April 29, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Legislation of Note « All Categories

One hundred percent clean energy bill passes Legislature

A measure to phase out fossil fuels in power generation is on the governor's desk. Senate Bill 5116 passed out of the Senate on April 22 and calls for utilities to phase out coal by 2025 and natural gas-generated electricity by 2045. Most of Washington's electricity is generated by hydropower, but today there are still significant portions that come from coal and natural gas. Washington's utilities used coal for 14.64 percent of their electrical generation, and natural gas for 11.36 percent, the Seattle Times reported. "The act mandates that utilities pay an administrative penalty fee if they fail to comply with the law," the newspaper reported. Contact AWB's Peter Godlewski for more details.

Legislature passes Cascade Care, public option health insurance bill

Senate Bill 5526 cleared the House on Saturday, which would create a public option for healthcare coverage in Washington. The bill, which is now on the governor's desk, aims to decrease the cost of premiums, copays and out-of-pocket expenses for people who buy insurance through the state's Health Benefit Exchange. The measure caps reimbursements rates in an effort to contain costs. About 4 percent of the state's insurance customers buy insurance on the individual market, Crosscut reports. Cascade Care will be available to all Washingtonians, regardless of income, who are not covered by employer plans, state officials reported. State Rep. Eileen Cody said the plan should save consumers between 5 and 10 percent on premiums and combat future rate increases. AWB has expressed concerns that the bill would drive up the cost of employer-provided health plans. Contact AWB's Amy Anderson to learn more.

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Spring Meeting
Teaching for Tomorrow

STEM skills vital to rural students, too

By Kevin Chase, superintendent of ESD 105

In the next five years an estimated 225,465 jobs that earn a family-sustaining wage will require credentials that many of our Washingtonian students are not on track to earn. In south-central Washington, 14,455 high-paying jobs will need a credential in the next five years.

I see the chasm between education attainment and how that translates to employment and jobs. We have to make changes in our education system that allow our families and kids to visualize their path forward and to have local employers be able to recruit and train their workforce in novel ways. Career Connect Washington, a statewide initiative, is bringing together business, labor, government and education leaders so that young people have the education and skills needed to connect with high-demand, family-wage careers across Washington and in the Valley...

Even though we are an agriculture-based region we are not immune from changing workforce demands, as agriculture becomes more and more automated. Our students are ready and willing to step up to the challenge of 21st century work demands. It is up to us to prepare them...

Read the full op-ed in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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