August 24, 2015
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Top Stories Key Hearings/Meetings Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Three firefighters killed, federal emergency declared as wildfires grow; how to help

The Obama administration has approved Gov. Jay Inslee's request to declare a state of emergency last week. The complex of wildfires in the Okanogan, at more than 400 square miles, has become the largest in state history. Meanwhile, the state mourned three firefighters killed in the line of duty. Read more »

Gov. Inslee to speak with AWB members about carbon limits this Wednesday

Gov. Jay Inslee will speak with AWB members this Wednesday about his recent executive action on carbon emission limits. Inslee will spend 45 minutes with AWB members, sharing his thoughts and answering questions about the new greenhouse gas rule being formulated by the Department of Ecology. Read more »

State Supreme Court upholds $15 minimum wage at Sea-Tac Airport

The voter-approved $15 minimum wage in the city of SeaTac will apply to businesses operating inside the airport, the Supreme Court decided last week in a 5-4 ruling. Employers could have to pay back wages in addition to the new minimum wage.
Read more »

Nineteen senators sign letter saying Supreme Court's latest McCleary order violates state Constitution

Saying "this extraordinary order presents a clear threat to our state legislature as an institution," 19 state senators released an open letter last week that says the Supreme Court's McCleary rulings, including its latest $100,000 fine, are unconstitutional. Not everyone agrees. Read more »

Space limited as Policy Summit registrations climb

There is still time to register for this year's Policy Summit, Sept. 15-17 at Suncadia Resort, but the event is nearing capacity. This year's speakers include Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford Motor Co. and Boeing Commercial Airplanes; longtime Seattle television sports personality Tony Ventrella, and renowned pollster John Zogby. Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Water Quality Committee to meet Sept. 10

The AWB Water Quality Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. in the AWB conference room. Draft discussion topics include the water quality rule, 2016 legislation and state listing policy. Contact Connie Grande for call-in information or Brandon Houskeeper for more on the contents of the meeting.

Other News

Sen. Dammeier announces he won't run for reelection to Legislature in 2016

The top Senate Republican on education issues won't run for reelection next year. Instead, Sen. Bruce Dammeier will run for the Pierce County executive post. Read more »

New report shows value of regulatory reform efforts and need for further work

Regulatory reform is a win-win for employers and taxpayers, according to a new report by the Washington Research Council that looks at a series of regulatory reform audits done over the last four years by the State Auditor's Office. A key finding: the state lacks a coordinated, strategic multi-agency approach. Read more »

Ex-Im Bank reauthorization is among many important tasks ahead for Obama and Congress

September will be a busy month for Congress and President Barack Obama. The to-do list is daunting, and one of the important items is re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank. Failure to support the 85-year-old bank is "unilateral disarmament" in the global trade struggle, writes one former senator and governor. Read more »

Washington health exchange gets new CEO, smaller staff; readies for payment shift

Pam MacEwan has been confirmed as the new interim CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. She'll take over later this month as the organization sees a smaller budget and staff reductions.
Read more »

Providence set to open up to 25 retail health clinics in Walgreens stores

Providence Health & Services, based in Renton, announced last week that it would open as many as 25 retail health clinics at Walgreens stores in Washington and Oregon. Read more »

Airport funding makes gains in Washington state

AWB joined aviation advocates in supporting a new policy that ensures 100 percent of aircraft excise taxes will go to support aviation infrastructure. That's up from just 10 percent before this year's successful reforms.
Read more »

2015 Manufacturing Excellence Awards: Nominate your company today

AWB and the AWB Institute are now accepting nominations for the 2015 Manufacturing Excellence Awards. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Save the date: Manufacturing Summit set for Nov. 12 in SeaTac

Mark your calendars for the 2015 AWB Manufacturing Summit. This year's celebration of "Made in Washington" innovation will be held from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Crowne Plaza in SeaTac. Contact AWB Director of Member Relations and Events Stephanie Hemphill to learn more about event and sponsorship opportunities.
Read more »

Tweet of the Week


They Said It


"These fires have burned a big hole in our state's heart."
~ Gov. Jay Inslee, mourning the three firefighters killed last week fighting Washington wildfires near Twisp. Tom Zbyszewski, 20; Andrew Zajac, 26; and Richard Wheeler, 31, were the first firefighter deaths from fighting wildfires in Washington since 2001.

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SHOP falls short

By Brendan Williams, a former deputy insurance commissioner and state representative

Rather than shop in a SHOP, the best option for small businesses would appear to be to continue to work with brokers they trust or try ACA-compliant group-purchasing agreements, such as professional employer organizations or association health plans.

The latter recently won a ruling in Washington state that they are consistent with ACA standards, after a hearing officer rebuked the insurance commissioner he works for. Unlike SHOP plans, businesses so consolidated ("As one big group," to quote the president) can actually enjoy economies-of-scale and a volume discount.

Click here to read the full column in The Hill

In Our View: Levies Must Be Addressed

By The Columbian Editorial Board

They buried the lead.

When the Washington Supreme Court ruled last week that the Legislature remains derelict in its duty of funding public education, the justices included an inexplicable footnote: "We offer no opinion on whether full state funding of basic education salaries must be accompanied by levy reform ... ."

This is in sharp contrast to the 2012 ruling in McCleary v. Washington, the case in which the court established its annual review of legislative action. At that time, justices highlighted the problems inherent with the state's system for funding education: "Districts with high property values are able to raise more levy dollars than districts with low property values, thus affecting the equity of a statewide system. Conversely, property-poor districts, even if they maximize their local levy capacity, will often fall short of funding a constitutionally adequate education. All local-level funding, whether by levy or otherwise, suffers from this same infirmity."

Click here to read the full editorial in The Columbian
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