State Senate race needs your support
By Jan Teague, President/CEO
The 45th District race will determine party control of the state Senate. Yesterday, District 45 results showed Democrat Manka Dhingra leading Republican Jinyoung Englund 50.5 percent to 42.6 percent after the first count of ballots. With a third candidate in the race, we are able to see the work ahead in the district.
The low turn out is expected for an off-year race. It does create challenges to get voter turn out and momentum. At the same time, this race is expected to be one of the most expensive races moving forward.
It is still possible for the Republican candidate to pull ahead in the fall’s general election, but it will take a lot of money and your support is needed.
If the Democrats control both the House and Senate and we have a Democrat in the Governor’s Office, we all know that business costs will soar. We’re seeing it happen in Seattle as we speak. If we also have this happen in the state, many of you will be forced to sell or cut other areas of your operation. We will see a growing unpredictable business climate making our buying decisions tougher and our labor costs unknown.
I urge you all to dig into your pockets to donate. You can donate in three places.
Our political action committee fund is called the Retail Action Council. You can send your check to P.O. Box 2227, Olympia, Washington 98507-2227. There is no limit on the amount you can send us.
You can donate directly to the candidate Englund from her webpage. The limit for the candidate is $1,000.
You also can donate on the Enterprise Washington website.This is an independent expenditure group. In Washington State, we allow this form of political action that can support or oppose candidates without candidate awareness. These donations allow you to give any amount you wish.
Seattle to select first woman as mayor since 1926
Tuesday’s primary election results included the certainty that Seattle voters will select only their second woman mayor in 91 years. The first four primary finishers in the 21-candidate race were women, according to preliminary returns.
In a crucial state Legislature race, Republican Jinyoung Englund and Manka Dhingra advanced to the Nov. 7 general election. The 45th District race could determine party control of the state Senate and possibly result in one-party rule of the Governor’s office and Legislature.
Early returns showed former federal prosecutor Jenny Durkan (31.6 percent of the vote) in the lead for Seattle mayor followed by community activist Cary Moon (15.56 percent). Also in the running for making it to a two-person general election race are the current third place finisher, lawyer and community activist Nikkita Oliver and former state legislator Jessyn Farrell, who was fourth in early returns.
The Republican Englund so far is trailing the Democrat Dhingra in the 45th District race.
WRA also is tracking key special elections for the Legislature:
- In the Senate District 48 race, Democrat Patty Kurderer (60.36 percent) led Libertarian Michelle Darnell (23.66 percent).
- In Senate District 31, Republican Phil Fortunato (58.55 percent) is leading Democrat Michelle Rylands (41.45 percent).
- In the House District District 31, the Republican Morgan Irwin (56.88) is leading the Democrat Nate Lowry (43.12).
Click here for running election results for Seattle and other cities around King County.
For state races, click here for updated results in the coming days.
Sources: King County elections, Secretary of State
National Border Adjustment Tax proposal dropped
By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
The Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) has officially been pulled off the table in Congress. Last week Congressional leaders decided that the BAT tax was not a viable path forward and issued a statement that they were scrapping plans to move forward.
Thank you to all the WRA members who weighed in with their U.S. Senators and Congressional delegation. We couldn’t have done it without your help. Special thanks to small retail owner Madelin White, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs and Day Spa, of Lacey, Washington, for traveling to Washington, D.C. to personally meet with our delegation. The efforts were successful.
The BAT tax would have imposed a 20 percent surcharge on all imported goods. This would have equated to $1,700 per year in added costs to each American family. The BAT tax would have significantly hurt retailers who import products.
WRA and the Americans for Affordable Products (AAP) coalition and our national partners the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association worked as a team on this important issue. Retailers large and small across the country stand ready to work with Congress on comprehensive and meaningful tax reform that helps American families and businesses.
Seattle stores report calls from City Hall on new scheduling law
By Tammie Hetrick, Senior VP of Retail Services
A month after a new Seattle scheduling law went into effect, I am getting reports from member store employees who have taken cold calls from people claiming to be from the city’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS) regarding audits to determine compliance.
City officials had assured retailers of a “soft launch” of the law to give retailers time to understand its requirements first before seeking enforcement or possible fines for violations.
I am in contact with law firms regarding this development to learn more about exactly how Seattle is monitoring compliance with the law in the first few months. After I contacted City Hall, city officials verified the calls are being made by OLS.
The law requires larger retailers to post work schedules at least two weeks in advance and bans hiring before first offering additional hours to workers already on the payroll. It also requires keeping records of scheduling requests and changes for a three-year period.
Meanwhile, larger Seattle retailers with at least 500 employees worldwide should make sure they have a communications plan among managers in case they are contacted by the Office of Labor Standards. It’s also important to know the requirements of a series of new Seattle labor laws and to have related required posters visible for your employees to review.
Rules change proposed
In a related matter, city officials are proposing to change rules on labor-related investigations to require retailers to respond to contact from OLS within three days of notice instead of the current 20 days. I have pointed out how burdensome and difficult it would be for most any retailer to meet this much tougher standard on producing records and expressed WRA’s grave concerns about the idea.
Visit OLS on the internet to review requirements of all of Seattle’s new labor laws. I’m told the department will soon be posting more details on its website regarding what information it is seeking from retailers when they are called to check compliance with labor laws.
Please contact me if you have questions at 360-200-6452 or at email@example.com.
Tammie Hetrick, WRA’s Senior VP of Retail Service, will host a half-hour webinar at 10 a.m., Aug. 8 on the state’s new paid family leave law.
Her presentation will explain who can receive the benefit, employer responsibilities, protections for businesses, financial incentives for employers and work and employer rights. Tammie was one of five negotiators representing business interests in the formation of the new state law.
The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019.
Click here to register.
Some state legislators still are at work on pending issues even though the body adjourned after passing a new state budget in June.
The Legislature adjourned without passing a state capital budget or settling a water-related issue that has temporarily held up several rural residential and school construction projects.
The Lens, the online news source of the Business Institute of Washington, takes a look at the legislature’s remaining work and whether the Governor might be able to call them back for a final few votes this year.
Click here to read the story
Lawsuit filed challenging Seattle income tax
A King County Superior Court challenge has been filed in opposition to Seattle’s newly-adopted income tax on wage earners who make more than $250,000 a year. The development was reported by KUOW public radio in Seattle.
According to the report, litigant Michael Kunath argues the tax would be unconstitutional because income is considered property that must be taxed at the same rate.
The action is the first of what are expected to be other legal challenges by the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation and a group known as the Opportunity for All Coalition. Former state Attorney General Rob McKenna is reported to heading up the legal effort for the coalition.
City officials who must respond to the court challenge declined comment to KUOW. A prior state Supreme Court decision ruled income taxes to be unconstitutional in Washington.
In a separate story, former state Supreme Court justice Gerry Alexander told KUOW that the Seattle income tax violates state law.
“Cities only have taxing authority that’s given to them by the state Legislature, and cities have not been authorized to impose an income tax,” Alexander said. “In fact, there’s a statute that says they can’t impose a net income tax.”
Seattle proposes end to sub-minimum wage for disabled employees
A Seattle city councilwoman and Mayor Murray have proposed changing a city ordinance to prevent employers from paying employees with disabilities less than the minimum wage.
In announcing the move, Murray said the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage law allows employers to pay disabled employees less than the minimum wage. State law also allows for a subminimum wage to be paid to disabled employees.
Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards will begin rule revisions to propose the elimination of special certificates permitting subminimum wages for certain employees. Councilmember Lisa Herbold joined Murray in making the announcement.
The full nine-member council is expected to vote on the proposed change before the end of the year.
Policy Today podcast covers impact of manufacturing tax break veto
The business and occupation tax break was included in SB 5977.
The Washington Research Council’s Policy Today podcast breaks down the potential economic impact of the veto.
The council’s senior economist, Kriss Sjoblom, suggested Washington manufacturers who sell out-of-state would have been helped by a tax break as they compete with manufacturers in other states.
Further, he noted, a tax break could have encouraged hiring at companies that pay relatively well and that generate from 2 to 8 other jobs for every manufacturing job created. Sjoblem’s hope is that Inslee, who has said he would be willing to reconsider the veto, will make good on the idea.
Click here to listed to the podcast.
Legislators file report on complying with McCleary school funding requirement
State legislators this week reported their progress to the state Supreme Court on its requirement to fully fund state schools. Details are contained in a 52-page report.
The Legislature has added $13 billion in new K-12 funding over a decade, has raised teacher pay, and increased property taxes to ensure that the state is collecting and paying for basic education.
The court will schedule oral arguments this year before determining if the 2017 Legislature is in compliance with the court order of the McCleary case that requires compliance by September of next year.
There remain uncertainties on funding and compliance related to McCleary.
The Legislature has yet to approve a capital budget to pay for some public school construction. Also, Governor Inslee is awaiting results of the upcoming November elections to determine if he will try to change the funding formula to increase state education spending.
The Democrat Inslee is hoping his party can regain control of the state Senate. If Democrats wind up controlling the entire Legislature, Inslee has said he would attempt to reduce the approved property tax increase to help pay for schools and propose his highly-partisan ideas of a capital gains or carbon tax.
WRA has added two safety courses to its free SafeMe training app.
The addition of Distracted Driving and Workplace Violence modules brings to 12 the number of courses offered. The app aims to increase
Safety awareness especially among entry-level and younger employees who tend to proportionately get hurt most often on the job.
The Distracted Driving lesson includes information about the updated state law that addresses driving with a cell phone. There are also videos in the lesson to help reinforce the need to focus on driving and not cell phone use.
Workplace Violence covers robbery/shoplifting and shooting threats from customers and co-workers. Learn more about SafeMe here.
Safety tip of the week
Don’t ignore near accidents
Bob was in a hurry to get a product out of the stock room. Using a ladder that he could not quite position correctly because there was another object in the way, he went up the ladder to retrieve the item. As he was coming down, Bob felt the ladder sliding to the right. He was able to correct his balance to stop the ladder from sliding any further and made it down to the ground safely.
The result was no injury, this time.
Scenarios like this happen in different ways, different places and often involve power equipment. But, the sliding ladder was close to becoming an accident and needs to be addressed so that it doesn’t happen again.
Encourage employees to report near accidents so they can be evaluated and result in safety improvements that can be followed. Precautions aren’t required to slow an employee down but rather to keep them healthy and able to work.
WRA’s RASI Safety Library has a section on near accidents that you can use at your Safety Meeting.
Rick is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snohomish County opens first of several drug disposal kiosks
The first of several secure Snohomish County drug disposal kiosks opened this week at the City of Edmonds police department. The county plans to unveil more than 20 such kiosks throughout August.
Future kiosks are slated for police departments and pharmacies throughout the county. The kiosks will replace boxes previously located in many police precincts in the county.
The eight-year-old return program for unused and expired drugs aims to prevent prescription drug and heroin abuse. To prevent misuse, authorities urge customers to store drugs safely at home and properly dispose of them when no longer needed.
Source: Snohomish Health District
Save the date for a free business fair
Anyone interested in learning how to start and run a business should consider attended a free business fair set for September 30 at Renton Technical College.
WRA has been a regular attendee at the fair, now in its 20th year.
The fair is a collection of helpful seminars and information booths to help entrepreneurs learn how to start and grow a business while remaining mindful of the potential pitfalls and regulatory requirements to operate legally and successfully.
WRA diversity statement
It’s essential to have a holistic strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. We encourage everyone to consider having a plan that connects with diverse people, creates a diverse workforce, fosters an inclusive work environment where different perspectives are valued, partners to share time, talent, and resources with our staff and with communities, and communicates these values with others.
In principle and in practice, we value access to leadership opportunity regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, appearance, geographic location, or professional level. The association strives to accomplish this by serving as a model where we are working to help our staff, our volunteer leaders, our members, and our community embrace these principles