January 23, 2017
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Top Stories

Hundreds of AWB members hear from the governor, school superintendent and others at annual Legislative Day

AWB members had a chance to "Be Heard" last week as they asked questions of Gov. Jay Inslee, Superintendent Chris Reykdal and top legislative leaders from both parties. The sold-out AWB Legislative Day and Hill Climb focused on the top issues of the session, offering both a big-picture and policy-specific look at what's happening in Olympia.

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Zillow economist Skylar Olsen explores key economic trends by examining housing data

Seattle's housing market is red hot, and isn't likely to cool anytime soon. The impacts of the Seattle region's sizzling economy are seen in housing data, but there's a lot more to be learned by studying real estate trends. AWB members learned a lot from Zillow Senior Economist Skylar Olsen, who gave the Legislative Day keynote address.

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New state schools' chief, governor aim to put focus on career, tech education; House votes to stave off so-called 'levy cliff'

At last week's AWB Legislative Day and Hill Climb, Gov. Jay Inslee and new state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal emphasized putting a greater focus on career and technical education within the state's public schools. They also told business leaders that addressing school funding to comply with the 2012 state Supreme Court McCleary ruling is the top priority.

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Governor's top aides to speak to AWB members this Thursday at first Lobby Lunch of 2017

Olympia's "power lunch" returns Thursday as top aides to Gov. Jay Inslee talk with AWB members at the first Lobby Lunch of the year. David Postman, the governor's chief of staff, and Drew Shirk, the governor's executive director for legislative affairs, will speak at noon Thursday. Reserve a spot by noon Tuesday to be guaranteed a seat.

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Legislation of Note

HB 1120: Regulatory relief for small businesses

Small businesses might see some regulatory relief under House Bill 1120, which aims to protect small businesses from the excessive piling on impact of rulemaking.

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HB 1116: Paid family leave

As lawmakers discuss options for implementing paid family leave, AWB is reminding them that it is just one of several costs facing employers -- from a $13.50 minimum wage to paid safe and sick leave. AWB is at the table to ensure that any bill to implement paid leave will work both for families and employers.

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HB 1300-1302: Wage violations

A trio of bills in the House would open up new ways for employees to pursue claims of alleged wage violations. AWB testified on the impacts of these bills during hearings this afternoon.

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SB 5239 and SB 5024: Two bills addressing the 'Hirst' water rights decision will have hearings on Tuesday

Last year's state Supreme Court decision on water availability and building permits, known as the Hirst decision, has already had a major impact on home building, economic development and property rights. Two bills that would address the Hirst decision will be up for public hearing on Tuesday. AWB will be there in support of one of those bills, Senate Bill 5239.

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HB 1130: Customized Job Training Program

AWB supports House Bill 1130, which would make permanent in statute a successful job training program that benefits students, community colleges and businesses.

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SB 5228 and HB 1428: Hydraulic Project Approval

Several bills have been introduced that address the issue of hydraulic project approval, or HPAs. AWB supports Senate Bill 5228, which is up for public hearing this Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee.

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SB 5212: Land use vesting

AWB supports Sen. Lynda Wilson's proposal, Senate Bill 5212, on the topic of land use vesting.

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AWB seeks members to give input and testimony on biometrics issue

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are working on bills addressing biometrics. This is an issue that affects employers, employees and consumers. AWB is looking for members with input or concerns about biometrics to help inform the legislative conversation. Contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for workplace issues.

AWB Institute

Mike Schwenk named new chair of AWB Institute Board

Just a few months after his term as chair of the AWB board ended, Mike Schwenk last week was named chair of the AWB Institute -- AWB's educational and workforce development arm. "I think we ought to see how far we can take the institute," Schwenk told the AWB Board during last week's Legislative Day. He added, let's "amp it up and ramp it up."

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Leadership Washington session visits Olympia and JBLM for deep look at lawmaking, judiciary, military and more

The AWB Institute's Leadership Washington Class of 2017 held its fourth of seven sessions last week. Over two days, the group visited the Legislature, Supreme Court, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and several manufacturing companies in the Olympia area. Their tour of the state will continue until graduation in Spokane at the AWB Spring Meeting.

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Federal Issues

TPP or not, Washington state relies on exports

Fulfilling a campaign promise, the new administration signed an executive order today that will apparently withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact -- a trade deal that would have boosted Washington's exports and eliminated 18,000 export tariffs that artificially raise the price of American-made goods overseas. As one of the most trade-dependent states in the nation, Washington would have benefited from passage of the 12-nation trade pact.

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Federal REAL ID compliance deadline approaching for Washington

Signs have begun popping up at airports across the country warning travelers that unless their driver's licenses are from states already in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act, they will need additional documentation to board domestic flights starting in January 2018. Washington state is one of three states without a plan to comply with the act or be granted a compliance extension. That means that beginning in January 2018, a Washington state driver's license will not get you through airport security or onto military installations.

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Other News

Snake River dam removal would increase cost of energy

Ice Harbor Lock and Dam is one of four Snake River dams that advocates have proposed breaching, despite the loss of clean, renewable energy that would result. Cowlitz County PUD says that breaching the Snake River's dams would have a major impact on electric rates throughout the county and region.

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State ferry system has new director

Amy Scarton will replace Lynne Griffith as state ferry director. Scarton currently serves as the Transportation Department’s assistant secretary for community and economic development.

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IRS and FTC offer webinar with practical tips to protect sensitive business and customer information

The Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Trade Commission are teaming up and offering an hour-long webinar on practical identity safety practices. The webinar will be Thursday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Immigration Reform Committee to meet this Friday at 10 a.m.

The AWB Immigration Reform Committee will meet this Friday at 10 a.m. at AWB. Topics of discussion will include new developments at the federal level and current state legislation. Contact Bob Battles for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details.

AWB Water Quality, MTCA, PBT and PSP committees to meet every other Monday, starting Jan 30

The AWB Water Quality, MTCA, PBT and PSP committees will meet at AWB every other Monday at 11 a.m. The next meetings are Jan 30 and Feb. 13. Contact Mary Catherine McAleer for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details.

AWB Climate and Energy committees to meet every other Monday

The AWB Climate and Energy committees will meet at AWB every other Monday at 11 a.m. The next meeting is Feb. 6. Contact Mary Catherine McAleer for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details.

AWB Health Care Committee to meet each Wednesday during session

The AWB Health Care Committee will meet 11 a.m.-noon each Wednesday at the AWB office. The meetings will include discussions on current and proposed health care legislation. The meetings may be cancelled due to occasional conflicts. Contact Sheri Nelson for information on AWB's health care advocacy efforts, or Connie Carlson for meeting call-in options.

AWB Education & Training Committee to hold weekly update calls each Friday morning

Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for education, will hold update phone calls with the Education & Training Committee each Friday at 8 a.m. beginning this week. Additionally, because education funding is tied so closely to tax issues, the AWB education and tax/fiscal committees will be holding a joint meeting soon. Contact Anderson at AmyA@awb.org to learn more and Connie Carlson for call-in information.

AWB Events & Resources

2017 Employment Law webinar continues Feb. 8: 'Employee Handbook, Insurance & Benefits'

The 2017 AWB employment law webinar series continues on Feb. 8. Chad Arceneaux with Eisenhower Carlson will discuss employee handbooks, insurance and benefits. Registrations are still open for all five of the remaining webinars.

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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. This event is perfect of employers, business leaders and human resources professionals looking to plan ahead for workforce needs and work through opportunities presented by a multi-generational workforce.

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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

#BeHeard



They Said It

Thinking Big

"You can't do big things by doing small things." ~ Gov. Jay Inslee, at the 2017 AWB Legislative Day and Hill Climb.




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Big Bend's STEM Grant Boosts Options

By The Columbia Basin Herald Editorial Board

A $4.8 million STEM grant Big Bend Community College was awarded helps secure students' futures. STEM, short for science, technology, engineering and math, is a field that offers higher wages to workers, according to a 2016 salary survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers...

Locally, the grant has the relevance to support the manufacturing and technology communities, two fields that have a need for workers with a different level of qualifications and skills.

Providing training locally benefits the community at large, as well as students who may consider leaving Grant County for better paying jobs. Businesses are provided with a better trained workforce and selection of employees, and students are provided with more options for their careers, futures and families. If a student must remain in Grant County before making the leap to a metropolitan area, he or she can gain experience and skills at home. Taking an unchallenging job may be less likely.
Sustainability in Action

A Clean Slate at Earth Friendly Products

By Washington Business magazine

When an employer creates cleaning products with a clean environment in mind, they become a shining example of environmental stewardship. That's apparent at Earth Friendly Products in Lacey, which is a global leader in creating environmentally friendly household and commercial cleaning products.
Read more in Washington Business magazine
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