There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.
Here’s this week’s bundle:
KOMO News: In Port Orchard, a new minimum wage is squeezing small businesses
Lois Sietman opened Nostalgia House Bakery four years ago on Bay Street in Port Orchard, but as a small business owner, she isn’t ‘rolling in the dough’ and fears the new minimum wage increase will make it tough to stay open.
“It’s tough enough to be a small business in this world right now but to have that kind of increase in wages is tremendous,” said Sietman.
Associated Press: Top lawmakers won’t move bills to end tolling on I-405
The Daily Herald reports that leaders of the state House and Senate transportation committeesappear ready to keep the toll lanes operating, at least for now.
Wall Street Journal (Strassel): A GOP Regulatory Game Changer
The accepted wisdom in Washington is that the [Congressional Review Act] can be used only against new regulations, those finalized in the past 60 legislative days. That gets Republicans back to June, teeing up 180 rules or so for override. Included are biggies like the Interior Department’s “streams” rule, the Labor Department’s overtime-pay rule, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane rule.
But what Mr. [Todd] Gaziano [ senior fellow in constitutional law at the Pacific Legal Foundation] told Republicans on Wednesday was that the CRA grants them far greater powers, including the extraordinary ability to overrule regulations even back to the start of the Obama administration. The CRA also would allow the GOP to dismantle these regulations quickly, and to ensure those rules can’t come back, even under a future Democratic president. No kidding.
Stateline: Republican States Look to Customize Medicaid Expansion, Not Eliminate It
In expanding Medicaid under the ACA, Republicans in expansion states chose economics over politics, even though it meant cooperating with a law that nearly all conservatives abhor. That calculus won’t change with the transition in Washington, according to Matt Salo, who heads the National Association of Medicaid Directors.
“Not only do you have to consider the ramifications of denying health coverage to hundreds of thousands of constituents, but you have to face down insurance companies, hospitals and other titans of the health care industry, for whom this means disrupted business models and reduced revenue streams,” Salo said.
The Lens: 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 economic impacts of rulemaking. HB 1120 was introduced by State Rep. Norma Smith (R-10), Ranking Minority Member of the House Technology and Economic Development Committee. The 13 other sponsors include the panel’s chair, State Rep. Jeff Morris (D-40), State Rep. Derek Stanford (D-1), and State Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-32).
The new legislation’s basic thrust has also drawn support from the administration of Democratic Governor Jay Inslee…The measure responds to some of the findings of a December State Auditor’s Office (SAO) performance audit regarding frequent agency non-compliance with the RFA.
The Daily News: Washington National Board Certified Teachers fourth in the nation
National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential offered by the non-profit National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The certification serves to complement, not replace, a state teacher’s license. It’s valid for five years. Teachers seeking the advanced certification must already hold a bachelor’s degree, a valid license and three full years of teaching experience.
The process is lengthy, expensive and exhausting, and yet Washington has among the highest number of National Board Certified teachers in the country: Nearly 8,700, or 15 percent of all Washington teachers, have attained the advanced credential. Washington ranks fourth in the nation overall in its number of board certified teachers, and local school district have seen increases in board certified teachers, too.
The Lens: Paid Family Leaves 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 that proposed state legislation is too generous and will run up operating costs in myriad ways. If any bill moves forward on paid family and sick leave, employers say, it should be a worker-funded model. Those were some of the big takeaways at a meeting of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee on January 19, as the debate in Washington began to intensify…
Bob Battles, Director of Government Affairs at the Association of Washington Business, said, “Every time we add another cost on employers…we tend to look at this in sort of a silo…These employers have just been hit with workers’ compensation increases…a minimum wage increase…they are currently talking about paid safe and sick leave that is going to be implemented and started on every size employer…all of these costs” fall “on the backs of employers…