Legislative News
Participate in funnel week teleconference Friday
The first legislative funnel is tomorrow, Friday, March 3. That means that bills must have moved from one committee in one chamber to receive further consideration this session. Bills taken up by Ways and Means and Appropriations committees are exempt from the funnel.
Several bills are still awaiting committee action, including workers' compensation reform. ABI will provide a detailed list of what survived the funnel and what didn't during a special legislative alert e-mail Friday. You can also learn about the latest activity at the Legislature and ask questions during Friday's legislative update teleconference. The call begins at 8 a.m. and is only open to ABI members. RSVP to Michelle Vollstedt,  mvollstedt@iowaabi.org.

Take Action: Encourage lawmakers to support workers' compensation legislation
Legislation that will make needed updates to Iowa's workers' compensation laws moved out of lengthy subcommittees in the House and Senate on Wednesday. Subcommittees in both chambers heard testimony from those who would be affected by the bill, including several ABI members. ABI President Mike Ralston spoke about ABI's long history with the workers' compensation system and the need to restore Iowa to its premier status. ABI supports these companion bills,  HSB169 and  SSB1170, because they address imbalance and clarify Iowa's workers' compensation law, which has been eroded by a decade of activist trial attorneys and poor court decisions. Click here  to write your legislator and tell them you support the bill as well.

Representatives from other associations and workers' compensation defense attorneys joined ABI member companies in expressing their support of the bills. ABI members talked about their experience with the current workers' comp system and why it is not working for injured employees or employers.

Trial attorneys and labor unions showed up to vehemently defend the system as is. Right now, legislators are hearing from attorneys who profit off the current system.  They need to hear directly from you! Click here to write a letter to your legislator.

The bills are on the agenda in their respective Commerce Committees Thursday afternoon. If passed, both bills would have survived this Friday's legislative funnel, when most bills must be out of a committee to continue to receive further consideration this session.

We need member companies to continue to contact your legislators in both chambers to let them know you support this legislation, and explain why the bill needs to be passed. The opposition will be very active.  Legislators need to hear directly from you.
  • Click here to learn more about the bill and print information you can share with your legislators.
  • Attend a forum this weekend to let your legislator know you support what they are doing on behalf of Iowa employers and employees!
Please, continue to stay engaged and sign up for our Workplace and Product Safety Committee to receive the latest information. Email Michelle Vollstedt, mvollstedt@iowaabi.org, to sign up.

Federal Spotlight: Iowa leaders praise steps to overhaul Waters of the U.S. rule
Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on Tuesday praised President Trump's executive order that begins the process of rescinding the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule implemented under President Obama. The National Association of Manufacturers and others have said the bill would be extremely costly to comply with and cost jobs. 

"Everybody wants clean water that requires we have good, clear and well-designed regulations," Branstad said. "But this rule would have imposed significant barriers to the advancement of innovative, state and local driven, conservation and environmental practices that would actually advance our common goal for water quality."
Festival introduces students to STEM
STEM Festivals are held around the state to educate students, at an early age, on STEM (science, technology, engineer, mathematics) careers. Business leaders attend the festival to share their job roles, with the students, through hands on activities. 

On Monday, French-Reneker Associates from Fairfield and the STEM hub partnered to hold a STEM Festival at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center for K-12th grade students and parents. 145 students registered to attend and there were many walk-ins. 

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing attended the STEM Festival to educate the students on manufacturing careers. At the Elevate booth, the students built airplanes out of a straw, two thin pieces of paper, and tap. 

Many other companies attended including Agri-Industrial Plastics, Indian Hills Community College, Jefferson County Extension & Outreach, Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Jefferson County Health Center, John Deere Ottumwa Work, and many others.
From the Desk of...
Take back workers' comp system from judges, lawyers

Mike Ralston, President
Iowa Association of Business and Industry

Workers' compensation has been a bedrock issue for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry since 1913. Iowa's workers' compensation law was passed, thanks in large part to the work of ABI's precursor, the Iowa Manufacturing Association, after manufacturers became concerned about the need for a cost-effective insurance plan benefiting employees.
Iowa's workforce is also a key focus of our organization. Our member companies cannot run without healthy employees. We can all agree that compensating these injured workers, ensuring they receive good medical care and getting them back to work after they have healed benefits Iowa employees and their families and Iowa employers.

Unfortunately, this ideal system - once balanced between the interests of the employee and employer - has been eroded by aggressive plaintiff attorneys and judges who don't understand the workers' compensation system. Bad court decisions have changed and muddied the meaning of the workers' compensation laws the Legislature passed. Keep reading...
Top News
Ralston, CIRAS, others offer insight on Iowa's manufacturing industry (Cedar Valley Business Monthly)
President Trump has pledged to make manufacturing great again in the U.S. Local leaders say that the industry remains strong in Iowa.

Anderson participates in U.S. Chamber's Talent Pipeline Management Academy (U.S. Chamber Foundation)
ABI's Kathy Anderson was one of 24 participants in the program, which helps position employers in a more central role as key customers of postsecondary education and training providers. 

Deere attractions to offer free admission, extended hours (Waterloo Courier)
John Deere this week began offering free admission at its attractions, which draw thousands of tourists each year to the communities where they are located, including Waterloo, Moline, Ill., and Grand Detour, Ill.

How to get a data center job at Facebook (Data Center Knowledge)
Data Center Knowledge gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to work at ABI member Facebook in one of the company's data centers. 
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