March 9, 2015
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Priority Legislation Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Transportation bill moves to the House as support builds for passage

The bipartisan Senate transportation package deserves passage in the House and a signature from the governor, newspapers say, as the bill awaits consideration in the House.

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Minimum wage, mandatory paid sick leave measures pass House, move to Senate

The House passed bills to increase the state's minimum wage to $12 an hour and require employers with four or more workers to pay for sick/safe leave. After the Democrat-controlled House wouldn't consider most of the Republican-sponsored amendments, the bills passed on party-line votes. Read more »

West Coast port dispute may permanently redraw global trade routes

As Washington ports rapidly clear out the backlog from the months-long labor dispute, the long-term impacts of the import/export slowdown are still being calculated.
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U.S. Supreme Court hears Affordable Care Act case as new IRS forms hit employers with fresh ACA bookkeeping

The nation's highest court heard a case last week that could significantly change the Affordable Care Act. At issue is whether four words in the 906-page law allow key tax credits in all states, or only those -- like Washington -- that set up their own health insurance exchanges. Read more »

Competitiveness Caucus to launch this week

Lawmakers from both parties will join employers and labor leaders this week to launch the Competitiveness Caucus, a legislative group focused on promoting trade growth and fostering a regulatory environment that encourages investment in state trade industries. Read more »

Priority Legislation

SHB 1314: Governor's cap-and-trade bill will be up for second public hearing in the House

This Thursday at 3:30 p.m., the House Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing on the governor's carbon cap-and-trade bill. AWB is again putting together panels to testify on how this bill will affect employers and the state's economic climate.
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SB 5142: Eliminating premium aggregation from Health Plan Exchange

Consumers participating in the Washington Health Plan Exchange would be able to pay their premiums directly to their health insurance providers, rather than paying through the Exchange, if SB 5142 is signed into law. The AWB priority bill passed the Senate last week 48-1.
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SSB 5324: Aircraft excise tax bill passes Senate 48-1

An AWB-supported bill to guarantee that aircraft excise taxes go to aeronautical purposes passed the Senate last week and now goes on to the House.
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ESB 5111: Projects of statewide significance for economic development and transportation

By a 30-19 vote, ESB 5111 passed the Senate last week and moves to the House. The bill relates to projects of statewide significance for economic development and transportation.
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SHB 1495: Ensuring student privacy

The Student User Privacy in Education Rights Act, or SUPER Act, requires school service providers to guard the privacy and confidentiality of information collected about students. SHB 1495 passed the House 90-7 and moves on to the Senate.
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SHB 1813: STEM/computer science training in K-12 classrooms

All jobs in today's economy require a basic knowledge of technology, and the high-tech sector has a major backlog of skilled IT workers. To help ensure today's students graduate ready for the modern economy, STEM and computer science training would become a part of all public school curriculum under HB 1813, a bill with wide support in the state's high-tech sector.
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Other News

Nominate now for AWB Environmental Excellence, community service and leadership awards

A highlight of AWB's Spring Meeting is the presentation of awards for leadership, community service and environmental excellence. We need your help to identify the most worthy recipients.
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It's time to nominate new AWB board members

Nominations are open to serve on AWB's board of directors. Help guide Washington's largest and oldest business advocacy organization by nominating today. Read more »

Vigor Industrial announces merger with Kvichak Marine Industries

Two of the largest shipyards in the Northwest are merging as Portland-based Vigor Industrial LLC acquires Seattle's Kvichak Marine Industries. The majority of the combined company's 2,500 employees will be in Washington.
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Port of Kennewick celebrates 100-year anniversary

The state's fifth-oldest port turned 100 last week. Its century of service has seen the rise and decline of steamships and steady growth to 485 square miles of coverage in eastern Benton County.
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Lobby Lunch this week: GOP leaders

AWB's Lobby Lunch series this week will be led by Republican House and Senate leaders.
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AWB Events & Resources

Review the legislative session so far at Friday webinar with AWB's government affairs team

This Friday at 9 a.m. members of AWB's government affairs staff will give brief updates on their issue areas as the session passes the halfway mark. They'll highlight what's alive and what's dead (or on life support) after this Wednesday's house-of-origin cutoff. This webinar will be free for all AWB members. Contact Connie Grande to register.

Using Workplace Policies to Minimize Employer Liability: Training for Human Resources and Managers

Your company's policy handbook can be a great resource to ensure a well-functioning workplace – or it can be a legal minefield. Register today for this March 18 seminar, presented by Selena Smith of Davis Grimm Payne & Marra. Read more »

NLRB Update: Franchises, Handbook Policies, One Day Strikes and Ambush Elections

Register now to learn the latest on recent decisions by the National Labor Relations Board and how they could affect your workplace at this March 24 seminar in Seattle.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Ex-Im Bank Supports U.S. Jobs

They Said It

$12 Minimum Wage

"For a lot of small business it just really jeopardizes their business. Period, end of story." ~ Tom Pierson, president and CEO of the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, on the $12 minimum wage bill that passed the state House last week.

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MY TURN: Ex-Im Bank keeps Washington in business

By Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, as printed in The Kitsap Sun

Today, you can order kitchen furniture from Italy that is surfaced with material made by folks in Hoquiam.

In fact, people all over the world are fans of the environmentally-friendly products made by Paneltech International in Hoquiam. Paneltech manufactures plywood overlays and developed unique countertops and has customers in Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, and Chile.

Paneltech saw that opportunity. They knew that customers in other countries wanted to buy what they were selling and they had the drive to make it happen.

Unfortunately, there are hurdles to exporting American products to other markets. In fact, many businesses like Paneltech can't get private export financing or finance insurance through conventional means.

That's where the U.S. Export-Import Bank stepped in. ...

Click here for the text of Rep. Kilmer's Op-Ed

Regional exports riding on many key regulatory decisions

By Jay Timmons and Kris Johnson

For the first time in many years, the United States may be on the brink of sustained economic growth. Thanks in large part to a renaissance in manufacturing in the United States -- fueled by domestic energy production, world-leading productivity and groundbreaking innovations -- job creation is occurring at its fastest pace since the late 1990s.

With steady gains in employment and a rebounding domestic manufacturing base, the U.S. is poised to fully move beyond the Great Recession and rebuild a thriving middle class.

This progress, however, can easily suffer setbacks through self-inflicted regulatory and legislative wounds.
Click here for the full Op-Ed in The Olympian
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