Legislative News
Workers' Compensation Premiums Reduced Again
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) issued a rate filing for workers' compensation premiums this week, which declared a 1.9% decrease from the current rates that were effective on January 1, 2018 in Iowa. The new rate decrease will be effective June 1 of this year. The 1.9% decrease follows last year's workers' compensation reform legislation ABI championed being signed into law, which led to an immediate 3.9% reduction in premiums. Another decrease of 8.7% was filed in August 2017 based on the prior year claim history. This means Iowa's workers' compensation insurance rates have decreased an average of 14.5% since July, 1 2017. Keep reading.

As the Legislature works toward adjournment and final budget decisions, tax reform is still on the table. Past newsletters have outlined the various plans introduced by the Governor, Senate and House. Legislators continue to work toward an agreement on details of the final tax bill. The ABI public policy team has met with leadership and legislators about key components to Iowa businesses in any tax reform bill. ABI continues to educate legislators and others, when possible, about the importance of tax reform and specifically the importance of the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction. If you have questions about the tax bills currently pending or have information to share about your conversations with legislators, please let Nicole Crain know.

First Week of Legislative Overtime: Budget Bills Advance
The House and Senate took action on several budget bills this week, which means they are getting one step closer to the conclusion of the legislative session. The House passed two budget bills Wednesday, including the non-controversial Transportation Budget  HF 2494 and  HF 2491 (Ag & Natural Resources).  The House also passed  HF 2493  (Economic Development Budget) on Thursday.

As of publication of this newsletter, the Senate is considering budget bills in the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Even though the House and Senate each start different budget bills, the Senate is expected to pass eight of the 10 bills out of full committee.
Policy and Appropriation Language Key to ABI Members in Budget Bills
As you have read and heard from ABI staff, the association does not typically take positions on the funding components of budget bills. However, we do monitor the budgets for policy language and appropriations that directly affect ABI members. Members will be interested in the following policy and funding provisions in the Senate appropriations bills:
  • Economic Development Budget: Funding for new registered apprenticeship programs, more than $1 million from interest off the Unemployment Trust Fund Reserve Fund to assist with paying for state workforce development field offices, policy to allow the Iowa Insurance Division to investigate workers' compensation fraud. The legislation also includes funding for a summer intern pilot program, marketing for Future Ready Iowa and a Future Ready Iowa Coordinator. The initial Senate bill also includes language regarding reporting for Iowa Prison Industries (IPI) and establishing a nonprofit to work with IPI to build and sell homes. The House version of Economic Development Appropriations has different policy language than the Senate bill.
  • Education Bill: Funding for statewide clearinghouse to expand work-based learning and to provide high school students with community college class opportunities in the summer.
  • RIIF: Money from the Technology Reinvestment Fund to replace SPARS and fund an electronic online permitting system for the air quality bureau of the DNR.
  • Justice: Regional Housing Program that would provide $1 million to Iowa Prison Industries to establish and build affordable homes.
ABI Comments on Multiple Employer Health Plan
The Iowa Insurance Division put out a request for comment on SF 2349 as passed and signed into law earlier this month. The Insurance Division will be responsible for developing rules to implement the legislation. ABI, with the help of member company LMC, provided comments to the Insurance Division on suggestions ABI has with the development of any regulations related to Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). Click here to read ABI's comments.

Federal Spotlight: Judge Rules DACA Program Must Accept New Applicants
A U.S. District Court Judge ruled on Wednesday the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program must continue and allow new applicants into the program. This is the third federal judge to rule against the Trump administration on this particular issue. The recent judge's ruling is the most expansive of the three, as the ruling states the program must accept new applicants whereas the previous rulings simply said the program must accept renewal of benefits requests. The decision has been delayed 90 days to allow the Trump administration to respond. Keep reading.

Expansive Medical Cannabis Legislation Passes Senate Committee
ABI has been advocating for strong employer protections since initial discussions about legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes started. This week, members of the Iowa Senate Ways and Means Committee passed SF 2372, which would eliminate the THC limit for cannabidiol and expands the list of medical conditions eligible for cannabidiol. The bill also provides a sales tax exemption for the product.  The new bill number,  SF 2405 , is eligible for debate, and an amendment to the legislation is expected.  ABI will continue to advocate for employer protections in the bill.
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Early-bird Rate for the 2018 Taking Care of Business Conference Ends April 27
If you've been meaning to register for the Taking Care of Business Conference, do it now. Tomorrow is your last chance to register before the price goes up.  Register now  and join the 300+ Iowa business leaders who have already signed up.
From the Desk of...
How Do You Behave Under Stress?

Rowena Crosbie
Tero International

How do you handle all your life demands and come off with a professional presence that exudes you have everything under control--even if you don't?
No matter how busy we feel, it will jeopardize our professionalism to appear too busy. Dorothea Johnson, founder of the Protocol School of Washington, D.C., has wise advice on how to appear professional. She says, "In business, never run! Carry yourself elegantly to be perceived as competent."
How would we look if the many competing events of the day made us so time conscious that we physically ran, not walked, from obligation to obligation? What message would we send if we found ourselves running in an environment that is looking to us for confident professionalism?
There are a lot of ways we might find ourselves running if we aren't careful. Keep reading.
Top News
Seminar for Top Decision-makers is May 11 in Algona
Iowa Farm Bureau's Renew Rural Iowa will present "The Journey to Your Vision" seminar on May 11, 8:15 a.m.-1 p.m. in Algona. Every business faces peaks and valleys as it progresses through stages of growth. Do you know what stage your business is in and how you can reach the next level? Attend this valuable seminar to stack the odds in your favor by understanding the stages of business growth, their unique challenges and methods to overcome them. The seminar is complimentary, but pre-registration is required. Learn more and register online.

Healthiest State Annual Conference is May 17 in Ames
Help make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. Professionals are invited to attend the Healthiest State Annual Conference on May 17 at the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center in Ames. The keynote speaker is Laura Putnam, author of the #1 Amazon hot new release in HR and personnel management, "Workplace Wellness That Works." Breakout sessions include Beyond Ping Pong: Workplace Culture, Worksites Influencing the Community and Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health in the Workplace. Learn more and register.

First-time Authors Rowena Crosbie and Deborah Rinner Win Silver Benjamin Franklin Award
Rowena Crosbie and Deborah Rinner, authors of " Your Invisible Toolbox: The Technological Ups and Interpersonal Downs of the Millennial Generation ," won the silver Benjamin Franklin Award in the Best New Voice: Non-fiction category held by the Independent Book Publishers Association.  The 30th annual awards ceremony was held in Austin, Texas on April 6.  Crosbie, CEO and President and Rinner, Vice President and Chief Learning Officer of Tero International in Des Moines, published their book in May 2017 with Business Publications Corporation . Read the news release.

Alliant Energy to Add More Wind Energy in Iowa; Customers and Communities to Benefit from Clean, Affordable Energy
Alliant Energy's Iowa energy company received approval to increase its wind expansion program from the Iowa Utilities Board. By 2020, the company now plans to add 1,000 megawatts of new wind energy in Iowa--enough clean energy to power 430,000 Iowa homes.  In Iowa, the company plans to have invested $1.8 billion in cost-competitive renewable energy by the end of 2020.  The new wind farms will create hundreds of construction and other jobs while generating tens of millions of dollars in additional property taxes to communities and payments to landowners. Read the news release.

Iowans Who Export to China are Encouraged to Attend May 1 Meeting in Chicago 
The Export Council of China General Chamber of Commerce Chicago invites you to attend its first council meeting on May 1 in downtown Chicago. Consul General Hong of the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago will attend to hear about your business experiences in China, including issues and suggestions. It's also a great opportunity for Iowa exporters to ask questions directly. To learn more and to register, contact Li at li@chinaiowa.com.

How Google Impacts Iowa: Report Available
A new Google report released this week highlights how data centers positively impact local communities. In Iowa, Google's $2.5 billion investment has contributed to 1,743 jobs and $189 million to the GDP. Read the full report.
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