January 11, 2016
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Top Stories

Department of Ecology releases draft carbon cap rule

Last week, the state Department of Ecology released its official draft carbon cap limit. Meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the rule will raise the cost of doing business and living in Washington. Read more »

Legislative session kicks off today

This year's short legislative session began today and is scheduled to last for just 60 days. Items on the docket include continuing to reform education spending and fixing the voter-approved charter school law. AWB's government affairs team will continue to bring the employer perspective to Olympia and convene discussions to find solutions.
Read more »

Minimum wage and safe/sick leave initiative filed with Secretary of State today

A proposed ballot initiative introduced this morning would increase the statewide minimum wage to $13.50 an hour, phased in over four years. The initiative would also require employers to provide at least seven days of paid sick and safe leave each year. Read more »

Lawmakers propose charter school fixes

Two bipartisan proposals have already emerged to fix Washington's voter-approved public charter school initiative, addressing issues brought up by the state Supreme Court in its late-summer ruling that invalidated the state's public charter schools. Read more »

Eight days until Legislative Summit and Hill Climb. Register now to be heard!


A top economist from Zillow will be a keynote speaker at next week's Legislative Day & Hill Climb. Are you one of the more than 300 employers, lawmakers and special guests to have already registered? This year's AWB Legislative Day will include an afternoon trip to the Capitol and a time to meet with individual lawmakers. Reserve your spot today. Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

PBT Work Group to meet this Friday

AWB's PBT Work Group Committee will meet this Friday at 10 a.m. at AWB. Discussion topics include: update to the PFAS Chemical Action Plan, an update on the Department of Ecology's plan to rewrite the PBT rule, and the Children's Safe Product Act. Contact Connie Grande for call-in information or Brandon Houskeeper to learn more about the committee.



Advisor to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray will speak at AWB on Wednesday about Every Child Succeeds Act

Sarah Bolton, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's education policy advisor, will speak at AWB this Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. She will give an overview on the Every Student Succeeds Act, the newly-enacted federal law that replaces the No Child Left Behind Act. She will also discuss the recently-enacted federal budget. Read more »

Other News

As President Obama vetoes ACA repeal, millions choose IRS fines as more affordable than health insurance

President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Meanwhile, millions of uninsured Americans are deciding that paying a fee to the IRS for violating the ACA's insurance purchase mandate is cheaper than buying health insurance.
Read more »

Changing faces: Rep. McDermott retires from U.S. House; new lawmakers appointed to Legislature

The new year begins with new faces in Olympia and candidates emerging for open positions. From Congress to the statehouse, races are emerging as the election year officially begins. Meanwhile, a new Elway poll finds a tight margin in the campaign for governor: "Gov. Jay Inslee has a race on his hands," pollster Stuart Elway wrote in the survey released last week.
Read more »

Bertha digs into fresh soil again for the first time in more than two years

The Highway 99 deep-bore tunneling machine dug into fresh soil for the first time in 25 months last week. The big digging machine known as Bertha resumed its trek underneath downtown Seattle after two years of repairs, retrofitting and rescue via a waterfront pit.
Read more »

Employers eligible for Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring hard-to-place job seekers

A federal tax credit means that employers could reduce their federal tax bill up to $9,600 per new hire for giving a chance to prospective employees who might ordinarily have a hard time getting a job. Eligible groups include people on public assistance, needy or disabled veterans, non-veterans with disabilities and felons while on work release or shortly after being released from prison.
Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

AWB Webinar: Become an insider; navigating the Legislature online and in person, this Wednesday

AWB's new "Webinar Wednesdays" begin this 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 »

Laminated workplace posters now available for purchase or download

As a service and convenience to members, AWB again has updated copies of the federal and state workplace posters that must be posted in Washington workplaces. The posters have been fully updated for 2016. 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

TWEET OF THE WEEK



They Said It

A Time for Bipartisanship

"We are an absolutely split legislative body right now. So what we put forward has to necessarily reflect conservative values as well as progressive values." ~ Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island.




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Costly Carbon Cap Sends Money Elsewhere


Ecology's Carbon Rule: A Money Transfer from Washington to California and Wall Street

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

Washington is one of the lowest-carbon states in the nation when it comes to emissions from road vehicles, electricity generation, manufacturing, or commercial and residential buildings. A combination of forward-thinking policies and innovation has reduced our carbon emissions below what they were in 1990 and created a clear and downward trend into the future. We fully expect the state to meet its emissions goals for 2020, which is to have Greenhouse Gas emissions reduced to 1990 levels. All of us -- families, farmers, workers and employers -- are invested in protecting our environment, and it shows in the many ways this success has been achieved.

The reality of this makes Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed carbon cap all the more puzzling. A year ago, he submitted a cap and trade proposal to the Washington State Legislature that would have created a $1.3 billion energy tax on Washington consumers. His most ardent supporters in the Capitol saw the problems with implementing this policy, and his proposal failed to even get a vote.

Click here to read the full blog post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
The TPP is Good for Washington

Ratify Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact

By The Herald Editorial Board

More than 40 percent of all jobs in the state are tied to trade, reports the Washington Council on International Trade. The state Department of Commerce reports that state exports topped $90.5 billion in 2014, a 10 percent increase over 2013. On a per capita basis, the state agency says, Washington state is the nation's largest exporter.

Washington state and many of its businesses and workers now also stand to benefit following the completion this fall of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries, the largest trading partners being Japan, Australia, Canada and Mexico. President Barack Obama is expected to put the pact before Congress later this year for either its approval or its rejection.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Herald
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