March 30, 2015
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Top Stories

House releases $38.8 billion budget, including $1.5 billion in new and higher taxes

Democratic leaders in the House released a proposed 2015-17 budget on Friday that spends $38.8 billion over two years, including $1.5 billion in new and higher taxes. The budget is up for public hearing and votes this week before negotiations with the Senate get serious. Read more »

Transportation package has first House hearing

The House Transportation Committee heard from a packed house Thursday as the bipartisan Senate transportation reform and funding package continues to move through the Legislature. AWB and employers emphasized the importance to the state of a well-functioning transportation system.
Read more »

House doesn't have votes for cap-and-trade, but issue could emerge in budget negotiations

Rep. Reuven Carlyle said the cap-and-trade carbon price could be part of a later budget deal. A separate proposal, Sen. Doug Erickson's SB 5735, would allow voluntary investment in carbon reduction instead of imposing a new billion dollar tax.
Read more »

Seattle's $15 minimum wage kicks in Wednesday; is the city ready?

The first stage of Seattle's $15 minimum wage kicks in this week. Amid questions of whether the city is ready to enforce the ordinance, activists are calling for a higher minimum wage across the state.
Read more »

Priority Legislation

SB 5449: Creating a tax appeals division of the Court of Appeals

This AWB priority bill would create the "gold standard" for tax appeals and would significantly improve the state's COST rating. The bill had a hearing in the Senate last week. Read more »

SB 5748: Clarifying educator evaluation process to quality for $40 million No Child Left Behind waiver

Senate Bill 5748 would tweak the state's teacher and principal evaluation process to include student performance -- a fix that would let local districts regain control of $40 million in federal No Child Left Behind funds.
Read more »

SB 5700 and 5904: Biofuel and biomass tax incentives

Two bills would help improve the economics of converting timber slash into energy. Read more »

SB 5921: Preserving common law vesting rights

AWB members testified last week in favor of Senate Bill 5921, which would ensure that vesting rights in the state conform to longstanding common law practices. Read more »

HB 1704: Enhancing public safety and reducing recidivism through postsecondary education

Inmates, the state's employers and society in general all benefit when college education helps people live a productive life once they are released from the state's correctional system. House Bill 1704 helps improve the process, reducing recidivism through college education.
Read more »

SB 5142: Premium aggregation on the state's health care exchange

The House Health Care and Wellness Committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday for Senate Bill 5142. This AWB priority bill would remove the insurance payment process from the state's health exchange, instead directing payments straight to the insurance carrier.
Read more »

SB 5418: Pilot workers' compensation program for catastrophic injuries

AWB testified last week in favor of Senate Bill 5418, which creates a pilot program to improve care for catastrophically injured workers.
Read more »

Other News

Seattle Times: Legislature needs to fix No Child Left Behind waiver

House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said Friday that his caucus has no plans to tweak state law to regain eligibility for $40 million in federal funds that help at-risk students. The Seattle Times said it's a change that needs to be made. Read more »

Final notice: 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 »

2015 McGladrey Manufacturing and Distribution Monitor survey

AWB encourages members to take part in the 2015 McGladrey Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor survey to better gauge the real-world insights of manufacturers, distributors and industry trade groups. The survey officially launched on March 23 and submissions will be accepted until April 23. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Labor law update on franchises, handbook policies, one-day strikes and ambush elections

This update on the latest in NLRB decisions and labor law is scheduled for May 28. Registration is now open for this event.
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 »

Legendary auto executive Bob Lutz to speak on leadership at Spring Meeting

Registration is now open for the May 12-13 AWB Spring Meeting at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane. Bob Lutz, who worked at BMW and all Big Three automakers, retiring as vice chairman of General Motors, will give the keynote address on leadership. Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Time for a Transportation Package



They Said It

Exempt From $15 Minimum Wage?

"I don't want to say we're in limbo, but we're in limbo." ~ University of Washington spokesman Norm Arkans, saying the university considers itself in a gray area about whether it must pay Seattle's $15 an hour minimum wage. Fully complying with the law would cost the UW about $22.5 million a year.




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TEACHING TEENS HOW TO WORK

In defense of the dead-end job

By Richard Davis, special to The Seattle Times

Dead-end jobs get a bum rap. They provide young and inexperienced workers the skills -- and sometimes the motivation -- required to get ahead. As a state legislator said during a welfare-reform hearing in the '90s, "Everyone's first job is a dead-end job." You start there, then you move on.
Click here for the full column in The Seattle Times
TRADE MATTERS

Trans-Pacific Partnership would boost Washington's economy


By U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert

Living in Washington state, with the Pacific at our fingertips and Canada a short drive away, it is easy for us to see how active our businesses, farmers and manufacturers are in global trade.

With 40 percent of jobs in Washington tied to trade, we rely on access to the 95 percent of consumers outside of our borders to sell American-made products. It is for this reason that a robust trade agenda is crucial for our state. This includes ensuring the successful negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a trade agreement the U.S. is currently negotiating with 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Click here for the full column in The Seattle Times
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