March 16, 2015
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Top Stories

Employers testify about costs, impacts of Gov. Inslee's cap-and-trade tax bill

Costs matter to Washington's competitiveness and overall prosperity. Employers testified last week that Gov. Inslee's proposed "carbon tax on major polluters" will increase costs for everyone in the state. Read more »

Webinar rewind: Mid-session legislative review from AWB's policy team

As the Legislature moves into the second half of its 105-day session, AWB's government affairs team held a webinar last week looking at the bills that are alive, dead, and what's ahead for legislation affecting the employer community. A full video of the webinar is now available online. Read more »

Transportation reform and revenue package now in House's hands

The state Senate passed a $15 billion transportation revenue plan and eight cost-saving and accountability reforms within the system on March 2. Now in the hands of the state House of Representatives, it does not appear so far as if this chamber shares the urgency in passing the measures. Read more »

No need to hold up transportation package, GOP leader tells Lobby Lunch

Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, and Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, spoke about the status of a state budget, tax proposals and the transportation funding package at this week's Lobby Lunch.
Read more »

Bipartisan Competitiveness Caucus launches to push for trade, economic opportunities

Lawmakers from both parties joined employers and labor leaders last 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

HB 2147: AWB testifies on bill that would threaten state's aerospace tax incentive

House Bill 2147, which would set unreasonable and untested parameters on employers that take advantage of the aerospace tax incentive that passed with bipartisan support in 2013, received a public hearing last week. AWB President Kris Johnson testified against the measure.
Read more »

ESB 5513: The Workers' Recovery Act lowers age barriers to structured settlements

This AWB priority would clarify what the Legislature intended with its important 2012x structured settlement workers' compensation reform. It would also lower the age to 40, allowing more workers to have the option of taking settlements. Read more »

ESB 5510: Simplifying and adding certainty to calculation of workers' compensation benefits

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that would create a working group to develop recommendations to add certainty and simplicity to the calculation of workers' compensation benefits.
Read more »

SB 5142: Removing premium aggregation from health care exchange

The state's government-run health care exchange would no longer collect health care premiums under SB 5142. This AWB priority bill would end the kinds of problems that have seen some people's bank accounts charged the wrong amounts for insurance.
Read more »

HB 1813: Adopting computer science standards for public schools

This bill would require the state to set standards for education in computer science. After passing the House earlier this month, it will be heard in Senate committee this Thursday.
Read more »

HB 1472 and HB 1174: Giving rulemaking authority on toxics to the Department of Ecology

The Department of Ecology would have new authority to regulate businesses under House proposals. AWB is working with the governor's office and lawmakers on these bills and other ways to address the issues.
Read more »

SHB 1495: Student user privacy in education

SHB 1495 protects the privacy of students. It will be up for a public hearing in the House this week after passing the House 90-7. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Amy K. Anderson to learn more.



Water quality standards comments due by March 23

The public comment period for the state's draft water quality standards ends March 23. Contact Brandon Houskeeper to learn more about how to give input on this important proposed regulation.



Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Health Care Committee to meet March 19

The AWB Health Care Committee will meet at AWB from 3-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. Special guest speaker will be Mark Stensager, the newest member of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board. Contact Government Affairs Director Sheri Nelson to learn more.



AWB Workers' Compensation Committee to meet March 19

The AWB Workers' Compensation Committee will meet on Thursday, March 19, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at AWB's office. Those unable to attend the meeting in-person can use the conference call option. Contact Government Affairs Director Bob Battles for more information. To participate via conference call, contact Connie Grande at 360.943.1600. To download a list of active workers' comp bills, click here.



AWB to host Tax Reform webinar with State Treasurer Jim McIntire on March 20

AWB will host a webinar to discuss tax reform with special guest State Treasurer Jim McIntire. The event will take place Friday, March 20, 11 a.m.- noon. To register to participate in the event, contact Connie Grande at 360.943.1600.



AWB Minimum Wage Committee to meet March 20

The AWB Minimum Wage Committee will meet from 10:30 a.m.-noon on Friday, March 20, at the AWB office. Contact Government Affairs Director Bob Battles to learn more.
Read more »

AWB to host Property Tax Reform webinar with state lawmakers March 27

AWB will host a webinar to discuss property tax reform with special guests Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, and Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah. The event will take place Friday, March 27, 11 a.m.- noon. Online registration to participate in the event is now open.  For more information, contact Government Affairs Director Amber Carter at 360.943.1600.



U.S. House of Representatives to vote on NLRB 'ambush election' rule

In the coming days, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Senate's resolution of disapproval of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) "ambush election" rule. S.J. Res.8 would send a strong message to the White House that Congress does not support this NLRB rule.
Read more »

Other News

PNNL names new director, Dr. Steven Ashby

Battelle has named Dr. Steven Ashby to serve as laboratory director for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland after a competitive nationwide search. It's a promotion for Ashby, who has served as PNNL's deputy director for science and technology since 2008.
Read more »

Washington's unemployment rate edges up

Washington state's jobless rate rose for the fifth consecutive month in January, and remains above the national unemployment level. With proposals in the state Legislature that would hurt the manufacturing industry and lead to job losses and higher prices on energy, fuel and food, the state will eventually be faced with tough decisions even in the booming Seattle area.
Read more »

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers honored by National Association of Manufacturers

The National Association of Manufacturers gave its Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence last week to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in a ceremony hosted by NAM and AWB member Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman.
Read more »

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.
Read more »

AWB accepting board of directors nominations

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 »

Senate passes bill to cut state university and college tuition

Senate Bill 5954, which passed with a bipartisan 37-12 vote, would link college tuition to a percentage of the average wage of Washington workers.
Read more »

Applications being accepted for Leadership Washington class of 2015-16

The inaugural class of Leadership Washington continues its tour of Washington's technologically and economically diverse regions, with the next tour taking place in Vancouver this week. With graduation of the current class set for May 12, the AWB Institute is now accepting registrations for membership in the 2015-16 Leadership Washington class. Read more »

Washington Research Council: Paid sick leave bill would impact small businesses the most

A new policy brief issued by the Washington Research Council explains the impact of mandatory paid sick leave on the state's smallest employers. House Bill 1356, which passed the state House of Representatives, would require even the smallest of employers -- those with as few as four employees -- to provide paid sick and safe leave.
Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Last Chance to Register: 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 Wednesday's 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 »

Workers' compensation best practices webinar: How to spot red flags and when to hire an attorney

Your company can face huge expenses by failing to fight unwarranted workers' compensation claims. AWB's "Best Practices" webinar will teach employers how to spot red flags and when it pays to hire an attorney. Read more »

Tweet of the Week

WASHINGTON MUST STAND BY ITS WORD



They Said It

Washington's Two-Faced Recovery


"So especially outside metro Seattle, Washington's recovery is highly nuanced, complex and, in some cases, not even happening."
~ Seattle Times economic columnist Jon Talton, about the recent uptick in Washington's unemployment rate.


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COSTING JOBS

Our Voice: Look below the surface of minimum wage increases


By The Tri-City Herald

If business owners are forced to accept the $12 rate, they will have to find a way to make it work. This is an unfunded mandate, and that means managers will have to cut something to afford the new wage.

That could mean fewer employees working more hours. It could mean a business that is just getting by will close its doors. It could mean a valued long-term employee will be less likely to receive a raise because that money was absorbed by the cost of the higher minimum wage for entry-level workers.
Click here for the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY

Reform school finance and education accountability

By Richard Davis

Satisfying McCleary will not be accomplished without fundamental reform in school finance and education accountability. As the court wrote, "Pouring more money into an outmoded system will not succeed." The flawed system of state funding and local control simply does not work.
Click here for the full column in The Seattle Times
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