September 28, 2015
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Top Stories

Proposed workers' comp rate increase announced; L&I director to meet with AWB to discuss

The Department of Labor & Industries has proposed a 2 percent average rate increase for 2016. This is double the rate needed to break even, and contrasts with a more than 5 percent cost reduction coming to Oregon's workers' compensation system.
Read more »

Chinese president visits Washington, talks with tech leaders, inks deal for 300 Boeing jets

The leader of China visited Seattle, Everett, Redmond and Tacoma last week. While in the Puget Sound area he talked with industry leaders and made some big announcements. Read more »

Cities, counties, employers begin tallying costs of carbon cap

The Department of Ecology is reaching out with information as it begins to formulate a new statewide carbon cap. Meanwhile, cities, counties and employers have begun to tabulate the cost of these new caps -- and whether any benefits are worth the costs. Read more »

Attorney general asks Supreme Court to reconsider charter school ruling; state to continue funding public charters in the meantime

Amid growing bipartisan support for public charter schools, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday formally asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling decreeing the voter-approved schools are unconstitutional. Meanwhile, state payments to these new public charter schools continue until the Supreme Court finalizes its ruling.
Read more »

Online rewind: Look over the highlights of Policy Summit with new video, blog posts, photo gallery

There's more to see online this week from the sold-out Policy Summit, including a video of highlights, new blog posts, and a photo gallery. From Alan Mulally's leadership lessons to John Zogby's prediction of who will actually be on the major party presidential tickets, check out our new roundup of the 2015 Policy Summit.
Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

Drought response coordinator to speak at AWB Water Resources Committee this Wednesday

Jeff Martie, the state Department of Ecology's drought coordinator, will speak to the AWB Water Resources Committee this Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the AWB conference room. He'll provide an update on the statewide drought situation, including how DOE is spending the emergency funding appropriated by the Legislature. The committee will also discuss the upcoming 2016 legislative session and continue the conversation on the water infrastructure funding bill. Contact Connie Grande for call-in information or Mike Ennis to learn more.

L&I Director Joel Sacks to meet with Worker's Comp Committee on Friday

Joel Sacks, director of the Department of Labor & Industries, will meet with AWB's Workers' Compensation Committee to discuss his department's proposed 2 percent average rate increase and answer member questions this Friday from 1-3 p.m. Contact Connie Grande for call-in information or Bob Battles to learn more.

Other News

Deadline extended: Nominations for 2015 Manufacturing Excellence Awards

You have until the close of business Oct. 1 to submit nominations for the 2015 AWB Manufacturing Excellence Awards. Nominate your business today! Read more »

Seattle elections ballot measure would increase property taxes to publicly fund elections

A so-called "fair elections" initiative in Seattle would create vouchers that voters could give for candidates of their choice to collect public funds from an increased property tax. It's an idea that creates room for unintended consequences and potential abuse. Read more »

Labor unions: 'Support for fuel terminals is support for state's workers'

The presidents of two labor councils penned an op-ed last week urging policy makers and their fellow union members to support bulk export terminals in Bellingham and Vancouver. Whether exporting coal, oil, wheat or other commodities, these proposed terminals are key upgrades to the region's vital export-import architecture, the labor leaders write.
Read more »

Senators to hold education funding open house discussions around the state

Members of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee will cross the state beginning this week and the public is invited to meet with them for discussions of how to reform the state's education levy and school funding system. Read more »

Washington Council on International Trade hosting conference this week in Seattle

A breakfast presentation from the Washington Council on International Trade will focus on international taxation and trade policy this Wednesday in Seattle. Read more »

TVW honored for its statewide journalism

Washington's public affairs television station received a number of awards this month for its programming.
Read more »

Calculator: How much does the skills gap really cost?

Finding quality workers costs time and money. Training them to do the job right takes even more. With a growing shortage of skilled workers, how much is the skills gap costing your company? A new online calculator can give you an estimate. Read more »

State personnel changes: PDC has new leader, Department of Corrections head stepping down

Tacoma attorney Evelyn Fielding Lopez has been named as the new leader of the Public Disclosure Commission. Meanwhile, the head of the state Department of Corrections is stepping down to run a private corrections and job-training company. Read more »

Study: health insurance deductibles, not premiums, show heavy increases

While employee health insurance premiums aren't rising as quickly as in the past, more companies are shifting to plans that have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket payments, according to a new survey of employer health benefits. Read more »

Spokane to host inaugural U.S. Figure Skating Team Challenge Cup

The Spokane Arena will host the 2016 Team Challenge Cup, a three-day tournament featuring 42 of the top figure skaters in the world. Olympia champion skaters made the announcement last week during the annual meeting of Greater Spokane Inc. Read more »

Manufacturing Day is this Friday

Manufacturing Day, an annual celebration of modern manufacturing, takes place this Friday. Read more »

Highlights from the new edition of AWB's magazine

The summer edition of Washington Business magazine has been mailed to members and is available to peruse online. Flip through for our in-depth look at the value of the U.S. military to our state's economy, what's new with Washington Business Week, a tutorial on levy reform and much more. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Monday, Oct. 5 webinar: The Future of Public Charter Schools in Washington State

The CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association will conduct a webinar next Monday to discuss the future of public charter schools after the Supreme Court's recent ruling that public charter schools are unconstitutional. Read more »

Tuesday, Oct. 20: The Rights and Responsibilities of Being an Employer: Avoid Wage and Hour Claims, Create an Employment Handbook that Works for You and Build Loyalty within Your Team

Mona McPhee, director of litigation at Desh International and Business Law, will present a two-hour seminar Tuesday, Oct. 20, geared toward helping business leaders, payroll personnel and human resource managers watch the bottom line while building a culture of teamwork. Registration is now open! Read more »

Tuesday, Nov. 3: Employment At-Will in Washington -- Dead or Alive?

What is the true definition of Employment At-Will in Washington state and, more importantly, what are its many exceptions? Learn what best practices your company should implement in order to minimize the chance of a discrimination claim. Register today! Read more »

Registrations open for Nov. 12 Manufacturing Summit in SeaTac

Registrations are now being accepted for the 2015 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.
Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Trade Brings Prosperity



They Said It

Saving Charter Schools


"There is definitely an energy to fix this right away." ~ Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, about the need and desire for a legislative fix to the Supreme Court's ruling that public charter schools are unconstitutional.




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Shared Goals: Clean Environment, Robust Economy

Inslee's carbon plan snuffs out progress

By Vicky Baxter, CEO of the Renton Chamber of Commerce, and Andrea Keikkala, CEO of the Kent Chamber of Commerce

There are few things we value more as Washingtonians than the natural beauty of our state. All of us have a responsibility to safeguard these gifts for future generations. That's why reducing carbon emissions has been a priority for government, employers and everyday citizens long before Jay Inslee was elected governor.
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ subscribers only)
'Big Emitters' Provide What We Want

Carbon limits ignore demand

By Tracy Warner, The Wenatchee World (as reprinted in The Daily News)

Of course, the headlines immediately called them the "big polluters." The state Department of Ecology announced Monday that, at the insistence of Gov. Jay Inslee and to meet goals set by the Legislature, it will begin the process of writing rules requiring "big polluters" cut their emissions of greenhouse gases over time.

Targeting "big polluters" sounds noble and wholesome. It's absolutely true that reducing carbon emissions is essential and in our long-term best interests and we should put our heads together to find a way to do that. It's also true that the "big polluters" are polluters only by the standards recently and rather arbitrarily set by federal and state governments, not because they emit sulfurous fumes and grit. They "pollute" by using heat and energy to produce products we all use every day, products we will not do without anytime soon.
Click here to read the full column
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