January 26, 2015
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Top Stories

It's time! We'll see you at Legislative Summit tomorrow in Olympia

AWB's Legislative Summit tomorrow is your chance to ask lawmakers questions and share your perspective. Bring your questions and we'll see you at the Red Lion Hotel Olympia Tuesday morning.

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Treasurer warns that Gov. Inslee's budget spends too much of rainy-day fund

Washington Treasurer Jim McIntire, a Democrat, opposes Gov. Jay Inslee's plan to spend $538 million from the state's emergency reserves – more than half of Washington's rainy-day fund. Read more »

Governor's list of 'top polluters' includes WSU and UW

As Gov. Jay Inslee targets his cap-and-trade tax at employers that generate carbon in their business operations, the state's two biggest universities are also on the list of 130 top emitters of carbon in the state. The governor's climate proposals will be up for public hearing on Tuesday; AWB staff and members will be there to testify about impacts on employers and employees. Read more »

Lobby Lunch kicks off with talk from governor's top policy advisor

Matt Steuerwalt, executive director of policy for Gov. Jay Inslee's office, was the first speaker in AWB's 2015 Lobby Lunch series. Lobby Lunch will be on hiatus this week, but will continue Feb. 5.
Read more »

West Coast port negotiations resume amid rallies and continued backlog

The crisis of cargo congestion continues at West Coast ports as negotiations resumed Friday between port operators and longshore workers. Despite the intervention of a federal mediator, no progress has been reported.
Read more »

Priority Legislation

AWB members testify today on minimum wage, mandatory sick leave and anti-retaliation bills

House bills 1354, 1355 and 1356 would increase Washington's minimum wage to $12 an hour, take Seattle's mandatory sick leave statewide, and make it easier for workers to sue employers for alleged retaliation.

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SB 5056: Flame retardants and toxic chemical action plans

House and Senate bills would address the issue of toxic chemicals in different ways. The House version would give the Department of Ecology the ability to regulate new chemicals, while the Senate bill reserves that authority for elected representatives in the Legislature.

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SB 5111: Projects of statewide significance

This bill would provide both environmental and economic benefits for important development projects. AWB has been a longtime supporter of this concept and testified in support of SB 5111

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SB 5324: Distribution and use of aircraft excise taxes

AWB supports this bill, which ensures that taxes paid by aviators are used for aviation purposes. Members are encouraged to testify this Wednesday in support of SB 5324. Contact Mike Ennis to learn more.

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SB 5323: Extending commute trip reduction tax credit

Businesses across the state are eager to participate in the state's commute trip reduction program, but state funding can't keep up with interest from employers. SB 5323 would double funding for the program and extend its life by 10 years.

Read more »

HB 1484: Capital gains tax

AWB opposes the proposal to tax capital gains. This unpredictable revenue source is not the proper way to ensure consistent and ample funding for Washington schools.

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SB 5449: Replacing board of tax appeals with revision to court system

Washington's tax system would be more fair, more effective and more transparent under SB 5449. AWB testified this morning in support of this bill in a joint Senate committee meeting about tax appeal reform.

Read more »

SB 5230 and 5112: Pilot programs for job creation and workforce development

AWB testified in support of bills that would help promote job creation and ensure a well-trained workforce.

Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

Workers' Compensation Committee to meet Wednesday

The AWB Workers' Compensation Committee will meet from 10 a.m. to noon this Wednesday, Jan. 28, at AWB. Contact Bob Battles to learn more.


Minimum Wage Committee to meet Friday

The Minimum Wage Committee will meet Friday, Jan. 30, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at AWB. Contact Bob Battles to learn more.



AWB Land Use Committee to meet Feb. 2

The AWB Land Use Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2, to discuss several land use bills that are being proposed for the 2015 session. Contact Mike Ennis to learn more.



Other News

Minimum wage ballot measure in 2016 could be bargaining chip in legislative debate

Democrats pushing for a $12 statewide minimum wage are warning that if a bill doesn't pass the Legislature this year, a less nuanced proposal will be on the ballot in 2016. Read more »

Election changes pondered, from free ballot postage to stricter oversight of 'pop-up' funding

Legislators are looking at making the election process less expensive and more transparent for voters. A bipartisan proposal would also make it harder to run initiatives that promise more spending but don't identify a way to pay for the expense.

Read more »

AWB Manufacturing Council to meet this week in Olympia, Sumner

AWB's new Manufacturing Council will hold their first quarterly meeting this week. The group has been formed as a way for Washington's manufacturers to unite and give legislative input on the impact of taxes and regulations.

Read more »

Leadership Washington to hold third meeting

The inaugural class of Leadership Washington will be in Olympia and Tacoma this week for their third session. They will tour AWB member Shining Ocean, attend AWB's Legislative Summit and visit Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Read more »

Washington's unemployment rate increases to 6.3 percent as 2014 marks 83,000 jobs created

The state's jobless rate inched up last month, but the big news was that 2014 saw the state add jobs at the fastest rate in 17 years. With most of that growth concentrated in Seattle, however, the unemployment rate outside central Puget Sound is nearly 7.7 percent, and could grow as impacts from the post slowdown are factored in this spring.

Read more »

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories named one of nation's top workplaces

Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) made the Great Rated list of the nation's top workplaces. SEL rated high in employee surveys, with top marks for pride, rewards, atmosphere and challenges.

Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Register now: Jay Timmons' Feb. 10 'State of Manufacturing' talk in Spokane

AWB is partnering with Greater Spokane Incorporated to bring Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, to present "The State of Manufacturing" at a luncheon event in Spokane on Feb.10. Register today! Read more »

Workers' compensation best practices seminar: How to spot red flags and when to hire an attorney

Your company can face huge expenses by failing to fight unwarranted workers’ compensation claims. AWB's "Best Practices" seminar will teach employers how to spot red flags and when it pays to hire an attorney. Read more »

They Said It

Dirty Dawg? High-Carbon Cougar?

"Let's look at who's on the list. It's Butch the Cougar the corporate polluter, and Harry the Husky. They're named a corporate polluter. We're going to tax our research universities to fund climate change?" ~ Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, noting that Washington’s two flagship universities are on Gov. Jay Inslee's list of the state’s 130 “major greenhouse gas emitters."




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Sponsors
EXPORT TERMINALS HELP WASHINGTON FARMERS

Opposition to terminal expansions harms agriculture, trade

By John Stuhlmiller, Washington Farm Bureau

These projects should not ever be thought of as merely "coal" terminals, as they will increase our ability to export and import all products from the Northwest and beyond. Commodities like timber, grain, and other agricultural products will make their way through Washington via these projects.

This is critical for the long-term economic prosperity of a state like Washington, which has the most trade-dependent economy in the country.

Click here for the full column in Capital Press
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