January 27, 2020
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Top Stories

Don't miss AWB's annual Legislative Day & Hill Climb tomorrow in Olympia

The annual AWB Legislative Day & Hill Climb allows AWB members to take their business issues and concerns directly to our elected officials. Registration for the Hill Climb is now closed, but there is still a chance to join tomorrow's conversation in Olympia. Register today to attend a lunch session with legislators, hear the legislative update at our board meeting, and enjoy the reception in the Capitol Rotunda. More details can be found online. Non-members are invited to register for the reception.

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Boeing's 777X takes to the skies for its maiden voyage

The world's longest and largest twin-engine airlines, the Boeing 777X, took its maiden voyage on Saturday. The plane took off underneath a rainbow at Paine Field, the home of Boeing's wide-body factory. A large crowd applauded as the jet took off.

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Lobby Lunch kicks off with governor's chief of staff; GOP leaders to speak this Thursday

Gov. Jay Inslee's chief of staff, David Postman, spoke to a large group during AWB's first weekly Lobby Lunch last week. This Thursday, Republican leadership will speak at Lobby Lunch, with Democratic leaders following on Feb. 6.

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AWB's Amy Anderson puts spotlight on child care in Puget Sound Business Journal's 'Thought Leaders' interview

"Childcare Crisis is Everyone's Business," a special feature in the Puget Sound Business Journal, speaks with AWB Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson, Dick's Drive-In President Jasmine Donovan, and other key voices on an important issue: the cost and accessibility of early childhood education.

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New Competitiveness Redbook shows how Washington compares on key economic indicators

Facts help lead to better decisions. To help illuminate the discussion on keeping Washington a competitive place to do business, AWB joins with other partners to produce the annual Competitiveness Redbook. The newest edition is now available, and will be released at this week's Legislative Day & Hill Climb.

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New photo book highlights AWB's third-annual Manufacturing Week bus tour

Manufacturing strengthens communities and our state's economy. From small family-owned firms to global manufacturing centers, Washington is home to thousands of remarkable companies. A new photo book from AWB's most recent Manufacturing Week bus tour highlights some of these firms that make our state's manufacturing base so special.

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Legislation of Note

HB 6398: Rewriting the state's transportation goals

AWB, a longtime supporter of transportation projects and funding, opposes House Bill 6398, which would rewrite the state's transportation goals, replacing them with problematic language. The bill removes freight mobility and congestion relief as transportation goals, instead adding language involving social justice issues. The bill also takes authority for funding transportation projects away from the Legislature, giving it to the state Department of Transportation instead. The Lens News covered the bill's impact. The bill is up for a hearing Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Senate Transportation Committee. Employers are urged to weigh in. Contact AWB's Mike Ennis to learn more.



HB 2457: Establishing the health care cost transparency board

House Bill 2457, which would establish a health care cost transparency board, was heard last week. This bill would establish a board whose responsibility would be to annually calculate the total health care expenditures in Washington and establish a health care cost growth benchmark. AWB was supportive of this bill with concerns. AWB is supportive of efforts to control skyrocketing health care costs, but we must be cautious in these efforts. Those who receive health care in the United States, and particularly in Washington, enjoy a level of quality and advanced treatments not found anywhere else on the globe. That's especially true in Washington, given the level of medical research that takes place in our state. An evaluation of health care costs in the state requires a realistic approach so as to not stymie research and innovation in health care delivery. We will continue to work with our partners and the legislature to ensure this type of effort does not create a board that overreaches its mission. Contact AWB's Amy Anderson to learn more.



SB 6122: Requiring temp agencies to provide industry-specific safety training

Senate Bill 6122 would require temporary agencies to provide industry-specific safety training for temporary workers that goes beyond the scope of the kind of general safety training that temp agencies can provide. AWB is concerned with this bill and is currently opposed to it. AWB and members testified in a public hearing on the bill today in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. Contact AWB's Bob Battles to learn more.



HB 2740: Concerning employment of individuals who lawfully consume marijuana

House Bill 2740 limits the ability of workplaces to have zero-tolerance policies for marijuana use outside the job site. However, businesses that are mandated to have zero-tolerance policies could continue to have them. AWB is monitoring the legislation. Contact AWB's Bob Battles to learn more.



SB 5717 / HB 1491: Restrictive scheduling

Senate Bill 5717, implementing restrictive scheduling requirements for employers, has been redrafted from last year. It is still more restrictive than Seattle's existing ordinance, however, and would apply to employers in the retail, hospitality and food industries, with provisions that could be interpreted to expand beyond those industries. This bill would require employers to provide schedules two weeks in advance. If they are changed, penalties could be assessed. AWB has been working with the sponsors to address the concerns. The bill as drafted will restrict employers and employees from negotiating changes to schedules with short notice. It will also restrict the flexibility of employees to change their schedule to accommodate unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A hearing is scheduled at 8 a.m. this Wednesday in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. AWB remains opposed to SB 5717 and its companion bill, House Bill 1491, implementing restrictive scheduling (also known as predictive scheduling). Contact AWB's Bob Battles to learn more.



Workers' compensation bills on the agenda this week

Several workers' compensation bills will be considered during hearings this week in Olympia. HB 2409 concerns industrial insurance employer penalties, duties, and the licensing of third-party administrators. It would impose upon all employers' and their lay representatives a good faith obligation toward injured workers in the handling of their claims. This new bad faith allegation, which could be made against business owners, retro groups, managers, human resources, vocational counselors, fraud investigators, nurse case managers, etc., would be adjudicated by the Department of Labor & Industries on very vague standards and be subject to a penalty. A hearing is scheduled in the House Labor & Workplace Standards on Tuesday. AWB is opposed to HB 2409, and also opposes HB 2646, regarding work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the health care sector. AWB supports several proposed workers' comp bills. SB 6372 would implement the recommendations of outside studies, with respect to the Upjohn Institute and Structured Settlements (SB 6372). SB 6373 implements the recommendations of outside studies, with respect to JLARC and self-insurance allowance orders (6373). Both bills are expected to be scheduled in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on Tuesday. Contact AWB's Bob Battles to learn more.



HB 2236 and SB 6068: Sales and use tax exemptions for large private airplanes

AWB testified in support of a bill concerning sales and use tax exemptions on large private airplanes. House Bill 2236 and Senate Bill 6068 would extend the sunset on an existing tax exemption treatment for large private aircraft undergoing repair or modification. AWB supports both HB 2236 and SB 6068 to extend the sunset on this policy through 2031. This would keep the state competitive and drive economic activity that generates revenue for the state. In a recent Joint Legislative and Audit Review Committee review, the auditor concluded that that preferences likely resulted in new jobs and increased tax revenues in the state. AWB agrees with the JLARC auditor that this tax policy is a dynamic means to diversify the state's aerospace sector. Contact AWB's Tommy Gantz to learn more.

Other News

Revisions being pursued to last year's business taxes to fund college education

Last year's prominent higher education funding bill, House Bill 2158, is in need of revision as demand for the college funding has outpaced the revenue generated by the new business taxes in HB 2158. There are three major proposals being considered to modify the bill.

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Employers urged to attend low-carbon fuel standard hearings

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is considering a low-carbon fuel standard. The agency's own documents show that a LCFS would raise the cost of fuel by more than 50 cents per gallon and would reduce the gross regional product by about $1.5 billion. Employers are urged to attend upcoming public hearings in Everett, Bremerton and Tacoma to weigh in on this costly, regressive fuel policy.

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TRIDEC picks new CEO

Karl Dye, of Lewiston, Idaho, will be the new head of the Tri-City Development Council. Dye is an economic development specialist with experience in Eastern Washington and working with the U.S. Department of Energy. He will replace longtime TRIDEC head Carl Adrian, who retires this month after 16 years as president.

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AWB Events & Resources

Navigate change & find effective solutions at AWB's Workforce Summit on March 19

Mark your calendars for March 19 and join us in Tacoma for a series of discussions on navigating change and finding effective solutions for today's workforce. The AWB 2020 Workforce Summit at the Tacoma Convention Center will dive into some of the challenges employers face and the policy issues that may impact those issues. Registration is now open.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

Monday calls offer an update on health care issues

Learn about important health care issues during a weekly Monday phone call with Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson. Her weekly health care phone calls will be held every Monday from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Contact Anderson to learn more and register.



Education update calls held on Monday mornings

Get an update on education issues with Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson every Monday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Contact Anderson to learn more and register.



Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee to confer by phone each Monday

Government Affairs Director Tommy Gantz will hold weekly conference calls on tax and fiscal policy issues each Monday at 10:30 a.m. Each call will last no more than a half hour. Contact Gantz to learn more and register.



Employment Law update phone calls to be held each Friday

Government Affairs Director Bob Battles will hold weekly conference calls on employment law issues each Friday from 8-9:30 a.m. Contact Battles to learn more and register.



Transportation and land use phone calls held each Friday

Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis will hold weekly conference calls on two of his issue areas -- transportation and land use -- each Friday morning. He'll cover transportation at 9 a.m., and then a separate call will cover land use at 10 a.m. Each call will last about half an hour as he leads participants in going through relevant bills, formulating a position, and discussing testimony during public hearings. Contact Ennis to learn more and register.



Tweet of the Week

Heavy Lifting at SeaTac



They Said It

A Costly Mandate

"Our jobs could be in Seattle one week, down in Olympia the next week and back in Tacoma for the week after. The cost of that future should not be placed on the backs of the working class." ~ Mark Martinez, executive secretary of the Pierce County Building and Construction Trades Council, explaining why union members oppose a low-carbon fuel standard.




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AWB Amplified: Low-Carbon Fuel Standard
Early Childhood Learning


Washington's current childcare system punishes upward mobility

By former Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess and former state Rep. Ruth Kagi

An alarming childcare crisis is impacting every community across our state. And it's getting worse for families, childcare providers, and businesses large and small.

Over the past couple of months, we have traveled to Spokane, Moses Lake, Mt. Vernon, Yakima, Vancouver, and Aberdeen and listened to parents, childcare providers, and business owners describe this crisis. Too many parents cannot find or afford care for their children and are unable to work.

Nearly one-third of Washington working parents have at one time or another either quit their job, reduced their hours, or dropped out of school because of childcare complications.

These startling facts come from a recently released report from the state's Department of Commerce, the Association of Washington Business, and Eastern Washington University.

Washington businesses lost an estimated $2 billion in 2017 from employee turnover because families couldn't find or afford childcare. The impact on Washington's overall economy was worse -- a staggering $6.5 billion lost in direct costs to employers and missed consumer spending...

Read the full guest column in The Puget Sound Business Journal