March 28, 2016
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Top Stories

Senate back in session today and House members return Tuesday as budget deal reportedly reached

Lawmakers are saying today that they are nearing a budget deal, and expect to have an announcement this afternoon.In a sign that the deal is real, legislative floor debate resumed today, more than halfway through the overtime session. A budget vote could come Tuesday. Throughout negotiations, Senate Republicans have held firm on the state's four-year balanced budget law, saying it ensures fiscal discipline and prevents against future budget deficits.
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Inslee signs transportation-related bills to keep 2015 package rolling

The bipartisan spirit that led to Washington's 2015 transportation package was on display again Friday when lawmakers from both sides of the aisle joined Gov. Jay Inslee as he signed transportation bills, including the supplemental transportation budget that keeps last year's package fully on track.
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Inslee 'walking a tightrope' on public charter schools

The bipartisan bill that saves Washington's public charter schools will automatically become law on April 2 unless Inslee signs -- or vetoes -- it by then. Vetoeing the bill could have major political repercussions for Inslee's party in November, reporter Jerry Cornfield writes -- including loss of Democratic control in the state House of Representatives. Read more »

State's snowpack looks strong

After two years of wildfire and drought, Washington's snowpack looks good as spring begins. All of the state's basins are reporting snowpacks near or above 100 percent, according to new reports. A year ago, some were as low as 20-40 percent. Read more »

This week, thank a Vietnam veteran

Vietnam veterans will be honored Tuesday at events in Seattle and Spokane, and Wednesday is the state's official Welcome Home Vietnam Vetarans Day. As an official partner of the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration, AWB offers its thanks and recognition to all those who served during the Vietnam War. Read more »

Other News

Tri-City Regional Chamber gives first-ever honorary 'Key to the Region' to AWB President Kris Johnson

AWB President Kris Johnson received the first-ever honorary "Key to the Region" award from the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce last week for being "a catalyst to success." Johnson led the Tri-Cities chamber when it regionalized 10 years ago, and was among the hundreds of attendees at a 10-year celebration in Kennewick. Read more »

SEL to add 850 jobs as part of major expansion in Pullman

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories is adding 200,000 square feet of research and development and production space at its Pullman campus, and will be adding 850 jobs there over the next few years. The $23 million construction project will house engineers, software developers, technicians and more for an additional $50 million in annual payroll.
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Analysis: 'Why Obamacare's tax credits failed small businesses'

Six years after the Affordable Care Act was enacted, very few companies are taking advantage of tax breaks designed to make health insurance more affordable. What happened? Basically, the tax credits were too complicated to figure out and too small to make it worthwhile, The Business Journals report. Read more »

Port of Seattle looks at land redevelopment to keep industry, living wages in Seattle

The Port of Seattle is looking at ways to harness its industrial property for economic benefit, including a focus on shipbuilding and repair on property in the Interbay region just north of downtown Seattle. The goal: ensure blue-collar living-wage jobs in a gentrifying city.
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WSU hires new president: Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University

Kirk Schultz, president of Kansas State University since 2009, has been hired to lead Washington State University. Schultz will officially take over WSU in June, a year after the death of former WSU President Elson Floyd. Read more »

Passages: Former state Rep. John McKibbin

John McKibbin, a longtime Vancouver-area public servant, real estate developer and civic activist, died last week in an airplane crash. Described as one of Clark County's leading citizens, McKibbin was active in the Greater Vancouver Area Chamber of Commerce and Identity Clark County.
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Call for nominations: Help bring more great business leaders to AWB's board of directors

AWB is accepting nominations for leaders to join our Board of Directors. Nominations are due by this Friday, April 1, with elections held at the June 15 Spring Meeting in Spokane. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

AS9100 Rev D: What's New and What are the Impact of the Changes?

Attention management and quality managers: Learn about the impacts of the restructured AS9100 standard on current Quality Management Systems at an April 7 seminar in SeaTac. AWB is hosting one of the first seminars on the new changes to the AS9100 Rev D, giving attendees the first chance to be up-to-date on the required standards.
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ADA Reasonable Accommodations -- Best Practices for Employers to Avoid Liability

Learn how to navigate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act during a May 5 seminar in Seattle with Selena Smith, an employment law attorney and partner with David Grimm Payne & Marra. Register online today! Read more »

April 13: Employment Law Webinar Series #2: Employee Handbook, Insurance and Benefits

The second in a six-part Employment Law Webinar series takes place April 13 and will cover the important topics of employee handbooks, insurance and benefits. Now is the time to register to get your business in top HR shape for 2016 and qualify for continuing education credits.
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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 »

AWB Institute

Employers sought to host internships for community college STEM students

Would you like to connect with up-and-coming engineering and STEM students? The AWB Institute is looking for employers to provide internships for community college students through Washington MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement). This is a great way to support the workforce of the future -- and connect with valuable potential future employees.
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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.
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Tweet of the Week

A Key Supporter

They Said It

These Regs Will Crush Your Bracket -- and Business

"While NCAA March Madness extends about a week into April, the Obama administration's regulatory madness continues year-round, and it's particularly clobbering the Cinderellas of our economy -- small businesses." ~ the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, listing its "Fatal Five" burdensome new regulations that are poised to put a drag on the economy.

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Public Charter Schools Are Working

Gov. Inslee should sign charter school bill, let students achieve their dreams

By Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle

As a state, we cannot let go of our ability to lift hardworking people out of poverty. We must do everything within our power to ensure public education remains a powerful ladder to success for every child in Washington. We cannot allow the leaders and innovators of future generations to slip through the cracks simply because we were too stuck in our ways to create the change we know they needed.

ESSSB 6194, a bill to keep Washington's public charter schools open for the long-term and an option for all communities across the state, now sits on Inslee's desk awaiting his signature. The bill, which passed both houses of the Legislature with bipartisan support, provides excellent educational opportunities for hundreds of students today, and potentially thousands of students in the future. ...

I have heard some of my fellow legislators who oppose ESSSB 6194 say we either need to fix every problem in public education for every student in Washington or do nothing at all. I urge the governor to reject such false choices.

I urge the governor to sign the charter-school bill, which would keep these students on the path to achieving their dreams and build upon Washington's foundation of innovation and accountability in public education.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Washington Employers Are Leading the Way

Something old and something new: How Seattle's viaduct is being recycled in the tunnel

By Richard D. Oxley,

Parts of Seattle's viaduct may be torn down, but in a way, those parts won't truly be gone.

Nucor, the state's largest metal recycler, takes scrap steel from portions of the torn down Alaskan Way Viaduct through downtown Seattle and forges it into new product.

The recycling effort is currently featured in a commercial produced by the Association of Washington Business...

Click here to read the full story at
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