June 10, 2019
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Top Stories

Minimum overtime-exempt salary would jump to nearly $80,000 by 2026 under new L&I proposal

Washington could more than triple the salary threshold for overtime-exempt employees under a proposal released last week. The rule would require employers to pay salaried employees at least $79,872 per year by the time the rule is fully implemented. The current rule needed updating, AWB President Kris Johnson said, but he called the proposal "an astonishing increase" over the current overtime rule and predicted it will be a shock to many small businesses and nonprofits.

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Calls emerge for Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization to be extended to 10 years

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck issued a strong call for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank during a congressional hearing last week. At the same time, supporters of the bank called for it to be reauthorized for 10 years, rather than the three to five years normally allotted. Sen. Maria Cantwell also spoke in support of the Ex-Im Bank in a Spokesman-Review op-ed published yesterday. Without congressional action, this aid to American manufacturing exporters will lose its authorization in September.

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Boeing invested $14 billion in Washington state in 2018

The latest numbers are out, and Boeing's impact in Washington continues to be a major pillar in the state's economy. Boeing invested over $14 billion in Washington last year, including $8 billion in payroll, $5 billion in supplier purchases, millions in charitable contributions and hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local taxes paid.

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Calculating the hit to employers from new state taxes

The Legislature passed a slate of new and increased taxes this year. A new set of business & occupations taxes on service-sector employers will have a major impact. AWB has put together a graphic showing the extent of the new taxes -- how many employers will pay, and the dollar amount per industry sector.

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Congressman Denny Heck to speak at Housing Forum July 8

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck will give the opening remarks at the Housing Forum to be held July 8 in Bellevue. He'll be joined by experts on housing affordability and access as AWB and nine other diverse business and statewide advocacy groups join forces. The goal: to bring together problem-solvers from across the state and political spectrum to make headway on ensuring affordable housing for the workforce and families in all the state's communities. Register today!

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Evening of Excellence and Manufacturing Excellence award nominations due by June 30

It's time to nominate Washington's top employers for AWB's annual awards. The Evening of Excellence and Manufacturing Excellence awards are a chance to showcase excellence and best practices. From entrepreneurship to green manufacturing, it's time to shine. Learn more and nominate your company or another outstanding employer today.

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Federal Issues

No new tariffs on Mexico after last-minute deal on border security and migration

The president announced Friday that his administration would not impose new escalating tariffs on Mexican goods, as he had threatened the week before. Saying the countries had agreed on how to slow the influx of Central American migrants, the president suspended his threatened 5 percent tariffs, to the relief of business groups.

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Other News

Washington's health insurers propose record-low rate increases

Washington's health insurers have proposed average rate increases of less than 1 percent for the individual market, after several years of major increases.

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Washington is pioneering a way to help seniors age in their homes

Washington's new Long-Term Care Trust Act is making national headlines. Kaiser Health News writes that this new plan is a "pioneering experiment to help Washington state seniors age at home."

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Grays Harbor PUD passes resolution in support of dams on lower Snake River

Citing the dams' importance for providing stable, affordable electricity, the Grays Harbor Public Utilities District Board has taken a strong stance of support for the hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River.

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Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories to build new 80,000-square-foot event center in Pullman

SEL has outgrown its current event center and has announced plans to build a new event center on the company's Pullman campus. The event center will total 80,000 square feet and would be available for community use as well.

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Rep. Derek Stanford is the top pick of party leaders to fill seat of former Sen. Guy Palumbo

In the 1st Legislative District, Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, is the top choice of Democratic party leaders to fill the seat recently vacated by Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby. The party also ranked candidates to fill Stanford's seat, should he be chosen for the Senate seat. The final choice is up to the elected leaders in King and Snohomish counties.

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Applications open until June 30 for Don C. Brunell Scholarships

There is still time for the children or grandchildren of AWB members to apply for the 2019 Don C. Brunell Scholarship for Future Leaders. The scholarship, in honor of AWB's longtime former president, can fund up to $2,000 for students attending undergraduate, graduate or career/vocational programs.

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AWB Events & Resources

THIS WEDNESDAY: Employment law basics for your business with AWB's popular webinar series

AWB's popular Human Resources and Employment Law Webinar Series continues this Wednesday with a talk on non-competes, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitations and intellectual property protection with Amy Mensik and William Symmes, Witherspoon Kelley. The series concludes July 10 with a talk on accident prevention and accident investigation plans.

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Protect your business by learning more about cybersecurity at special event June 19

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AWB are sponsoring a special event in Seattle on June 19 that will focus on how you can protect your business or nonprofit from increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.

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Webinar: Anti-Harassment Training in the #MeToo Era

Whether this is your first or 21st anti-harassment training, this webinar will provide you with key take-aways for conducting workplace investigations and preventing and responding to harassment. The webinar will be held Wednesday, June 26. Learn more and register online.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

MTCA and Energy committees to meet June 18 and July 8

Peter Godlewski, AWB government affairs director for environmental policy, will meet with the AWB MTCA Committee on June 18 and the AWB Energy Committee on July 8. Both meetings will be at 10 a.m. at AWB to look back on this legislative session and plan for future actions. Contact Godlewski at 360.943.1600 to learn more or Tommy Gill for call-in information.



AWB MTCA Employment Law Committee to meeting June 18

The AWB Employment Law Committee will hold a conference call on Tuesday, June 18, at 2 p.m., with a conference room at AWB also available for attendees. The meeting will cover several matters, including the new CR 102 Draft EAP Overtime Rules. Contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for employment law at 360.943.1600 to learn more or Tommy Gill for call-in information.



Tweet of the Week

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...



They Said It

Employers Improving Lives

"Dick's is what really helped launch my adulthood. Their scholarships gave me opportunities I didn't have and opened a lot of doors." ~ former Dick's Drive-In burger flipper and manager Sean Antioquia, a newly hired avionics engineer with spaceflight company Blue Origin, describing how his life changed thanks to the extensive scholarship program that Dick's offers to its employees. All employees of the Seattle-based burger restaurants who work 20 hours a week for six months and at least 20 hours a week while going to school can access $25,000 in scholarships over four years, to be used for any college, vocational or self-improvement program. Further scholarships can bring that total up to $50,000. Dick's President Jasmine Donovan said the program, dating back to the 1990s, has paid for coding boot camp, nursing, law degrees and more. "Our employees don't have to work for us forever," Donovan said. "If we can help them work toward and accomplish their longer term goals, that makes them fabulous employees. We are excited for them and whatever they are passionate about."




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Housing Forum
Manufacturing Solutions


A way forward on immigration

By Edmund O. Schweitzer III and Jay Timmons

Manufacturers are in the business of building solutions. When we see a need to be filled or a problem to be solved, manufacturers go to work innovating and making the products that improve our daily lives. But we don't stop there. When we see our nation facing a challenge, we don't just call on our legislators to fix it; we also provide solutions.

That's exactly what manufacturers have done to help fix our nation's broken immigration system. Earlier this year, the National Association of Manufacturers released "A Way Forward," a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that bolsters border security while strengthening the economy and providing certainty for those immigrants who are anxious about their future...

Legislation soon up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and similar bills recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would provide a solution for these two populations, and manufacturers are calling on Congress to act swiftly. While this is not a comprehensive solution, these bills are a way to move our nation one step closer to a more functional immigration system, and for that reason, they should command strong, bipartisan support. It is simply the right thing to do...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
Unsustainable Budget Growth


State budget growth puts Washington in tight spot during next downturn

By AWB President Kris Johnson

State government will spend more than $52.8 billion over the next two years. This is an increase of about 18.3 percent over the previous two-year budget and one of the biggest increases in the last 25 years.

It's true there are many competing demands for resources, but lawmakers had $5.6 billion more to work with, before raising taxes. Rather than look for cost savings, they chose to raise more than $1 billion in new taxes.

It's a safe bet that most Washington families and small businesses did not increase their spending by 18.3 percent this year. This pace of expansion is unsustainable. When the tax collections drop, that usually means painful budget cuts and more tax increases.

Lawmakers made progress on important issues this year, but it came at a high cost. As they work through the interim and prepare for the next budget, our hope is that lawmakers will tap the brakes and slow the growth in state spending.

Washington has enjoyed years of strong economic growth, but we need to be prepared for the next downturn.

Read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
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