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WFIA Off the Shelf Podcast

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Week 3 WFIA Off the Shelf Podcast

January 31, 2022

Week 3 began on January 24th, and bills seem to be moving along! This week we continued our Day (Session) at the Capitol event where several of our members met with their local legislators to discuss the 2022 session priorities affecting the industry! Additionally, Tammie Hetrick, WFIA President & CEO updates our members on the Long Term Healthcare Plan bill (HB 1732) which passed the Senate and was signed by the Governor last week! Tammie also updates our members on the Unemployment Insurance/Voluntary Quits bill (HB 1486), Ergonomics bill (HB 1837), Industrial Insurance Appeals bill (SB5801), Workers' Compensation Exam Rights bill (SB 5627 / HB 1763), and several more bills.

Our member, Tyler Myers with The Myers Group testified last week on Careers in Retail in support of (HB 2019). You can view the testimony using the link below. Thank you to all of our members who testified last week on other issues that WFIA is supporting/opposing that affect the industry and our members.

Transcript of Podcast

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[tammie_hetrick]: High and welcome to Washington food industry associations

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[tammie_hetrick]: Off the shelf podcast, and we are going to talk about week three of

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[tammie_hetrick]: legislative session,

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[tammie_hetrick]: So a lot happened this week. Um. long term care update House Bill Seventeen,

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[tammie_hetrick]: thirty two passed the Senate and was signed by the Governor. This bill went

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[tammie_hetrick]: into effect immediately, which means there iss an eighteen month delay in

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[tammie_hetrick]: any collection or enforcement of the long term care. So if you been

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[tammie_hetrick]: deducting wages, Uh, you can now reimburse the workers. This is done for

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[tammie_hetrick]: eighteen months.

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[tammie_hetrick]: Ah, we had quite a few labor bills that were heard.

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[tammie_hetrick]: first, one, fourteen, eighty six, House bill fourteen, eighty six

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[tammie_hetrick]: unemployment insurance, voluntary. ▁quits, We opposed this bill, Uh, mainly

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[tammie_hetrick]: because it would add additional voluntary. ▁quit reasons such as for child

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[tammie_hetrick]: and shift changes that don't work for the employee to the state's

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[tammie_hetrick]: unemployment insurance statutes. This is very concerning to W f A. because

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[tammie_hetrick]: the U. A trust fund is still not up to prepndemic levels, and employers are

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[tammie_hetrick]: still facing the potential for large tax increases. Voluntary. ▁quits are

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[tammie_hetrick]: not something employers can control, and therefore should not be subject to

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[tammie_hetrick]: unemployment insurance, which is for being out of work through no fault of

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[tammie_hetrick]: your own Bill is on and on the floor of Houseer Representatives, pending a

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[tammie_hetrick]: vote.

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[tammie_hetrick]: Hospital, Spll, eighteen, thirty seven errgonomics say back. This bill

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[tammie_hetrick]: repals the twenty year prohibition against Ellinois doing rules governing

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[tammie_hetrick]: ergonomics, W f. I. A members were hit hard by these rules when they were

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[tammie_hetrick]: adopted and worked hard to pass the initiative that repealed these. The bill

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[tammie_hetrick]: passed out of the House Labor and Work Force replaced Standards Committee,

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[tammie_hetrick]: and is in rules. This will be a battle to fight on the floor, since

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[tammie_hetrick]: legislators will say they really aren't doing anything other than going

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[tammie_hetrick]: against the will of the people.

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[tammie_hetrick]: So more to come on that one, Uh Sen, a bill fifty eight, Oh one industrial

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[tammie_hetrick]: insurance appeals, Ah, we've strongly opposed this one as well. This bill

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[tammie_hetrick]: would require employers to pay the cost of workers Compa pills. if they

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[tammie_hetrick]: lose. This goes against a basis of workers comp, which is to keep claim

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[tammie_hetrick]: costs within the scope of the premiums paid by employers and employees. The

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[tammie_hetrick]: bill is still in Senate Labor Committee, but is expected to move out of the

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[tammie_hetrick]: committee next week. We'll keep you updated on that one.

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[tammie_hetrick]: Also Senate bill fifty, six, twenty seven, and companion bill, House Bills

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[tammie_hetrick]: seventeen, sixty three, Workers comp exam rights, this bill would allow a

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[tammie_hetrick]: worker to video or audio tape anye peendent medical exams, leading to

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[tammie_hetrick]: doctors refusing to do these exams. The department estimates that the cost

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[tammie_hetrick]: of the worker comp system and an increased time loss in delays would be

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[tammie_hetrick]: anywhere from two hundred to five hundred million over a four year period.

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[tammie_hetrick]: So again we are strongly opposing this,

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[tammie_hetrick]: Also, Sen. a bill, five, five, five, nine, A paid sickly verification,

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[tammie_hetrick]: W f A is opposing this. This bill would prohibit any employer from asking

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[tammie_hetrick]: for a note for over three days out for sick of any employee that has not

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[tammie_hetrick]: provided at least eighty five percent of their health care premium by the

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[tammie_hetrick]: employer. This would impact part time employees who often do not earn the

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[tammie_hetrick]: hours to be provided health care in addition to the thousands of businesses

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[tammie_hetrick]: who are not subject to a C A mandates and cannot find affordable health

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[tammie_hetrick]: insurance in the state

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[tammie_hetrick]: again. We have Senate bill Fifty six forty nine. This is the paid family

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[tammie_hetrick]: leave bill. I've been working very closely on this. I serve on the paid

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[tammie_hetrick]: family leave advisory committee. I have talked about this before we were

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[tammie_hetrick]: shocked to hear that that fund is insolvent. Uh, at no time has E s D

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[tammie_hetrick]: informed us of that until they did a presentation to the legislature. Uh, so

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[tammie_hetrick]: we have worked on this bill

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[tammie_hetrick]: to

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[tammie_hetrick]: really add a lot of

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[tammie_hetrick]: I guess um. sideboards, to make sure that they're held accountable, we've

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[tammie_hetrick]: asked for an actuary report, Um, we asked for an audit of claims,

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[tammie_hetrick]: and Uh, also, just to get some clarity on what they're doing at E. S. D were

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[tammie_hetrick]: very disappointed again in another program that they manage that they are

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[tammie_hetrick]: not managing properly, So we're supporting some components of that, but we

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[tammie_hetrick]: still have some concerns. They are trying to increase benefits. Uh, but

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[tammie_hetrick]: we're trying to keep that a very narrow scope to just during childbirth. if

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[tammie_hetrick]: that child passes, Uh, to give them

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[tammie_hetrick]: seven days seven, whatever the seven work days are. So if they only had five

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[tammie_hetrick]: scheduled than, they would get those five Uh to take time off to Um,

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[tammie_hetrick]: grieve and and just take care of any of those um, additional issues they

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[tammie_hetrick]: need to.

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[tammie_hetrick]: So that's where that bill is at. Um. There's also a number of bills that W.

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[tammie_hetrick]: f A is working closely with business organizations to mitigate the impact of

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[tammie_hetrick]: these bills or stop them. So there's an extended producer. Responsibility

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[tammie_hetrick]: updates Senate Bill Fifty nine Sixty seven, W. Fer continues to work with

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[tammie_hetrick]: proponents of the bill to ensure that W. Fffa's needs are met in the

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[tammie_hetrick]: language. There were concerns brought forward regarding the definition of

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[tammie_hetrick]: producer. Now that the bill and recycling content provisions are broader

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[tammie_hetrick]: than just certain plastics, there is also a need to address E commerce

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[tammie_hetrick]: issues since those companies using packaging as well, Oregon recently passed

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[tammie_hetrick]: a bill with a producer definition that was agreed to by both chain and

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[tammie_hetrick]: independent grocer. We believe that definition will work for this bill as

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[tammie_hetrick]: well, and fit with our policies

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[tammie_hetrick]: on retail theft. W F. I. A testified this week on two retail theft bills.

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[tammie_hetrick]: First House bill sixteen, fifty four, as are stand by bill, to add

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[tammie_hetrick]: concealment to the definition of the retail theft represented concise

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[tammie_hetrick]: testimony, and are working with the sponsor to see if we can keep this bill

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[tammie_hetrick]: moving and address concerns this year. The second bill sent a bill. Fifty

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[tammie_hetrick]: eight seventy one would increase the penalty for aggregate theft of seven

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[tammie_hetrick]: hundred and fifty dollars done with accomplices to felony theft. in the

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[tammie_hetrick]: second degree. This hopefully raises these types of theft to a higher

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[tammie_hetrick]: priority within the prosecutor's office, and deter this type of theft. Since

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[tammie_hetrick]: a criminal share information and know which states have stiffer penalties.

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[tammie_hetrick]: The bill was heard late in the committee process and were not sure whether

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[tammie_hetrick]: or not it will move, but we are working it hard.

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[tammie_hetrick]: low proof spirits, House bill Seventeen thirty four, Wf is supporting the

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[tammie_hetrick]: bill along with a coalition to help reduce the taxes applied to spirits when

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[tammie_hetrick]: those spirits are part of a low proof beverage. These low proooof beverages

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[tammie_hetrick]: are sold by the can and are low in calories. It is a bill that provides

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[tammie_hetrick]: additional products for consumers looking for these beverage options. in

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[tammie_hetrick]: addition to helping many of our local spirit producers who are manufacturing

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[tammie_hetrick]: this products in the state.

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[tammie_hetrick]: In Washington State, alcohol is tax based on the type of alcohol wine, beer

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[tammie_hetrick]: or spirits, not the percent of alcohol by volume. This approach creates a

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[tammie_hetrick]: wide disparity in alcohol tax rates. at the state level, Spirit taxes are

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[tammie_hetrick]: more than twenty times higher than table wine, and over fifty times higher

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[tammie_hetrick]: than beer. The tax disparity hits hardest when it comes to low calorie, low

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[tammie_hetrick]: alcohol, ready to drink beverages. These beverages, T typically contain less

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[tammie_hetrick]: than seven percent alcohol. for example, six pack mixed with beer can cost

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[tammie_hetrick]: consumers less than twelve dollars, While the same type of product made with

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[tammie_hetrick]: spirits can cost over thirty. Both products contain less than seven percent

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[tammie_hetrick]: alcohol, But the distilled product is nearly three times the overall cost.

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[tammie_hetrick]: The bill has a hearing on February third, Um. We have heard some concerns on

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[tammie_hetrick]: this. One of them was a concern over space and that it would take away from

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[tammie_hetrick]: the Beerm wine. And so we've met with many of the members to just find out

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[tammie_hetrick]: more about that. Idaho passed a similar law even for convenient stores, And

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[tammie_hetrick]: they've indicated that they've just increased space, not taken over space

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[tammie_hetrick]: that's being utilized by beer and wine, So I think we can work with some of

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[tammie_hetrick]: the Um concerns on this one.

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[tammie_hetrick]: Finally, I want to give an update on the E V and hydrogen Uh issues that we

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[tammie_hetrick]: have. w. F A has been participating in the Department of Agricultures rule

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[tammie_hetrick]: Wll, making on E V stations to bring more consistency to payment options. So

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[tammie_hetrick]: far these rules appear to be very workable for our convenient stores and

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[tammie_hetrick]: grocery stores who have E V chargers or want to bring them in much of the

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[tammie_hetrick]: owner's for registration, et cetera Would be on the entity in charge of the

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[tammie_hetrick]: station, which often is a contractor who manages them. W. Fe did bring up

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[tammie_hetrick]: the need to ensure contractal information as clear for businesses bringing

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[tammie_hetrick]: these chargers in. So the requirements and who is responsible are clear.

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[tammie_hetrick]: Debfa is also come up with a preliminary map to help argue for capital

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[tammie_hetrick]: budget dollars to start building out hydrogen stations using existing

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[tammie_hetrick]: business locations. Out were working with several of our convenient stores

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[tammie_hetrick]: that have feelueling stationsough, to develop that map to identify not only

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[tammie_hetrick]: where hydrogen stations could be accommodated, but also where we could

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[tammie_hetrick]: include truck, Uh, large truck stops, as well, so more to come on that

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[tammie_hetrick]: Uh also wanted distb. I mind everyone careers in retail. W f. I Education

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[tammie_hetrick]: Foundation chair Tyler Myyers testified with me in support of House Bill,

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[tammie_hetrick]: Sorry, Melissa, we're going to have to cut this. The numbers not ride on it.

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[tammie_hetrick]: I'm just gonna

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[tammie_hetrick]: will'll cut this out and I'll just start over with that one.

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[tammie_hetrick]: So now moving to careers in retail, W f. A Education Foundation chair Tyler

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[tammie_hetrick]: Myers testified with myself

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[tammie_hetrick]: on a bill that requires a Workforce Training and Education Coordinating

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[tammie_hetrick]: Board to consult and engage with stakeholders to identify and make

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[tammie_hetrick]: recommendations on strategies to develop and increase courses. Educational

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[tammie_hetrick]: pathways, credentials and training for retail workers. This bill would

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[tammie_hetrick]: improve outreach within the education system for programs like retail

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[tammie_hetrick]: management certifications, and improve K through twelve career counseling

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[tammie_hetrick]: information as it relates to retail careers. In addition there will be an

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[tammie_hetrick]: opportunity to build retail apprenticeships. The bill was voted out of

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[tammie_hetrick]: committee on Thursday.

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[tammie_hetrick]: We have some

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[tammie_hetrick]: transportation bills were working on and some trucking issues that were'

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[tammie_hetrick]: supporting within

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[tammie_hetrick]: Washington trucking Association, So keep watching on those. Um.

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[tammie_hetrick]: and that's it for this week. If you have any questions, please feel free to

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[tammie_hetrick]: reach out to me.