August 5, 2019
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RSVP Now: Registration deadline approaching for Federal Affairs Summit August 19-20

Reserve your seat for the 2019 Federal Affairs Summit before the Aug. 12 deadline. The event will be held at PNNL, operated by Battelle, Aug. 19-20 in the Tri-Cities. We have another great lineup of representatives participating. This face-to-face networking opportunity is your chance to ask questions and discuss federal policy that may impact your business and industry. Come away informed. Register now online!

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State Rep. Laurie Jinkins selected as new Speaker of the House

Tacoma lawmaker Laurie Jinkins has been selected by House Democrats as their new leader. Jinkins is the first woman Speaker of the House in state history. She succeeds Speaker Frank Chopp, a Seattle Democrat who held the job since 1999.

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Summer edition of Washington Business is hot off the press

From international trade to cutting-edge carbon fiber technologies, the new edition of Washington Business dives into a variety of timely topics. The print edition of AWB's quarterly magazine was mailed to members last week. It is also available to read or download online.

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Two former White House chiefs of staff will give Policy Summit keynote address

Take a look inside life in the Oval Office with the keynote speakers at this year's Policy Summit. Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff from 2013-2017, and Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff in 2017 and longtime chairman of the Republican National Committee, will join dozens of other compelling speakers at Suncadia Resort for this year's AWB Policy Summit. Register now!

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Speak Up on Overtime Issue
Solving Housing Issues

Housing: A huge issue for Washington's long-term economic health

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We hear about skyrocketing home prices in places like Seattle, San Francisco, and New York and shake our heads. Modest three-bedroom ramblers going for $1 million or more. Hopeful home-buyers engaging in bidding wars, sometimes buying houses sight-unseen, or skipping inspections to ensure someone else doesn't close the deal first.

But the lack of housing of all types is really a nationwide crisis, according to U.S. Rep. Denny Heck. Heck, D-Wash., was one of the speakers at a statewide Housing Forum put on last month by a coalition of 10 organizations including the Association of Washington Business (AWB).

The country is at least 5 million homes short of what's needed, Heck said, and the case could be made the shortfall is more like 7 million. "Supply is not keeping up with demand," he said. It only gets worse as Washington is expected to add 1.5 million people by 2040...

For employers, the availability of high-quality, affordable housing is a critical factor in the ability to attract and retain skilled workers. For employees, finding housing within the same communities as their jobs mean shorter commutes, more time spent with families and better work-life balance. And for communities, all these elements contribute to the quality of place we all desire.

Read the full guest column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
Costing Jobs

One-size-fits-all minimum wage hike hurts rural Central Washington

By U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA

Last week, the House of Representatives voted on the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, despite warnings from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that this would result in the loss of nearly 4 million American jobs.

In Washington state, we have already seen how mandating a higher minimum wage is negatively affecting our economy. With a statewide minimum wage of $12 per hour, Washington mandates one of the highest rates in the country, and it will increase by another $1.50 in January 2020. In an attempt to address wage disparity in large cities like Seattle, which already institutes a $15 minimum wage, this sharp, mandatory increase has led to businesses filing bankruptcy, and it is already having a harmful effect on small businesses and nonprofits in Central Washington.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Columbia Basin in Moses Lake, for example, reached out to my office to share their concerns with the state's accelerated wage increases and about the federal legislation.

The Boys & Girls Club is already struggling, but further increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour for the entry-level employees they hire will force them to make a very difficult decision: raise participation fees for low-income families or eliminate the programs they offer.

Read the full column in The Columbia Basin Herald