December 7, 2015
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Key Hearings/Meetings Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Ex-Im Bank renewal passes Congress, Obama signs into law

Renewal of the Export-Import Bank was included in a comprehensive new federal transportation package. The four-year renwal of the bank is good news for Washington, the largest user of the bank's export credit guarantees.
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Congress passes first federal highway bill in nearly a decade

Congress last week approved the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a five-year reauthorization of the federal highway transportation trust fund.

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Gov. Inslee visits AWB, takes questions from Executive Committee

The AWB Executive Committee had the chance to ask questions and share the employer perspective with Gov. Jay Inslee last week. Inslee surprised many members of the group by saying he believes employers have done "nothing" since 2008 to address climate change. That's despite plenty of data showing declines in the state's business-related carbon emissions through collaboration, innovation and voluntary green measures. Read more »

Capitol aglow after Secretary of State leads lighting of the Holiday Kids' Tree

One of the biggest crowds in memory filled the Capitol Rotunda on Friday for the lighting of the Holiday Kids' Tree. Firefighters from this year's record wildfires, with their families, lit the tree. Generous AWB members and individuals donated more than $26,000 to needy families in rural fire districts around the state, helping Christmas happen in homes where it otherwise would not be financially feasible. Read more »

Bipartisan support growing for charter schools fix

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are adding their voices to those of the students and parents who have called on the Legislature to "fix this mess" by amending the voter-approved public charter school initiative after the state Supreme Court overturned it based on a century-old court ruling. Read more »

U.S. Reps. Kilmer, Herrera Beutler urge insurance commissioner to support Association Health Plans

Association Health Plans, or AHPs, are vital to thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of employees, according to a bipartisan letter two members of Washington's congressional delegation sent last week to Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. Reps. Derek Kilmer and Jaime Hererra Beutler urged Kreidler to support AHPs. Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

Sen. Randi Becker will speak to AWB Health Care Committee Tuesday

The AWB Health Care Committee will meet Tuesday 10:30-11:30 a.m. at AWB. Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, chair of the Senate Health Care Committee, will speak to the group. After her presentation the group will discuss proposed 2016 legislation. Contact Sheri Nelson to learn more about AWB's health care and insurance advocacy or Connie Grande for meeting call-in options.

Other News

L&I confirms 2 percent average rate increase, nearly double what's required

While Oregon proposes reducing its workers' comp rates by 5 percent, Washington's Department of Labor & Industries confirmed last week that it will raise rates next year by an average of 2 percent. That's nearly double what would be required to keep the fund strong. Read more »

Supreme Court: SeaTac minimum wage applies to airport workers

The state's highest court will not reconsider its August ruling that the voter-approved $15 minimum wage in SeaTac applies to airport workers. The decision leaves few legal options for employers who had said the city does not have the legal ability to dictate pay inside the airport, which is run by a separate governmental agency, the Port of Seattle. Read more »

Carbon tax initiative headed to the Legislature, and likely then to voters

Initiative 732, which would tax carbon emissions and lower the state sales tax, has enough voter signatures to go before the Legislature, supporters said last week. After consideration by the Legislature, the measure is likely to go before voters in some form next fall. Read more »

PNNL receives Department of Energy grants to research clean energy solutions

From supercomputer control of the green energy grid to harvesting seaweed for biofuel, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will pursue cutting-edge technologies to make energy cleaner and more efficient with new funding from the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy. Read more »

Postman takes over as chief of staff in governor's office

Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week that his top spokesman, former newspaper reporter David Postman, has been promoted to chief of staff. The governor's former chief of staff, longtime advisor Joby Shimomura, is stepping down to resume her former career as a glass artist.
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AWB Events & Resources

This Thursday: Learn how to transition ownership of your company at Succession Planning Fundamentals

Kristofer Gray, CFP, and Paul Hajek will examine many of the common challenges affecting business owners on the subject of succession planning and implementation at a seminar that will take place at Davis Wright Tremaine offices in Seattle at 10 a.m. this Thursday. The last seminar was filled to capacity, so reserve your spot today.
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Registration open for 2016 Legislative Day and Hill Climb

The Hill Climb is back! AWB's 2016 legislative summit will include a trip to the Capitol and a time to meet with individual lawmakers. That's in addition to the regular slate of legislative leaders and policy makers, as well as employers and AWB's policy experts. Reserve your spot today.
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RESCHEDULED: Feb. 16 seminar, Employment at Will in Washington -- Dead or Alive?

On Feb. 16, join Karen Galipeau Forner, founder and managing member of K-Solutions Law in Bellevue, for a two-hour seminar at AWB on helping employers understand "at-will" employment, including best workplace practices to minimize discrimination claims.
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Tweet of the Week

Washington is Already a Climate Leader

They Said It

Saving Public Charter Schools

"Charter schools represent a path forward for some students who are underserved by our current educational system." ~
Rep. David Sawyer, D-Tacoma. Sawyer is one of a growing group of Democrats announcing support for public charter schools, including a legislative fix to ensure that the voter-approved 2012 charter schools initiative can continue offering innovative options for Washington's students.

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Becoming a Top Ten State

Opportunities begin here in Washington state

By AWB President Kris Johnson and Washington Roundtable President Steve Mullin

The central Puget Sound region and Washington have long been a center of global trade.

A look behind the numbers, however, reveals that many Washingtonians are falling behind. And far too many young people fail to get the education they need to succeed and compete for great jobs being created by Washington employers.
Click here to read the full op-ed from Kris Johnson and Steve Mullin
Investing in Jobs

Boeing incentives are good for WA

By Rob McKenna

We're not talking about tax giveaways here; they're incentives to keep incredibly valuable airplane manufacturing right here in Washington. Our state benefits enormously from Boeing's presence. Just ask governors and business leaders in other states -- they'd love to have even a fraction of Boeing's high-tech manufacturing jobs in their states.

That's why it's somewhat amusing to see the showy handwringing in Olympia recently about these incentives. The tax incentive package passed overwhelmingly in a special session in November 2013 precisely because most state leaders grasp that the economic activity Boeing produces, the high-paying jobs it provides, and the taxes it generates far outweigh the theoretical value of the tax incentives.

Simply put, the incentives are a good deal for the state of Washington -- no handwringing needed.
Click here to read the full blog post at Smarter Government Washington
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