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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.
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...

Washington State Lawmakers To Take Aim At High Court’s Well Water Ruling

Washington state lawmakers are aiming to mitigate a State Supreme Court decision that effectively halts new construction in many rural counties in the state. The developments come after public outcry from...
2017 Launch Eyed For Washington Consumer Database On Medical Procedures

2017 Launch Eyed For Washington Consumer Database On Medical Procedures

Washington state is making progress on a planned All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) that officials now say could be ready by Fall 2017. State legislators and other stakeholders agree the state's APCD would...

New Reports: Port Project Delays A Blow To Workers, And Washington Economy

Recent reports from the Washington Maritime Federation (WMF) and Washington Research Council (WRC) emphasize that lengthy permitting processes for proposed fossil fuel transport projects at major Washington...
A Different Path To Success For Washington State High-Schoolers: Career And Tech Ed

A Different Path To Success For Washington State High-Schoolers: Career And Tech Ed

A group of high school students armed with flashlights and protective glasses peer into a car hood, reaching in to make adjustments. Nearby, another...
Concerns Deepen On EPA's Campaign Targeting Washington State Agriculture

Concerns Deepen On EPA’s Campaign Targeting Washington State Agriculture

Months before it was under heavy fire and halted funding of a tribal consortium's "What’s Upstream" campaign targeting Washington agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knew...
New Barriers Added By State Supreme Court For Building Homes With Well Water

New Barriers Added By State Supreme Court For Building Homes With Well Water

In the wake of a recent Washington State Supreme Court ruling, potential homebuilders relying on water from wells would be required to spend tens...

Heavy Traffic At Core Of District 1 State Senate Race Between Palumbo And Wirth

Washington State Legislative District 1 includes Bothell, parts of Kirkland and Mountlake Terrace, plus Brier and the unincorporated areas of Maltby, High Bridge and...
On Broader Unemployment Measure, Washington 13th Highest Of 50 States

On Broader Unemployment Measure, Washington 13th Highest Of 50 States

Washington is lagging on employment, despite a booming economy in Central Puget Sound. Part of the problem is how unemployment is measured, and usually...
Washington State Looks To Up Its Game On College Completion, And Job Training

Washington State Looks To Up Its Game On College Completion, And Job Training

Washington has a problem. Nearly 56 percent of students attending four-year public colleges in the state did not graduate within four years, and 71...
EPA-Funded "What's Upstream" Campaign Hit With PDC Complaint By Farmers

EPA-Funded “What’s Upstream” Campaign Hit With PDC Complaint By Farmers

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) this week began investigating allegations by farmers that a taxpayer-funded public education campaign called “What’s Upstream” engaged in...
Seattle Getting Granular About Work, Again

Seattle Set To Micromanage Private Sector Work Scheduling; Employers Alarmed

In a move that could inspire similar legislation in other cities nationwide, the Seattle City Council “secure scheduling” ordinance is likely to pass Monday...
Reversing The ACA Meltdown: More Power To The People

Reversing The ACA Meltdown: More Power To The People

An estimated 29,000 Washingtonians purchasing individual health plans will have to choose between one or two insurers within the state healthcare exchange for 2017,...
Minimum Wage, Maximum Debate

Minimum Wage, Maximum Debate

If approved by voters November 8, Washington Initiative 1433 (I-1433) would just two months later require employers statewide to pay $11 an hour minimum...
Seattle Push For Uber Union Vote Slowed; Automation Is Coming, In Time

Seattle Push For Uber Union Vote Slowed; Automation Is Coming, In Time

The City of Seattle is attempting to engineer unionization votes by drivers at Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft. The effort...
Avoiding Another Ports Slowdown

Avoiding Another Ports Slowdown

After a costly setback from fall 2014 through early 2015, major West Coast port labor unions and employers are set to begin negotiations well...
Seattle Worker Scheduling Law Panned

Seattle Worker Scheduling Law Panned

A 48-page draft “secure scheduling” ordinance would impose monetary penalties and micromanagement by mandate on larger Seattle food and retail businesses. Employers say it...

Unemployment Insurance: The Wrong Medicine?

Washington employers carry a relatively high financial burden of providing insurance to jobless workers while they seek new employment. In 2015 businesses in the...
Critics: Washington Healthcare Authority, Exchange Still Need To Shape Up

Critics: Washington Health Care Authority, Exchange Still Need To Shape Up

The Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) administers the state Medicaid program, Apple Health. The Washington healthcare insurance marketplace, or "exchange," is called Healthplanfinder. It...
Seattle Employer Fees Still An Option, For More City Labor Law Probes And Outreach

Seattle Employer Fees Still An Option, For More City Labor Law Probes And Outreach

Dead for now is a ballot measure on a controversial employee hours-worked tax in Seattle. It would have been to fund more Seattle investigations...
Huge War Chest Aids I-1464 'Campaign Finance Reform' Push In Washington State

Huge War Chest Aids I-1464 ‘Campaign Finance Reform’ Push In Washington State

Washington state election officials say that Initiative 1464 (I-1464) is likely to qualify for the fall ballot. It aims to institute several so-called campaign...

Occupational Licensing Reform Push Grows

Jerry Schmidt files horse teeth at his farm near Port Angeles, Washington for a fraction of a veterinarian's cost. After a formal complaint from...
Obama's Public Option Panned

Obama’s Public Option Panned

Concerned about consumer costs and under-enrollment, President Obama is asking Congress to consider a public option to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It would...
Critics: Seattle Hotel Measure I-124 Draconian, And Has Sketchy Waiver Clause

Critics: Seattle Hotel Measure I-124 Draconian, And Has Sketchy Waiver Clause

A major U.S. labor union local is advancing a Seattle ballot measure, Initiative 124 (I-124), which purports to help hotel housekeepers. However, industry sources...

Labor Backs Longview Coal Terminal

A proposed coal export terminal in Longview is accenting the divide between fossil fuel opponents and pro-growth forces which include a hefty array of labor...
A Full Plate For Washington Agriculture: Labor Needs, Visa And Immigration Reform

A Full Plate For Washington Agriculture: Labor Needs, Visa And Immigration Reform

The national trend in agriculture is an unsettling one, and hits close to home in Washington state. Despite growing demand for output, there are...
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