February 11, 2019
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Legislation of Note « All Categories

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.


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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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