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...
Renewing Talks On Bi-State Bridge Replacement

Renewing Talks On Bi-State Bridge Replacement

State lawmakers want to restart discussions for replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge connecting Washington and Oregon, after the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) succumbed to...
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...

Washington State Lawmakers Move to Loosen Rural Growth Restrictions

Washington state lawmakers are trying to help rural counties suffering from economic stagnation or decline by allowing industrial and commercial growth outside so-called “urban...
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...
Shining Light on Secret Public Sector Labor Negotiations

Shining Light on Secret Public Sector Labor Negotiations

Two state Republican Senate bills aim to reform contract negotiations currently held in secret between public officials and public sector unions. SB 5545 would...

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...
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...
Two Starkly Different Visions For K-12

Two Starkly Different Visions For K-12

At a hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Monday, January 30, lawmakers further staked out their ground in what will be protracted...
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...
State May Help Sonics, But Not With Cash

State May Help Sonics, But Not With Cash

State lawmakers January 26 kicked off the first of three planned work sessions to help decide if legislation would help bring the Seattle Sonics...
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...
Forecast: Inslee's '17-'19 Budget Would Take $11 Billion In New Taxes By 2021

Forecast: Inslee’s ’17-’19 Budget Would Take $11 Billion In New Taxes By 2021

According to a recent four-year outlook from Washington's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC), Governor Jay Inslee's 2017-19 operating budget would take about $11.3 billion...
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...
Engineering Economic Justice: It's Trickier Than You Might Think, As Lawmakers Learn

Engineering Economic Justice: It’s Trickier Than You Might Think, As Lawmakers Learn

Dueling gender pay equity bills from Washington State House Republicans and Democrats are prompting a closer look at the best ways to calculate if,...
Washington State Senate Majority In Flux As Trump Administration Plucks Talent

Washington State Senate Majority In Flux As Trump Administration Plucks Talent

The Trump-induced brain drain is making things tricky for the Republican-led majority controlling the Washington State Senate, in a year when fiscal conservative principles...
Tax Incentives Could Help North Pacific Fishing Fleet Rebuilders Net A Big Catch

Tax Incentives Could Help North Pacific Fishing Fleet Rebuilders Net A Big Catch

The Seattle-based North Pacific fishing fleet is expected to get $1.6 billion in upgrades or rebuilding over the next decade, but in-state ship builders...
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...

Regulatory Fairness Bill Could Have Legs

Prospects could be better than average for a bipartisan House bill meant to ensure state agencies fully comply with the Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA). That law aims to protect employers from excessive...

Inslee Seeks Tax Hike For Environment Fund

Governor Jay Inslee in his 2017-19 capital budget is proposing to raise Washington's Hazardous Substances Tax (HST), to bring revenue for the Model Toxics...
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...
State Pension Fund Merger Gains Eyed

State Pension Fund Merger Gains Eyed

Merging two of Washington State’s eight public employee pension systems could save taxpayers almost $2 billion over the next 25 years, without reducing pension...
Transportation Funding Questions Persist

Transportation Funding Questions Persist

Adequately maintaining and growing Washington's transportation infrastructure isn't cheap, and in Central Puget Sound alone, a million more residents are due by 2040. A...
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...
State House Leaders Seek Middle Ground

State House Leaders Seek Middle Ground

Governor Jay Inslee wasn't the only one sounding off on the state of the state last week. The first day of the legislative session,...
Fixing School Siting: Round Two

Fixing School Siting: Round Two

Washington state lawmakers are again trying to help overcrowded school districts serve students with new facilities, which in some cases would have to be built...
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,...
The State Of The State? Deeply Conflicted

The State Of The State? Deeply Conflicted

In his January 11 State of the State speech, Governor Jay Inslee called for compromise between divided state legislative chambers in order to fully fund basic education. However, Inslee's hope of...
Inslee's Carbon Tax Seen As 'Job Killer'

Inslee’s Carbon Tax Seen As ‘Job Killer’

A key piece of Governor Jay Inslee’s 2017-19 biennial budget proposal is a $25 per metric ton carbon tax on the production and consumption of fossil...
Washington State Lawmakers Mull A New Layer Of Oversight For Asphalt Facilities

Washington State Lawmakers Mull A New Layer Of Oversight For Asphalt Facilities

You can't get anywhere without asphalt. It's a crucial component of many of the roads our cars and buses use every day. To deliver...
K-12 Task Force Stuck, But It's Early Innings

K-12 Task Force Stuck, But It’s Early Innings

As the 2017 biennial budget session of the Washington legislature opened Monday, January 9, all eyes were on the Joint Education Funding Task Force. Under a law passed in 2016, it...
State Parks Seals Public-Private Deal

State Parks Seals Public-Private Deal

A proposed 62-year lease of the Saint Edward State Park seminary building in Kenmore, by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (WSPRC) to Seattle-based Daniels Real Estate...
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...
Keeping Traffic, Freight And The Economy Moving In Washington: It Won't Be Cheap

Keeping Traffic, Freight And The Economy Moving In Washington: It Won’t Be Cheap

President-elect Donald Trump has proposed a $1 trillion national infrastructure investment plan over the next decade. While that might sound “yuge,” it is less...

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...
Agencies Weak On Probing Rules' Costs

Agencies Weak On Probing Rules’ Costs

State agencies have frequently ignored the financial impacts of proposed regulations on small businesses, in violation of state law. That was the big take-away...
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...
Early Battle Lines Drawn On School Funding

Early Battle Lines Drawn On School Funding

Comments by State Sen. John Braun (R-20) at a recent Education Funding Task Force meeting suggest a possible push for evidence-based decision-making to ensure Washington's...
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...

Lawmakers: Inslee’s New Taxes Won’t Fly

Washington state's major employers and several key lawmakers are warning that $4.4 billion in new taxes under Governor Jay Inslee’s 2017-19 budget would threaten Washington's economic recovery. If approved as...

Housing Affordability And Traffic Collide

Despite often fierce reactions to express toll lanes installed in 2015 on I-405's northern portion, recent state data show most toll lane and general-purpose lane drivers on the...
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....
Freight Infrastructure Fixes Needed Sooner, Say Washington State Stakeholders

Freight Infrastructure Fixes Needed Sooner, Say Washington State Stakeholders

A planned fix to one of metro Puget Sound's most glaring truck freight bottlenecks is taking too long to unfold and needs implementation sooner,...

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...
State Budget Deficit Estimates Jump Higher

State Budget Deficit Estimates Jump Higher

The budget stakes have risen for Washington lawmakers. A report last week from the Office of Program Research states the expected budget deficit for the 2017-19 biennium will now be almost $1.5...
A roadmap For The Time Of Trump

A Roadmap For The Time Of Trump

Divisions are sharp in Washington State, and the United States, between economically challenged rural communities and thriving metro regions. This crystalised with the election of Donald Trump. Hillary...
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