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Senate leaders agree to special legislative session to address aerospace-industry needs

Published on November 5, 2013

Members of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus are being summoned Thursday to the Capitol for a special legislative session intended to strengthen Washington’s bid for work related to the assembly of Boeing’s 777X jetliner.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom and Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said legislative action makes sense now that Boeing and labor-union leaders have reached agreement on a long-term contract extension. They expect the Legislature will take action no later than Friday on four policy changes aimed at bringing the majority of 777X jobs to Washington.

“If Machinist members say yes next week, the labor-contract extension will be a landmark achievement that helps clear the way for 777X jobs to land in Washington,” said Tom, D-Bellevue. “Olympia can do its part later this week, by acting on the factors affecting Boeing’s infrastructure needs – taxes, permitting, water-quality regulations and workforce development.”

Schoesler noted the purpose of the special session is right in line with the bipartisan majority’s goals, one of which is to encourage job creation.

“I want to bring more jobs to our state, not see them go elsewhere because our state couldn’t or wouldn’t compete,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “Earlier this year our coalition led the way toward  real breakthroughs on behalf of K-12 and higher education, and toward a sustainable state budget; this is an opportunity to really move the ball forward when it comes to making sure Washington is a place where the aerospace industry and other employers want to do business.”

Tom and Schoesler say Boeing leaders and union officials are fine with giving lawmakers more time to work on a transportation-investment package, rather than expecting them to hurry something so complex through during the special session.

“They recognize, as we do, that this needs to be a two-step process. The second step will be the state’s part of the infrastructure, meaning roads and transit,” Tom explained.

“There’s an awareness of all the work put in on transportation these past few months – how our coalition just spent weeks listening to thousands of people around the state about what they want in a transportation system. It’s important that we now give serious consideration to the feedback we received,” said Schoesler. “It’ll take time to agree on transportation reforms, just as it took time for a labor agreement to come together and lead to this special session. The Legislature needs to do what it can now, and take a reasoned approach toward the rest.”