House unanimously approves Boehnke bill aimed at doubling Washington manufacturing jobs by 2031

With a 96-0 vote Tuesday, the state House of Representatives approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Matt Boehnke that seeks to double the number of manufacturing jobs in Washington by 2031.

Washington's 6,600 manufacturers are responsible for more than 265,000 jobs and generate more than $63 billion annually in economic output. Substitute House Bill 1170, the Building Economic Strength Through Manufacturing (BEST) Act, would provide a framework for the state to add 300,000 new manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years. The bill also seeks to double the number of small manufacturing firms and the number of women- and minority-owned manufacturing firms in Washington.

“As we continue to recover from the global pandemic, this bill offers hope for our economy and the middle-class in Washington state,” said Boehnke, R-Kennewick. “With the Department of Commerce leading this effort, I truly believe we can hit our jobs target and meaningfully increase diversity in our manufacturing sector.

“I want to thank my co-sponsor, Rep. Dave Paul, for working with me on this bill every step of the way. Our collaboration is proof of what we can accomplish when we put aside party labels and partisanship and simply focus on delivering results for the people of Washington state. I encourage the Senate to adopt this bill and send it to the governor's desk so business, unions, and the building trades can begin working in solidarity to create jobs, grow our economy, and position our state as a leader in this critical sector for decades to come.”

If signed into law, SHB 1170 would:

  • Provide that it is the goal of Washington state to double the state's manufacturing jobs, double the number of small businesses in manufacturing, and double the number of women- and minority-owned manufacturing businesses over the next 10 years.
  • Direct the state Department of Commerce (Commerce) to identify the strategic initiatives needed to achieve the goals laid out in SHB 1170.
  • Require biennial reporting to the Legislature on the state's progress in achieving these goals, and require policy recommendations from a broad-based manufacturing council.
  • Assist Commerce in forming strategies tailored to each region of the state to grow the manufacturing workforce.
  • Direct Commerce to appoint a workforce innovation sector lead to identify needs and coordinate with state agencies to meet them.
  • Direct Commerce to report to the Legislature on how to strengthen the research and development sector that supports manufacturing innovation.

Boehnke's bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

The 2021 remote legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 25.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov