July 8, 2019
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Top Stories

Housing Forum draws packed house in Bellevue as groups unite to address growing issue

Lack of housing of all types is a nationwide crisis, U.S. Rep. Denny Heck said Monday at the start of a housing forum hosted by an unprecedented coalition composed of AWB and nine other groups from throughout the state. Solving the problem, Heck said, will take bipartisan cooperation and a willingness to forge non-traditional partnerships. State Rep. Andrew Barkis, who has worked in the housing industry for years, joined Heck in opening up the daylong discussion that drew more than 200 attendees and coverage from KING-5 News. Read more »

Jerry Cornfield: 'Lawmakers did raise a lot of fees and taxes'

The Herald's statehouse correspondent rounds up the 51 revenue bills passed by the Legislature this session. "Democrats pushed major tax hikes past a resistant GOP," Cornfield writes, passing more tax and fee bills than any year in recent memory.

Read more »

Lamb Weston leading effort to design delivery-friendly french fries

With Uber Eats and other food delivery services on the rise, the search is on for french fries that can arrive at their destination with same restaurant-fresh crispness. Lamb Weston's innovation center in the Tri-Cities has come up with a solution.

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'It's a bit scary': Washington border retailers facing new reality after loss of automatic out-of-state sales tax exemption

As Oregonians lose their automatic sales tax exemption in Washington, retailers on the border are worrying about the impact of this year's change to a more complicated save-your-receipts redemption system. "The ramifications on our local businesses in Clark County are extreme," one retailer says.

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Save the date: Make plans now to join us for the 2019 Federal Affairs Summit

Mark your calendar for the 2019 Federal Affairs Summit. PNNL is hosting the event Aug. 19-20 in the Tri-Cities and it's presented by Battelle. Registration is now open! Save the date and secure your spot to #ConnectWithCongress on federal policy that may impact your business.

Read more »

Federal Issues

Arizona becomes first state to have universal recognition of occupational licenses

In a move to cut red tape, Arizona has passed and the governor has signed a law that will recognize occupational licenses from other states. The law was originally intended as a way to help ease the transition for military spouses moving into the state, but was expanded to include everyone.

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Other News

New legislators in 1st District as Rep. Derek Stanford appointed to Senate and Bothell Deputy Mayor Davina Duerr appointed to House

County leaders in the 1st Legislative District appointed Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, to fill the open Senate seat recently vacated by Sen. Guy Palumbo. To fill Stanford's now-vacant seat, leaders chose Bothell's deputy mayor, Davina Duerr.

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Preston Feight takes over as new CEO of Paccar

As new CEO takes the reigns, Washington-based truck manufacturer expands, adding workforce and plant capacity for the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF brands.

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Washington new Paid Family & Medical Leave act hits milestone

Last week marked a milestone in the implementation of Washington's 2017 Paid Family and Medical Leave law, with the launch of the new employer reporting system. The Employment Security Department has also extended the deadline for employer reporting and payments until Aug. 31.

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AWB HealthChoice includes 24/7 medical insights with Teladoc

The thousands of employers who are insured by AWB HealthChoice have access to medical care 24/7 through the Teledoc program for $45 or less per session.

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AWB Events & Resources

This Wednesday: Final HR and Employment Law seminar July 10 will focus on accident prevention and investigation

AWB's popular Human Resources and Employment Law Webinar Series wraps up this month with a session on accident prevention and accident investigation plans led by Tim O'Connell and Karin Jones of Stoel Rives. This is your last chance to participate in the web series, which concludes this Wednesday, July 10.

Read more »

Event: Best Practices & Social Impact Investing for Private Fund Sponsors and Allocators

SS&C GlobeOp and K&L Gates are hosting an afternoon of round table discussion around ESG investing, investing in diversity, and opportunity zones on July 18 from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the K&L Gates office in Seattle. For more information about K&L Gates or its locations, practices and registrations, visit klgates.com.



Tweet of the Week

Interns in Vancouver



They Said It

Made in America

"I know food can bring nations and people together." ~ Augustine Guma, a survivor of genocide in Uganda, speaking at the recent Walmart Open Call for suppliers in Bentonville, Ark. Guma said he was waved through a firing line because of his cooking ability. After being rescued by the Red Cross and coming to America, Guma was washing dishes in a lobster restaurant when he began experimenting with different meat pie recipes. He now sells to restaurants and food trucks but wants to get his Guma meat pies into more mainstream retail. Walmart is ordering 100 cases of his chicken, veggie, beef and lamb pies to test the flavors in certain areas. "We have some things to do but we will work with Walmart to get what they need to make this happen and hatch this dream,' Guma said.




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Unintended Consequences


State's proposed overtime rule change goes too far, too fast

By AWB President Kris Johnson

If it's approved, any employer with salaried workers making less than that amount will be faced with the difficult decision to either raise their employees' salary to nearly $80,000 or convert the worker to hourly status. For employers who can't afford to give out big raises, they may have little or no choice but to switch employees to hourly status.

In theory, this could lead to increased pay for some workers, but that's only if their employer can afford to pay overtime. Small businesses, nonprofits and other employers that can't absorb the cost increase will likely cut services.

Even for workers who don't take a step backward financially, the change could feel like a demotion. Increasingly, employees value flexibility in work hours, particularly younger workers. Making the transition from a salaried job -- with the flexibility to duck out for a couple hours in the middle of the day to take care of family obligation -- to an hourly worker who is required to be in the office a full eight hours, without the option of working from home, will be jarring.

No one is disputing that Washington's overtime rule needs updating. But the state's proposal simply goes too far, too fast and risks harming the employees it's intended to help.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World