Authors Posts by Mike Richards

Mike Richards

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Mike Richards grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA with a degree in Multiplatform Journalism and a minor in Public Relations. He wrote and published articles at Pittsburgh’s NPR station for one year covering a variety of topics.
Promoting Timely Completion Of Development Projects

Removing Bureaucratic Roadblocks To Economic Development

A Senate bill now making its rounds in the House might finally improve Washington's lengthy permitting process and save project leaders headache. That is according to...

Lens LegiTrack Update: March 27, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community,...
Uncovering Natural Resource Sector Career Paths

Uncovering Natural Resource Sector Job Opportunities

This week, the Washington State House Higher Education Committee passed a workforce study bill to better align the state's teachers with the workforce needs...
Promoting Middle-Skill Worker Recruitment Efforts

Promoting Middle-Skill Worker Recruitment Efforts

After an overwhelming majority vote in the Washington State Senate earlier this month, business advocates this week are praising SB 5713 during it's first...
Alleviating Small Business Regulatory Burdens

Alleviating Small Business Regulatory Burdens

After a recent Washington State Auditor's Office (SAO) performance audit determined state agencies are falling short when complying with the Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA),...
Lens LegiTrack Update: March 20, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: March 20, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community,...

Consolidating Beer, Wine, and Spirits Licenses For Retail Businesses 

Washington state lawmakers are strongly supporting a House measure which would reduce licensing burdens for grocery store and wine or beer specialty stores. HB 1351 received...
Small Business 'Bill Of Rights' Legislation Receiving Strong Support

Small Business ‘Bill Of Rights’ Legislation Receiving Strong Support

After unanimously passing their respective Washington State houses last month, two pieces of legislation related to informing small business of their rights under state...
Deregulating Washington’s Movie Theater Industry

Deregulating Washington’s Movie Theater Industry

Local theater business owners are praising SB 5161, which they argue would offer a better return of investment for their venues and help those businesses better...
Lens LegiTrack Update: March 20, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: March 11, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community,...
Inviting Skilled Medical Practitioners To Washington

Inviting Skilled Medical Practitioners To Washington

A measure that would join Washington with 18 other states in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact was met with favorable testimony in the a...

Implementing Statewide Regulations For Ridesharing Companies

This week, the Washington State Senate approved a measure which would establish statewide laws for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Lyft or Uber. During...
utreach Efforts For A Skilled Workforce

Bolstering Industry Outreach Efforts For A Skilled Workforce

As part of a national survey last fall, Washington state's construction sector businesses reported a strong need for recruiting skilled workers for hourly craft jobs....
Addressing Paid Rest Breaks For Washington's Growers

Addressing Paid Rest Breaks For Washington’s Growers

Many Washington state growers have dealt with a string of lawsuits stemming from a 2015 Supreme Court ruling related to compensating piece-time workers for...
Lens LegiTrack Update: March 20, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: March 3, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. This week, the Lens staff would like to present "Lens LegiTrack." It will be a series...
Measure Streamlining Municipal Business Licensing Clears House

Measure Streamlining Municipal Business Licensing Clears House

Washington small business owners may soon get a large licensing and reporting break. On Thursday, March 2, HB 2005 was voted out off the House...
Potential "Hirst" Fix Clears Washington State Senate

Potential “Hirst” Fix Clears Washington State Senate

After much debate and public testimony, the Washington State Senate passed E2SSB 5239 in an attempt to correct the negative economic impacts of the...
Better Including Business On Higher Education Capital Budget Requests

Greater Business Influence On Higher Education Infrastructure

Recent legislation is gaining traction in the Washington state legislature which would join efforts from higher education institutions and state businesses together to decide where...
Addressing Environmental and Natural Resource Sector Worker Shortages

Addressing Environmental and Natural Resource Sector Worker Shortages

Washington state lawmakers are trying a new approach to fill jobs left open for the state's environmental sectors. SB 5285 would encourage better communication...
Meeting Business Needs Through State Need Grant Reform

Meeting Business Needs Through State Need Grant Reform

A new approach to distributing the State Need Grant (SNG) would better align recipients to meeting business needs and increase degree completion in high-demand...
Creating A Streamlined, Uniform Process For Ridesharing Businesses

Creating A Streamlined, Uniform Process For Ridesharing Businesses

Drivers operating under Washington's ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, often struggle acquiring proper licenses for operating within different cities. That is according...
Addressing Stalled Development in Rural Washington

Addressing Stalled Development in Rural Washington

A bipartisan bill related to the Hirst Supreme Court decision cleared committee at the end of last week, which would work to restore residential...
Reducing Municipal General Business License Confusion

Reducing Municipal General Business License Confusion

Washington employers are often bogged down by the variety of licenses and regulations required to operate within multiple cities. That is what small business...

Improving Recruitment and Outreach Efforts in High-Demand Industries

Washington currently has a variety of job training programs to align residents to fill industry needs, but several business advocates say the state falls...
Inviting Business To Higher Education Infrastructure Deliberations

Inviting Business To Higher Education Infrastructure Deliberations

Washington's workforce pipeline problem might finally get a boost. SB 5684 would increase business involvement in determining which public higher education projects deserve capital...
Central Washington University Plans To Address Pilot Shortage

Central Washington University Plans To Address Pilot Shortage

Central Washington University (CWU) is looking to expand its aviation program to meet increasing demand for pilots in the state. The university is asking $9.9 million...

Washington’s Global Trade Future Without The Trans-Pacific Partnership

Although the United States is advancing without a stake in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Washington state's global trade future is far from over. How...
Improving the State Need Grant's Reach

Improving The State Need Grant’s Reach

Washington State’s higher education system is under pressure to grow capacity and improve results. University presidents say they need to increase certificate and degree attainment, and other student...
Finding The Hidden Jobs Of The Future

Finding The Hidden Jobs Of The Future

Haven't you always wanted to work in sustainable forestry, or salmon restoration? How about a steady, working-wage job operating, maintaining and repairing machinery used...
Paid Sick Leave Compromise Bill Emerges

Paid Sick Leave Compromise Bill Emerges

Bipartisan sponsors and employer stakeholders Monday, January 30 came together around a compromise bill on paid family and sick leave, at a hearing of...
Cutting Red Tape On Job Licensing

Cutting Red Tape On Job Licensing

Nearly one-third of Washington jobs require government-issued occupational licenses or certificates, more than in all but two other states. Licensing delays and red tape...
Coming: A Workers' Comp Overhaul Try

Coming: A Workers’ Comp Overhaul Try

What would be meaty reforms to the state's troubled workers' compensation system are contained in new draft Senate legislation heard in the Commerce, Labor...
Tourism Funding Gains Traction In Hous

Tourism Funding Gains Traction In House

The push to restore funding for statewide tourism in Washington accelerated Wednesday, January 25 at a public hearing of the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee....
Paid Family Leave Debate Intensifies

Paid Family Leave Concerns Intensify

Washington state industry associations want lawmakers to pump the brakes on paid family and medical leave until they consult with affected employers. They say...

Fish Or Well Water: The False Dichotomy

Three months after a Washington State Supreme Court ruling effectively halted rural development that is reliant on well water, the effort to safeguard property rights...
Public-Private Pact Eyed For State Tourism

Public-Private Pact Eyed For State Tourism

A bipartisan group of lawmakers and tourism industry advocates have come together around HB 1123. The bipartisan bill would provide up to $5 million per biennium...
Debate Grows On Craft Distillery Sales

Debate Grows On Craft Distillery Sales

Owners of smaller privately-owned liquor stores Wednesday, January 18 at a public hearing told the Washington State Senate Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee they're...
Boosting Washington State Higher Education: The Conversation Deepens

Boosting Washington State Higher Education: The Conversation Deepens

Representing the largest four-year public universities in Washington, the Council of Presidents on January 17 told the State Senate Higher Education Committee their institutions need additional funding to...
Alarms Ringing On Higher Ed Attainment

Alarms Ringing On Higher Ed Attainment

Hundreds of thousands of new jobs are coming to Washington in the next five years, and they will mostly require education beyond high school. State data presented last...
Paid Family Leave Battle Looms

Paid Family Leave Battle Looms

Employees in Washington state could claim up to 38 weeks of paid family and sick leave under companion bills introduced in the House and Senate...
Changes Afoot For A District With Lineage

Changes Afoot For A District With Lineage

Washington's 48th Legislative District swung wholly Democratic from the early to mid-2000s, and hasn't swung back. Along the way, it has sent several state...
Lawmakers Look To Loosen Sales Restrictions For Craft Distilleries, Wineries

Lawmakers Look To Loosen Sales Restrictions For Craft Distilleries, Wineries

A bipartisan group of Washington state lawmakers is aiming to lessen barriers to sales growth for Washington's wine and spirits industry. Two new bills,...
Lawmakers: K-12, Post-Secondary Role Key To Lift For Washington Manufacturing

Lawmakers: K-12, Post-Secondary Role Key To Lift For Washington Manufacturing

Manufacturing employers in Washington and nationally are at a tricky juncture. Although new opportunities for growth such as carbon fiber product development are gaining...

Gearing Up For Advanced Manufacturing

Driven by growing automation and a globalizing economy, American manufacturing continues its transformation, with big implications for workforce development. Lacking a beefed-up supply of...
Busting The State Workers' Comp Monopoly

Busting The State Workers’ Comp Monopoly

Washington is one of four states in the country without a private insurance option for workers' compensation. Busting the state monopoly on sales of workers comp policies to those employers who are not self-insured would...
All Hands On Deck To Fix Washington State's College Completion Problem

All Hands On Deck To Fix Washington State’s College Completion Problem

Washington state has a college completion problem. At four-year, in-state public institutions, only 56 percent graduate within four years. For two-year schools, 71 percent don't graduate within three...
Reforms Aplenty Could Tighten Up Workers' Compensation Costs In Washington State

Reforms Could Tighten Up Workers’ Compensation Costs In Washington

Washington state struggles to contain workers' compensation costs, ranking third in payouts nationally per $100 of payroll from 2010 through 2014. It is also one of only...
Southwest Washington Seeks Foothold On Hard Road Back To Economic Health

Southwest Washington Seeks Foothold On Hard Road Back To Economic Health

In November, Jim Walsh became only the second Republican in the last 70 years to win a state legislative seat in Washington's 19th district....

Washington State Aims To Get A Better Grip On Workers’ Compensation Costs

As workers' compensation premiums continue to rise in Washington, raising alarms for employers, the state is already among the most expensive for claims. Washington from...
Washington State Wary Of Trade Wars

Washington State Wary Of Trade Wars

President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on staunch opposition to global trade expansion, threatening among other things tariffs of 45% on U.S. imports from China. Yet his emerging team of economic advisors is split between those favoring...
Washington's Consumer Database On Medical Costs Faces Fiscal Challenge

Washington’s Consumer Database On Medical Costs Faces Fiscal Challenge

As Washington state prepares for the fall 2017 launch of its public-facing database on comparative costs and quality of different medical procedures, some of...
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