Legislative News
Sen. Ernst to Talk Trade on Feb. 9
Don't miss the opportunity to hear from U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst on Friday, February 9. Sen. Ernst will be at ABI to address members about trade policy, specifically NAFTA. With the next round of negotiations beginning and the importance of trade to the Iowa economy, ABI is excited to join with other organizations to bring members a top-notch program. Iowa's Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will also speak. Iowa manufacturing leaders and farmers will provide their perspectives on how Iowa's position as a leader in trade is helpful to their business. Learn more and register for this no-cost, high-value member event.
 
Gov. Kim Reynolds Signed First Piece of Legislation on Wednesday
Gov. Reynolds signed her first piece of legislation on Wednesday, Jan. 31. The signing ceremony included dozens of supporters of water quality efforts in Iowa. The Governor had mentioned during the interim she wanted a water quality bill on her desk early in session and would like it to be one of the first bills she signed. The legislation, which you read about in last week's newsletter, will provide more than $270 million in the next 10 years to address Iowa's water quality issues. ABI is excited to continue to be part of the water quality discussion and solution. Click here to read the Governor's remarks from the bill signing.
 
Omnibus Energy Legislation Receives Hearing
This week the Iowa Senate and House introduced comprehensive energy legislation. SSB 3093 and HSB 595 make substantive changes to Iowa Code Section 476 , which governs utilities. Some changes include cost-effective energy efficiency programs, emerging energy technologies, advanced ratemaking parameters, eliminating some reporting requirements and allowing a public utility to automatically recover certain costs related to transmission. A subcommittee was held on the bill in the Iowa Senate on Thursday afternoon. This bill is receiving lots of interest from stakeholders. We continue to collect feedback on the legislation from members. If you have feedback on the legislation, please contact Nicole Crain .
 
Iowa Workforce Development Presents to House Committee
Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend and her senior leadership team presented to the House Labor Committee on Monday afternoon. She highlighted several initiatives her agency is working on and updated members on legislation that will be coming before the House Labor Committee. The number one legislative initiative of IWD is the Future Ready Iowa initiative Gov. Kim Reynolds recently proposed. HSB 602 and SSB 3087 seek to expand educational opportunities and help close the skills gap that currently exists in Iowa. The ultimate goal of the legislation is to pave the way for 70 percent of Iowans to have some kind of education beyond the high school level by 2025. Keep reading.

Employment Legislation Advances in House and Senate
The House Labor Committee on Wednesday advanced legislation that goes into Iowa Code Chapter 91A. It will clarify that employers who provide their employees with access to electronic pay stubs are in compliance with the Iowa code. The intent of the bill is to clarify employers who provide it via secure electronic means, even if the employee does not have access to a printer, is in compliance with the law. The bill provides the option for an employee who cannot access the stub electronically to notify the employer in writing, and the employer will then provide the pay stub in one of the other means. The original bill-- HF 2019 ­--was amended, so a new bill will be available soon. ABI position: Undecided. ABI staff contact: Nicole Crain .

A subcommittee of the Iowa Senate Labor Committee on Wednesday advanced SF 2110 The legislation defines misconduct and would disqualify employees from receiving unemployment benefits if they are discharged due to misconduct.  The bill would also prevent Iowa Workforce Development from considering an employer's past disciplinary action prior to the dismissal of the employee. The legislation is controversial with labor groups opposing the legislation and business groups supporting the intent of the legislation. The chair of the subcommittee, Sen. Chapman, stated he is open to changes, both expanding the legislation but also better defining the definition of misconduct. ABI position: Support. Staff contact:  Nicole Crain .

House Environmental Protection Committee Hears about Recycling
The House Environmental Protection committee on Monday heard presentations by the Department of Natural Resources and Metro Waste Authority. The presentations were about the most recent Iowa Waste Characterization Study, an update on the bottle bill recovery rate and recycling in general. Keep reading.

Insurance Bills Receive Discussion
More than half a dozen bills relating to insurance regulation and health care policies were discussed in the Iowa House and Senate this week. Some pieces of legislation advanced while others need additional work before the members of subcommittees felt comfortable moving the legislation to the committee level.

Subcommittees in the House and Senate were held this week on legislation that ABI opposes:
  • SSB 3003/HSB 516 - The bill would prevent insurance companies and Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) from holding down drug costs by preventing limiting or excluding coverage of certain drugs. The bill prevents the removal of certain drugs from the drug formulary or from switching covered drugs to a generic version when a patient is stable on a drug, even when patient safety is at risk. Neither the House or Senate advanced the bills out of subcommittee.
  • SF 2103 - Allows providers of emergency medical services to receive in-network benefits, even if they are out-of-network, raising costs on employers and individuals. A similar bill has been discussed the past few years for dental insurance. The Senate moved the bill out of subcommittee to continue work on the bill.
  • SSB 3004 - Requires all health insurance companies to provide a certain percentage of their plans with no-deductible copays for drugs. Both Wellmark and Medica already offer a plan that meets this criteria. The bill did not advance out of the Senate subcommittee.
Several Iowa Insurance Division bills advanced out of subcommittee and the House Commerce committee this week with no opposition and insurance industry support. See the bills.

Regulatory Reform Legislation Introduced
HSB 593/SSB 3132 would allow Iowa equipment manufacturers to transfer title to the end customer. Current state law causes administrative burden for Iowa manufacturers and puts them at a competitive advantage with out-of-state manufacturers, because these companies cannot currently sell the vehicles they manufacture as new vehicles
The intent of the legislation is to   ensure these Iowa manufacturers can sell their vehicles with a clean title. ABI Board Chair Dave Zrostlik, Stellar Industries, and ABI member Connor Deering, Cemen-Tech, joined the public policy team at the Capitol on Thursday to talk about the importance of this legislation.  The legislation advanced out of subcommittees and could advance to the full Commerce Committees next week. Staff contact:  Nicole Crain Jessica Hyland Brad Hartkopf . ABI position: Support. Keep reading.
ABI Board Chair David Zrostlik, president of Stellar Industries, joined the public policy team at the Capitol on Thursday to talk about the importance of HSB 593/SSB 3132

Legislative Call on Feb. 16
The first legislative funnel, when a bill has to be out of a policy committee in one chamber to continue to advance, is on Friday, Feb. 16. The ABI public policy team has attended many subcommittees to advance legislation and educate legislators on behalf of ABI members. To hear what pieces of legislative advanced, make sure you're registered to attend the monthly legislative update call on Friday, Feb. 16 at 8 a.m. There is no cost to participate, but you must be an ABI member. RSVP to Michelle Vollstedt at mvollstedt@iowaabi.org .
 
First Quarter IIPAC Newsletter to Publish on Monday
Last year, ABI's PAC began publishing a quarterly newsletter with exclusive content for IIPAC contributors. The first newsletter of 2018 will be sent on Monday, Feb. 5. If you're interested in receiving this newsletter or learning more about IIPAC, please contact Nicole Crain .
Employee Drug Testing Program: Signs, Symptoms, Solutions
Learn How to Minimize the Impact of Drug Use in Your Workplace
Attend this seminar on March 22, 8:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m., at the ABI office.  The seminar will include:
  • Legislative update
  • Expert panel on signs and symptoms
  • Speaker on drug abuse in Iowa: evolving threats, impacts and responses
  • Speaker on litigation issues regarding drug testing
  • Lunch and breaks for networking
The seminar is $99 for ABI members and $115 for non-members. Early-bird pricing is $75 and $90, respectively, if you register by March 8. Register now.
From the Desk of...
One of the Best Ways to Maximize Your ABI ROI

Mike Ralston

Around this time of year, people begin to finalize their plans to attend ABI's Annual Taking Care of Business Conference. If you haven't done that yet, you should.

There is no better value in Iowa business meetings than the ABI conference. You'll hear terrific speakers, see fabulous venues, and enjoy great food, golf and fun. More importantly, you'll find no better networking anywhere than at the conference.

Attendees conduct a lot of business at the conference each year. Sales are made, vendors acquired and prospects developed. So, make your plans now, and we'll look forward to seeing you in Iowa City-Coralville June 5-7.

That said, you make a big mistake if you believe that's the only high-value event ABI produces. The association is hosting valuable meetings and events all year long, all over Iowa. Keep reading.
Top News
Sign Up for Future Ready Iowa Summit
Gov. Kim Reynolds recently announced registration for the 2018 Future Ready Iowa summit will open Feb. 1. The event is Tuesday, April 3, at the Community Choice Credit Union Center in Des Moines and is open to the public. Elected officials and leaders from business, education and nonprofits will gather to have a thorough conversation about expanding workforce and education. There will be a panel discussion, which includes former ABI Board Chair Mary Andringa of Vermeer. There will also be breakout sessions, networking opportunities and much more. Click here to see the full agenda and to register.  

Iowa Caucuses on Monday
Don't forget to get out and caucus on Monday, Feb. 5! IAVotes.com has all the resources you need to be prepared to caucus. We hope you'll join the conversation on Twitter during and after your caucus. With competitive primaries around the state, it's important you caucus in the event a candidate doesn't get the percentage needed to be the party's nominee. If you want to learn more about the caucus and how to caucus on Monday, go to IAVotes.com/caucus.

Scholarships Available for Iowa High School Seniors Interested in Manufacturing Careers
Elevate Advanced Manufacturing is offering 15 $500 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors interesting in studying a manufacturing-related career at one of Iowa's 15 community colleges. One award will be made per college region. The application deadline is March 2.  Download the application .

"The Journey to Your Vision" Seminar for Top Decision-makers to Be Held March 9 in Pella
Iowa Farm Bureau's Renew Rural Iowa will present "The Journey to Your Vision" seminar on March 9 in Pella. Every business faces peaks and valleys as it progresses through stages of growth. Do you know what stage your business is in and how you can reach the next level? Attend this valuable seminar to stack the odds in your favor by understanding the stages of business growth, their unique challenges and methods to overcome them. The seminar is complimentary, but pre-registration is required. Visit  http://bit.ly/2DDDyX7 for more information and to register.
Welcome New ABI Members
ADC Services
Amplimark
Associated Computer Systems, Ltd.
Business & Community Services
CFO Advantage
Estes Construction
Heidman Law Firm, L.L.P.
Hy-Capacity, Inc.
Informatics, Inc.
Iowa 80 Group
Iowa Manufactured Housing Association
Iowa Mold Tooling
Lincoln Savings Bank
Neumann Monson Architects
NSK Corp. & NSK-AKS Precision Ball
Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation
Regenexx
Rita Perea Leadership Consulting
TD&T CPAs and Advisors, P.C.
Ten Square International, Inc.
The Bill Menner Group
Governor's Club Sponsors