Legislative News
Legislative Call on Friday, Feb. 16
The monthly legislative update call will be on Friday, Feb. 16 at 8 a.m. Last month's call was a week into session. Since then more than 700 bills have been introduced, and the ABI public policy team has attended hundreds of meetings on behalf of ABI members. If you want the latest on the legislative action, including what legislation survived the first legislative funnel, make sure you're registered to participate in the members-only update next Friday. Please RSVP to Michelle Vollstedt.

ABI Members Featured at NAFTA Event
Tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 9, Sen. Joni Ernst will keynote the NAFTA Works event at the ABI office. In addition, several ABI leaders will participate on a panel detailing why NAFTA is important to their company and the Iowa economy. If you can't attend the event tomorrow, make sure you follow on social media by using the #NAFTAWorks hashtag. 

ABI President Speaks in Favor of Future Ready Iowa
A five-member subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee heard from ABI President Mike Ralston on Thursday. Ralston was in the Capitol to express ABI's support of the Future Ready Iowa initiative, and more specifically, HSB 602 . Mike spoke about ABI's efforts with Elevate Advanced Manufacturing and the existing public-private partnerships. Workforce is ABI's number one legislative priority for 2018, and the legislation brought forward by the Governor's office sends a message to Iowa employers and employees that Iowa is the place to be. Read the summary of the legislation. 

Pro-manufacturing Legislation Advances
This week, members of the House Commerce Committee unanimously advanced HSB 593 . The legislation, brought forward by ABI, seeks to give Iowa manufacturers of specialized work trucks--like highway helper trucks, utility trucks, cement trucks and ambulances--the ability to transfer a title to the retail customer. The bill was amended in committee prior to advancing. Current Iowa law doesn't allow a title to be cleanly transferred from the manufacturer to their customer, creating a legal barrier to both vehicle manufacturers and auto dealers. ABI has worked to ensure Iowa manufacturers have a better business environment in which to operate. The bill is expected to pass the full Senate Commerce Committee later today.

Utility Omnibus Legislation Moves Forward
A subcommittee hearing on HSB 595 was held Wednesday, Feb. 7, with Rep. Gary Carlson (R-Muscatine) chairing the meeting. Similar to the Senate, several groups in opposition to the legislation attended the meeting. The key points of discussion included energy efficiency language, provisions affecting the solar industry, transmission rider and forward-looking test year for ratemaking cases. Some utilities, municipal utilities, transmission companies and companies that are the largest energy users support the legislation. Solar, environmental groups, propane companies and some transmission companies oppose the bill. The legislation advanced out of subcommittee, but discussions will continue on this omnibus energy bill. 

Water Quality Legislation Introduced
The Iowa House introduced and held a subcommittee meeting on HSB 645, which is the second piece of legislation addressing Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy. ABI attended the subcommittee and spoke in favor of the legislation. The bill as currently drafted specifies industry can use the resources available to other entities trying to reduce nutrients in the water. ABI has been working on behalf of ABI members on this issue for several years, and we're excited to support the legislation. Contact Jessica Hyland for more information on this legislation. 

Waverly Roundtable with Sen. Johnson, Rep. Salmon on March 2
Don't forget all ABI members are invited to a breakfast roundtable at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 2, in Waverly. The event, hosted by ABI and United Equipment Accessories, will allow you to hear a legislative update and ask legislators questions about the 2018 session. The informal discussion is a great opportunity to make your voice heard on issues affecting your company. Register today by emailing Michelle Vollstedt .
 
Federal Spotlight - Optional Family and Medical Leave Credit Provision in Tax Bill
The tax reform bill that passed in December has received much coverage in the news for the savings businesses and individuals will see in 2018. However, there were other provisions that may not be as well known. According to UWC, a national organization focused on unemployment and workers' compensation policy, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recently signed into law includes a provision that allows for an optional family and medical leave tax credit for employers to implement. Sen. Deb Fisher (R-NE) was instrumental in getting this particular section included in the overall bill. The purpose of the optional tax credit is to encourage employers to voluntarily provide paid family leave versus a mandate. The incentive of a tax credit versus a government mandate is seen as one way to bring costs down for employers who decide to provide employees with this benefit. 
ICYMI: "Why Des Moines and Iowa Business Leaders Support NAFTA"
NAFTA and trade are critical to Iowa's economy, according to Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO Jay Byers and ABI President Mike Ralston. Read why in their Des Moines Register opinion piece.
From the Desk of...
Looking for Employees: An Untapped Source of Talent

SueAnn Morrow, PhD, CESP

Recently, ABI named workforce issues its number one legislative priority for the 2018 session and reported many of its members have difficulty finding qualified workers. There doesn't seem to be a labor pool with the needed skills.  
 
At the same time, there's a labor force waiting to be put to work--Iowans with disabilities. While Iowa's unemployment rate is hovering around 3.1%, Iowans with disabilities face a far greater rate of unemployment--somewhere around a staggering 10 percent. 
 
Can individuals with disabilities benefit your business? Research, as well as my personal experience, says yes.  Keep reading.
Top News
MidAmerican Energy Company Announces New President and CEO
Adam Wright has been named president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy.  He takes over for Bill Fehrman, who has been appointed president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy's parent company, Berkshire Hathaway Energy.  Read more .

Advance Iowa to Host Succession Planning Webinar on Feb. 22
Join Advance Iowa and Drew Larson from BrownWinick on Feb. 22 for a succession planning webinar, "Begin with the End in Mind." Learn about the complexities and common mistakes that occur with buy/sell agreements and what you should know if you're considering it as an option for succession.  This webinar is part of a yearlong series focused on demystifying the complex components of succession planning. Register for the webinar .

Mercer to Host Healthcare Survey Event in Urbandale and Iowa City
Attend a live workshop on Feb. 27 in  Urbandale or Feb. 28 in Iowa City to hear insights from Mercer's healthcare survey and learn about employer actions to address escalating drug prices, employee engagement, value-based care, health data and more. Walk away with insights into trending issues in your market that will help you create a future-ready benefits strategy for a thriving workforce.  Register for the workshop .
 
Scholarships Available for In-demand Manufacturing Training
Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, a non-profit spreading the word about career opportunities in manufacturing, is offering 15 $500 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors interested in studying a manufacturing-related career at one of Iowa's 15 community colleges.  Examples of eligible training programs include  welding, computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining, industrial automation, industrial maintenance, robotics, tool and die, and transportation and logistics.  The application deadline is March 2.  Download the application .
Governor's Club Sponsors