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Mike Richards

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Mike Richards grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from 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 covering a variety of topics.

Seattle mayoral and city council candidates discuss Seattle housing

Two Seattle mayoral candidates and one city council candidate shared their perspectives this week on hot housing topics in the expanding city, including affordable...

WWU study highlights economic benefits of agribusiness in Whatcom County

As a recent Western Washington University (WWU) study highlights the benefits of agriculture to Whatcom County businesses, one of the study’s authors as well...

Washington’s agricultural industry weighs in on second round of NAFTA reworks

As the second round of discussions regarding changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) wrap up this week, U.S. and Washington representatives...

City of Kenmore downtown development sets example for future Washington municipal projects

As one King County city moves to develop its downtown, developers and city staff are praising the move as a way to attract more...

Spokane rail proposition likely to place taxpayers on hook for legal defense

In July, the majority of the Spokane City Council denied two advisory votes which would have allowed taxpayers to weigh in on how the...

Stakeholders voice concerns over Spokane rail initiative

As the Spokane City Council decides to move a controversial measure to the fall ballot which would fine the transport of certain fossil fuels,...

Public awareness campaign warns voters of Spokane rail proposition

A public awareness campaign has launched to inform Spokane voters of the dangers of approving a proposition to fine rail car owners for transporting...

Workers comp cases need increased state oversight, employers say

After four years of battling a reportedly fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, one Washington construction business has decided to drop the case to avoid further...
Investigating fraud in the workers’ compensation system

Investigating fraud in the workers’ compensation system

Although fraudulent workers’ compensation claims can financially hinder employers and the success of their businesses, officials at Washington state’s Department of Labor and Industries...
Washington’s agricultural stakeholders voice concerns over NAFTA revamp discussions

Washington’s agricultural stakeholders voice concerns over NAFTA revamp discussions

Discussions to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) begin in one week, and Washington’s agricultural stakeholders are voicing concerns and offering suggestions...

Legislature continues work to address Hirst, capital budget

Even though the legislature adjourned last week without a solution to the 2016 Supreme Court Hirst decision or passage of a capital budget, lawmakers...

Business, Industry Leaders Say Rail Initiative Threatens Washington’s Competitiveness

A controversial Spokane ballot initiative would fine fossil fuel businesses planning to transport their commodity through city limits, which opponents say violates federal law,...
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Lens Video – Millennium Bulk Terminals Project

Millennium Bulk Terminals President and CEO Bill Chapman tells Lens about the importance of the company’s proposed coal export terminal project to the Longview...

Millennium Bulk Terminals Receives First Permit For Coal Export Terminal

After nearly five years and five months in the permitting process, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) has finally received its first permit for the company’s...

Lawmakers Skeptical They Can Agree On A Hirst Fix Before Session Ends

As the Washington state legislature enters the last day of its third special session, lawmakers are doubtful that a Hirst fix will be agreed...

Skagit Farmers Relieved Over Clarification of Swinomish Constitutional Amendments

Skagit Valley farmers are praising a recent letter sent by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) which clarified that amendments to a local...

Washington Becomes 5th State to Mandate Paid Family and Medical Leave

10 years after the Washington legislature first approved a framework without a clear plan for implementation, Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill into...

New Buildable Lands Law Projected to Improve Data, Fill Gaps In State Housing Inventory

Washington homebuilders and realtors are praising a new law that would clarify what land is considered buildable under Growth Management Act (GMA) comprehensive plan...

Construction Business Owner Shares His Struggle With Unresolved Workers’ Compensation Claim

A long-standing workers’ compensation claim can be enough to put a company out of business, take away the owner’s ability to stay profitable, or...

Washington State Sweet Cherry Growers Expecting “Heavy Set” Harvest

It should be a bountiful sweet cherry harvest this year, according to recent estimates from the U.S. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). As cherry...

Locals Divided Over Benefits Of Proposed Vancouver Energy Oil Terminal Project

The proposed Vancouver Energy oil export terminal project is anticipated to create local jobs, lower the state and county’s dependence on foreign oil and...

Enhanced Safety Strategies Protect Workers, Reduce Construction Business Operating Costs

For construction businesses, workplace accidents have ripple effects which extend beyond the initial claim and the worker’s wellbeing – any injury can hold up...
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Lens Video – Vancouver Energy Project

Lens sat down with Vancouver Energy General Manager Jared Larrabee to discuss the proposed project, which is anticipated to create family-wage jobs, bolster energy...

Proposed Vancouver Energy Oil Terminal Would Bring Jobs, Revenue To Local Communities

Final public comment regarding a permit for the proposed Vancouver Energy oil terminal proved lively as local residents, environmental advocates, business stakeholders and members...

Identifying Small Business Challenges In Washington’s Workers’ Compensation System

In the business world, one workers' compensation claim can spell disaster for employers and their ability to stay afloat in a competitive market, and the financial effects...
Statewide Tourism Marketing Authority Awaits Funding Source

Statewide Tourism Marketing Authority Awaits Funding Source

As budgetary negotiations continue this special session, the survival of a bill that would put Washington’s tourism efforts back on the map is dependent...
Federal Bill Aims to Energize Agricultural Exports

Federal Bill Aims to Energize Agricultural Exports

In hopes of bolstering American agricultural exports, two U.S. Congressmen this month introduced a bill that would increase market promotion and the ability to...
New “Shot Clock” Law Aims to Curtail Permitting Delays

New “Shot Clock” Law Aims to Curtail Permitting Delays

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law which would encourage timely completion of state environmental impact statements (EIS) for proposed development projects. Proponents of the...
Department, Businesses Prepare For Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Requirements

Department, Businesses Prepare For Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Requirements

As Washington prepares to implement a mandatory paid sick leave law for businesses, the department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is gauging small business concerns and considering cost mitigation...
Lawmakers, Agriculture Community Express Concern Over Findings of Campaign Audit

Lawmakers, Agriculture Community Express Concern Over Findings of Campaign Audit

In the wake of a national audit of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-funded and Washington state-based "What's Upstream” campaign targeting the agriculture community, U.S. lawmakers and state...
New Law “First Step” In Regulatory Relief for Washington Small Businesses

New Law “First Step” In Regulatory Relief for Washington Small Businesses

In a move proponents say will reduce confusion and better equip employers, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law this week legislation that soon will...
Labor, Business Leaders Ask Governor to Support Energy Projects

Labor, Business Leaders Ask Governor to Support Energy Projects

Numerous Washington state labor leaders are urging Governor Jay Inslee to endorse two economic development projects bogged down in the state’s permitting process, highlighting the regional energy security, expanded...
Business, Industry Leaders Warn “Unprecedented” Environmental Recommendation Will Harm Washington’s Economic Vitality

Business, Industry Leaders Warn “Unprecedented” Environmental Recommendation Will Harm Washington’s Economic Vitality

As Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) release the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) coal...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: May 2, 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...
As Well Permit Woes Persist, Local Governments Navigate Challenging Waters

As Well Permit Woes Persist, Local Governments Navigate Challenging Waters

As both chambers of the Washington State Legislature fail to agree on an acceptable solution to the ongoing permit-exempt well use and rural development...
Regular Session Concludes On Symbolic Tax Bill Votes

Regular Session Concludes On Symbolic Tax Bill Votes

The regular legislative session ended for all intents and purposes last week in Olympia with a symbolic vote on two Senate bills seeking to...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack: April 24, 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...

Promoting Rural Business Investments

Washington State lawmaker testimony proved lively last week on a bill that would establish a tax credit program to incentivize investment in rural businesses. SB 5208...
Leveling The Playing Field For Manufacturing Businesses

Leveling The Playing Field For Manufacturing Businesses

A new Senate bill would encourage competitiveness and promote job creation for smaller and medium-sized manufacturing businesses by reducing their general business and occupation (B&O) tax rate....
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack: April 17, 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...
Developing A Small Business Bill Of Rights

Developing A Small Business Bill Of Rights

A bill seeking to equip small business owners with their own bill of rights during state agency inspections has passed both chambers of the Washington...
Clearing the Path To Middle-Skill Careers

Clearing the Path To Middle-Skill Careers

The Washington State House this week approved a measure which would boost recruitment efforts in high-demand industry fields, and fill worker shortages voiced by those...
Giving Small Businesses Regulatory Relief

Giving Small Businesses Regulatory Relief

Washington State small business employers might soon experience reduced regulatory burdens under a House bill which has now passed both chambers. On Friday, May 7,...
Paving The Way For Top-Notch Physicians

Paving The Way For Top-Notch Physicians

A bill requiring Washington to join an interstate compact offering streamlined physician licenses is well on its way to becoming law. As of Wednesday,...
Senate Hirst Bill: It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over

Senate Hirst Bill: It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

The fight for a potential fix to Hirst isn't over quite yet. Despite SB 5239 failing to receive a vote before the Wednesday, March 29 cutoff for passing...
Making Washington More Appealing For Manufacturing

Making Washington More Appealing For Manufacturing

A Senate bill making its way through the Washington State Legislature aims to attract more manufacturing companies to move to the state and incentivize those...
Opinions Still Clashing Over Hist Decision Bill

Opinions Still Clashing Over Hirst Decision Bill

A proposed legislative fix to the October 2016 Washington State Supreme Court "Hirst" ruling drew attention this week from state bankers, realtors, building sector businesses, and Native American tribe...
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: May 1, 2017

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...
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