April 25, 2016
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Key Hearings/Meetings Other News AWB Events & Resources AWB Institute Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Dennis Miller to keynote Policy Summit with a comedic take on the election

As the 2016 election heats up, a little comic relief will help lighten the mood. Comedian, television personality and radio commentator Dennis Miller will bring a humorous take on politics to AWB's Policy Summit. Registrations are now open for the three-day Policy Summit, Sept. 13-15 at Suncadia Resort. Read more »

A year into Seattle's rise toward a $15 minimum wage, here's what economists have learned

It's been a year since Seattle implemented its $15 minimum wage, and while the phased-in higher wage isn't finished rising, academics who are studying the issue have come to a few early conclusions. Read more »

Struggles of SHOP health exchanges highlight the value of Association Health Plans

The small business health exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act continue to struggle. Fortunately, Washington employers can still access quality, cost-effective health insurance through Association Health Plans.
Read more »

Legislative education funding group begins work to prepare for 2017 session

Both sides of the Capitol and both parties came together last week in a new joint task force to examine how to fully fund K-12 public education in Washington. It's part of the preparation for the 2017 legislative session, which will have serious work to do to meet the Supreme Court's McCleary funding ruling.
Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

Tax & Fiscal Policy Council to meet Tuesday

The AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council will meet from 9:30 a.m.-noon this Tuesday at AWB. The agenda will include a legislative session recap and a discussion of interim Citizen Commission on Tax Preferences activities. Contact Government Affairs Director Eric Lohnes for more on the agenda, and Connie Grande for RSVP and call-in information.

Other News

Port of Vancouver extends lease for Vancouver Energy project

With a years-long state environmental review and permitting process still unfinished, Vancouver Energy asked for and unanimously received a lease extension last week from the Port of Vancouver. The change gives the Vancouver Energy consortium more time to get permits for its proposed oil transfer facility. Read more »

Plans for Tacoma methanol plant halted; what's ahead for industrial redevelopment in Tacoma?

Northwest Innovation Works has dropped its plans to build one of the world's largest methanol plants at the Port of Tacoma. The company is still looking at building a smaller methanol plant in Kalama.
Read more »

Fraud Alert: Beware of 'business compliance' postcard

The Secretary of State's Corporations Division is warning employers to be wary of a postcard with a Spokane return address that looks official and claims to be the "Business Compliance Division." Read more »

New Lewis-Clark Valley Viticultural Area declared as region's latest wine region

A swath of land known as the "banana belt" of the Inland Northwest has been approved as its own wine region. The Lewis-Clark Valley Viticultural Area includes 16 vineyards and three wineries along the Idaho-Washington border. Read more »

Election-year update: Rep. Dunshee resigns, leaving open top House budget-writing position

As previously announced, the top budget-writer in the state House officially resigned last week to take a job on the Snohomish County Council. Meanwhile, other races are shaping up for federal, statewide and legislative positions. Read more »

Long-shot F-22 fighter order could mean lots of jobs for Puget Sound region

Congress is considering building more F-22 Raptor fighters for the Air Force, a move that could bring plenty of work to Boeing and the Puget Sound region. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

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 Davis Grimm Payne & Marra. Register online today!
Read more »

Employment Law Webinar Session Three: Wage & Hours

AWB's employment law series continues May 11 with a look at wage and hour issues with Mona McPhee, the director of litigation at Desh International and Business Law. Learn how to minimize costs while complying with complex wage and hour laws -- and earn HR continuing ed credits, all from your desk with this webinar. Register online today!
Read more »

Updated schedule: Hear directly from gubernatorial, lieutenant governor candidates at AWB Spring Meeting

AWB will host a lieutenant governor candidate debate, and will have scheduled times for both Gov. Jay Inslee and Bill Bryant to speak to members during the 2016 Spring Meeting. That's on top of a keynote talk with CNN news commentators John Avlon and Margaret Hoover. Register today for what is sure to be a sold-out event!
Read more »

Share your small business story at 'Shout Out, Small Business' meetings, coming to your community in May and June

Small businesses are the heart of AWB -- 92 percent of AWB members have fewer than 100 employees. As we prepare for the 2017 legislative session, AWB needs your help to create a small business agenda to ensure that the needs and perspectives of the state's powerhouse -- small employers -- is fully represented in Olympia. Join us in May and June at our "Shout Out, Small Business" meetings throughout the state to help shape AWB's small business agenda.
Read more »

Register for 'Fundamentals of Succession and Estate Planning for Business Owners' in Spokane and Olympia

AWB and Integrity Financial Corporation are offering a pair of seminars in June and July, on both sides of the state, to help business owners with succession and estate planning. Kristofer Gray and Paul Hajek of IFC will lead the seminars, presenting options and offering insights on how to thoughtfully develop a plan to help your business and family thrive throughout the generations.
Read more »

AWB accepting nominations for state's most innovative employers

AWB is expanding its tradition of recognizing employer excellence with a new focus for its 2016 awards. Nominations are now being accepted for the Manufacturing Excellence awards and the new Evening of Excellence for employers who are helping Washington achieve, connect, innovate and protect the environment.
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

Highlighting Sustainability Heroes

They Said It

Out of Balance Budget

"He's digging a hole that's a lot bigger. And $200 million is not a small amount of money."
~ Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, about Gov. Jay Inslee's line-item vetoes that pushed Washington's budget more than $200 million into the red over four years.

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Blue State Turning Purple

The real political action is at the state level

By Jonathan Martin

Forget Trump. Tune out Hillary and the Bern.

The election Washington voters should be obsessing about is not the circus on CNN. Rather, it is the fight this fall for control of the state Legislature. It will determine if Washington, for practical purposes, fades from blue to a shade of purple.

You wouldn't know it in the political bubble of Seattle, but Republicans are on the upswing in Olympia... This fall, the Democrats' slim majority in the state House (50-48) is up for grabs. It is not hard to sketch a scenario in which the GOP keeps the Senate and picks up three or four House seats...
Click here to read the full column in The Seattle Times
Regulatory Uncertainty Is Hurting Washington Farmers

Onerous review process impedes grain exports

By James Alford, Franklin County Farm Bureau

The Chinese appetite for American-grown wheat, soybeans, and other grains is seemingly insatiable. U.S. agricultural exports to China rose from more than $5 billion in 2005 to nearly $26 billion in 2013.

Washington state is in a unique position to capitalize on this once-in-a-generation opportunity. The ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington's largest and some of the biggest in the country, already export more grain and agricultural products than any other bulk commodity by a significant margin.

And yet, an onerous and unpredictable review process continues to impede the state from standing out against the competition. Two terminal projects in Washington have even been waiting for approval for four years and counting.

The Chinese will find a way to feed their people and satisfy industrial demand. Whether the grain is from Canadian, Californian or Washington ports, it is all the same to them. There is no California or Washington, only fast and slow, here and now. Let's beat the competition to the punch, and make regulatory certainty a reality in Washington state.
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Tri-City Herald
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