February 6, 2017
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Top Stories

Senate passes education funding plan

The state Senate on Wednesday passed a plan to equitably fund public education, replacing local school levies with a uniform statewide rate earmarked for schools. This plan now goes to the House, where it will be part of ongoing negotiations on education funding and reform.

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Sen. Braun to discuss education funding with AWB members during Friday webinar

Hear directly from the Senate's top budget-writer this Friday as Sen. John Braun talks about education funding with AWB members. Braun's bill to fully fund and reform the state's education system has already passed the state Senate and will now become part of negotations with the House.

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Republican leaders speak at second Lobby Lunch of 2017

AWB members heard from legislative Republican leaders at last week's Lobby Lunch. House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen and House Deputy Republican Leader Joel Kretz, along with Senate Republican Caucus Chair Randi Becker, discussed education, taxes, regulations and much more. This week's Lobby Lunch will feature Democratic legislative leaders.

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Legislation of Note

HB 1448 and HB 1796: Pregnancy accommodation

AWB testified this afternoon on two bills that aim to provide workplace accommodations for pregnant women. House bills 1448 and 1796 were up for hearing in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee.

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SB 5555: Wage and salary information

Senate Bill 5555 would limit an employer's ability to request wage information about previous employment from prospective or current employers. AWB testified in opposition to the House version of this bill, and will testify about concerns with the Senate version during a public hearing Thursday.

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HB 1894: High-tech R&D tax preference

House Bill 1894, which would reinstate a high-tech research and development (R&D) tax preference, has a public hearing Wednesday at 8 a.m. AWB has been supportive of reinstating some form of a R&D credit in Washington, since lawmakers let the incentive expire in 2015.

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SB 5501 and HB 1663: Imposing a hazardous substances surcharge on petroleum

A pair of bills that would add to taxes on petroleum would raise costs for businesses. AWB will testify against House Bill 1663 and Senate Bill 5501 during hearings this week.

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HB 1328: Directing the Department of Ecology to consider alternatives to rulemaking

AWB will testify in support of House Bill 1328, which directs the Department of Ecology to consider alternatives to rulemaking.

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HB 1755: Workers' compensation third-party settlements

AWB supports House Bill 1755, which requires notice to state fund employers for certain workers' compensation third-party settlements.

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HB 1809: Tax credits for clean alternative fuel commercial vehicles

AWB will testify in support of House Bill 1809 on Tuesday as part of the employer community's ongoing improvement of vehicle emissions and move toward cleaner air.

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SB 5680: Simplifying small securities offerings, or 'crowdfunding'

AWB Government Affairs Director Sheri Nelson will testify in support of Senate Bill 5680 during a public hearing on Thursday. This will help simplify small securities offerings for small businesses.

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AWB Institute

Applications now available for Leadership Washington Class of 2018

Apply now to be part of the state's premiere leadership development program. Applications are now being accepted for the Leadership Washington class of 2018. This seven-session program helps the next generation of Washington leaders learn about the business and political landscape of Washington.

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Other News

Jacquelin Maycumber appointed to fill 7th District House seat

Jacquelin Maycumber, the former legislative assistant for Sen. Shelly Short, will now fill the House position left vacant after Short's appointment to the vacant Senate seat. Her departure from the House led to other changes in the House Republican leadership team last week, with new caucus positions for Reps. Matt Shea and Drew Stokesbary.

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Boeing workers in Washington will receive $170 million in bonuses

More than 37,000 non-management Boeing workers in Washington will collectively receive $169.7 million for annual bonuses in February. The 2017 bonus amount is roughly $20 million more than previous year's bonuses.

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Two aerospace advocacy groups in Washington merge

The Aerospace Futures Alliance and the Washington Aerospace Partnership, two of the state's leading aerospace advocacy groups, have merged. The merger follows more than a year of discussions between the two groups, which will retain the name Aerospace Futures Alliance.

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Port of Longview cargo handling surges to three-decade high

The Port of Longview saw approximately 8.33 million tons of cargo move through their docks in 2016, the largest amount in the past 30 years. However, more can still be done to help the port rebound from a down 2015 grain year and declining log exports.

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Lane Powell hosting business immigration update webinar on Feb. 23

Hear the latest on immigration law and policy changes during a Feb. 23 webinar from the attorneys at Lane Powell.

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Department of Emergency Management asks employers to take business preparedness survey

How are businesses preparing for disaster -- or are they prepared at all? Those questions are part of what the state Department of Emergency Management hopes to answer with a new survey on business disaster preparedness.

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Workers' compensation return-to-work service available for AWB members

AWB members qualify for a discount on the Safety Ambassador Program, an immediate, short-term light duty job program that allows injured employees to get back to work. The program can also help employers qualify for Stay At Work reimbursements.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

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

The AWB Water Quality, MTCA, PBT and PSP committees will meet at AWB every other Monday at 11 a.m. The next meeting is 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. 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

This Week: Employment Law Webinar -- Employee Handbook, Insurance & Benefits

There's still time to register for this week's AWB employment law webinar. Chad Arceneaux with Eisenhower Carlson will discuss employee handbooks, insurance and benefits. Register here for this useful webinar.

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Seminar: 12 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid in Selling Your Business

For most people, exiting their business is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It can be exciting and rewarding, but it can also be scary, frustrating, and even painful. AWB and Integrity Financial will give tips to create a well-structured succession planning process, helping business owners attain their vision of life after business.

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Register now for the first-ever Workforce Summit at Motif Seattle

Join Rebecca Ryan, a noted futurist, economist and "brain shaker," at the AWB Workforce Summit on March 22 at the Motif 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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Registration open for Spring Meeting in Spokane May 8-9

Back by popular demand, noted communications expert Dr. Frank Luntz will keynote the 2017 AWB Spring Meeting in Spokane. Luntz, whose 2012 Policy Summit talk was well-received, will look at how employers can communicate their message. Registration is now open for Spring Meeting May 8-9 at The Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane.

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Tweet of the Week

Spokane Fly-in to Olympia



They Said It

Voice of a Legislative Leader

"Just before retirement, I was approached by some people in the medical field... and they said to me 'Randi, would you ever think about running for a political office?' and I said 'Are you kidding me, I hate politics!" ~ Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, who is now chair of the Senate Republican Caucus, and who was recently reelected to her third term in the Senate. She was among the Republican leadership who spoke at last week's Lobby Lunch. Becker added that she still hates the politics of butting heads, but she loves to work together to find solutions.




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Protect Small Businesses

Cumulative effect of taxes, regulations hurt small businesses

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Small businesses -- and the 550,000 risk-takers who operate them -- are the lifeblood of communities across Washington state.

This fact may be more apparent in rural towns that often have few or no large businesses to help generate the economic energy that funds schools, safety-net programs and public safety.

That's why the Association of Washington Business and its members have expressed concern with Gov. Jay Inslee's budget proposal released in December. If adopted, it would raise $4.4 billion in new taxes for the 2017-19 budget on top of the nearly $2.6 billion -- 6.6 percent -- natural growth in tax collections. In all, the proposal would raise taxes more than $8 billion in future budgets.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee World
Manufacturing Matters

Sector is showing strength, but its future will require a strong educational system

By The Columbian Editorial Board

An educational system for the 21st century will require technical education for workers who can prosper in the factories of the future. An adequate work force will encourage manufacturers to remain in this country and is the surest way to strengthen the economy in the long run.

Manufacturing, undoubtedly, must continue to be a bedrock of the American economy. And while the state of the sector is not nearly as desperate as some would have us believe, there still is room for improvement. Providing qualified workers will be the most effective way to ensure that America does, indeed, continue to make things and make them well.

Read the full editorial in The Columbian
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