September 3, 2019
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Top Stories

Legislators sue over governor's line-item vetoes in transportation budget

On a bipartisan basis, the Legislature has announced that it will sue Gov. Jay Inslee, saying he overstepped his authority with a series of one-sentence vetoes in the state transportation budget. Lawmakers from both parties called it an important constitutional issue; Inslee called it a respectful difference of opinion and welcomed "forthcoming guidance from our courts."

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Final public hearing on LNG plant in Tacoma sees plenty of public comment

AWB joined other business and labor advocates to testify in support of a liquified natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Tacoma during a key public hearing last week. The facility will allow ships to burn cleaner fuel and will stabilize the region's natural gas supply during times of peak demand.

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More speakers confirmed for AWB's 2019 Policy Summit Sept. 17-19

Make your plans to attend the year's premier policy event, once again held at the beautiful Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum Sept. 17-19. Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner is confirmed as our 2019 Policy Summit morning keynote. Make connections and engage in high-level, statewide policy discussion. Learn about the current outlook on issues that impact your business and the communities where we live and work. Register today!

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Deadline extended for comment on new $79,000 'super minimum wage' overtime rule

The deadline has been extended to Sept. 20 for comment on major changes to Washington's exempt overtime rules, including a new minimum wage for salaried workers of more than $79,000 by the time the rule is fully phased in. This AWB Amplified video has more information. Read more »

Federal Issues

U.S. and Japan reach deal in principle during bilateral trade negotiations

Good news came out of the G-7 meeting last week for American farmers and exporters. The United States' president and Japanese prime minister announced agreement in principle on a trade deal that addresses key areas, including agriculture market access, industrial tariffs and digital trade.

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Other News

Final study: Kalama methanol plant would be a net positive effect for global climate

The proposed methanol plant in Kalama would reduce overall global greenhouse gas emissions by displacing dirtier coal-based methanol production in Asia, according to the final Environmental Impact Statement released last week.

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Some Washington farms, and their workers, are "struggling" under the federal guest worker program

Farmers face a labor shortage in Washington's agriculture sector, and steep costs when using the H-2A federal guest worker program, Crosscut reports. And labor advocates say the isolated nature of the guest worker program makes workers more vulnerable.

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Washington fire season relatively mild so far, but there are months to go

Washington's skies are fairly free from smoke this summer. But there's a long way to go, and plenty of fuel to burn between now and the winter rains.

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Underground tremors, new models highlight earthquake prep

Thousands of underground tremors have rippled throughout Western Washington and British Columbia over the past month, and state officials have released a new video which shows 10-foot tsunami waves hitting the Pacific coastline and the Puget Sound. Prepare now for the inevitable earthquake, public safety leaders say.

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Survey: Construction labor shortage hits 80 percent of Washington contractors

Eighty percent of Washington contractors said in a recent survey they are having a hard time hiring skilled workers, which is consistent with national polling as well.

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Employers welcome to provide input on new graduation pathways at Yakima community Meeting

The Washington State Board of Education seeks employer and community input on new "pathways" or high school graduation tracks under consideration.

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Access quality employee benefits through Colonial Life

A new suite of employee benefit programs through Colonial Life can help employers give workers access to quality insurance options.

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Local fire departments urged to apply to be part of the Holiday Kids' Tree Project

Applications are being accepted now for the annual Holiday Kids' Tree Project. AWB members have donated more than $420,000 over the past 30 years to help families in need during the holiday season. Fire departments help us distribute that money in the form of toys and gifts. Now is the time for rural fire districts to apply to be part of this year's program. Employers with contacts in the firefighting community are being asked to spread the word.

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AWB Events & Resources

AWB Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee Meets Sept. 6

AWB's Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee will meet this Friday, Sept. 6 from 10 -11:30 a.m. at the AWB offices in Olympia. Please contact Government Affairs Director for Tax and Fiscal Policy Clay Hill at ClayH@awb.org for agenda details. To participate by phone, please contact Tommy Gill at TommyG@awb.org or 360.943.1600.



Join us at the beautiful Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum for policy discussions and networking

Policy Summit is back! One of our most popular events, this one often sells out. Make connections and engage in high-level, statewide policy discussions. Learn about the current outlook on issues that impact your business and the communities where we live and work. Save your spot! #AWBsummit19

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Tweet of the Week

Pathways to the Future



They Said It

Credit Where Credit Is Due

"Not only does the Aaa rating reflect highly upon Washington's credit, it will help ensure that when we finance schools, roads and other important projects, we do so at the lowest possible interest rates." ~ Washington Treasurer Duane Davidson, announcing that Washington state now has its first-ever triple-A bond rating from Moody's Investor Services. Still, Moody's warned that the state's stellar rating could be downgraded if lawmakers use one-time revenue solutions to plug budget holes or draw down reserves, which follows warnings from the Treasurer's Office against spending increases.




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Connecting With Congress
Big Changes


Employers need to prepare for new noncompete laws

By Tim O'Connell of Stoel Rives

During the last legislative session, Washington took significant steps to limit noncompetition agreements for employees in the state and prohibit employer policies that ban moonlighting, impacting not only an important part of many local companies' strategies to protect their market position, but also employee loyalty.

The new state statute regarding noncompetition agreements and moonlighting policies demands attention from Washington employers...

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, employers that utilize noncompetition agreements need to carefully evaluate whether those agreements will meet the new state standards. If not, employers should revoke or revise those agreements prior to the effective date...

Properly structured noncompetition agreements and properly based policies regarding moonlighting are valid. Employers must, however, address these new limitations, sooner rather than later.

Read the full column in The Puget Sound Business Journal