May 28, 2021
Registration Now Open for Regional Meetings
ABI will be holding a number of regional meetings across the state over the next several weeks. The 2021 legislative session finished last week and the ABI public policy team is looking forward to meeting with members to break down the results of the session for the business community. You can register for any of the meetings below. There is no cost to attend. Thank you to ABI members Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and Indian Hills Community College for partnering with us on these events. The meetings are also an opportunity for you to invite another business that might not yet be an ABI member so they can learn about the association’s public policy advocacy.

ABI Testifies Against Department of Revenue “Marketable Food Products” Rule
On Tuesday, ABI Vice President of Public Policy JD Davis testified during a public hearing on ARC 5614C, a rule which relates to marketable food products for human consumption. Davis spoke against the proposed rule as it would vastly expand the amount of taxes that the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR) can collect from the food processing industry. The proposed rule as drafted significantly narrows the sales tax exemption in Iowa Code related to “marketable food products for human consumption.” ABI believes the proper channel for enacting such a change is through the legislative branch via the Legislature, not through rule via the Executive Branch. In addition to oral comments, ABI also submitted formal written comments. We will continue to monitor this issue closely and keep members updated.
Governor Signs Broadband Funding Legislation
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed HF 867 into law this week, which is the Administration and Regulation Budget that also sets aside $100 million for the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Fund. ABI supported this appropriation because it aligned with the organization’s priority for improving infrastructure in Iowa. This legislation also shows a commitment by the Iowa Legislature and Governor Reynolds to support expanding high-speed broadband in the state. 

“This bill provides a historic $100 million investment in broadband that will transform our infrastructure into a powerful network, enabling fast, high-quality connectivity statewide and opening doors to new opportunities for communities large and small,” Governor Reynolds said in a released statement. “I want to thank the Legislature for their commitment to funding the broadband grant program and to the providers for their dedication to this initiative.”  

The funding for the grant program will be appropriated from the state’s general fund to the Office of the Chief Information officer for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021. 
Join ABI/DNR for PFAS Virtual Lunch and Learn - June 1
ABI will be holding a meeting on Tuesday, June 1 at Noon to discuss the state’s PFAS Action Plan. Ed Tormey and Roger Bruner from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will join members. Registration is required. If you would like to participate, click here
Iowa’s Unemployment Increases Slightly But Businesses Can’t Find Workers 
Reopen 2
Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly in April 2021 to 3.8 percent, compared to March’s 3.7 percent rate. 

There were 61,600 unemployed people in Iowa compared to 60,800 people in March. However, employment rates increased as well, with 1,578,900 employed compared to 1,577,100 in March. 

Iowa’s unemployment rate is still significantly lower than the U.S. unemployment rate, which was 6.1 percent in April. 
ABI Files Amicus Brief in Meade v. Christie, et al., (Iowa Supreme Court)
This week, ABI filed an amicus brief with the Iowa Supreme Court outlining our support for member company Employers Mutual Casualty Company (EMCC) in their defense against a class action shareholder’s case brought against the board of directors of EMCC alleging the board acted improperly when granting a 50% premium to shareholders of EMC Insurance Group (EMCI) when taking that company private. EMC seeks interlocutory review by the Supreme Court on several points of law, including the individual liability of directors in such cases. The case could have wide-ranging applications in other similar mergers and acquisitions in Iowa. For a copy of the amicus brief, please contact JD Davis at
Homeland Security Director to Resign
Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Paul Trombino is stepping down from his position, effective June 3. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds appointed Trombino as the director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in January of this year. At the time of his appointment, the governor praised his work in the 2019 floods and his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gazette reports Trombino told his colleagues he was “leaving state government for his ‘next adventure outside of Iowa.’”

Trombino previously served as Governor Reynolds’s Chief Operating Officer and as interim Director of the Department of Administrative Services. Prior to that, he was the Director of the Department of Transportation from 2011 to 2016.

Read more in The Gazette.

Photo Courtesy: Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
CDC/OSHA Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that people who are fully vaccinated can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic. A statement from the CDC’s website says “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including business and workplace guidance.”

Right now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it is reviewing this recent guidance and will update its materials on its website accordingly. Until those updates are provided, it is directing people to refer to CDC guidance for information to protect fully vaccinated workers. However, many companies still have mask requirements in place and ABI would recommend you consult your legal counsel before making any decision that changes health and safety policy for your business. 
ABI in the News: President Mike Ralston Featured on Iowa Press, Davis in Business Record
WATCH: Storey Kenworthy Discusses BuyABI Partnership

Lincoln Dix, VP of Storey Kenworthy, joins ABI Executive VP Nicole Crain to discuss the company's partnership with BuyABI.

BIPAC Browser Update - Expires 5/28
Association's Outdated Browser Announcement to Members
This email is to notify you of a security upgrade that will be made to our grassroots website TODAY, May 28, 2021. The ability for users to access the site using an outdated version of their web browser will be removed. We do not anticipate the majority of users will be impacted by this improvement, but we want to keep you apprised of this change and the timing in case you should have any problems accessing our website in the future.
If you are unable to access the website, please contact Nicole Crain and we can work with you and our website provider to ensure that you are utilizing an updated browser version. Thank you for your continued support of our programs.
June 8 - 10: Taking Care of Business Conference
Updated Safety Protocols: Space Still Available for 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference
ABI’s annual Taking Care of Business Conference will take place in less than two weeks in Coralville/Iowa City from June 8-10. Spaces are still available. Don't forget to register for ABI's 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference!

Marriott International recently released new guidance and lifted its mask mandate for the conference. Fully-vaccinated guests are not required to wear face coverings or social distance. Guests not fully vaccinated must continue to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
Now Accepting Advanced Manufacturing Conference Speaker Proposals
Share your manufacturing expertise at the September 29th 2021 Advanced Manufacturing Conference. ABI is accepting speaker proposals through June 30. Email Holly Mueggenberg
for a proposal form.
Registration is now open for the ABI CEO Forum in Okoboji on July 29 & 30.

CLICK HERE to register today!
ABI Foundation Update
Bidding on Online Packages Starts Tuesday for “Iowa’s Best” Auction
Now announcing the online silent auction packages available on Tuesday! You’ll find many are provided by great ABI members such as Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Barton Solvents, General Mills, HNI Corporation, Interstates, Kreg Tool, Rada Cutlery, Vermeer and Winnebago. Remember: ABI Conference attendees will have access to 10 more exclusive packages during the in-person live auction following the Chair’s Dinner on Wednesday, June 9. Make your plan now to bid and win June 1-9!
Supporting Your Employees’ Mental Health
By David Wetzler, National Practice Leader - Employment Benefits - AssuredPartners
(Content Provided by Jack Carra of LMC Insurance and Risk Management)

Often in life, we end up in situations entirely out of our control, as we all experienced this past year. The COVID-19 pandemic forced so many of us to retreat to our homes and isolate ourselves from most of the everyday interactions that had previously made up our lives. For much of that time, employers were encouraged to connect with employees and provide resources for the anxiety and stresses of that isolation. Now, as employees are returning to their job sites in greater numbers and our days are starting to resemble more of what they were pre-pandemic, there are a whole new set of emotional challenges that many employees face.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year it could not have come at a more appropriate time. According to a recent study, 2 in 3 employers say a mental health crisis in the US will come within the next three years; yet only 10% of employers feel prepared to handle such a crisis.

CLICK HERE to learn more about how employers can help with mental health in the workplace.
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Free Webinar - June 16
How Google Ads and Social Media Are The Perfect Match
Kari Ratkovich of LocaliQ invites you to a FREE webinar on how Google Ads and Social Media work better together. This quick 50-minute live event will discuss all things digital and how paid search and social media advertising are the perfect match. Join her at 1PM EST on June 16th as they take a deep dive into this perfect match. Can’t make it? No problem. Register for the event anyways and you will receive all of the materials plus a recording of the live event.  
You’ll learn:
  • How to combine Facebook’s targeting with Google’s reach to drive awareness and ROI
  • How to better allocate your budget and data by utilizing both platforms
  • How to fill in the gaps of your consumer buying journey to produce more revenue
Secure your spot and register HERE.