January 4, 2016
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Top Stories

Carbon Washington submits signatures to put revenue-neutral carbon tax before Legislature, voters

Despite heavy lobbying from liberal groups, Carbon Washington submitted its final batch of signatures last week, bringing its revenue-neutral carbon tax before the 2016 Legislature and likely then on to voters.  

Read more »

2016 legislative session begins Jan. 11, AWB Legislative Day & Hill Climb set for Jan. 19

It's go time. The Legislative session begins next Monday. It's scheduled to be a short one, but last year's record-setting marathon suggests that the coming weeks are unlikely to be easy. Fortunately, one simple way to get involved is to register for the AWB Legislative Day & Hill Climb, Jan. 19.   Read more »

Gov. Jay Inslee rolls out 2016 supplemental budget proposal that includes new, higher taxes

Gov. Jay Inslee kicked off the 2016 budgetary discussion with the release of his draft supplemental budget late last year. He would expand taxes on employers and consumers to pay for spending increases. The Legislature will take up the debate when the Legislative session begins next Monday.   Read more »

Labor groups teeing up 2016 minimum wage, paid leave initiative; Seattle's wage rises to $13 per hour

Unions and billionaire activists are preparing for a statewide initiative that would increase the minimum wage and mandate safe/sick leave for employees. Meanwhile, Seattle's minimum wage increased again Jan. 1 as part the citywide ordinance to raise the local minimum wage to $15 per hour.   Read more »

'Washington's Working Waterfronts' featured in new edition of Washington Business magazine

The latest edition of Washington Business magazine is out! The winter 2016 edition includes a look at Washington's working waterfronts, highlighting the crucial but neglected pillar of our state's economy: trade.

Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

Employment Law Committee meeting Wednesday

The AWB Employment Law Committee meeting is scheduled to meet Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. The group will discuss several important issues that have been raised during the interim, including minimum wage and predictive scheduling. For call-in options, contact Connie Grande. For more information on the agenda, contact Government Affairs Director Bob Battles.

Land Use and Construction Committee will meet Thursday

The AWB Land Use and Construction Committee meets Thursday at 9 a.m. The group will cover vesting, building codes, hydraulic project approval (HPA), and general issues in the upcoming legislative session. For call-in options, contact Connie Grande. For more information on the agenda, contact Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis.

Education & Workforce Training Committee to meet Thursday

The AWB Education & Workforce Training Committee will meet this Thursday at 10:30 at AWB. Contact Tommy Gill for call-in options or Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson for details on the meeting itself.

Tax & Fiscal Policy Council meeting this Thursday

The AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council will meet from 1:30-4 p.m. at AWB. Several lawmakers will be there to give presentations and discuss fiscal matters likely to come before the Legislature this year. For more information, contact Government Affairs Director Eric Lohnes. For call-in information, contact Connie Grande.

Other News

Todd Mielke taking over as CEO of Greater Spokane, Inc.

Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke will step down from his elected position to become the new leader of Greater Spokane Incorporated. Mielke was the top choice from a field of 20 candidates and six finalists to lead GSI.   Read more »

TVW to host open house Jan. 13 to show off upgraded equipment, technology

The public's eye into the Legislature is open for a public tour on Wednesday, Jan. 13, during an open house at TVW.   Read more »

State Treasurer Jim McIntire won't run for third term

Second-term state Treasurer Jim McIntire will not run for a third term in the statewide office. The Democrat said he wants to spend his final year in office focusing on protecting the state's credit rating and helping reform state education funding.   Read more »

No bids on state's request for proposals to create All-Payer Claims Database

AWB supported legislation last year to create a database of health care costs, yet testified with concerns on the financial sustainability of the project based on the limited revenue sources in the law. Now a request for proposals to create the All-Payer Claims Database has come back with no bidders. It's a setback for a potential resource on health care costs intended to assist employers and employees.   Read more »

L&I eliminates filing fee for prevailing wage affidavits on contracts under $750

Employers submitting prevailing wage affidavits for contracts under $750 will no longer be subject to a $40 filing fee, the Department of Labor & Industries has announced.   Read more »

777X wing center robotics arrive, being tested

A Mukilteo company is testing the 175-foot robots that it built to help set the carbon-fiber material that will be used in the advanced wings on the new Boeing 777X.   Read more »

U.S. Chamber accepting nominations for Small Business of the Year

Are you, or do you know of, a small business owner that's making a big impact in its community? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award. Winners and finalists will be honored June 14 during America's Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.   Read more »

Janicki Bioenergy water from waste invention chosen as one of 2015 top innovations

The Janicki Bioenergy Omni Processor topped last year's "incredible innovations that improved the world," according to a list released by the tech website Mashable.   Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

AWB Forklift Safety: Train the trainer workshop this Thursday

AWB and Joe Teeples of We're Into Safey will offer a "train the trainer" forklift safety seminar from 8 a.m.-noon this Thursday. Register now to ensure that your workplace is safe and up-to-date on the latest regulations.

Read more »

AWB Webinar: Become an insider; navigating the Legislature online and in person, Jan. 13

AWB's new "Webinar Wednesdays" begin next week with a class on how to engage with lawmakers by testifying and navigating the Legislature's website. Register today for "Become an Insider: Navigating the Legislature Online and in Person." Read more »

Be heard! Register now open for the 2016 Legislative Day & 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.   Read more »

OSHA Compliance: Two-day course on avoiding hazards, compliance with regulations

A two-day course Feb. 2-3 will teach about OSHA and state rules (both Washington and Oregon). Joe Teeples of We're Into Safety will show how to avoid safety hazards, comply with state and federal regulations, and how to communicate risks to employees. Register here.   Read more »

Tweet of the Week

#TranspoNow



They Said It

Funding Education Without New Taxes

"It's true that lawmakers have more work to do to address education funding, but the last three legislative sessions have shown us that it's possible to increase K-12 education spending and even reduce the cost of public college tuition without resorting to tax increases." ~ AWB President Kris Johnson, responding to Gov. Jay Inslee's draft supplemental budget proposal.




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Monitoring Manufacturing

Manufacturing comeback still strong in Washington and nation

By Kris Johnson, AWB president

America's manufacturing comeback isn't over.

That's one of the findings from the 2015 Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor Report, an annual survey of manufacturing firms conducted by RSM, formerly known as McGladrey.

After suffering through years of decline, the resurgence that began in 2010 -- leading the country out of recession -- is still going strong with roughly 800,000 new manufacturing jobs added to the economy since then, according to the survey.

Click here to read the full column in The Wenatchee Business World
Spend it Wisely

Make the most of McCleary funding

By Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell

Washington state schools can be excellent and equitable.

That said, full funding alone will not solve these challenges. Without changing the ways money is allocated and used in schools, equity gaps are likely to stay the same and students are unlikely to receive dramatically better instruction.

How we use the money is important: If the new money isn't used in ways that make a real difference for kids, it could be another generation before a similar opportunity comes around.

With few exceptions, students haven't benefited much in states where courts have forced them to spend a lot more money. In New Jersey and New York, for example, it's hard to see what billions in new spending have done to raise graduation rates or close achievement gaps. Too often, higher spending levels lead to a more expensive, but not a higher-performing, school system.

Click here for the full op-ed in The News Tribune
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