April 20, 2015
Fast Facts
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Top Stories Priority Legislation Key Hearings/Meetings Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Push for transportation package gains momentum as legislative session enters final week

AWB launches radio ad and joins coalition with print ad in Sunday's Seattle Times calling on lawmakers to approve a bipartisan transportation package this year to reduce congestion and lower carbon emissions. The release last week of the House version means negotiations can get serious with the Senate.
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Budget negotiations stalled with just one week left in legislative session

The Legislature is set to adjourn in less than a week, but a compromise budget deal between the Republican-led Senate the Democratic-led House is nowhere in sight.
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Minimum wage protesters rally throughout the state, call for $15 hourly wage

Activists with the "15 Now" movement held rallies and marches throughout the state last week calling for an immediate 60 percent increase to the statewide minimum wage, which is already the highest in the nation. Read more »

Auditor Troy Kelley indicted on 10 federal charges, says he will take a leave of absence

The state's top public finance watchdog stands accused of fraud and "a web of lies." Gov. Jay Inslee and top officials from both parties called for him to immediately resign. He denies all wrongdoing and notes that none of the allegations touch on his job as auditor. Read more »

Priority Legislation

SB 5449: Tax appeal reform and creation of a Tax Appeals Division in the Court of Appeals

An AWB priority bill to improve the efficiency and fairness of the state's tax appeals process passed the Senate last week -- on tax day, no less.
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SB 6103 and SB 6109: Education funding and local tax levies

AWB testified Friday on bills that would change how local and state sales taxes are collected and distributed for public schools.
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HB 2156: Utility taxation by cities and counties

AWB testified last Friday on HB 2156, opposing one portion of the bill regarding a utility tax.
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SB 6102 & 8206: Capital gains tax

AWB's government affairs team testified this afternoon on capital gains tax proposals.
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SB 6019: Adjudicative proceedings reform passes House with amendments

A bill intended to help prevent internal political pressure on administrative hearings judges passed the House last week. The bill has been amended, so will head back to the Senate for concurrence.
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HB 1396: Incentivizing alternative fuels for commercial-use vehicles

The House Transportation Committee passed HB 1396 last week. The bill would incentivize the use of alternative fuel commercial vehicles through tax preferences. Further consideration of the bill is likely tied to an overall transportation investment package.
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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Water Quality Committee to meet May 7

The AWB Water Quality Committee will meet Thursday, May 7, at AWB. Discussion items will include a legislative update, final adoption of the state's proposed rule on Water Quality Standards, update on the state's Water Quality Assessment, and discussion of the state's Nonpoint Source Plan. Contact Brandon Houskeeper to learn more or Connie Grande for call-in options.

Other News

Statewide jobless rate drops to 5.9 percent, but a dozen counties still have a 10-plus percent unemployment rate

Washington's unemployment rate in March dropped for the first time in months. At 5.9 percent, Washington's jobless rate is still above the national average of 5.5 percent. Rural Washington continues to struggle, with 12 counties dealing with double-digit jobless rates.
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Wyoming governor calls out NW environmentalists over exports

Last Tuesday, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said he believes environmentalists are using technicalities to block coal exports, and that is unconstitutional for other states -- like Washington -- to stop his landlocked state from getting its goods to market.
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Federal regulators OK financial incentives for workplace wellness programs

Employers can continue to use financial rewards and penalties to encourage workers to participate in workplace wellness programs, federal regulators said last week.
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U.S. Rep. Newhouse appointed to powerful House Rules Committee

Newly-elected Rep. Dan Newhouse has been appointed to the powerful House Rules Committee, meaning Washington's newest member of Congress is also now one of its most powerful.
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Gov. Inslee helps toast Port of Kennewick's 100th birthday

The first public port in eastern Washington, the Port of Kennewick, marked its 100th birthday last week. Gov. Jay Inslee joined the centennial celebration for Washington state's fifth-oldest port.
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Last chance! Lend your perspective to the 2015 McGladrey Manufacturing and Distribution Monitor

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. Submissions will be accepted until this Thursday.
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AWB Events & Resources

Webinar: Public Charter Schools in Washington State

Learn more about public charter schools in Washington in this April 27 webinar with Thomas Franta, CEO of the Washington Charter Schools Association.
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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 »

Leadership, environmental excellence and more: register now for Spring Meeting

Registration is 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.
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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.
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AWB forklift safety and training seminar set for June 8

Don't let forklifts become a hazard in your workplace. AWB's forklift safety seminar June 8 will help keep your employees and workplace safe.
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Tweet of the Week

Educating for the Jobs of the Future

They Said It

America Needs the Ex-Im Bank

"The Ex-Im Bank allows our companies and workers to compete on a level playing field against international competitors who receive extensive support from their own export credit agencies." ~ from a letter signed by 28 governors from both parties, including Gov. Jay Inslee, urging Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership promises more than prosperity

By former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

As governors, we've seen firsthand the positive impact of trade on jobs, small businesses and local economies. Ninety-five percent of the world's markets are beyond our borders, and every $1 billion the United States exports supports between 5,200 and 7,000 jobs here at home. ...

The longer we wait to allow the president to move ahead with key agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the greater the risk that other countries will set the rules without American input. Trade-promotion authority along with TPP would reinforce the 11.7 million American jobs that are already supported by the export of U.S. goods and services. It would also support hundreds of thousands of high-quality, well-paying jobs right here in America. And according to the Peterson Institute, TPP is estimated to increase U.S. exports by $123.5 billion by 2025. ...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times

House should move on transportation package

By Steve Mullin, president of the Washington Roundtable

Washington must strategically invest in transportation. The Senate package would help ensure the roads and bridges residents travel on every day are safer and more efficient. It would give transit agencies options to pursue expansion. It includes reforms that would make sure tax dollars are better used. It would create jobs, spur port activity and support economic growth.

Lawmakers have a real opportunity, the first in a decade, to make strategic transportation investments that would pay substantial dividends for decades to come. Passage of the Senate package was a critical step. It's now time for the House to act as well.
Click here to read the full column in The Seattle Times
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