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WFIA Off the Shelf Podcast

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WFIA Week 2 of the WFIA Off the Shelf Podcast and Session Recap

January 17, 2022

The legislative session began Monday, January 10th. This week we take some time to introduce you to our WFIA contract lobbyists and our GAC chair, and to review our 2022 legislative priorities! Additionally, Tammie Hetrick, WFIA President & CEO recaps several important bills like the transportation budget, progress on changes to the Long Term Care bills, EV charging  and hydrogen refueling stations, and many more. Listen to this week's Off the Shelf episode to review and see what's coming up for Week 2.


Transcript of Podcast

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[tammie_hetrick]: Hello, and welcome to Washington food industry associations Off the shelf,

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[tammie_hetrick]: and I am Tammy Hetrick, Yourur, president and C. E. O.

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[tammie_hetrick]: So welcome to week one of twenty twenty two legislative session. This is a

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[tammie_hetrick]: short sixty day session, but the twenty two twenty two Washington

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[tammie_hetrick]: legislative session was off to an amazingly fast start with another virtual

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[tammie_hetrick]: session due to the Omacron surge, and what looks to be a difficult election

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[tammie_hetrick]: cycle. This fall Legislators are motivated to get their work done and get

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[tammie_hetrick]: out as soon as possible. The first work to be done will be dealing with any

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[tammie_hetrick]: supplemental budget changes. Fortunately, our state operating budget is

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[tammie_hetrick]: flushed with money currently at eight point six billion for the four year

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[tammie_hetrick]: period, which will take the pressure off of legislators as they try to get

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[tammie_hetrick]: out on time. However, there are differences over how to spend that money

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[tammie_hetrick]: that could slow things down. Others are suggesting tax reductions, et

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[tammie_hetrick]: cetera, which may become more attractive in an election year. In addition,

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[tammie_hetrick]: there is still a significant amount of revenue loss in the transportation

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[tammie_hetrick]: budget, leading to many creative solutions to move money from the operating

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[tammie_hetrick]: budget to the transportation budget, which is Governor Insley's approach, or

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[tammie_hetrick]: to make certain transportation functions actually permanently part of the

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[tammie_hetrick]: operating budget instead. And that's Representative Andrew Barks's approach.

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[tammie_hetrick]: All of this will make the next sixty days fun and exciting. So what I wanted

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[tammie_hetrick]: to do is run over some of our priority issues that have come up in this

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[tammie_hetrick]: first week long term care. We provided written comments to the House

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[tammie_hetrick]: Appropriations Committee in support of House Bill Seventeen Thirty Two,

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[tammie_hetrick]: which would delay full implementation of long term Care Act for eighteen

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[tammie_hetrick]: months. This time is needed to allow two legislative sessions for

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[tammie_hetrick]: legislators to work on changes to the Act. W. F. I. A will be encouraged in

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[tammie_hetrick]: legislators to find a solution that is not connected to employment, because

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[tammie_hetrick]: whether or not someone has worked is not an indicator of their ability to

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[tammie_hetrick]: fund long term care.

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[tammie_hetrick]: Viable, private insurance options and safety nets that are already Ex in

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[tammie_hetrick]: existence should be built on to relieve the Medicaid budget pressures,

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[tammie_hetrick]: rather than a new payroll tax and employer employee burdens

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[tammie_hetrick]: on to E V, charging and Hydrogen, Myselfel and our lobbyist Caroline Loge,

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[tammie_hetrick]: along with some w, f. I. A members met with members of the Green Hydrogen

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[tammie_hetrick]: Alliance to help craft a budget item that would provide funds for citing

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[tammie_hetrick]: hydrogen refuellling along certain corridors in the state. We're excited

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[tammie_hetrick]: that this group is looking to utilize existing feelueling locations to start

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[tammie_hetrick]: to build out hydrogen feeling for trucks and cars that will be coming on the

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[tammie_hetrick]: market. In addition, W, f, i, A is participating in the Legislative supply

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[tammie_hetrick]: chain caucus that specifically looked at transportation issues. The need to

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[tammie_hetrick]: build out E V and hydrogen charging at existing fueling businesses was

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[tammie_hetrick]: brought up there as well

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[tammie_hetrick]: on to appliance efficiency standards. W f. I. A testified this week with

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[tammie_hetrick]: concerns on House bills Sixteen nineteen, which would set stronger

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[tammie_hetrick]: efficiency standards for certain appliances, including hot food holding

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[tammie_hetrick]: devices and commercial ovens. The concern with this surrounds the

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[tammie_hetrick]: availability of compliant appliances in areas where natural gas is no longer

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[tammie_hetrick]: an option for new commercial buildings Were asking for a delay to allow

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[tammie_hetrick]: appliance manufacturers time to produce more compliant electric only

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[tammie_hetrick]: appliances

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[tammie_hetrick]: on two extended producer responsibility. Senate Bille Fifty six ninety

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[tammie_hetrick]: seven, The Renew Act has a hearing next week.

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[tammie_hetrick]: This bill would basically require producers of packaging products to pay a

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[tammie_hetrick]: fee or set up programs for recycling, clean or taking back these products. W

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[tammie_hetrick]: F. A has supported similar programs such as Pharmacy Drug Take Backa Bill.

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[tammie_hetrick]: We, working with the prime sponsor and others to ensure no burden on

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[tammie_hetrick]: retailers for any of these programs and to ensure that none of our members

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[tammie_hetrick]: are defined as a producer. We're concerned about potential language

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[tammie_hetrick]: requiring an Oregon style bottle Bill kiosk program and our meeting with

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[tammie_hetrick]: stakeholders on this. We're also meeting with proponents of the bill to keep

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[tammie_hetrick]: the language out of the bill.

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[tammie_hetrick]: Additionally, next week is a very busy week. One important bill that we

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[tammie_hetrick]: strongly oppose was not expected to be brought in this session is House

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[tammie_hetrick]: spill Fourteen, eighty six,

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[tammie_hetrick]: which was actually introduced last year and is still alive. As we've

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[tammie_hetrick]: mentioned. These bills don't die in the second part of that session on

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[tammie_hetrick]: unemployment, voluntary. ▁quits. this would allow a worker to receive

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[tammie_hetrick]: unemployment benefits when they have daycare or other challenges for

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[tammie_hetrick]: working. This should not be tied to the unemployment system that is a

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[tammie_hetrick]: hundred percent employer paid. We will continue to fight this Under U. I. We

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[tammie_hetrick]: have proposed recommendations that take a look at paid family leave which

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[tammie_hetrick]: has a family fund that is a hundred percent employee E. paid. This may

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[tammie_hetrick]: become a bigger fight as session progresses. If the sponsor is not willing

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[tammie_hetrick]: to find solutions.

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[tammie_hetrick]: We are also opposing a change to the worker's compensation payments that

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[tammie_hetrick]: provide a flat rate of sixty five percent for workers, and then an

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[tammie_hetrick]: additional two for two per cent for each child. This would increase workers

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[tammie_hetrick]: comp costs significantly in our industry, since the average percentage of

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[tammie_hetrick]: wages is at sixty two point five percent. The important thing to note is

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[tammie_hetrick]: that workers call benefits are tax free benefits, and the current system

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[tammie_hetrick]: that we utilize was based on that.

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[tammie_hetrick]: Finally, I just wanted to remind everyone to watch for a calendar. Invites

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[tammie_hetrick]: for our day at the capital. Its so unique this year and it's being spread

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[tammie_hetrick]: out over a few weeks to accommodate a virtual session and availability of

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[tammie_hetrick]: legislators. This is a great opportunity for members to get to know who

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[tammie_hetrick]: their legislators are and share how some of these issues will impact you

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[tammie_hetrick]: specifically. If you haven't signed up, please contact Melissa Burge just

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[tammie_hetrick]: immediately. You can email her at Melissa at w a f o o d dot Org.

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[tammie_hetrick]: So with that I will wrap it up and we will again report out as the second

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[tammie_hetrick]: weekends. Hope you have a wonderful day and please note you can call me for

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[tammie_hetrick]: any questions you may have. thank you.