Legislative News
Legislative action heats up: No coupling for 2016
The Iowa Senate started Wednesday morning with fiery comments coming from the Senate Democratic minority on topics ranging from health care funding to tax coupling and increasing the minimum wage. During openingcomments, Ways and Means Chairman Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull), in response to a question from Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), confirmed the Legislature will not couple the state's income tax code with federal changes for tax year 2016. Keep reading...

Read more: No state income tax coupling (Quad City Times Capitol Digest)

Drug testing bill moves forward
A bill that allows employers to use hair for drug testing employees,  SF32 , passed the Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee by a 7-4 vote on Monday. It was a party line vote with all Republicans voting for passage and all Democrats opposed. Sen. Michael Breitbach (R-Strawberry Point) managed the bill in committee. "Forty-seven states currently allow the testing of hair for drugs," Breitbach told Radio Iowa. "It's another tool in the employer's tool box to make sure that they provide a safe and viable workplace." The bill is now eligible for the full Senate to consider.

Read More:  Bill to let companies collect hair samples for employee drug tests (Radio Iowa

Bill would streamline IUB reporting
A bill to eliminate duplicative gas and electric utility energy efficiency reports to the Iowa Utilities Board,  HSB24 ,  passed out of a subcommittee this week. Under the bill, as long as federal reports are submitted to IUB, the additional state forms are not required. ABI supports this streamlining bill. The Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities also support the legislation.

De-appropriations bills advance
Late Thursday morning, the Senate acted on SF130 which cuts approximately $117 million dollars form the FY 2017 budget. The cuts are required to balance the state budget. Earlier in the week, the House Appropriations Committee passed their version of the bill which is now  HF118 . The House is excepted to debate the bill early next week and Governor Branstad is expected to sign the budget bill when it reaches his desk. With the de-appropriations conversation out of the way, the legislature will move to focus on more policy issues and the FY 2018 budget.

Read more: After heated debate, Iowa Senate approves $118 million budget reduction bill (Des Moines Register)

Apprenticeship bill moves forward
A bill relating to the apprenticeship training program, HSB40,  passed a House subcommittee 3-0 Thursday morning. The subcommittee was chaired by Rep. Andy McKean (R-Anamosa). The bil, will require a person to be an Iowa resident to qualify as an apprentice under the program for the purposes of financial assistance awards. The bill stops out-of-state residents from registering as an apprentice in Iowa and receiving financial assistance from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. There was wide bipartisan support from the lobby for this bill as no one is currently registered against it. The bill now heads to the full Economic Growth Committee where it is expected to pass.

Federal spotlight: Trump takes many executive actions and orders in first week
President Donald Trump began the first full week of his term with numerous executive actions and orders. Since Monday, he has ordered federal agencies to ease the burden of the Affordable Care Act, imposed a freeze for federal hiring for some agencies, withdrawn the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership, reinstated the "Mexico City Policy," which is a ban of federal funding to non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion, signed orders to reinstate the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, and ordered the construction of a border wall on the southern border.

Read more: Trump's Pipeline Executive Order and the Iowa Impact  (WHO-TV)

Branstad and Reynolds advocate for better health care system to help Iowans 
Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds recently wrote a letter to leaders in Congress concerning proposals to improve health care solutions for the country and specifically Iowans. Keep reading...

Trespass liability bill advances
A bill to address trespassing,   HSB35 , advanced out of a House Judiciary subcommittee Thursday and now goes to the full committee. The bill codifies common law on the duty of care owed to trespassers to refrain from willfully and wantonly harming a trespasser. Keep reading...

Iowa's unemployment rate drops
Iowa's unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent in December, Iowa Workforce Development reported Tuesday. "Iowa's economy received a boost in December as businesses added jobs and unemployment eased to 3.6 percent," Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development, said in a press release. Keep reading...

Future Ready Iowa website launches
Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the new Future Ready Iowa website on Monday. The Future Ready Iowa website is a one-stop shop where students and adults can review and evaluate different career opportunities in Iowa and plan their path to landing a rewarding job. The website helps identify education and training needed as well as financial resources that may be available. More information about career pathways will be added in coming months. Keep reading...
From the Desk of...
Marketing Analytics: Email with a Purpose

Alex Karei
Marketing Director
Webspec Design

Marketing in the 21st century is all about one thing: the data behind it. Walk into any marketing conference and you'll see at least one session dedicated to managing data, interpreting it, or implementing it. One large area of analytics that marketers deal with involves email. Whether you're producing smaller email marketing campaigns or large-scale drip campaigns, there's a lot of information to analyze and it can be hard to determine where to start.

Many companies employ email marketing as part of their overall strategy. Although results can be hard to predict, it's also one of the easiest ways to get in touch with clients quickly (and at a low cost-who doesn't love that?). While modern email marketing platforms provide a lot of information to users, marketers can find a lot of benefit in looking deeper into what these statistics mean.

You've probably seen a blog or two telling you the best time to send an email. The problem is, by the time you read that second blog, you're reading a different statistic. At the end of the day, you can read about all the "industry standards" in the world, but if you aren't looking at what time your users are reading the email you're sending those statistics are meaningless. All user groups are different, and that includes those subscribed to your list.

Action item:  Test sending your emails at different times and days of the week to find your optimal time frame. How do you measure this? That's up to you. Some companies might want higher open rates, and some may want higher clicks within those emails. 
Top News
ABI President Mike Ralston delivers keynote speech at Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting (Council Bluffs Nonpareil)
Ralston highlighted efforts to raise the profile of manufacturing jobs in the state and what ABI is doing to connect workers with proper training to enter the industry.

ABI Past Chair Charles Sukup weighs in on trade concerns  (Des Moines Register)
Sukup and other business and ag leaders expressed concerns about what a decrease in trade opportunities could mean for Iowa's economy. 

EMC forms partnership with tech startup Makusafe   (EMC)
EMC Insurance Companies announced a partnership this week with Makusafe, a tech startup founded by Gabe Glynn. It's another example of great ABI organizations working together.

New publication offers rebate info for businesses  (MidAmerican Energy)
MidAmerican Energy has published its 2017 Energy Efficiency Rebate Information for Iowa businesses.
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