April 4, 2016
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Top Stories

At last: Lawmakers pass budget, override vetoes, end 2016 legislative session

In a year that only required small adjustments to the two-year budget, the expectation was lawmakers would find agreement within the allotted 60 days and leave town. That didn't happen, but they did agree to a supplemental budget that does not raise any taxes.
Read more »

Charter schools safe after bipartisan bill goes into effect

For the first time since 1981, a bill in Washington became law without the governor's signature. Gov. Jay Inslee declined to sign the bipartisan bill to save Washington charter schools, but he stopped short of a veto. Having passed the Legislature, the bill saving Washington charter schools became law on Saturday. Read more »

AWB announces new employer excellence awards and Evening of Excellence awards presentation

AWB's tradition of recognizing employer excellence is growing! We have revised our awards and last week the AWB Events Team announced a new red-carpet awards event at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Nominate your business, or an employer in your community, and mark your calendar for Nov. 30 to join the state's top employers at the Evening of Excellence! Read more »

Carbon tax initiative headed for November ballot

The Legislature did not approve an alternative carbon tax proposal, so Initiative 732 will go to the ballot as written. The measure would tax carbon at $25 per metric ton, and increase that number over time. Tax rebates and cuts to the state's sales tax and B&O tax aim to offset the inevitable costs increases for gasoline, natural gas, energy, and manufactured products. Read more »

Voters likely to decide on $13.50 minimum wage initiative; employers and social service agencies already planning for cutbacks

An initiative that would raise Washington's minimum wage to $13.50 an hour is likely to go before voters this fall. Low-skill workers and teens will likely have fewer jobs available to them as a result, and social service agencies in the Seattle area are already cutting back as a rising minimum wage means they can employ -- and serve -- fewer people. Read more »

New 520 floating bridge dedicated; expansion 'a big win' for commuters

Gov. Jay Inslee cut the ribbon and the Guiness Book of World Records certified the expanded 520 floating bridge as the longest of its kind in the world during a weekend ceremony. All festivies aside, the bridge "is a big win for Seattle-area commuters" and heralds statewide improvements to crucial highway corridors. Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Transportation Committee to meet Tuesday at 10 a.m.

The AWB Transportation Committee will discuss two transportation initiatives, I-1421 and I-1454, during a meeting Tuesday, April 5, at AWB. This is part of AWB's process for taking positions on ballot measures.
Read more »

AWB Employment Law Committee to meet this Thursday at 10 a.m.

The AWB Employment Law Committee will discuss two possible minimum wage initiatives, I-1433 and I-1518, during a meeting Thursday, April 7, at AWB. This is part of AWB's process for taking positions on ballot measures. Read more »

AWB Health Care Committee to meet April 11

The AWB Health Care Committee will meet at AWB from 11 a.m.-noon on Monday, April 11, for the legislative year-end review and interim planning. Contact Sheri Nelson for agenda details or Connie Grande for call-in information.

Other News

'Strong advocacy' earns AWB President Kris Johnson Ex-Im Bank Chairman's Award

Officials from the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank will present AWB with the bank's Chairman's Award this Friday in recognition of the association's effort to reauthorize its charter. The award presentation will take place at the bank's annual Conference Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Read more »

Boeing to receive U.S. EPA's top environmental award

Boeing will have increased aircraft deliveries by more than 70 percent, and still expects to meet its 2017 goal of zero growth in greenhouse gas emissions over the last 10 years. For this, and many other environmental efforts, the company will receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's highest award, the 2016 Energy Partner of the Year.
Read more »

Alaska Airlines to acquire Virgin America for $2.6 billion

The Alaska Air Group agreed Sunday to buy the San Francisco-based Virgin America for $2.6 billion. The merger will make Alaska Airlines the fifth-largest airline in the country. The deal must still be approved by federal regulators, but with very little overlap between the two carriers, approval is expected later this year. Read more »

Google grant give community centers, affordable housing units in Seattle free WiFi

A $344k grant to the Seattle Housing Authority from Google will provide free WiFi to 800 Seattle K-12 students living in low-income housing and communities centers. The funds will be directed to five neighborhoods in and around the Seattle area. Read more »

Fifteen homeless shelters to close in Seattle

In the wake of a passionate debate in the Legislature about how to address homelessness, a Seattle nonprofit announced last week it will close more than a dozen shelters. There are many reasons for the shelters' closures, but The Seattle Times reports one reason cited is the higher minimum wage ushered in via a city-wide ordinance. Read more »

Governor signs bill creating 'economic gardening' pilot program

The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce was in town Friday for the signing of Senate Bill 6100, creating an economic gardening pilot project aimed at providing strategic business assistance services to young small- to medium-sized businesses. Read more »

Department of Revenue offering free tax workshop in Seattle this Wednesday

Business owners are responsible for knowing which taxes to report and pay. To help them understand the state's tax system, the Department of Revenue is offering a free workshop for new and small-business owners. The April 6 seminar will be held in Seattle. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

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

AWB has what you need to know for the latest changes to quality assurance systems at a seminar this Thursday in SeaTac. Register now to learn about the impacts of the restructured AS9100 standard on current Quality Management Systems. 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.
Read more »

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 »

Still time to register: Employee Handbook, Insurance and Benefits webinar on April 13

Employee handbooks, insurance and benefits are crucial for the success of your business. Hear the latest on these important employment law topics on April 13th during the second in AWB's six-part Employment Law Webinar series. Register now to get your business in top HR shape for 2016 and qualify for continuing education credits.
Read more »

Don't lose out on a seat at the table for the 2016 AWB Spring Meeting

Hear directly from top statewide candidates and hear the latest insights on the national campaign from two popular CNN news commentators, plus much more 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

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 whose 21st century skills are in demand.
Read more »

Nominate young employer-leaders to grow through AWB's Leadership Washington program

The AWB Institute is accepting nominations for the third class of Leadership Washington. This group of young business leaders will meet for the first time 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

Spring Fever



They Said It

Our Children Deserve Choices


"Our kids are not square pegs... They are lightning bolts and flower petals."
~ Chris Korsmo, CEO of the League of Education Voters, urging support for public charter schools, technical schools, apprenticeships, and other ways of expanding educational opportunities for all children.




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Trade Is the Cornerstone of Washington's Economy

Trans-Pacific Partnership paves way for growth at home

By Michael Senske, CEO, Pearson Packaging Systems

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement eliminates tariffs on every Washington-manufactured product exported to TPP countries. With over 500 manufacturing businesses in the Spokane region alone, employing over 15,000 Washington residents, the TPP would have a significant positive impact on the region.

Benefits to Washington manufacturers and workers not only include substantial tariff reductions but also improved standards for labor, environmental and intellectual property protection in TPP partner countries that will enable us to better compete with them.

As trade rules in the Pacific Rim and around the world are being rewritten, I urge other Spokane businesses and residents to join us in supporting a free-trade-oriented environment in which our economy can thrive and the standard of living for the families that we support continues to rise. Please support the TPP.
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
Budget Procrastination

What took so long for the Legislature to reach a budget deal?

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

The state Legislature deserves to be the butt of a familiar joke: They'd procrastinate, if only they could get around to it.

For the seventh time in three years, lawmakers treated the scheduled end of the legislative session like a yield sign, not a stop sign, and skidded straight into a special session. This time, it was 20 days of overtime, even though the stakes were low. Tuesday's agreement on a one-year supplement to the state's $38.2 billion two-year budget added less than one half of 1 percent.

The deal hewed to a familiar script since Republicans effectively took control of the Senate four years ago. Democrats, who control the House and governor's mansion, opened negotiations high, demanding new revenue. Republicans held the line on new taxes. They delay and delay before settling to the right of center, using budget gimmicks to paper over their differences...

That tough work has been kicked to next year. And it should beg this question for voters: If the hard work wasn't done, what took so long to reach this deal?
Click here to read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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