Legislative News
Committee Spotlight: Employment and Workforce
Leading up to our ABI policy committee meetings in late summer, we will highlight each of ABI's five policy committees so you know more about the mission and purview of each committee. These committees steer the direction of ABI's policy agenda each legislative session. To sign up for policy committees, email Dorothy Knowles,  dknowles@iowaabi.org.

Employment and Workforce Committee Mission Statement: 
To advocate for legislation and policies that support mutually beneficial employment relationships free from government intrusions in the free market. To advocate for workforce initiatives, a market-driven employee benefit system and a fiscally sound unemployment compensation system, providing benefits to those who become unemployed through no fault of their own.

Current Chair: Dennis Ingle, Manpower 

Issues handled by this committee:
  • Workforce recruitment, retention and development
  • Human resource issues
  • Right to Work
  • Wages
  • Scope of the Iowa Civil Rights Act
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Public Sector employment
  • Health Care and Health Insurance, including Insurance mandates
Recent Successes:
  • ABI worked to help pass a wage and employment benefits preemption bill that ensures there will no longer be a patchwork of local government ordinances dictating local wages and will also prevent local governments from passing ordinances on local businesses dealing with employment benefits or hiring practices.
  • ABI supported legislation to increase the amount necessary for an individual to requalify for a second benefit year of unemployment compensation, saving the trust fund more than $2 million annually.
  • ABI has successfully opposed many health care insurance mandates.
  • ABI helps promote and cultivate a strong, skilled workforce in Iowa with our Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative and participation in Future Ready Iowa. 
Next Meeting: The committee will work to revamp its policies and direction for 2018, hear from Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend and get an update on the latest in the rapidly changing healthcare system from Wellmark's Scott Sundstrom. The meeting is set for August 22 at ABI.  Click here to sign up.
ABI participates in DNR meetings
Members of the ABI public policy staff participated in several meetings related to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) this week. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Commission had its monthly meeting, where commissioners heard updates from DNR staff on several contracts. Four of the contracts were for air quality services and the majority of funding comes from industry through fees collected by DNR. ABI worked with DNR last fall to encourage efficiencies in the state's air monitoring network. The EPC approved the recommendations made by DNR staff, and it will result in more than 20 percent decrease in costs from the State Hygienic Lab.

On Wednesday, ABI participated in a stakeholder meeting to look at funding of the DNR Air Quality Bureau and how to handle continued emission decreases while still having enough funds for the bureau to operate. Keep reading...

ABI members meet with Congressman Young, President Trump

ABI members joined representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to recognize U.S. Rep. David Young of Van Meter with a Spirit of Enterprise Award. The award is given annually to members of Congress based on their votes on critical business legislation.

ABI members and IIPAC investors had the opportunity to discuss several important topics with Young, including health care and tax reform. Thank you to Young for his support of pro-jobs policies for all Iowans. On Wednesday, ABI members also met with President Donald Trump and key officials in his administration in Cedar Rapids to discuss agriculture and ag-manufacturing technology in Iowa. Stay tuned next week for a photo of the event!

Rep. Hanson dies; special election scheduled
State Rep. Curt Hanson (D-Fairfield) died Friday, June 16. He was 73. Hansen had served in the Iowa House since 2009 and has been a resident of Fairfield for 52 years. He was also former president of the Iowa Association of Safety Education and the Fairfield Education Association. ABI sends our condolences to the Hanson family as they go through this difficult time.

Hanson's death creates a vacancy in House District 82, which is comprised of Davis, Van Buren, and parts of Jefferson county. Gov. Kim Reynolds has scheduled a special election to fill the seat for Aug. 8.

Federal Spotlight: Townsend attends apprenticeship discussion at White House
Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend attended a roundtable discussion at the White House last Thursday to discussing expanding registered apprenticeship programs. Last week was workforce development week at the White House. Keep reading...

IIPAC needs your commitment
ABI's advocacy efforts this session resulted in historic results for Iowa employers. ABI was able to get more than 20 bills signed by the governor. Two of those bills - workers' compensation reform and a change to unemployment requalification - resulted in $41 million dollars in savings to Iowa businesses annually, beginning in 2017. In recognition of this $41 million in savings to businesses. Please consider a personal contribution of $41 dollars to IIPAC today! With more than $47,000 raised, we are halfway to our goal for the 2017 year. We need your help to re-elect legislators who will support Iowa jobs and economic growth.  Click here to contribute $41 now. To learn more about IIPAC and to see our results from the last election,  click here.
Register now: Bringing Boji Back
ABI members love the Iowa Great Lakes! That's why we're "Bringing Boji Back" with a Connecting Statewide Leaders event in Okoboji, Aug. 3-4. This fantastic event will include a tour of Tecton Industries, events at Okoboji Classic Cars and valuable programming.
Click here to learn more and to register!
From the Desk of...
Tight limits on where patent lawsuits may be filed

Michael Dee, Attorney
BrownWinick Law Firm

On May 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court unanimously, and drastically, limited the rules for where patent infringement lawsuits may be filed.  In TC Heartland, LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, LLC, the Supreme Court held that the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. ยง1400(b), allows a patent infringement lawsuit to be brought only in the jurisdiction where the alleged infringer 1) is incorporated, or 2) has a "regular and established place of business" and has committed alleged acts of infringement.  The case overturns many years of precedent.

Previously, a patent infringement suit could be filed anywhere a defendant had "minimum contacts" with the jurisdiction.  The minimum contacts standard is very broad.  A small amount of activity by a defendant in a particular jurisdiction typically was enough to maintain a lawsuit in that jurisdiction, despite the defendant having no physical presence, no employees and no regular customer base located there.  For example, an internet service provider located in one state but doing business with subscribers in other states or taking online orders from customers in other states, could be subject to suit in any of those other states.  For some businesses, the minimum contacts standard subjects them to suit in every federal district court in the United States.

In the patent world, there are a small number of federal districts that are considered more friendly to patent infringement plaintiffs than others.  The Eastern District of Texas, for example, has this reputation.  Consequently, many patent infringement plaintiffs have utilized the minimum contacts standard to sue alleged infringers in these patent-friendly districts.  This is especially true of so-called "patent trolls," who are patent owners who generate revenue primarily by suing purported infringers rather than marketing or otherwise practicing their patent rights. Keep reading...
Top News
Report: Iowa improves grades for human capital, benefit costs (Business Record) Iowa's manufacturing and logistics climate has improved in several measures in the past year, but got a failing grade for its tax structure, according to a new Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card released by Ball State University.

Radia to retire as CEO of Bankers Trust (Des Moines Register)
Suku Radia, CEO of Des Moines-based Bankers Trust announced this week he will retire at the end of the year. He will be replaced by Don Coffin, the bank's current president.

Rockwell Collins' Ortberg named a Top 100 CEO (Business Record)
Kelly Ortberg, president and CEO of Rockwell Collins, was named one of Glassdoor's 100 Highest Rated CEOs for large companies in 2017.

Don't let severe weather lead to losses for your business  (MidAmerican Energy)
MidAmerican Energy offers a number of online resources to help businesses prepare for the summer storm season. 

Ahlers & Cooney, seven attorneys recognized by Chambers USA (Ahlers & Cooney)
Seven lawyers from Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., were recently selected for inclusion in the Chambers USA 2017 edition. The firm was also recognized in the practice areas of Labor & Employment and Litigation: General Commercial.

Signarama-Ankeny adds Young Electric Sign Company division  (Signarama)
Signarama-Ankeny has added another sign-related franchise, Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO). YESCO, based in Salt Lake City, began franchising its electric sign and lighting service and repair business in 2011.
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