January 9, 2017
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Top Stories

Just one week until Legislative Day and Hill Climb; only a few seats still available

Come hear from Gov. Jay Inslee, newly-elected school superintendent Chris Reykdal and Zillow Senior Economist Skylar Olsen at next week's AWB Legislative Day and Hill Climb. They are among the many lawmakers and speakers who will talk directly with AWB members on Jan. 17 at the Hotel RL in Olympia. This 32nd annual event will bring together hundreds of employers and policy-makers. Join us to help ensure that employers can Be Heard.

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Webinar roundup: AWB's Government Affairs team looks ahead at the issues that will define the 2017 legislative session

As lawmakers begin a busy legislative session today, AWB's Government Affairs team will be engaged on many issues affecting employers. Last week, the team took a deep look at what's ahead, from health care and education to workplace issues and tax increases. Did you miss watching the webinar live? The full video is available for review.

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Proposals differ from months-long bipartisan Education Funding Task Force

How will lawmakers comply with the final, costly piece -- levy reform -- of the state Supreme Court's McCleary education funding ruling? As of last week, that question remains unanswered. Gov. Jay Inslee put forward an $8 billion tax proposal, which he says would be set aside for K-12 education. But, House and Senate lawmakers on the bipartisan Education Funding Task Force signaled different approaches as the work is just now beginning on the 2017-19 state operating budget stretched by funding teacher and administrator salaries with state, rather than local tax dollars.

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Millennium Bulk Terminals: Outgoing state lands commissioner's move 'has no effect on the project moving forward'

Washington's outgoing Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced one last move before his predecessor takes over: Denial of a sublease of aquatic lands in the Columbia River for Millennium Bulk Terminals' proposed export terminal in Longview. It's a move Millennium called a "symbolic gesture" and said would have "no effect on the project moving forward."

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Phil Fortunato sworn in to replace Sen. Pam Roach; Enumclaw's Morgan Irwin named to House seat

Recently elected Rep. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, was sworn in Saturday as state senator. He replaces Sen. Pam Roach, who was elected to the Pierce County Council. Fortunato will serve until a special election is held this fall. His appointment to the Senate left his House seat open. The Pierce and King county councils named Enumclaw City Councilor Morgan Irwin to fill that House position.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Tax & Fiscal Council to meet this Wednesday

Hold the date for AWB's Tax & Fiscal Council meeting at AWB's Olympia office on Jan. 11, 10 a.m.-noon. The council will review the governor's budget and tax proposal, pre-filed legislation and more. A detailed agenda will be provided prior to the meeting. Contact Connie Carlson to RSVP and for call-in information.

Federal Issues

U.S. Rep. Newhouse appointed to Appropriations Committee; U.S. Rep. DelBene named to Ways & Means

Two Washington lawmakers have been named to serve on important congressional committees that control federal purse strings. Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse will serve on the Appropriations Committee. Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene will sit on the Ways & Means Committee.

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Congress debates Affordable Care Act repeal; repeal could affect up to 750,000 Washingtonians

As Congress plans for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and debates how to replace it, observers in Washington state are wondering what the impact will be. The complete shutdown of Obamacare could affect 750,000 Washington residents, The Spokesman-Review reports.

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Other News

Regulatory panel endorses Kaiser acquisition of Group Health; insurance commissioner has final call

A panel within the Office of the Insurance Commissioner last week endorsed a deal that would allow Kaiser Permanente to acquire Group Health. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is expected to issue his final say on the proposal by the end of the month.

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Boeing Field operations among those involved in merger of British aviation management firms

Last week, Gama Aviation PLC and BBA Aviation PLC, two British business aviation firm, merged with American operations to create the largest business aircraft management company in the U.S. BBA Aviation affiliate, Signature Flight Support, operates out of Boeing Field.

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Seattle in the spotlight as rule allowing unionization of Lyft/Uber set to take effect

A Seattle ordinance will extend collective bargaining rights to Uber and Lyft drivers this month. Uber says the law could be potentially detrimental to drivers' rights, while supporters say unionization and wage guarantees for small businesses are a step in the right direction.

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NASA adds eight more missions, bringing additional launches to Boeing, SpaceX

Last week, Boeing got a boost from NASA's decision to triple the number of flights carrying astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA awarded Boeing's CST-100 Starliner Capsule four extra missions, bringing the total to six by 2024.

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AWB welcomes Mary Catherine McAleer to government affairs team; Ryan Chambers to communications; Susan Wagner to membership

AWB begins the new year and the 2017 legislative session with three strong additions: newly-hired Government Affairs Director Mary Catherine McAleer, Communications Specialist Ryan Chambers and Membership Manager Susan Wagner.

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Employment law posters available from Department of Labor & Industries, Department of Licensing

AWB will no longer be selling employment law and minimum wage posters, but employers can download updates for free from the web.

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AWB Events & Resources

2017 Employment Law webinar series begins this Wednesday

Employment law is a crucial part of navigating today's business world. Learn the basics along with the latest legal changes during AWB's 2017 Employment Law webinar series. The first in the series takes place Thursday, Jan. 11, and covers pre-hire, hiring and job descriptions.

Read more »

Registration now open for Generation Workforce summit in Seattle

Join Rebecca Ryan, a noted futurist, economist and "brain shaker," at the AWB Workforce Summit on March 22 in Seattle. This new event will look at generational change in the workplace and highlight the strengths that each generation brings. Read more »

Save the date: Annual AWB Spring Meeting in Spokane takes place May 8-9

Details are still in the works, but AWB's popular Spring Meeting in Spokane is scheduled to take place May 8-9 at The Historic Davenport Hotel. Last year's event boasted record attendance and this year's meeting is expected to follow suit. Registration will open soon, so mark your calendars to join AWB, fellow business leaders and state policy makers in Spokane this spring. Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Ready for Session



They Said It

Costs Are Mounting

"Most small businesses have an increase in workers' compensation rate, minimum wage, they have sick leave, and now we're talking about paid family leave and these other issues that just keep stacking up on small businesses." ~ Gary Chandler, AWB vice president, government affairs, in a pre-session webinar, laying out the impacts of new and proposed costs for employers.




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Sustainability in Action

Port Townsend Paper: Renewable and Responsible Fiber Products

By Washington Business magazine

Port Townsend Paper recycles enough cardboard each week to cover a football field 10 feet deep. That chain of renewable paper production includes fiber sourced from certified and sustainable forestry operations for any needs that can't be met by recycled paper.

The company is also an emissions reduction leader. Port Townsend Paper has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent over the past decade by reducing the use of fossil fuels, efficiency improvements, and use of renewable and carbon-neutral biomass.
Read the full article in Washington Business magazine
Rural Washington Is Still Trying to Recover

Don't let McCleary hurt rural economy

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We are a hopeful and hard-working nation. We have proved time and time again that when we come together, we are unstoppable.

After the difficult national election, we believe this is the message that can help move our nation and state forward. And we believe employers are the solution to help heal the divide and restore hope to communities still awaiting the economic recovery.

Employers -- the millions of risk-takers that create opportunity and build communities across this nation -- have a unique responsibility to ensure we send a message that we are committed to be a unifying voice that can, with words and actions, unify the country behind our shared goals.
Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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