tall. That was the projection for 2021-2023, when state coffers are expected to take in more than $53 billion. At the other end of the chart, the line showing was just over three-and-a-half feet tall...

Read the full guest column in The Wenatchee World
Investing in Green Infrastructure


LNG fuel is just one way the Port of Tacoma's getting cleaner

By Don Meyer and John McCarthy, Port of Tacoma commissioners

The Port of Tacoma has a long history and culture of innovation, shared by our customers and partners.

Three years ago, TOTE Maritime, a port customer for 42 years, began the process to become one of the first shipping lines to run its ships on liquefied natural gas (LNG), a much cleaner burning fuel than traditional bunker diesel.

Is LNG a perfect solution? No, but TOTE's vision and initiative should be celebrated. We can see these benefits immediately by moving toward LNG now and keeping our trade moving, not waiting for the next technology to be invented.

Our plan to open an LNG plant on the Tideflats in the next few years will give us a competitive advantage and increase safety by not having to transfer the fuel via truck...

Don Meyer of Spanaway was elected to his third term on the five-member Port of Tacoma Commission in 2017. John McCarthy of Northeast Tacoma was elected at the same time after previously serving on the commission from 1983-92.

Read the full guest column in The News Tribune
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