Legislative News
ABI stands up for members, collective bargaining bill passes
The Iowa House and Senate on Thursday afternoon both passed HF 291, which offers substantial reforms to Iowa's collective bargaining law. The bill now moves on to Gov. Terry Branstad, who is expected to sign the legislation. The bill passed the Iowa House, 53-47. The bill was then messaged to the Iowa Senate, where it passed by a vote of 29-21.

This controversial legislation has generated significant feedback from public. ABI's Senior Vice President for Public Policy Nicole Crain spoke on behalf of ABI members at a
public hearing on the bill Monday night. Crain was one of four speakers at Monday's two-hour hearing who spoke in favor of the bill in the face of strong opposition. Crain's testimony reflected policies developed by ABI members through our legislative committee process. Click here to watch Crain's testimony.

There has been a good deal of confusion and misinformation about what this legislation does/does not do. This analysis from Republicans who introduced the house bill provides a summary and analysis of the bill, along with dozens of proposed amendments. In her most recent weekly newsletter, Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) explained how the legislation will result in " rebalancing the scales."  House Democrats offered their own analysis of the bill.

ABI is proud to stand up for members and serve as the public representative for Iowa's business community for tough issues. You can continue to count on us this legislative session when controversial issues arise. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback on this or other legislation. We also encourage you to reach out to your legislators on all issues of importance to you and your company. You can do this by calling or emailing your legislators ( find them here ) or attending a forum. The following forums are scheduled for this weekend:

Register now for Iowa Business Day on the Hill
In less than a month, Iowa's business community will converge on the Iowa Capitol for Iowa Business Day on the Hill. With all the pro-jobs legislation that is yet to be considered at the Capitol your participation is needed! You will have an opportunity to hear from representatives from ABI, the National Federation of Independent Business in Iowa and the Iowa Chamber Alliance on legislative updates and also receive a federal update from NFIB's federal lobbyist. With so many changes taking place in Iowa and Washington you won't want to miss this event. 

Click here  to register now. Don't forget, you also have the opportunity to participate in a lunch exclusively for IIPAC members after Day on Hill. You can RSVP for the lunch when you register for the rest of the Day on the Hill activities.

Latest legislative action
There are two weeks left until the first legislative funnel, and ABI's public policy team is monitoring more than 300 bills on behalf of members. Committee action continued this week and pro-business legislation continues to advance. Below are a few bills we are monitoring on behalf of members. Some have been listed in prior newsletters and others are new this week.

  SSB 1047:  This is Gov. Terry Branstad's priority bill, and it encourages school districts to establish a computer science program. The goal is to expose students to opportunities, especially since so many jobs in the workforce involve computers. The Senate Education Committee addressed this bill Wednesday afternoon. Senators on both sides of the aisle commented on the bill and ultimately the bill advanced with no opposition. The House version,  HF 107, was just introduced this week and has not yet moved forward.
ABI position: For
Staff Contact:   Brad Hartkopf

SSB 1097/ HSB 108: The companion bills were brought forward as recommendations of an Alcoholic Beverage Division/Economic Development Authority Task Force. ABI members include companies which manufacture wine and distilled spirits in the state of Iowa. These companies provide a benefit to the local economy and encourage tourism, many times in rural Iowa. ABI supports the legislation to level the playing field for our distilled spirits members and encourage growth of the industry in Iowa.
ABI position: For
Staff contact:  Nicole Crain

SSB 1101/ HSB 109: Another is another priority of Branstad's focused on keeping Iowans safe on the road and preventing distracted driving. The bill would ban the use of electronic devices while driving and make texting while driving a primary offense. A subcommittee has been scheduled for Mon. Feb 20 at noon in the Iowa House. ABI is monitoring this legislation and seeking feedback from members.
ABI has not taken a position on this bill.
Staff contact: Brad Hartkopf

  HSB 86: This proposed legislation defines what is considered a commercial installation and subject to inspection. When the electrical licensing bill passed in 2007, agriculture was exempt from the legislation. Through decisions by the Electrical Examining Board, some agriculture installations became subject to inspection. This bill's intent is to clarify those installations are not subject to inspection. Brad Hartkopf attended a subcommittee on Thursday where several questions were raised including a request to define industrial installation. ABI will watch this bill for any changes to industrial or commercial inspections.
ABI position: Undecided

SSB 1046/ HF 61: The bills would require assignment of benefits in dental insurance that would disincentivize dentists from being part of an insurance network, thus potentially driving up costs for employers who provide dental insurance to their employees. The bill also requires coordination of benefits which could change how employers control costs for employees within the same organization who may have double coverage. The House version passed out of subcommittee on Monday and a subcommittee took place on the Senate version this afternoon.
ABI position: Opposed
Staff contact:  Nicole Crain/ Jessica Harder

  SF 165: The Senate State Government Committee on Monday took up SF 165, which allows companies who manufacture products in Iowa the opportunity to competitively bid for contracts from state agencies and departments. Currently, a department or agency must receive a waiver from the Department of Corrections in order to buy outside of Iowa Prison Industries. An amendment came forward and was approved. The amendment provided clarity to say that Iowa Prison Industries can also submit bids. The bill was approved and is now  SF 252. A companion bill,  HF 293, has already passed the House State Government Committee.
ABI Position:  For
Staff Contact: Brad Hartkopf 

Tort reform legislation filed
Several bills reforming tort laws in Iowa are moving forward. ABI supports legislation that will improve the tort system in Iowa.

  SSB 1095/ HSB 104: The legislation addresses how plaintiff claims must be made in asbestos cases, to ensure those who are ill get money set aside to compensate for those injuries and to prevent fraud.
ABI position: For
Staff contact:  Jessica Harder

  SSB 1011/ HF 251: This legislation codifies common law as it relates to the liability of trespassers. SSB 1011 was taken up in the full Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The bill passed with no opposition. Its companion bill has already passed the House Judiciary Committee and is ready for floor debate. The bill is now "funnel proof" in both the House and Senate.   
ABI Position: For
Staff Contact:  Jessica Harder/ Brad Hartkopf

HF 3/ SSB 1010: This legislation changes the statute of repose, the time within which a construction defect or unsafe condition must be identified in order to bring a lawsuit. HF 3 originally proposed to reduce the current statute of repose from 15 years to eight years. The bill moved out of the House Judiciary committee this week with an amendment that carved out exceptions for nuclear power plants (15 years), residential construction (10 years) and intentional misconduct or fraudulent concealment (15 years). The senate bill has not yet moved forward.
ABI position: For
Staff Contact:  Jessica Harder
Federal Spotlight: NAM recognizes Ernst with excellence award
The National Association of Manufacturers is recognizing Sen. Joni Ernst with a Legislative Excellence Award on Feb. 23 in Burlington. NAM said the award recognizes Ernst's "exemplary voting record in the 114th Congress and her solid support for a strong manufacturing economy and a forward-thinking manufacturing agenda." Ernst has played a key role in shaping national policies that impact manufacturers.
Conference keynote speakers announced! 
ABI announced a lineup of world class keynote speakers for the 2017 Taking Care of Business Conference during an event Tuesday in Dubuque. Robert Richman, a culture strategist and co-creator of Zappos Insights; speaker and consultant Tommy Spaulding; and Dr. Bill Withers, a professor an Leadership Fellow  at Wartburg College, will headline the event.

Robert Richman built Zappos Insights from a small website to a thriving multi-million dollar business that teaches over 25,000 students per year about the secrets behind Zappos' amazing employee culture. Through his work, Richman has been helpful for improving the employee culture at at hundreds of companies. He has pioneered a number of innovative techniques to build culture, such as bringing improv comedy to the workplace. 

Tommy Spaulding  is the founder and president of Spaulding Companies, a leadership development, speaking, training and executive coaching firm based in Denver, Colo. A world-renowned speaker on leadership, Spaulding has spoken to hundreds of organizations, associations educational institutions and corporations around the globe. His most recent book, The Heart-Led Leader is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal
national bestseller and was also listed on Inc.com's Top 100 Business Books of 2015.

Dr. Bill Withers  is a full professor and Leadership Fellow  at Wartburg College, where he also served as both the assistant director of their leadership institute and a department chair for over a decade. He has more than two decades of management and leadership experience in both business and education, and his research has been presented multiple times at the International Conference on Business in Honolulu.

 The Taking Care of Business conference will take place June 6-8 in Dubuque. Registration opens next Wednesday, Feb. 22. Click here for more information.
From the Desk of...
Business Planning with Changing Immigration Policy

Marina Grabchuk
Attorney
Belin McCormick


The new administration is placing a heavy focus on immigration, causing many employers to question how the new changes may impact their business. While the current policy is in a state of flux, there are some key measures businesses can take to help avoid unexpected, and sometimes costly, immigration complications.  Although different businesses face different challenges, all businesses benefit from being aware of key immigration issues: international travel restrictions; work-visa sponsorship challenges; and worksite enforcement.

Should My Foreign National Employees Travel Internationally?
Employees who are not U.S. citizens should exercise caution and seek professional legal advice before making the decision to travel abroad. Even workers with valid employment-based visas and green cards could potentially experience problems coming back to the U.S. Individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, even those with H-1B visas and green card holders, should be particularly cautious. Although the 90-day travel ban has been placed on hold temporarily, these countries have been identified as warranting extra scrutiny. Employers with non-citizen employees should work with their employees to ensure they are educated travelers and potentially avoid unnecessary travel outside the U.S., even if work-related. Where work travel is required, employers can assist employees to ensure they have all necessary documentation to return home. 
Top News
Nationwide, Principal recognized as top workplaces for giving back   (Fortune)
Nationwide and Principal have been recognized by Fortune and GreatPlacesToWork.com as two of the top 50 workplaces for giving back.

Research Activities Tax Credit Annual Report (Iowa Department of Revenue)
The Iowa Department of Revenue on Wednesday released its Research Activities Tax Credit Annual Report for the 2016 calendar year. 

Registration open for Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule Workshop
The EPA is hosting a workshop March 7 in Van Meter to clarify and discuss the impending changes to the hazardous waste generator regulations under RCRA. These rules will become effective in Iowa on May 30.

SQIMAQ and CEAM Grand Opening at IWCC is March 23 (IWCC)
Iowa Western Community College is hosting a SWIMAQ Additive Manufacturing and CEAM Grand Opening on March 23 at the IWCC Page County Center in Clarinda. ABI members CIRAS, Lisle Corp. and Gabe Glynn of the Advanced Manufacturing Podcast will all participate in the event. 

Register for 2017 Iowa Employment Conference, April 6-7 (IEC)
IEC's Keynote Panel Discussion will focus on important health insurance topics such as pre-taxing benefits, narrow networks and competition created by selling insurance across state lines. 
Governor's Club Sponsors