November 4, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Other News Key Hearings/Meetings AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Car tab initiative concerns legislators, local governments and editorial boards across Washington

Voters have until Tuesday to return their ballots for this year's election. At stake is $4 billion for much-needed transportation projects all over the state, including roads, bridges, mass transit and more. Initiative 976 would cap car tab fees, among other measures. AWB is opposed to the measure.

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Snake River dams debate: New meeting location, new study

The Tri-Cities will now have its own community meeting on the idea to remove four dams on the lower Snake River, thanks to area lawmakers. Until a few days ago, the only meetings about removing these major dams were going to be held far from the Tri-Cities.

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AWB to raise awareness on childcare costs through new outreach tour

AWB is gearing up for a new outreach campaign to highlight the increasing costs of childcare and its impact on Washington.

A lack of affordable and quality childcare is a huge problem for many Washington families, employers and the economy overall. This challenge cost the state economy about $6.5 billion in 2017. Lost wages, productivity cuts and workforce turnover have a big impact.

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Don't miss AWB's Evening of Excellence on Nov. 20

Join us for an elegant evening of celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 20. We are celebrating our members and the work they do to make Washington a great place to live and do business. Tickets are available now!

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Federal Issues

Newhouse, Congress work for immigration solution

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., is among the sponsors of new federal immigration bill that would create a more stable workforce for agriculture. The bill creates new options for farmworkers to obtain a legal status if they don't already have it. The measure has bipartisan support and is the result of much discussion toward a practical solution.

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Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization Passes Key Committee

A bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank passed the House Financial Services Committee last week after significant debate. The measure passed on a 30-27 vote, which is less bipartisan support than proponents were hoping for. Still, the measure increases the bank's lending authority, includes several reforms and reauthorizes the export credit agency for another 10 years.

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Other News

Momentum Builds for Cosmic Crisp apple release

News about the pending release of the Cosmic Crisp apple is making national and international headlines in the weeks leading up to the Dec. 1 launch. The apples, the result of breeding and research at Washington State University, have recently been harvested around the state. The crop is now sitting in storage waiting to be packed and shipped.

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University of Washington named world's most innovative public university for third year in a row

An annual ranking by Reuters and Clarivate Analytics has again named the University of Washington as the world's most innovative public university.

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Get ready for winter driving, and "know before you go"

State officials are reminding drivers that winter has arrived and that safe travel depends on planning and preparation.

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Access employee benefits at competitive rates

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

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB's Employment Law Committee Meets Wednesday

AWB's Employment Law Committee is scheduled to meet this Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the AWB offices. The office is located at 1414 Cherry Street S.E., Olympia, WA, 98501.

To participate by phone, please click here and follow the instructions. For technical assistance, please contact Tommy Gill at or 360.943.1600.

For more information contact Bob Battles at or 360.943.1600.

AWB Energy Committee meets Nov. 11 in Olympia

AWB's Energy Committee will meet Monday, Nov. 11 at the AWB offices in Olympia, located at 1414 Cherry Street S.E., Olympia, 98501. The meeting will focus on the upcoming legislative session. To participate via conference call, please contact Peter Godlewski at or 360.943.1600.

AWB Rural Jobs Task Force meets Nov. 12 in the Tri-Cities

AWB's Rural Jobs Task Force will meet Tuesday, Nov. 12 in the Tri-Cities. The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, 7130 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick, WA, 99336. For more information please contact Mike Ennis at

AWB Events & Resources

AWB offers proactive tax and investment planning for employers

Surprise tax bills and investment downturns can sideline any business. Learn more about how to manage both more proactively with two upcoming workshops.

On Nov. 14 in Kirkland and Nov. 15 in Benton City, Kristofer Gray, CFP, will deliver workshops covering year-end tax and investment planning for employers. Gray will describe how to develop a thoughtful process to address the main issues surrounding year-end tax and investment planning.

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Holiday Kids' Tree campaign now underway

The holidays are approaching and AWB is getting ready for this year's Holiday Kids' Tree Project. AWB members have donated more than $420,000 since 1989 to help rural families in need. New this year: Donations are now accepted online.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Vote Today

They Said It

On Initiative 976

"It's going to hit everything." ~ State Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma, chair of the House Transportation Committee, discussing the impact of I-976, if it passes.

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Celebrate the Holidays with AWB's Holiday Kids' Tree
A $4 billion loss

I-976 will bring pain, set back progress

By The Seattle Times editorial board

A cautionary preview of Washington's future, if voters approve Initiative 976, is on display this week high above North Seattle.

The Aurora Bridge, Seattle's fourth busiest arterial, is showing how tightly the city's transportation infrastructure is stretched. Washington State Department of Transportation engineers shut down one of the bridge's three southbound lanes for at least a week to replace a corroded steel beam, which has subjected thousands of drivers to tortuous stop-and-go conditions.

The temporary chokepoint portends the gloomy future for cities and highways across the state if I-976 passes...

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times.
Keep Washington Rolling, and more

Here are 6 numbers to help decipher this election

By Jerry Cornfield, The Everett Herald

We're in the homestretch of the 2019 election and there's a degree of intrigue up and down most ballots.

Come Nov. 5, we'll learn if voters want to revive use of affirmative action in college admissions and hiring of public workers after a long hiatus.

And we'll find out if they desire to reduce the cost of tabs and repeal a 2016 voter-approved vehicle tax increase for Sound Transit's light rail expansion plans.

In Seattle and Spokane, who hold the reins of power is at stake...

Read the full column in The Everett Herald.