July 11, 2016
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Top Stories

Secretary of state receives I-1433 signatures; measure would raise minimum wage, but job seekers deserve a better law

More than 360,000 signatures were turned in last week for Initiative 1433, which would mandate paid sick leave and raise the minimum wage to $13.50 per hour if voters approve the measure this November. Employers from across the spectrum said the proposal would hurt opportunities for teens, employees entering the workplace, and create new difficulties for job-seekers in rural communities. Read more »

Senators urge action to ensure Ex-Im Bank Board has quorum

Senators are urging one of their colleagues to allow a vote on the nomination of a board member to the Export-Import Bank, giving the body a voting quorum and unlocking at least 30 sales of American-made goods to overseas buyers. The sales are valued at more than $20 billion, and would support tens of thousands of high-paying manufacturing and service jobs.
Read more »

Seattle Times, Everett Herald mark Boeing's 100th birthday this week

As The Boeing Co. prepares to mark its 100th birthday this Friday, The Seattle Times released a special print and online edition to commemorate the company's place in Northwest and world history. The Herald has its own ongoing series, and Boeing has a web portal marking its "first century of innovation." Alaska Airlines marked the occasion with a special flyover.
Read more »

Reserve tickets now for gubernatorial, secretary of state debate Aug. 17 in Spokane

Incumbent Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Democratic challenger Tina Podlodowski will join AWB and Greater Spokane Incorporated for the Aug. 17 debate in Spokane, sponsored by Avista. Their debate will open an afternoon that will conclude with the gubernatorial debate between Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant. A few tickets are still available, and the Davenport Grand Hotel has opened up a room block at a special AWB discounted rate. Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council to meet July 28 in Seattle

The next meeting of the AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council will be 9:30 a.m. on July 28 at the PricewaterhouseCoopers office in Seattle.
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Other News

Audit finds Medicaid failed to pay $90 million to Washington's health exchange

The state and federal Medicaid program has not been fully reimbursing the state's health exchange, a new audit finds. The problems date back more than two years, to the tune of $90 million.
Read more »

Alaska Airlines wins Freedom Award, also approved for flights to Cuba

It was a big week for Alaska Airlines. The company received the Department of Defense's Freedom Award and received Obama administration approval to fly directly to Cuba.
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Lt. Gov. Brad Owen to lead weeklong trade mission to Cuba

A delegation of state officials will visit Cuba in September, marking a milestone as relations warm between the island country and the United States. Lt. Gov. Brad Owen will lead the mission, which will include senators, education and health officials, and a vice president of Amazon.com. Read more »

Change in average worker wages means increase to employers' unemployment taxes and worker L&I benefits

Washington workers earned an average of $56,273 in 2015. That's a 2.6 percent increase from the year before. The increase means a change to the amount employers will pay in unemployment insurance taxes. Injured employees will also see an increase in workers' compensation benefits.
Read more »

New state council being formed to foster commercial drone operations

The Washington State Department of Commerce is working to create an Unmanned Systems Industry Council to support and foster commercial drone operations and the tech companies behind the aerial vehicles. An organizing symposium will be held Sept. 19 in Seattle.
Read more »

L&I offering classes, seminars on how to save money on workers' comp

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries is offering several classes and seminars on how employers can access programs that could cut workers' compensation costs. Classes will be held over the coming months in Bellevue, Bellingham, Moses Lake, Everett, Kennewick, Bremerton and Vancouver.
Read more »

AWB Institute

Opportunity Extended! Leadership Washington application deadline is July 31

There is still time to join the state's premier leadership development program -- Leadership Washington. The deadline to apply to be part of the Leadership Washington class of 2017 has been extended to July 31. Watch the latest graduates talk about the program, download an application and click here to learn more about this growing program. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

This Wednesday: Employment Law Webinar on non-competes, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitations and intellectual property protection

There's still time to register for AWB's July 13 employment law webinar, the fifth in a series of six events to help employers understand key issues imacting their business and employees, and to build a solid handbook. Continuing education credits are available for these webinars.
Read more »

Employment Law Webinar Aug. 10: Accident Investigation Plan and Series Wrap-up

All employers in Washington state are required to create a written Accident Prevention Plan or Program (APP). AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles will outline the requirements for compliance with the Department of Labor & Industries at the Aug. 10 employment law webinar. Continuing education credits are available for these webinars. Register today.
Read more »

Join us at one of AWB's six Regional Meetings Aug. 16-19

The annual AWB Regional Meetings have been scheduled around the state Aug. 16-29. This is a chance to hear from the Government Affairs Team and ask questions, share ideas and participate in candidate interviews.
Read more »

Dennis Miller to keynote Policy Summit with a comedic take on the election; Suncadia Lodge rooms nearly sold out

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 »

Join AWB for the third fly-in to Washington, D.C.

Meet with national leaders during AWB's D.C. fly-in Dec. 5-7. AWB's government affairs team will lead the trip to the nation's capitol, including congressional visits, meetings with federal agencies and the new administration. It will also include a Washington state grand reception, a candlelight tour of the Capitol and more. Read more »

Tweet of the Week

U.S. Thrives on Trade

They Said It

Washington deserves a better law

"Business owners want to see their employees succeed and care about giving people the opportunities that were once given them." ~ AWB President Kris Johnson, explaining the unintended consequences of Initiative 1433. By quickly raising the minimum wage and mandating sick leave, the measure would mean the loss of entry-level jobs and crucial early work experiences.

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Building Energy Independence

Vancouver oil terminal necessary to state, U.S. energy needs

By Willy Myers of the Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council and Joe Wilson of Pederson Brothers, a Bellingham-based industrial metal fabrication and machining company

Petroleum is a lot more than the gas we pump into our cars. Petroleum products fuel the jets we fly, the farms that grow our food and the trucks that deliver the products we buy. They fuel industrial processes and heat our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. Our entire economy and way of life directly depend on reliable and cost-effective fuel sources. Even as we pursue alternative energy strategies, petroleum products will remain crucially important for years to come.

That's why business and labor organizations from around the state have formed the Washington Coalition for Energy Independence to support Vancouver Energy, a proposed oil terminal that would be located on industrial property at the Port of Vancouver in Washington state. It would accept crude oil from North American sources and ship it to West Coast refineries, including ones here in Washington, to create fuels and other products for domestic consumption.

The project is vitally important to our entire state. It would increase our energy independence by reducing reliance on crude oil from potentially unstable foreign sources, including Iraq, Russia, Venezuela and other countries. It's estimated that Vancouver Energy could reduce foreign petroleum imports to the West Coast by up to 30 percent...

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Herald
Is Washington Open for Business?

Whatcom County Considering Misguided Proposal Prohibiting Development at Cherry Point

By the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports

A proposal currently under consideration in Whatcom County could prohibit new development at the Cherry Point Industrial Site, overstepping due process rights and property rights and ultimately jeopardizing hundreds of family-wage jobs.

"This last-minute proposal, void of any commonsense or legal basis, will stop in its tracks the development of projects essential in creating more jobs and a stronger economy for Whatcom County residents," said Kathryn Stenger, a spokeswoman for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports. "The overreaching plan is a textbook example of the flawed and concerning agenda of those determined to undermine needed infrastructure advancements in Whatcom County and ultimately the state of Washington. This has the potential to impact not only the working families of Whatcom County, but the business climate for our entire state. We should all be concerned about this kind of politics playing out right now."
Click here to read the full post at the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports
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