March 11, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
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Workforce Summit brings together new ideas and innovative employers

From new recruiting tools to increasing access to quality early childhood education, the 2019 AWB Workforce Summit explored new solutions to creating a healthier workforce. With new collaborative elements and a focus on "Leading with Employee Culture," the third-annual event in Bellevue produced greater connections and practical ideas for Washington employers.

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As Legislature passes halfway mark, small- and medium-sized businesses would bear heavier burdens

As the Legislature passes the halfway mark, this Wednesday is another key cutoff date for most bills to move out of their house of origin. With plenty of floor action on major bills, AWB's Government Affairs team is busy. Many bills this year would create a piling-on effect on businesses, especially on small- and medium-sized employers. Action on the budget, including a number of tax proposals, is also moving forward.

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Giant cranes make their way along Tacoma waterfront

The Puget Sound's gateway to global trade had an eye-catching addition last week as four super-post-Panamax container cranes sailed into Commencement Bay for installation at the Port of Tacoma. The Northwest Seaport Alliance cranes will be among the largest on the West Coast. It's a timely addition for the Port of Tacoma, which just celebrated its centennial.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases proposed overtime rule, state department of L&I still working on a state overtime rule

The U.S. Department of Labor just released its notice of proposed changes to the Executive, Administrative and Professional (EAP) Employees' Overtime Rule. As drafted, in 2020, employees making the equivalent of $35,308 per year -- up from the current $23,660 -- would be eligible for overtime pay. The state Department of Labor and Industries is drafting its own version of the EAP Overtime Rule for Washington state that could increase overtime eligibility to workers making roughly $70,000.

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State treasurer advocates for stronger reserves, banking reform for cannabis industry

Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson spoke about banking reform for the cannabis industry, stronger state reserves and the issues surrounding a possible state bank at last week's AWB's Lobby Lunch meeting. This week's Lobby Lunch will feature Senate Transportation Committee Chair Steve Hobbs.

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Workforce Summit
Inspiring Action

Hair stylists embody democracy in action

By AWB President Kris Johnson

It was an impressive display of grassroots organizing. Arranged solely through a quick online effort, the state Senate Labor and Commerce Committee hearing was jam-packed with hair stylists, salon owners and cosmetologists on Jan. 28.

Thousands of people signed in to testify and a line of professionals stretched from the Senate hearing room outside to the domed building on the Capitol campus nearly a football field away.

Those small-business owners and independent contractors converged on Olympia on short notice from every part of the state to testify against bills that would severely restrict who can and cannot be classified as an "independent contractor" in Washington state.

It was a powerful sight and an inspiring illustration of democracy in action.

That bill, and others like it introduced this session, would severely hamper those entrepreneurs' ability to continue to operate as their own boss...

Read the full column in South Sound Business
Carbon Costs

Time to stall climate bills that would raise gas prices

By Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board

Recycling is all well and good, but not when it comes to the Legislature's latest attempt to combat climate change by proposing solutions that result in higher gas prices, thus putting the pocketbook hurt on all Washingtonians, especially those in the Yakima Valley.

Didn't voters just reject a plan, Initiative 1631, that would place a fee on carbon polluters (that's you, large, multi-national oil companies) while virtually assuring that residents would see a significant price rise at the pump and higher electricity bills?

... Washington's regressive tax system already disproportionately affects those with the least wiggle room in their household budgets. Lower-income residents seemingly are just as concerned with combating climate change as those of more means, but they will be unfairly called upon to bear the bulk of the burden.

Read the full editorial in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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