February 25, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Legislation of Note « All Categories

HB 2042: Alternative fuels

A bill changing the state's alternative fuels incentives is being modified to address employer community concerns that AWB expressed to the bill's sponsor. As originally written, House Bill 2042 would have broadened the state's commercial vehicle incentive but eliminated the vehicle class caps that were put in place to ensure all fuel types were treated the same. Eliminating the vehicle caps on classes turns the program upside down and essentially shifts the incentive away from medium-duty and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. It's a change AWB opposes as part of a longstanding commitment to alternative fuels incentives that are agnostic toward fuel type. After hearing that Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma, the bill's sponsor, will address these concerns about the original bill, AWB is planning to support the measure. Contact Mike Ennis to learn more.

Initiative 976: $30 car tabs

The House and Senate will hold public hearings on Initiative 976 Tuesday. I-976 is an initiative to the Legislature and aims to limit the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax to $30. There is a fiscal note that shows significant revenue losses to local governments and the state. Since the passage of Connecting Washington in 2015, AWB's primary objective has been to maintain the commitments to the package. "As many of you have heard me say in my testimony opposed to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a deal is a deal," said AWB's Mike Ennis. "We recognize the hard work that went into that agreement and the hard votes that were taken by lawmakers to finally adopt it. While we don't agree with everything in the package, we want to honor the commitments that were made." In keeping with the revenue commitments made in the Connecting Washington package, AWB is opposing I-976.

SB 5548: Providing multiple pathways to a meaningful high school diploma

Substitute Senate Bill 5548, the "Providing Multiple Pathways to a Meaningful High School Diploma" proposal, passed out of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education committee last week on a 10-1 vote and is currently in the Rules Committee. AWB supports the bill, which provides multiple rigorous opportunities for students to obtain a high school diploma, recognizing there are many ways in which students learn. Possibilities include passing the identified national assessment, completing dual-credit courses to earn college credit, and completing a sequence of career and technical education courses, including those leading to workforce entry, state or nationally approved apprenticeships, or postsecondary education. This effort provides students the opportunity to earn their high school diploma from a variety of rigorous paths that match their learning style. Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for education and workforce, to learn more.

HB 1491/SB 5217: Restrictive scheduling

The House version of the bill aimed at imposing strict scheduling requirements on employers received a hearing today in the Appropriations Committee today and the Senate version was referred to the Ways & Means Committee. This restrictive scheduling bill (also known as predictive or secure scheduling by proponents) would be more restrictive than the Seattle ordinance. The bills 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. AWB has been working with the sponsors to address these and other concerns. Contact AWB's Bob Battles to learn more.

SB 5513 and HB 1515: Independent contractors

As originally written, Senate Bill 5513 and House Bill 1515 would substantially change the independent contractor law in Washington. Most individuals who are currently considered independent contractors would no longer be independent contractors. A substitute HB 1515 was moved out of committee. The bill would create a task force with equal labor and business representatives as well as legislators from each caucus. AWB is seeking minor changes to the substitute bill. If those are made, AWB will likely support the task force created by the bill. Contact Bob Battles to learn more.

HB 1601/SB 5690: Independent contractors and the 'Universal Worker Protections Act'

A proposal that purports to go after the underground economy, essentially eliminating most independent contractors in Washington state, appears to be dead for the 2019 session. Neither House Bill 1601 nor Senate Bill 5690 moved before policy cutoff last Friday. They will, however, remain active in the interim and could be revived in 2020. Contact Bob Battles to learn more.

SB 5326: Concerning booth rental agreements

Senate Bill 5326 would result in most hairdressers no longer being considered independent contractors. A proposed substitute would no longer create an absolute bar, but it still places substantial barriers on the profession. The bill, which AWB opposes, failed to move before policy cutoff and is considered dead for the 2019 session. Contact Bob Battles to learn more.

SB 5526/HB 1523: Creating a 'public option' health insurance plan

Senate Bill 5526 will have a hearing this week in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. This public option health insurance bill is supported by the governor, who calls it "Cascade Care." AWB has testified in opposition to HB 1523 and SB 5526. 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. "These bills have the potential of increasing the cost of health care for employer sponsored insurance and decreasing access to health care coverage to those who would be covered by the plan proposed in these bills," said AWB's Amy Anderson. "This plan will continue the trend of increasing the cost of health care and will also decrease access to health care." The Washington State Wire has a roundup of the latest changes to the evolving public option bill.

HB 1344: Child care access

AWB testified today in support of House Bill 1344, which directs the Department of Commerce to contract for a regional assessment of the child care industry. The Department of Children, Youth, and Families would be required to use the child care cost estimate model developed by the Child Care Collaborative Task Force (CCCTF) to determine child care subsidy rates by 2025. AWB co-chairs the Child Care Collaborative Task Force, which is studying the current childcare system in Washington state, options for business to work collaboratively with the childcare system to provide affordable, accessible and flexible child care, and how the state can better support the system. The items addressed in HB 1344 will provide the necessary data and information the task force needs to develop a policy agenda for child care and early childhood education. Contact AWB's Amy Anderson to learn more.

If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please contact members@awb.org.

Workforce Summit
Attack on the Dams

Inslee's proposed Snake River dam task force will be a waste of money

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

State legislators looking to trim the budget this session can save $750,000 straight off if they don't fund a proposed Snake River dams task force.

A new state committee is not going to be able to compete with the federal team that has been studying this same issue since September 2016, so trying to duplicate the effort is absurd.

The Snake River dams are critical to the economy of Eastern Washington and the Northwest. They play an important role in providing irrigation, hydropower and navigation.

Community leaders note that barging on the inland Columbia Snake River system moves, on average, about 9 million tons of cargo valued at more than $3 billion each year. The dams are part of the lifeblood of the region.

But anti-dam activists want to see them gone, and the plight of the Puget Sound orcas are fueling their efforts...

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
Practical Education

Career Link seeks to pair students, employers

By The Herald Editorial Board

A new partnership between the Everett School District and the City of Everett -- Everett Career Link -- is looking to pair local employers with Everett high school juniors and seniors in internships that provide career-connected experience to the students as they explore their interests and prepare plans for the future.

The school district is providing employers with training and guidance in setting up the internships and matching students to internships, paperwork regarding state Labor and Industries compliance and liability and ongoing support during the internships.

While it's at the employer's discretion to offer interns a stipend, the program is intended as an outgrowth of the classroom; students -- for their 90 hours of participation -- will earn half of the Career and Technical Education credit they need toward their high school graduation requirement.

More than the students benefit. The time spent with local students can help employers develop deeper ties in the community, get a better understanding of the work underway in schools and appreciation for the pool of talent that exists in their own community.

We've repeated the forecast often, first made by Washington Roundtable, that employers in Washington state expect some 740,000 new jobs to be available by 2021. And nearly 80 percent of those jobs will be either career jobs that require a college degree or career-pathway jobs that require at least some level of post-high school training and certification...

Read the full editorial in The Herald
Upcoming Events