October 31, 2016
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Top Stories

Election update: Eight days to go; ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 8

It's time to decide. From the state Supreme Court and governor's office to local legislators and a host of ballot measures, every vote counts in this election. The polls indicate tight margins in many important races. Watch AWB's video voter guide for a quick primer on the statewide and judicial candidates who have shown their commitment to improving Washington's place as a globally competitive state and AWB's position on three statewide initiatives. Read more »

Manufacturing Summit focused on trade, how it impacts economy and jobs today and in the future

The 2016 AWB Institute's Manufacturing Summit last Wednesday showcased the critical role of trade in Washington state's economy and featured luncheon keynote speaker U.S. Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg. The day ended with the presentation of five Manufacturing Excellence Awards in four categories: Green Manufacturer, Innovation in Manufacturing, Operational Excellence and Manufacturer of the Year.
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Manufacturing Excellence Awards highlight innovation, environmental excellence

A highlight of the 2016 Manufacturing Summit was presentation of the annual Manufacturing Excellence Awards. Five employers from across the state were honored for work that shows the diversity and quality of the "Made in Washington" spirit.
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Health insurance rates headed for double-digit increases as plan enrollment begins tomorrow

Health insurance premiums are going up -- way up. The U.S. Health and Human Services department last week announced insurance premium increases will average 25 percent in state-run exchanges. In Washington state, the average premium hike is 13.6 percent for 2017, but some rates could increase as much as 24 percent for those looking for coverage in the state health insurance exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder. Enrollment in the plan begins tomorrow, Nov. 1
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I-732 update: carbon tax would hurt low- and fixed-income families, employers and state budget

Initiative 732 is a hefty new tax on energy that makes no new investments in carbon reduction. But, it does make gasoline, natural gas and electricity more expensive for families. It also makes Washington manufacturers and employers less competitive. The measure would also take $800 million out of the state budget at a time when lawmakers are focused on fully funding K-12 education, and could push major employers to move out of state or shut their doors. Read more »

First-ever AWB Institute Education Summit set for Nov. 16 in Spokane

Have you signed up yet for AWB's Education Summit? This new event brings together employers, educators, innovative thinkers, and Washington's new superintendent of public instruction (both candidates have confirmed they will attend if victorious). One major focus of the summit will be how our education system can help ensure that Washington's students are well-prepared to graduate with the skills needed to be part of the workforce. Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

The AWB Health Care Committee to meet Wednesday

A meeting of the AWB Health Care Committee has been scheduled for this Wednesday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m. to noon, at the AWB office. For information on the agenda and speakers, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Sheri Nelson. For call-in options, contact Tommy Gill.

AWB Small Business Council to meet Nov. 7

A meeting of AWB's Small Business Council will take place at the association's office on Monday, Nov. 7, 9-11 a.m. For information on the agenda and speakers, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Sheri Nelson. For call-in options, contact Tommy Gill.

AWB Immigration Reform Committee will meet Nov. 10

The AWB Immigration Reform Committee will meet Thursday, Nov. 10, at 1:30 p.m. Among the topics of discussion: reform of how H-1B, H-2A and H-2B visas are processed. For information on the agenda and speakers, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles. For call-in options, contact Tommy Gill.

Federal Issues

Congress preparing for 'lame duck' session, setting sights on 2017 legislative agenda

The Nov. 8 election will make the committee meetings scheduled for the week of Dec. 5 an official "lame duck" session of Congress. Outgoing legislators and a change in America's commander -in-chief officially take office in January. Despite the uncertainty of majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, there is plenty of speculation on tax changes that may take place in 2017, depending on the makeup of the chambers and, of course, the president. Read more »

Northwest cities among 16 that formed Smart Cities Collaborative to advocate for urban mobility solutions

A coalition of 16 cities across America, including Portland and Seattle, formed the Smart Cities Collaborative. The group will advocate for new technology and ideas to quell gridlock, which could include automated vehicles, ride-sharing and data-analytics to better understand how people move around their cities. Read more »

NAM invites employers, business leaders to sign onto letter asking for unity in new federal administration, Congress

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), recognizing that employers have a powerful platform at the state and federal level, is asking business leaders and community organizations to sign onto a letter of unity that will be sent to the next president of the United States. NAM's goal is express the sincere desire across the nation to work together to grow the economy, create jobs and address the challenges Americans face in a bipartisan way. The deadline for signatures is next Monday, Nov. 7.
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Other News

Small businesses have one month to prepare for big changes to federal overtime rules

Major changes to federal overtime and salary rules go into effect on Dec. 1. Across the nation, small businesses are scrambling to prepare for the changes. Now is the time to make a plan for compliance. To help, AWB is offering an hour-long webinar explaining the new overtime rules on Nov. 10 that is open to both members and non-members. Read more »

Olympia vote on income tax could launch major test case on statewide income tax

A ballot measure in the capital city could change the tax debate in Washington. If City of Olympia Initiative No. 1 is approved, it could set up a test case that could lead to an income tax statewide. In fact, a former state Supreme Court Chief Justice and mayor have warned the local measure is flawed, unworkable and illegal. Read more »

New charter school in Walla Walla to begin enrollment

Willow Public School, the first charter school in Walla Walla, has begun an enrollment drive and will soon begin recruiting teachers. The school, which is free and open to all students, is expected to open in September 2017.
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AWB VP Gary Chandler to speak at annual meeting of the Columbia Basin Development League

The Columbia Basin Development League is asking for $20 million in federal funds to reduce the cost of finishing the East Low Canal, which will bring Columbia River water to replace declining well water in the Odessa Subarea. Gary Chandler, AWB's vice president, government affairs, will give the keynote address at the group's annual meeting this week.
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Mark your calendars: Holiday Kids' Tree lighting set for Dec. 2

Olympia's favorite holiday tradition returns Friday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. The AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project has raised more than $370,000 since 1989 to buy Christmas gifts for families in need across the state. Join the lighting of the state's tree and consider donating to this festive and heartwarming project. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

AWB webinar Nov. 10 offers help preparing for new federal Overtime Rule that takes effect Dec. 1

Regardless of legal challenges, big changes are coming to federal overtime law. Is your office ready? Learn what's coming, and how to prepare, with a one-hour AWB overtime rule webinar Nov. 10 featuring Sarah Swale of Lane Powell. Read more »

LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp: Choosing the right entity type for your business

Join Kristofer Gray of Integrity Financial Corporation in Bellevue on Nov. 10 for an informative seminar: "Should I be an LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp: Choosing the right Entity Type for your Business, and how it can save on taxes when you eventually sell." Read more »

Help AWB celebrate outstanding employers at inaugural Evening of Excellence Nov. 30 at Benaroya Hall

Reserve your seats now for AWB's inaugural Evening of Excellence. Twenty award finalists will be among the many guests who will walk the red carpet at the black-tie event Nov. 30 at Benaroya Hall where the winners will be announced. The awards, presented by Banner Bank, recognize employers who harness innovation, take the lead on environmental stewardship, and build a better Washington for their employees and communities. Registration for the awards event is now open. Read more »

Only one month left to join AWB's fly-in to Washington, D.C., Dec. 5-7

Meet with national leaders during AWB's annual 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.
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Save the date: 2017 Legislative Day and Hill Climb

It's time to look toward the 2017 legislative session, including AWB's annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb. This year's event will be Tuesday, Jan. 17. Save the date on your calendar and contact Kelli Schueler to learn more. Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Peeking Inside a Shipping Container

They Said It

Football Is Not Quite Quidditch

"Did I ever mention that I'm a Seahawks fan? Well, I am." ~ J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, after Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman dressed up as the namesake wizard during a press conference.

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Focus on Sustainability

Delivering the Future: How UPS Is Pursuing the Possibility of Sustainable E-Commerce

By Jim Bruce, senior vice president, UPS

At UPS, ours is anticipating the direction of e-commerce and staying ahead of it, because we believe that e-commerce will profoundly impact the development of our cities, lifestyles and business.

The question is whether e-commerce will improve or diminish global sustainability. We think it can go either way but are optimistic about the possibility of real improvement. Which way it goes depends on a number of factors: 1) Can we create a sustainable global delivery network? 2) Will people rely on that network enough to lessen reliance on personal vehicles and to increasingly live in decongested, pedestrian-friendly cities? And 3) Will cities begin to view e-commerce as essential to their sustainable future? Truly, a "yes" to these three questions would be transformative to our cities and global carbon-reduction efforts...

Read more at the National Association of Manufacturers blog
Washington's Hydropower Is No Laughing Matter

Who needs those old dams?

By Tracy Warner, editorial page editor, The Wenatchee World

They had a good laugh over it, the reports said. What a knee-slapper. Candidates for the United States Congress, at a recent climate change forum at a Ballard brewpub, indicated through their mistaken answers to a simple question that neither has any idea where electricity comes from. What a hoot...

Electricity doesn't just show up. It is not produced by flights of fancy, moonbeams, cool articles in Wired or a Harry Potter character waving a wand. It required the intense effort of generations, the labor of tens of thousands of people, and investments in the multiple billions to produce enough electricity to supply Seattle and provide the energy without which its thriving economy wouldn't be worth a 500K RAM chip from a 1984 IBM PC.

To feed the city energy there are hundreds of turbines, turning ceaselessly through the power of falling water from the great river of the West, harnessed by blocks of concrete so large we can scarcely imagine larger...

Of course, you don't get rid of such assets. You don't speak of it, even in jest.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee World
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