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Association of Washington Business – Updated Weekly

Top Stories
 

AWB’s Spring Meeting draws record attendance as employers, experts seek solutions to keep economy strong

  Hundreds of employers, policymakers and experts gathered in Spokane last week to focus on solutions to the state’s top economic challenges. Speakers highlighted the importance of international trade to Washington’s economy, the need to connect rural Washington with broadband internet, and more. Captain “Sully” Sullenberger capped the day with a powerful keynote on leadership and teamwork.

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After passage of Seattle head tax, momentum grows for a repeal initiative

  Seattle’s hotly debated head tax passed the Seattle City Council 9-0 last week. Now, opponents are discussing ways to repeal the job-killing tax through citizen initiative and save the city’s reputation as a good place to do business. A coalition of employers, organized labor and civic groups announced a plan Friday to begin the repeal initiative process.

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2018 Leadership Washington class graduates with new perspective on state’s economy

  The fourth Leadership Washington class graduated Tuesday at AWB’s Spring Meeting in Spokane. Thirteen men and women from diverse backgrounds have completed an intensive nine-month program through the AWB Institute that teaches how different sectors of the economy, and the government, operate.

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AWB votes to support I-1608 to promote transparency in collective bargaining

  AWB’s board of directors has voted to support I-1608, a ballot initiative that would make collective bargaining negotiations between public employers and unions open to the public. Taxpayers are footing the bill, supporters say, and have a right to know what’s going on in these meetings, which are now behind closed doors. Supporters are working to gather enough signatures now.

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State Supreme Court weighs validity of charter school law

  The state Supreme Court heard arguments last week on whether the state’s public charter schools should be closed down. In response, hundreds of charter school students rallied at the Capitol in support: “This is how every school should be,” one charter school 11th-grader said. “Our success should be the norm, not the exception.”

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Federal Issues
 

Hope fades for a new North American Free Trade Agreement in 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Thursday deadline for updates on the North American Free Trade Agreement came and went with little hope of progress. Canada, Mexico and the United States are “nowhere near close to a deal” to update the 24-year-old agreement, the lead U.S. negotiator said. NAFTA has been a “bonanza” for American farmers, the U.S. Chamber’s John Murphy told AWB at last week’s Spring Meeting in Spokane.

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Supreme Court rules for employers in arbitration case

In a 5-4 ruling this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that arbitration agreements for individualized employment proceedings must be enforced under the Federal Arbitration Act. The ruling, which consolidated three appeals, is seen as a win for employers, although how it will be enforced in Washington state is not yet clear.

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Some House Republicans revolt, reject mammoth Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill was defeated in the House of Representatives on a 213-198 vote on Friday. Some House Republicans wanted Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule a vote on an unrelated immigration bill, which leaders refused. So, they voted against the farm bill, which along with Democratic opposition, was enough to kill it. The bill includes about $867 billion in federal spending on food programs for the needy, crop insurance and price supports for farmers and ranchers facing tough times.

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World Trade Organization: European Union still giving illegal subsidies to Airbus

The World Trade Organization ruled Tuesday that the European Union continues to provide illegal subsidies to airplane producer Airbus. These subsidies have hurt Boeing, the U.S. says, and now America can prepare for sanctions.

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Other News
 

The race is on after election filing week brings forth challengers in local, state and federal races

More than two dozen candidates filed to run for U.S. Senate last week, including incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell and former state Republican Party chair Susan Hutchinson. Races emerged in Supreme Court contests, as well legislative districts and county offices across the state.

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Inslee, Wyman secure $1.2 million for ballot return postage

Each of Washington’s 39 counties will now have access to funds that will pay for return postage for ballots cast in this year’s election. Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman will work to get a reimbursement for King County, which already allocated their county’s funding.

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Ed and Beatriz Schweitzer Donate $500,000 to College Success Foundation

A state nonprofit that provides higher education support to low-income students has received a major boost of its own. The Schweitzer family just committed $500,000 to the College Success Foundation. Ed and Beatriz Schweitzer have invested nearly $1 million in the program since 2015.

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K & L Gates to Present Free Webinar on Smart Immigration Strategies

Join Brian Graham of K & L Gates for a free webinar on immigration strategies for entrepreneurs and startups on Wednesday, May 30 at 11 a.m.

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Employment Security Department to host public rules hearing on paid family and medical leave law

The state agency that is overseeing implementation of the new paid family and medical leave law is inviting the public to provide feedback on draft rules for the new program this Wednesday.

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AWB to close for Memorial Day

AWB’s Olympia office will be closed next Monday in observance of Memorial Day. Fast Facts will be sent on Tuesday, May 29.

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AWB Events & Resources
 

AWB’s 2018 employment law webinar series continues with talk on non-competes, confidentiality agreements and more

  AWB’s popular employment law webinar series continues in June with a talk on Non-Competes, Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Solicitations & Intellectual Property Protection with Clemencia Castro-Woolery and Chrystina Solum of Ledger Square Law, P.S. This is part of an ongoing series as legal experts walk employers through the many facets of increasingly complex labor laws, offering up-to-date information to keep your workplace in compliance with the latest legal changes.

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This Tuesday: Labor relations for beginners — for union and non-union workplaces

  Whether or not your employees are represented by a union, recent changes in federal labor law impact your workplace. The event has been rescheduled for this Tuesday, May 22, and will be held in SeaTac. Join us to learn more about employers’ rights and obligations under key federal labor law principles.

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Reserve a spot at AWB’s Federal Affairs Summit

  Hear from members of Congress and help shape the debate by attending AWB’s second-annual Federal Affairs Summit. This year’s event will be held Aug. 14 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. Join employers, thought leaders and members of the state’s congressional delegation at this timely gathering.

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Tweet of the Week
 

Leadership Washington Graduation

 

 

 
They Said It
 

The Wrong Message

  “I firmly believe it is a tax on jobs. I firmly believe it undermines our international and national reputation.” ~ former Gov. Christine Gregoire, about Seattle’s newly passed employee head tax.
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