February 22, 2016
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Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Priority Legislation Key Hearings/Meetings Other News AWB Events & Resources AWB Institute Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Democrats unveil plan to increase taxes and penalties on employers

House Democrats on Thursday unveiled a proposal to eliminate bipartisan tax incentives. That kind of proposal creates uncertainty in the employer community, hindering Washington's ability to retain jobs and compete for new employers, AWB said in response.
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AWB leads two panels during House testimony on carbon pricing

AWB brought the employer perspective to conversations Friday in the House on the carbon-taxing Initiative 732 and the general economic impacts of making electricity, fuel and natural gas more expensive through carbon pricing.
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State's top economist releases lower budget forecast for this biennium and next

The state's revenues will be $37.8 billion for the current two-year budget cycle, which is $78 million lower than previously forecast, the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council said last week. Looking ahead to the 2017-19 biennium, revenue forecasts are now projected to be $40.9 billion, which is $436 million lower than expected.
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Education funding bill becomes first law of the year to pass out of the Legislature

The Senate and House have both approved a plan to study solutions to Washington's education funding gap. Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the bill, which came out of the bipartisan task force he put together to move the Legislature toward a McCleary school funding solution.
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Priority Legislation

SB 6396: Senate approves limits on agency rule-making power

The Senate last week approved Senate Bill 6396, which would limit the power of state agencies by changing the way they make rules and requiring them to be both submitted to the attorney general for a ruling on their constitutionality and automatically expiring them after a year unless they are approved by the Legislature. Read more »

Senate passes much-needed reforms of State Building Code Council

The Senate has approved a plan to reform the State Building Code Council "by restoring accountability and transparency to the process of making Washington's rules for buildings," said bill sponsor Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard. Read more »

HB 2989 and SB 6661: Materials, supplies, and operating costs for career and technical education courses

A pair of bills that would establish the Basic Education Benefit Account to help pay for basic career and technical education course costs.
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Key Hearings/Meetings

Join AWB's Friday morning legislative update conference call

Want to learn what happened this week and what's ahead in the Legislature? Join AWB's 30-minute Friday Phone Briefing at 8 a.m. Our government affairs team offers a quick update on the week's legislative news and insights into what lawmakers will discuss in the week ahead. Read more »

Other News

Businessman Andrew Barkis appointed to fill open 2nd District House seat

Pierce and Thurston county leaders on Tuesday appointed Olympia-area businessman and AWB member Andrew Barkis to fill the 2nd District House seat vacated earlier this month by former Rep. Graham Hunt. The newly appointed Rep. Barkis began work immediately.
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Gov. Inslee orders changes to I-405 express toll lanes

Frustrations over express toll lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood have been growing for months. Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a plan to change the express lane configuration, which has extended wait times and confused drivers.
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Three Washington employers recognized in U.S. Chamber's DREAM BIG Blue Ribbon contest

Three businesses -- two of them AWB members -- are among the 100 finalists in the U.S. Chamber's DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year contest. Congratulations to the Mill Creek Pub in Battleground, Scratch and Peck Feeds in Bellingham, and Life Catalyst in Spokane.
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Fortune lists SEL as one of 15 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing and Production

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories just made Fortune's list of the 15 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing and Production for the second year in a row.
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Google's big expansion of Kirkland campus points to need for high-tech workforce development

More than 400 additional engineers will have space in the new 180,000-square-foot addition to Google's campus in Kirkland, doubling the size of its workforce there and adding to the 1,900 employees the company already has in Washington. The company's growth here, matched by other tech firms, points to the need to invest in computer science workforce development, U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene said at the ribbon-cutting.
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Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek shareholders approve merger

In separate meetings, shareholders of Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek Timber Co. have approved the $8.4 billion all-stock merger of the two companies. The combined firm will keep the Weyerhaeuser name and be based in Seattle.
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Vets4Energy has new website to connect job-seeking veterans with employers

Veterans have a new resource to help them connect with jobs that use the skills they acquired while serving their country. Vets4Energy is designed to match employers in the energy sector with veterans.
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Skills, Inc., celebrates 50 years of helping people with disabilities find great jobs

Since 1966, Skills, Inc., has been proving that disabilities are not a barrier to high performance. This employer is celebrating 50 years of enhancing the lives of people with disabilities by providing meaningful employment to make high-quality aerospace products.
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AWB Events & Resources

Register now for 2016 AWB Spring Meeting, including keynote speakers from CNN

Two popular CNN news commentators will give the keynote address at the AWB Spring Meeting in Spokane. The husband-and-wife team of John Avlon, a staunch political independent, and Margaret Hoover, a proud Republican, will take a wide-ranging look at the 2016 election. Register today for what is sure to be a sold-out event! Read more »

Employment law webinars offer full HR handbook, continuing ed credits

AWB and top Northwest employment law firms are partnering to offer a unique opportunity to learn the latest in human resources law. The six-part Employment Law Webinar Series will offer timely information, a binder and thumb drive with materials, and HR continuing education credits. The webinars can be purchased as a series until Feb. 29 for a discount, or on an individual basis.
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AWB Institute

Applications being accepted for Leadership Washington Class of 2017

The AWB Institute is now recruiting for the third class of Leadership Washington that will hold its first meeting at the AWB Policy Summit Sept. 13-15. Download an application or learn more at the all-new AWB Institute website.
Read more »

Tweet of the Week

The Weight of Regulation



They Said It

Washington's Long History of Green Energy


"The region's credentials as a low-carbon leader can have their own lucrative appeal to people, businesses and industries looking to relocate." ~ The Seattle Times editorial board.




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Powering the Future


Northwest power plan builds on efficiency, conservation

By The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

Since the Northwest Power and Conservation Council released its first plan in 1983, the region has reduced energy demand by about 6,500 megawatts, a little less than Grand Coulee Dam's maximum output. Yet the new plan says new or improved technologies like LED lights, batteries and heat pumps have the potential to save almost one-half again as much. ...

Environmental groups should find solace in the 22.2 million tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions eliminated thanks to the conservation measures the Northwest utilities have implemented. The region may not be where some, including Gov. Jay Inslee, would have us, but we have come a long way.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Spokesman-Review
Paying Other States for Carbon Allowances


Ecology's Unwilling Carbon Partners

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

Responding to the Governor's intense pressure to rush a carbon cap rule into place before this year's election, the Department of Ecology continues to push an unreasonable timeline. Their rushed rule is unraveling by the day.

In an effort to comply with the Governor's unreasonable timeline on his carbon cap rule, Ecology is cutting corners they don't normally cut. The more we look into this rule the more we find more reasons for concern.
Click here to read the full post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
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