July 7, 2015
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Top Stories

Despite governor's signature, Legislature's work on state operating budget incomplete

After months of overtime, the Legislature finally reached bipartisan agreement last Tuesday on a $38.2 billion two-year state budget. Gov. Jay Inslee signed it near midnight the same day, just in time to avoid a partial government shutdown. Fast forward to 6 a.m. July 1 in the state Senate where a budget-related education bill argument upended the newly-signed spending plan, leaving it $2 billion out of balance. Now, 10 days into the third special session, all eyes are on the Legislature to finish their work and adjourn for good this year.
Read more »

Lawmakers on the verge of approving statewide transportation package

Both chambers of the Legislature have approved a $16.1 billion transportation revenue bill, but the House stopped short of approving necessary bonding and spending bills last week after a dispute broke out in the Senate in the early-morning hours of July 1.
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State's capital construction budget waiting alongside state budget, transportation package

Before leaving town July 1, the Legislature approved a $3.9 billion capital construction budget that funds brick-and-mortar projects, park improvements and land acquisitions around the state, but like the transportation funding package, the bond bill required to make the budget work was left undone.
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Ex-Im Bank expires as Congress fails to act on reauthorization

Congress left town for the Independence Day holiday last week without renewing the Export-Import Bank's charter, which expired June 30. Inaction in Washington, D.C., on this critical federal agency could have a large impact on employers of all sizes in Washington state.
Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

Join us at AWB regional meetings Aug. 3-6

Meet with AWB's leadership and government affairs teams during our annual regional meetings the first week of August. It's a chance to share your perspective on Washington's business climate and hear updates from your business's advocates in Olympia.   Read more »

Other News

Judge rules in favor of association health plans

Last week, OIC's administrative law Judge George Finkle issued rulings in favor of associations and against Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler's interpretation of federal and state laws regarding association plan rating requirements.   Read more »

Washington senators push bill to help Tacoma, Seattle ports compete

The ability for the ports of Tacoma and Seattle to compete in the global import and export marketplace is critical to the state's economic health. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell last week introduced legislation aimed at keeping the ports competitive with Canada's expanding British Columbia port operations.   Read more »

Feds poised to expand overtime eligibility

The White House has proposed making all salaried workers who earn up to $50,000 annually eligible for overtime pay, expanding the number of workers eligible for overtime pay by five million.    Read more »

Tacoma chamber, employers mount educational "Know 15" campaign on local minimum wage push

The movement by Tacoma activists to increase the city's minimum wage immediately to $15 per hour has set in motion action by the Tacoma City Council. It also prompted local businesses and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce to take up the job of educating voters on the economic blow the immediate wage hike would deliver to a fragile economy.
Read more »

STEM jobs at heart of 21st century's jobs-driven economy and the skills gap debate

Growth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM ) jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs over the past decade, according to an article published by Media Planet last week. It also reports that 71 percent of all jobs in the U.S will require STEM skills by 2018, furthering the ongoing debate on how schools and post-secondary education is helping close the skills gap.   Read more »

U.S. Supreme Court rules on EPA power regs, set to hear public sector union dues case

Federal regulators must consider the costs to employers before issuing new air quality regulations, according a landmark Supreme Court ruling last week that is important to manufacturers. The high court also agreed to hear a case next year on the constitutionality of whether public-sector unions can impose mandatory fees on non-members.   Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Alan Mulally, former CEO of Ford and Boeing Commercial Airplanes, to give Policy Summit keynote

Register now for this year's Policy Summit to hear from Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford Motor Co. and Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He will give the keynote address at the year's biggest business policy gathering, Sept. 15-17 at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum.
Read more »

THIS WEEK: Succession planning fundamentals seminar details how to transition ownership

When transitioning your company to the next generation, your family can't afford to make any mistakes. Learn how to maximize the value of your business, minimize the tax burden of the transition, and create the legacy you want during a seminar this Thursday in Bellevue.
Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Trend Setting



They Said It

Unfinished Business

"The Senate needs to pass the bill we sent over that delays implementation of I-1351 for 4 years." ~ Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. The bill to delay I-1351 failed in the Senate in the early morning hours of July 1 and created a $2 billion budget gap in the 2015-17 state operating budget signed by Gov. Jay Inslee June 30.




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Ex-Im Bank Critical to Economy


Here are the jobs Congress just put in jeopardy by nixing the Ex-Im Bank

By the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Our representatives in Washington sat idly by this month and watched the Export-Import Bank's charter expire for the first time in 80 years, not even allowing for a vote to save an agency the helps thousands of American firms sell their products around the world.
Click here to read the full blog post on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website
State Budget in Limbo


A monkey wrench from Olympia's Senate Democrats

By The News Tribune editorial board

Washingtonians last November chose not to let Democrats control the state Senate. After what happened in Olympia early Wednesday morning, it's hard to quarrel with the voters' verdict.

On Tuesday, the Legislature appeared on the verge of major bipartisan achievements. After months of wrangling that led to three overtime sessions, the Democratic majority of the House of Representatives and Republican majority of the Senate had settled on a surprisingly good operating budget, a solid construction budget, plus a roads-and-transit package that required a hard tax vote from many Senate Republicans.

But after all of it had seemingly come together, the Senate's minority Democrats suddenly threw a wrench into the gears....
Click here to read the full editorial in The News Tribune
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