Legislative News
$1 Billion Tax Bill Passes Senate
The Iowa Senate on Wednesday passed  SF 2383, which would cut Iowans' tax liability by more than a billion dollars annually once fully implemented.  Click here  for the fiscal note. Last week, the newsletter highlighted a few of the bill's provisions. Notably, the legislation automatically couples with federal deductions beginning in tax year 2019 for most items. The bill also modernizes sales tax and changes the definition of manufacturer. The bill passed on a vote of 29-21. Several amendments were proposed but only one amendment was adopted. Click here to read what the adopted amendment does.

On Thursday, members of a House Ways and Means subcommittee held a meeting on  HSB 671, the Governor's tax policy proposal. Rep. Peter Cownie, Chairman of the Commerce Committee, is the floor manager of the tax bill. Rep. Cownie will also be the guest speaker at Iowa Business Day on the Hill on Tuesday, March 13. During the meeting, several members of the public spoke, and a few items mentioned include: support of increase in Sec. 179 and Qualified Business Income deduction, incorporating corporate into the Governor's bill, definitions of lodging in the expansion of sales tax, concerns with definition of digital good and budget sustainability.

The Democrat members of the subcommittee raised some concerns with the current budget situation, and referenced more resources for water quality and mental health funding. At the conclusion of the subcommittee, Chairman Cownie mentioned he intends to move the legislation out of committee the week after the second legislative funnel, which is the week after Iowa Business Day on the Hill and the ABI board meeting. If you would like to provide feedback, please contact  Nicole Crain.

Waverly Legislative Roundtable -- TOMORROW
Don't forget the opportunity to enjoy breakfast and conversation with ABI members and Sen. Craig Johnson and Rep. Sandy Salmon in Waverly on Friday, March 2 at 8 a.m. This event is open to ABI members and their guests who are interested in talking about key issues facing your business in the Legislature. It's not too late to RSVP. Please email Michelle Vollstedt.

Final-stage Manufacturer Legislation Sent to Governor
The Iowa House on Thursday unanimously passed  SF 2262, which cleared the Senate last week on a vote of 49-0. The legislation, as you have  read in previous newsletters, will allow Iowa final-stage manufacturers of work vehicles to cleanly pass the title to the end customer. This legislation is a pro-manufacturing piece of legislation and will now go to the Governor for her consideration.

Iowa Senate Passes Legislation to Enhance the Insurance Fraud Bureau
The Senate on Tuesday debated and passed SF 2305, a bill introduced by Sen. Chapman, to enhance the Iowa Insurance Division's Fraud Bureau by creating a new workers' compensation division. ABI supports the bill. Under the bill, this new division would focus on prosecuting the new crime of workers' compensation fraud instituted by the bill. The bill provides for a workers' compensation prosecutor to be housed at the Iowa Insurance Division's Workers' Compensation Fraud Division. The bill underwent changes from its original version, as Sen. Chapman worked to improve the bill to address stakeholder concerns. The bill now goes to the House. Click here to read an article from the Des Moines Register.

Federal Workforce Conformity Bill Moves Forward
The Senate passed SF 2353 , a bill to conform Iowa with the federal requirements in the Workforce Opportunity and Innovation Act (WIOA), by a vote of 48-2 on Wednesday. The bill requires the state workforce board to comply with WIOA requirements to expand the number of participants on the board to include more than 50 percent business people, and the board chair must be a business person. The bill also changes the makeup of local workforce boards and changes who appoints the board members. ABI supports the legislation to ensure Iowa compliance with federal law. The bill now goes to the House.

Subcommittee Discusses Eliminating Property Tax Backfill
A subcommittee was held Tuesday to begin discussions on eliminating the property tax backfill allocated to local governments by the state. The backfill was to offset the 10 percent rollback of commercial and industrial property taxes put in place during property tax reform in 2013. Local governments receive this backfill based on a formula, and the appropriation from the state annually totals approximately $152 million. SF 2081 would phase out the backfill by a third each of the next three fiscal years beginning in FY19. Keep reading.

Business Day on Hill -- Chairman Cownie to Speak on March 13
A little more than a week remains until Iowa business leaders will hear from policy staff on key business issues pending in the Legislature. With tax reform in full swing, you won't want to miss the opportunity to get an update on the proposals and an inside look at what's happening in the 2018 legislative session. In addition to a policy update and hill visits, ABI members will hear from Chairman Peter Cownie of the House Commerce Committee. Rep. Cownie has championed several pro-jobs pieces of legislation through the Iowa House and is now the floor manager of the tax policy bill working its way through the Legislature. Click here to register today.

Federal Spotlight: NLRB Returns to Browning-Ferris
Earlier this week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vacated the Hy-Brand decision, and now employers must once again follow the Browning-Ferris joint-employer standard. This issue brings uncertainty to employers, especially those who have contractors or franchise owners. Read more from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Federal Spotlight: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal of DACA Ruling
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it won't hear an appeal of a ruling made by a federal judge in California pertaining to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The judge's ruling concluded the program must continue in its current form. The Trump Administration wanted to bypass the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and go straight to the Supreme Court for appeal. It's extremely rare for the Supreme Court to take an appeal that would bypass a lower court in the appeals process. The DACA program, which President Trump said last September would end in early March if Congress didn't come up with a legislative fix, will continue for now, as the case will be heard before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Annual Conference Registration Kicks Off with Press Conference
Pictured: ABI Board Chair David Zrostlik speaks at Friday's press conference.

ABI held a press conference on Friday to announce details of the 2018 Taking Care of Business Conference, which will be held June 5-7 in Iowa City/Coralville.  The press conference was held at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, which will also host the annual conference. Registration is now open.

Read coverage:
ABI, Iowa Community Colleges Announce New Partnership
Pictured: ABI President Mike Ralston, ABI Board Chair David Zrostlik, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Gov. Kim Reynolds

ABI and Iowa's 15 community colleges announced a new partnership on Wednesday at a press conference in the Governor's office.  The creation of the Work-based Opportunity Regional Referral Consortium (WORRC) will improve and expand work-based learning from across the state and implement workforce recommendations by Future Ready Iowa.

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From the Desk of...
You Can Only Get *This* at the ABI Taking Care of Business Conference
 


Mike Ralston
ABI

About 90 days from now, ABI will host its 115th annual convention. Some years ago, to better reflect the changes and the growth that have taken place regarding this important event, the name of the annual convention was changed to the Taking Care of Business Conference.

The ABI Taking Care of Business Conference gets bigger and better each year. If you want to add value for your business, there is simply no better place for you to be than at this meeting. The 2018 edition will be the best ever, with many hundreds of people converging on Iowa City-Coralville on June 5-7.

Three great keynote speakers, an appearance by Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, and high-value breakout sessions will comprise just part of a fantastic program. I guarantee you'll hear inspiring remarks, learn about ways to improve your business and even be entertained. Keep reading.
Top News
Iowa Author Releases Book on Sustainable Business in Iowa
Sustainable Business In Iowa Book
Iowa author and sustainability expert, Adam Hammes, has released his second book, "Sustainable Business in Iowa: How Leading Companies Profit from Environmental and Social Responsibility."  The new book is a primer on defining and implementing successful corporate sustainability programs. Over 30 Iowa for-profit businesses have their initiatives highlighted in chapter case studies, including Barilla America, Frontier Co-op, Principal, Sky Factory, Workiva and West Liberty Foods. Learn more and buy the book .

FedEx Launches Small Business Grant Contest
Last week FedEx announced the launch of its 2018 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, which recognizes passionate and innovative small businesses from across the country who aspire to take their businesses to the next level. This year, the contest offers a total prize pool of $120,500 to 10 U.S.-based small businesses. The contest is open to U.S.-based for-profit small businesses that have less than 99 employees and have been operating for six months or more. Details on how to enter the contest, as well the official rules and FAQs, can be found here .
 
Employers of Iowa National Guard Members Encouraged to Attend Employer Town Hall
The Army has directed a number of Army, Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve units to achieve higher levels of readiness in 2018. Key company leaders, including senior leaders, HR directors and direct line supervisors, are encouraged to attend an Employer Town Hall to review the impact of the changes to their company. There are two opportunities on March 14: 7-9 a.m. (breakfast provided) at the Joint Forces Headquarters at Camp Dodge in Johnston and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (lunch provided) at the Greater Des Moines Partnership in Des Moines. To register, contact Rebecca Coady at Rebecca.l.coady.ctr@mail.mil.

"Emerging Trends in Cybersecurity, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency" Webinar on March 27
Dickinson Law will host a free webinar, "Emerging Trends in Cybersecurity, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency" on March 27 at 12 p.m. Attorneys John Lande and Laura Wasson will discuss topics including cryptocurrency as collateral and what your cybersecurity insurance policy needs to contain. Register here.

Creative Edge Master Shop Waterjet Fabricates Medallion for Buffalo Pacific Company HQ
Buffalo Coin
Creative Edge Master Shop  waterjet fabricated a medallion for the Buffalo Pacific Virtual Reality Center. Materials used included marble, limestone, gold and brass. The medallion was done with a 3D effect, and areas of the medallion were raised and lowered to give it the effect of an actual coin. To honor the nation's history, the Buffalo Pacific Company selected the $50 U.S. Gold Coin as the company logo and icon. Creative Edge Master Shop was selected to implement the icon in stone and metal for the company's first headquarters.
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