April 1, 2021
Funnel Week Concludes With ABI Priorities Advancing

This week marks the second legislative deadline, known as a funnel. This is the point during the legislative session when most bills that are not Appropriations or Ways and Means legislation must have passed through one chamber and then a full committee from the other chamber in order to be considered “alive” for the remainder of the legislative session. 

WATCH: ABI’s key priorities are outlined in this week’s Weekly Business Report video.
Which Bills Advanced and Which Bills Did Not Advance?

SF 492/HF 754 - Unemployment insurance tax reform
ABI Position: For

SF 361/HF 748 - Drug and alcohol testing reform
ABI Position: For

HF 789 - Manufacturing 4.0
ABI Position: For

SF 555 - Prohibition of vaccine mandates
ABI Position: Against

HF 729 - Pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies 
ABI Position: Against

SF 485 - Pregnancy accommodations
ABI Position: Against

As always, please reach out to Brad Hartkopf or JD Davis from ABI’s public policy team if you have any questions or would like additional information about any pieces of legislation.
ABI Priority Issue: Improved Broadband Bill Passes Iowa House
The Iowa House passed HF 848 on Monday, March 29, which establishes the policy to increase access and speeds for broadband in the state of Iowa. Improving broadband infrastructure in Iowa remains a priority for ABI because businesses increasingly rely on high-speed internet for evolving manufacturing processes. All Iowans have witnessed the increased demand for robust, high-speed broadband during this pandemic.

Key highlights of the bill include: 

  • Grants to provide broadband service with a minimum download and upload speed of 100 megabits per second
  • Defines “Tier 1” as a maximum download speed of less than 25 megabits per second and a maximum upload speed of three megabits per second
  • Modifies “underserved area” to mean any portion of a targeted service area in which no communications service provider facilitates broadband service meeting the Tier 1 download and upload speeds
  • 80 percent of grants will go to projects that facilitate minimum download and upload speeds of 100 megabits per second
  • Up to 20 percent of grants will go to projects that facilitate minimum download speeds of 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of 20 megabits per second

Read more to learn about the next steps for the bill and how lawmakers will try to fund the proposal.
Workers' Compensation Commissioner Re-Appointed
Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Joe Cortese has been reappointed to a second six-year term by Gov. Reynolds. Cortese, first appointed under Gov. Branstad in 2015, was an attorney in private practice for several years.

Commissioner Cortese informed members of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Advisory Committee, in which ABI participates, of his re-appointment. The Iowa Senate must still confirm the Commissioner by a ⅔ majority vote. This position is one that is usually political, prior to the workers’ compensation reform legislation in 2017. It is unclear whether there will be any issues with his confirmation. 
IIPAC 1st Quarter Newsletter Now Available
This week, investors in IIPAC received the 1st quarter newsletter. The newsletter included a state, federal and political update. If you didn’t receive the message in your inbox, please contact Brad Hartkopf to ensure you’ve made your 2021 IIPAC investment.

IIPAC’s 95 percent success rate in the 2020 elections is a reflection of the time spent analyzing Iowa House and Senate races and investing your personal dollars into pro-jobs candidates. For more information about IIPAC or to invest today, click here.
White House Releases Infrastructure Plan
The White House unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure plan Wednesday and the proposal is broken up into two parts. The American Jobs Plan aims to invest $621 billion in transportation infrastructure to update highways, bridges, airports, and other transit systems. This plan would also invest $100 billion in building high-speed broadband infrastructure and an additional $100 billion to improve the nation’s electric grid. Read more about how the administration plans to fund the proposal.
2nd Congressional District Race is Over
Former Iowa State Sen. Rita Hart has withdrawn her election challenge to Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks for the seat in Iowa’s Second Congressional District before the House Committee on Administration. Miller-Meeks won the race by six votes during the 2020 election. After county and state officials certified the results following a full recount, Hart announced her formal election contest, asking for a recount. In a published statement on Wednesday, Hart said she wishes Miller-Meeks all the best as she serves the people of Iowa as Congresswoman.
April 8: Connecting Statewide Leaders is Coming to Mason City

Join ABI members, Leadership Iowa's current class and alumni, and community leaders for an engaging conversation about business/education partnerships. Learn how the business community and the education sector are working together to help move our state forward. Lunch and networking will follow. The event is on April 8 at 11 a.m. in Mason City. Learn more and register here. Seating is limited and safety protocols will be in place.
Nicole Crain Joins Healthiest State Initiative Board of Directors

ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain is one of two new members now serving on the Board of Directors of Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. Nicole joins Matt Evans, who is the Principal, Practice Leader at TrueNorth Companies in eastern Iowa. The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that aims to make Iowa the healthiest state in the U.S. 

“We are excited to add Nicole and Matt to the Board of Directors,” Jami Haberl, Executive Director of the Healthiest State Initiative, recently said in a recent press release. “With ABI having statewide membership and TrueNorth headquartered in eastern Iowa, Nicole and Matt’s networks and experience will be critical to our efforts to engage Iowans statewide in our efforts to become the healthiest state in the nation.”

ABI members were also recently named finalists and winners during the 2021 Healthiest State Annual Virtual Awards.
June 8 - 10: Taking Care of Business Conference
The conference will take place in person in Coralville/Iowa City

Don't forget to register for ABI's 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference! If you are passionate about business in Iowa, this is an opportunity to meet other industry leaders, network, learn new ideas, and share insight on how to grow and strengthen the state's business climate. Click on this link to register.
Don't Forget About the Buy ABI Program
  • You receive deep discounts on valuable products and services.
  • ABI receives revenue from program partners, which helps us continue to grow the programs we offer you.
  • ABI members connect and conduct mutually beneficial business.
Leadership Iowa University Now Accepting Applications for Aug. 8-12 In-Person Program

Leadership Iowa University connects our state’s next decision-makers with tools for personal and professional success. During the five-day program in the Des Moines area, participants network with Iowa professionals, tour organizations in both the private and public sectors and receive actionable advice on how to move toward their goals. 

Nominate a college student and learn more at www.LeadershipIowaUniversity.com or contact us to discuss how your summer intern(s) can benefit from Leadership Iowa University!
ABI Remains Strong During Pandemic
By Mike Ralston, ABI President

Before I write these columns each month, I look at past columns to see what was on the minds of ABI members in previous years. The April 2020 column was noteworthy, because it had one focus, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read how ABI members continue to help the association thrive and as always, don’t forget to call on ABI if you need help related to vaccinations, supply chain, or other issues. Our sole focus is to provide value to you and your business.
Click on the headlines to learn about the latest ABI member news
Please submit member news to: communications@iowaabi.org