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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.
Snoqualmie Falls shot

Tourism bill garners strong support

House lawmakers on Feb. 20 heard public comment on a bill which would establish a statewide tourism agency that proponents say would fill the...
Students creating models

Education bill adds flexibility for students, schools

Lawmakers in Olympia are hearing from stakeholders who say that SB 6133 will expand opportunities for students as they pursue careers, along with giving school...
Construction workers discuss safety

Prevailing wage bill clears the Senate

The Washington state Senate has approved a bill which would specify how prevailing wages must be set. Although the majority of lawmakers are supportive...
Nurse spending time with patient

Individual provider bill controversial

Lawmakers opposed to SB 6911 are arguing the bill would take away the freedom of choice for individual home care providers when considering whether...
Employer helps intern with equipment

Career readiness bill aims to fill skill gaps

Academic representatives and employers alike are praising a proposal they say would help prepare more of Washington’s youth for the workforce and fill skilled...
Doctor checking up on patient

Adopting a national model for insurance companies

Under a new bill, insurance companies would be required to follow a national framework for managing and reporting their business activity. Proponents of SB 5069...
Hair stylist with customer

A big break for small businesses

Smaller businesses may be in for larger tax breaks via a recent proposal by state lawmakers.  Legislators have introduced a bill to modernize portions of...

B&O tax reform proposal advances

The House Finance Committee on Feb. 5 took executive action on HB 2940, which aims to make the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax less...
Manufacturing employee working with a fire stove

Addressing manufacturing job loss

Two new, bipartisan bills are making their way through the Legislature, with the goal of addressing changes that are affecting Washington’s manufacturing sector. The bills’...
People preparing to hike up Mount Rainier

Stakeholders say tourism bill needs another lead authority

Tourism agency representatives are finding fault with the lead agency listed in a House bill that would establish a statewide agency for managing tourism...
Worker stocking fruit in grocery store

Employers support grocery, restaurant training bill

Business representatives are touting HB 2830 as way to increase training opportunities within restaurants and grocery stores across the state, saying the measure allows...
Patient giving blood

Business stakeholders wary of reinsurance bill

Business representatives are voicing concerns that a new bill related to health care reinsurance would mean yet another cost burden on small businesses and...
Well in a garden

Hirst fix update: Water bill becomes law

After 18 months of stakeholder meetings and debate, the Washington State Legislature passed and Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill to address...
Top of Granite Mountain

Tourism bill draws strong support

Washington is the only state in the country without a dedicated statewide tourism agency – and this has been the case since 2011. To address...
Container ship entering port

Legislature asks Congress for harbor maintenance tax reform

Stakeholders from the retail sector, port leadership and labor leaders are voicing strong support for a measure which would request Congress to reform the...
Washington River

House Hirst bill may provide needed clarification

State lawmakers are hearing from building industry representatives and other stakeholders on a bill which aims to address the ongoing implications of the 2016...
Apprentice works on machinery

New grant to bolster employment efforts

Washington state youth and adults will now have access to new grant funding for job opportunities under the Career Connect Washington Initiative that begins...
Loading forestry truck

Employers support high-demand jobs bill

Washington state lawmakers heard from rural employers this week who support a pending proposal to support students to both earn degrees and succeed in...
Apprentice changes oil on car

Job training proposal could boost employment

The House Education Committee heard testimony this week on a bill which would create a pilot project to better connect Washington state public school...
old water well

Hirst bill kicks off session water use talks

As legislators embark on the 2018 session, one of the first committee meetings saw introduction of a proposal to address negative effects stemming from...
Coal trains in terminal

Millennium Bulk Terminals’ parent company sues Inslee administration

Lighthouse Resources, Inc., the parent company of Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT), this week filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee and members of...
people in front of amazon sign

Analyst: Amazon searching for better business climate

As Amazon looks for candidates for its second headquarters (HQ2), Seattle leadership would like a clean slate in its relationship with the company. One...
Outside shot of Key Arena

KeyArena Renovation: potential boon for local economy

Seattle city leaders have approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Los Angeles-based Oak View Group (OVG) to renovate KeyArena with the hope of...
Construction workers on site

Employers call for better workplace safety citation process

Washington business owners are reporting that it is difficult to stay informed when receiving workplace safety inspection penalties given out by the Department of...
Seattle clothing shop

Licensing, permitting top regulatory burdens for Washington businesses

Washington businesses often struggle to navigate numerous licensing and regulatory requirements while operating in the state, and industry and business leaders are saying these...
Trains passing through terminal

Millennium Bulk Terminals sues Ecology for withheld records

Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) filed a lawsuit this week against the Washington State Department of Ecology for withholding records used as the basis for...
Century Link Field With Roof Open

Event spending boosts Seattle economic activity

Traveling events and sporting games are important to Seattle businesses as they lay the groundwork for additional spending in the local area. Some of...
Loading Crane at Port of Vancouver

Energy council recommends governor deny Vancouver Energy project

The Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) voted unanimously this week to send Governor Jay Inslee a recommendation to deny the proposed...
BNSF Railcar on tracks

Voters reject Spokane rail prop; stakeholders relieved

Spokane voters have rejected a ballot proposition that would have placed fees on the shipment of certain fossil fuels through city limits. Business stakeholders...
cargo ship

Harbor Maintenance Tax: A competitive challenge

The Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) is just one reason why Washington ports have been losing business to competition in Canada or other West Coast ports....
Apples in barrels at an orchard

Washington apple growers may regain Indonesia trade access

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer this month reaffirmed that Indonesian import licensing regulations for horticultural and animal products violated World Trade Organization (WTO)...
Lighthouse at the San Juan Islands

Washington tourism agencies prepare for the winter decline

As the winter months approach, Washington tourism agencies are implementing different campaigns and marketing strategies to keep travelers coming to visit state attractions. Strategies...
Dock extending into Columbia River

Stakeholders say Millennium permit denial endangers business climate

The Cowlitz County Hearings Examiner this week denied Millennium Bulk Terminals its Shoreline Permit for its proposed export terminal in Longview. Labor and business...
Airplane at Grant County International Airport

13th District lawmakers visit Japan to market Washington’s strengths

Washington’s 13th District lawmakers recently embarked on a trade mission to Japan to foster mutually beneficial relationships and encourage new development within the state....
Wendy Hutchinson speaks to benefit of Millennium Bulk Terminals project

Hearings on Millennium Bulk Terminals permits conclude with strong support

Hearings concluded this week on Millennium Bulk Terminals’ (MBT) Shoreline Substantial Development and Conditional Use Permits for its proposed export terminal in Longview. The...
Engineer working on equipment

Washington technical school to partner with Oregon, British Columbia to fill workforce gaps

There will be an estimated 740,000 job openings in Washington state over the next five years and analysts are projecting a lack of qualified...
View over Seattle

The proposed Seattle head count tax: yet another business burden

Members of the Seattle City Council recently proposed a new head count tax on large businesses in Seattle to help fund homelessness programs and...
Combine Harvesting Wheat

Washington wheat growers weigh in on NAFTA, South Korean trade agreement

As North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations continue, the Washington wheat industry is sharing its concerns and hopes for a revamped contract. The...
Rideshare car

Establishing a level playing field for ride-hailing companies in Spokane

As the city of Spokane proceeds with a temporary contract for ridesharing businesses such as Uber or Lyft, one city councilmember and taxi cab...

Washington Policy Center to expand, focus on labor issues

The Washington Policy Center (WPC) has announced it will expand its research at the start of 2018, opening a center to focus on labor...

Millennium Bulk Terminals appeals Ecology denial of key permit

Yesterday, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) appealed the Washington State Department of Ecology’s denial of its water quality permit for the proposed export facility in...

Building a sustainable housing future

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS) hosted builders, developers, realtors and other housing stakeholders for its fourth annual housing summit,...

Secretary of Education DeVos urges school choice in K-12

At Washington Policy Center’s (WPC) annual dinner, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos addressed nearly 1,500 business leaders, elected officials and young professionals about the power...

Japan eyes Millennium Bulk Terminals to fulfill energy needs

More than six years after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Facility disaster, Japan is looking to the United States as a viable option for a...

Labor urges passage of Millennium Bulk Terminals permit to boost economy, create jobs

Members of the labor community have taken a strong interest in urging Cowlitz County to approve shoreline permits for the proposed export terminal project...

Employers: Reduced 2018 workers’ compensation rates appreciated, could be lower

Even as the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) projects a 2.5-percent decrease in workers’ compensation premiums paid by Washington employers for 2018, members...
Stakeholders: MBT water permit denial threatens jobs, future investment

Stakeholders: MBT water permit denial threatens jobs, future investment

Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposed export facility in Longview has been denied its water quality permit by the state Department of Ecology (DOE), prompting members...
Northwest dairy shares its unique stake in NAFTA

Northwest dairy shares its unique stake in NAFTA

As the U.S., Canada and Mexico prepare to enter the third round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) discussions at the end...

Hirst impact study reveals troubling tax implications

A recent economic impact study found that the 2016 Washington Supreme Court decision in Whatcom County v. Eric Hirst will likely increase real estate taxes...

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...
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