January 13, 2020
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Legislation of Note « All Categories

HB 2311: Amending state greenhouse gas emission limits

House Bill 2311 will have a hearing this week in both the Senate and House Energy committees. It is a governor's request bill, based off of his announcement in December for the need to further decrease Washington state's carbon emissions. The proposed bill would require that the state reduce the state's greenhouse gasses emissions, starting at 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and progressing to 95 percent below 1990 levels and be net zero by 2050. Contact Peter Godlewski, AWB government affairs director for environment and energy issues, to learn more.

HB 1738: Updating tax return filing thresholds to reflect inflation

House Bill 1738 is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the House Finance Committee. The bill aims to relieve burdens on small businesses by updating the tax return filing thresholds to reflect inflation. Contact Tommy Gantz, AWB government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy, to learn more.

SB 5565: Direct contractor liability for payment of wages and benefits

Senate Bill 5565, a bill which did not advance in 2019, is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday. SB 5565 would allow the Department of Labor & Industries to enforce against a general contractor to pay unpaid wages owed by a subcontractor, and would allow lawsuits against a general contractor for wages owed by a subcontractor. AWB opposed the bill in 2019. Thursday's hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce. Contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for workplace law, to learn more.

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Effective Workforce Education

Path to apprenticeships now starts at high school

By Nate Nehring, a Snohomish County Council member

A four-year university education can be valuable for some, but many could benefit from greater access to pathways into the trades. While many college graduates now work minimum wage jobs and are burdened with student debt, high-paying trades jobs with competitive benefits sit empty.

In Snohomish County, we are working proactively to increase access to family-wage careers. Over the last two years, we have built a coalition of representatives from labor, industry and education. Community leaders from these sectors have come together to talk about how we can work together to provide meaningful solutions to the problem of a workforce shortage. What began as a group of stakeholders around a table has resulted in the creation of the Regional Apprenticeship Pathways (RAP) Program, which is being hailed as a potential statewide model for workforce development.

As a result of in-depth discussions between sectors and site tours of existing workforce development programs, the concept of a pre-apprenticeship program within the high school setting was organically produced. There currently exists several state-certified apprenticeship programs for a variety of skilled trades, from carpenters to electricians to laborers. What has been lacking is a pipeline of students with the basic skills and confidence to pursue these apprenticeship programs. The average apprentice is in his or her late 20s before beginning a program, representing an entire lost decade of post-high school productivity. As a group, our goal has been to bridge that 10-year gap...

Read the full guest column in The (Everett) Herald