September 3, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
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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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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