March 18, 2015
2015 Session Update
Introduction Priority Issues Issue Updates


With the 2015 legislative session moving into the second half of its scheduled 105-day session, what is the status of legislation affecting the employer community? AWB's government affairs team walks through what's alive, what's dead, and what's ahead in this mid-session review. Read more »

Priority Issues

Transportation Funding and Reforms

After three years of working toward passage of a transportation infrastructure funding and reform package, the Senate approved a bipartisan, comprehensive $15 billion infrastructure spending bill Feb. 27. The bills are now in the House where a public hearing on the funding package is scheduled for March 26.
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Climate and the Environment

Branded a tax on "major polluters," Gov. Jay Inslee's cap-and-trade tax plan will hit every Washington's pocketbook hard with higher fuel, heating and food bills, according to two studies, including the governor's.
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Minimum Wage

The state House of Representatives passed a measure that would increase the state minimum wage to $12 per hour over four years, then increase it annually for inflation. The bill is now in the Senate for consideration and could possibly receive a public hearing March 26.
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Issue Updates

Bringing the Voice of Business to Olympia

With the passage of a key deadline in the Legislature that significantly narrows the amount of bills that are under consideration. The prospect of tax increases, an opportunity to pass a transportation funding package and the upcoming budget proposal in the House are still being debated. AWB Vice President of Government Affairs offers an overview.
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Tax and Fiscal Policy

House Democrat and Republican budget negotiators are working on a spending plan expected to be released toward the end of March. Tied to it are several measures related to tax increases and incentives employers should be aware are still moving through the process.
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Education and Workforce Development

Education funding and reform are key issues this legislative session. Alongside this debate, the employer community is pushing the Legislature to measures that help close the skills gap in the state's high-tech and manufacturing fields.
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Carbon, Water Quality and Environmental Issues

In addition to the governor's cap-and-trade tax proposal, new Water Quality Standards and chemical bans are also being debated in the Legislature this year.

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Labor and Workforce Issues

While the proposal to increase the state minimum wage to $12 outlined above is receiving a lot of attention a menu of other wage and labor issues are being considered by the Legislature that would directly affect employers and employees.
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Transportation and Aviation

A priority focus for AWB this session is the transportation funding and reform package that passed the Senate last month. The funding package bills are scheduled for a hearing in the House Transportation Committee March 26, but the many reforms have a more uncertain fate. In addition to these measures, there are a few more AWB is tracking related to transportation funding and infrastructure.
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Health Care and Insurance

The Legislature has sifted through roughly 200 bills in the House and Senate related to health care and insurance. The majority were technical in nature, there are a few bills AWB is keeping an eye on that would impact health insurance and care for employers and their employees.
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