May 11, 2015
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Top Stories

It's time! Spring Meeting begins Tuesday

AWB's Spring Meeting begins tomorrow, with inspiring and informational talks from auto industry legend Bob Lutz, UPS executive Jim Bruce, and many others. Online registration is closed but walk-ins are welcome. We'll see you in Spokane!
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Stormy seas as budget negotiations resume in Olympia

Budget leaders from the House and Senate are meeting as the special session ends its second week, but so far the two sides remain far apart on the central issue of whether $3 billion in increased tax revenue is enough, or whether another $1.5 billion in tax hikes are needed.
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Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber working with mayor on alternative minimum wage initiative

Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland accepted a request from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber to convene a group that will create a "right-sized" alternative to raise the city's minimum wage. An existing proposal by 15 Now Tacoma would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour with no ramp-up period and no consideration for the impact on small businesses. That, says the chamber, is just too extreme.
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Irrigators facing water reductions as drought fears deepen

Many irrigators have already been told their water supply this year will be cut in half -- or worse -- and further reductions are possible. One prediction would have farmers in our agriculture-heavy state relying on just a third of the water they would normally receive. Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

Candidate interviews for 30th District House seat to be held in Auburn May 18

AWB will begin its process of candidate endorsements in the 30th Legislative District during a Q&A with candidates May 18 at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. AWB members are invited to attend. Read more »

Other News

Sen. Murray breaks with Democratic leaders to support trade, saying it's vital for Washington's economy

Washington has one of the nation's most trade-dependent economies, with 40 percent of jobs in the state directly or indirectly tied to trade. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray says that's why she's breaking with Democratic leaders to support trade-promotion authority.

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Mary Dye chosen to replace Rep. Susan Fagan in 9th Legislative District

Mary Dye, a wheat farmer from Garfield County, is now a state representative in the 9th Legislative District. She was chosen Friday to replace Rep. Susan Fagan just a week after Fagan's resignation.

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Trade deficit soars as impact of port slowdown hits

America's trade deficit had its largest monthly increase since 1996 in March as the end of a months-long port dispute caused imports to surge into West Coast ports. Even so, the new trade gap of $51.4 billion is larger than economists had forecast, suggesting a contraction in the U.S. economy.
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Catherine Brazil hired as UW's Eastern Washington government affairs director

The University of Washington has hired Catherine Brazil as its government and community affairs director for Eastern Washington. Brazil, who has directed public affairs for the Cowles Co. since 2001, is active in AWB and is chair of AWB's Government Affairs Council. Read more »

Columbia Generating Station celebrates record-breaking run, goes offline for upgrades

The state's only nuclear power plant went offline Saturday for scheduled refueling and maintenance after a record 683 days of continuous generation that produced 18,000,000 megawatt hours of clean nuclear energy. After upgrades, the plant will be ready to produce even more power when it comes back online this summer.
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Walmart to open its doors for "Made in the USA" open call and U.S. manufacturing summit

American manufacturers, from mom-and-pops to the largest firms, can pitch their products directly to senior Walmart executives July 7-8. Current and prospective suppliers might have their products picked to be sold at Walmart, on and in Sam's Club locations.
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AWB Events & Resources

Webinar on public charter schools in Washington state to be held next Monday, May 18

Learn more about public charter schools in Washington in this May 18 webinar with Thomas Franta, CEO of the Washington Charter Schools Association.
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Labor law update on franchises, handbook policies, one-day strikes and ambush elections

As unions file 140 petitions for 'ambush elections' under a new NLRB rule, AWB will offer an update on the latest in NLRB decisions and labor law on May 28. Register today for this educational webinar.

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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.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Is Washington Losing Its Edge?

They Said It

Car Guys vs. Bean Counters

"Passion and drive for excellence will win over the computer-like, dispassionate, analysis-driven philosophy every time." ~ Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors, who will give the keynote address Tuesday evening at the AWB Spring Meeting in Spokane.

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Everyone Would Pay for a Carbon Tax

Carbon Tax Economic Analysis: A Second Opinion

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

... both reports find that Washington is, in fact, making true progress towards reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Our per capita GHG emission rate is now 36% below the national average and has been on a downward trend over the last 10 years -- despite growth in the economy and population. 

Both analyses show that the governor's plan will immediately raise the price of gas by $.11 per gallon -- $.41 increase above projections over time -- and raise costs of natural gas by 22 percent above projections over time. Despite his rhetoric about targeting only "big polluters," the Governor's own analysis shows every Washington family will be paying more for energy. ...

Click here to read the full post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
Trade Matters

Washingtonians need Pacific free trade pact

By The News Tribune

If you live in Washington, your community depends on international trade.

The state exported an estimated $90 billion worth of goods last year, according to the feds, and exports supported more than 390,000 jobs. Many of those are high-wage union jobs -- Boeing machinists, for example, and longshore workers at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.

The state is home to at least 12,000 exporters, most of them small- to medium-sized businesses. Per capita, Washington benefits more from trade than any other state. ...

Click here to read the full column in The News Tribune
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