Legislative News
ABI's historic session in the books
The Iowa Legislature adjourned the 2017 session sine die at 7:16 a.m. on Saturday, April 22 after a nearly 24-hour push to wrap things up (the Iowa House gaveled in at 8:30 on Friday morning).

The Legislature, controlled by Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate, passed several landmark pieces of legislation. From the beginning, the Iowa Association of Business and  Industry worked closely with lawmakers to promote policies important to our members, and this legislative session will go down as one of the most pro-business, pro-jobs years in recent history.  To view our sine die newsletter, click here.

Branstad, Reynolds announce 'Year of Manufacturing'
Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds held a press conference Monday to declare 2017 as the "Year of Manufacturing" in Iowa. ABI is proud to partner with the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) at Iowa State University and the Iowa Economic Development Authority to spearhead the effort.

ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton, president of Agri-Industrial Plastics, and Maureen Lockwood, manufacturing manager at Thombert, Inc., also spoke at the press conference about the need for qualified employees and the value of partnerships with organizations like CIRAS.

The primary areas of focus for the initiative include building a skilled workforce, promoting innovation and R&D, and improving global competitiveness. Keep reading...

Join ABI's final Legislative Update Teleconference April 28
ABI's end of session Legislative Update Teleconference is tomorrow at 8 a.m. This call will include a comprehensive look at what happened in the final weeks of session. The ABI public policy team will also provide an initial look at policy and budget items that are still under review by Gov. Branstad. If you have not yet participated in a conference call and would like to call in this week, please RSVP to Michelle Vollstedt, mvollstedt@iowaabi.org.

Sign up now for a Regional Public Policy Meeting
The ABI public policy team will travel the state beginning next week to offer an in-depth review of ABI priorities that advanced during the 2017 legislation session. The following meetings have already been scheduled. Click here to register for these events, which are free to members:

May 2: Muscatine
May 2: Fairfield
May 9: Des Moines
May 9: Atlantic
May 24: Sioux City

We will also talk about what we expect to see for 2018 and how you can get engaged and make a difference.

Help sustain ABI's legislative success with a contribution to IIPAC
ABI had what can be described as nothing less than a historic legislative session, achieving HUGE legislative accomplishments including:
  • major workers' compensation reform, which will drive down work comp rates,
  • tort reform which will help contain litigation costs,
  • stopping a reduction in important tax credits, and
  • prohibiting a patchwork of local wage and benefits laws.
This session saved your company money and enhanced Iowa's pro-business climate. Help ABI build upon these 2017 legislative successes with a personal contribution to IIPAC. It is critical to support pro-business legislators in order to advance your pro-business agenda.  Click here to donate now.

Federal Spotlight: President reveals tax reform plan
President Donald Trump unveiled his comprehensive tax reform plan this week. The president provided a one-page document that includes a broad list of changes he wants to make to the tax code, however it is likely that details will be worked out through negotiations by congressional leaders and treasury officials. Some of the proposals include the following:
  • Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent
  • Eliminating the alternative minimum tax
  • Eliminating the estate tax
  • Cutting individual income tax rates - going from seven to three brackets
  • Repealing an investment-income tax rate for high earners
  • Eliminating federal-income tax deduction for state and local taxes paid
By creating a more competitive tax code and focusing on economic growth, the Trump administration seeks to achieve sustained economic growth of 3 percent or greater according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin said the tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth.  Mnuchin told reporters that Trump's principles will include a "middle income tax cut," and cuts in business taxes as well as "simplification" of the code so most Americans can file their taxes on a postcard. Read more from Bloomberg here and here.

Learn about EPA compliance at upcoming DNR workshop
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hosting a workshop May 11 about EPA compliance tools and how to avoid common Clean Water Act violations. Representatives from EPA Region 7 will discuss EPA's Enforcement & Compliance History Online and other compliance tools. Attendees will also learn about the EPA's Underground Injection Control program, wastewater compliance and common National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System violations. Click here to learn more.   
From the Desk of...

Six steps toward building a culture of safety at your workplace

EMC Insurance Companies

Article courtesy of the Risk Improvement Department, EMC Insurance Companies, Des Moines. For more information, go to www.emcins.com and select Loss Control.

It's a no-brainer that safety is important to the success of your organization, but it's harder to figure out how to build a company safety culture-a set of values carried through all company actions-that strongly encourages both safety and reporting.
Beyond the essentials of following Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, providing training and keeping good records, there is more to ensuring your employees believe in safety, follow rules and feel comfortable reporting problems. These 6 steps can help you create a safety culture:
  1. Communicate Your Message EffectivelyEngineers and others who get involved in safety programs may know what needs to be done to solve and prevent accidents, but may not be the best at communicating issues and solutions. When working with others-employees, supervisors and management-more communication among groups is almost always better than less. One of the goals of effective communication is to ensure that everyone feels comfortable "saying their piece" and knowing there won't be negative consequences for reporting problems.
  2. Stay PositiveSoftening the message can help gain acceptance. The focus on safety and reporting problems is important, but rather than harping on the negative, begin with statements about all the ways your company and employees do it right. Keep reading...
Top News
Grinnell Mutual opens West Des Moines office   (Grinnell Mutual) 
Property-casualty company Grinnell Mutual opened a new office on April 3 in West Des Moines. It has space for 44 IT employees. Grinnell Mutual is headquartered in Grinnell and also has a business continuity facility in Newton.

Glynn recognized with DMACC Outstanding Alumni Award (Business Record)
Glynn is one six alumni who will receive the award, which recognizes alumni who provide service to their community, country and fellow citizens; have had great professional or personal achievement since graduation; and continue to be involved in the life and work of DMACC.

Universal Printing makes management changes   (Universal Printing)
Universal Printing is well into its third generation of family ownership and took another step in its succession plan this month. On April 1, George Springer III became chairman of the board, Sara Springer transitioned to president and Brian Springer to vice president.

United Fire Group's downtown expansion taking shape (The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids's original skyscraper is taking shape as new space for homegrown insurance company United Fire Group. The UFG on First project will combine a conversion of the American Building with an adjacent 10-story building newly constructed along First Avenue SE. It will add 110,000-square-feet of new office space, bringing United Fire's campus to more than 400,000 square feet.

Kemin's Russia animal protein facilities now open (Business Record)
Kemin Industries announced Wednesday the opening of its Russia manufacturing and laboratory facilities in Lipetsk. The new location has the capacity to serve the growing demand for specialized nutrition ingredients to address the needs of the rapidly growing Russian animal protein industry.

Alliant Energy's Marhalltown plant receives sustainability award (The Gazette)
Less than one month into operations, Alliant Energy's Marshalltown generation station has become the state's first to receive national recognition from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.
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