Legislative News
Iowa Business Day on the Hill is Next Week
ABI's Iowa Business Day on the Hill is set for Tuesday, March 13 in Des Moines. ABI is partnering with the National Federation of Independent Business, the Iowa Chamber Alliance and the National Association of Women Business Owners to put on this annual event. 

The day will start at ABI headquarters at 8:30 a.m. with participants receiving a legislative briefing by ABI policy staff. House Commerce Committee Chair Peter Cownie (R-West Des Moines) will address the group, and then attendees will head to the Hill to talk to legislators about issues important to business.
Following the visits, we will have our IIPAC lunch. The keynote speaker is Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull), who is the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee. Sen. Feenstra is one of the key leaders on tax reform. This is your opportunity to ask him candid questions about the issue.  The lunch is open to those who have contributed to IIPAC in 2018. If you haven't made your contribution yet, click here . You can register for Iowa Business Day on the Hill here .

Comprehensive Energy Legislation Approved by Iowa Senate
Late Tuesday night, members of the Iowa Senate approved SF 2311 , an omnibus energy bill. Several amendments were added to the bill on the floor, and many more were debated. Read the provisions the legislation contains.
Association Health Plan Bills Debated
The Senate passed two bills this week aimed at providing additional options for more affordable health insurance in Iowa. One bill, SF 2349 , would create an option for associations to form group health insurance plans under the oversight of the Iowa Insurance Division and in compliance with federal law and rules. Read more about SF 2349 Another more narrow bill, SF 2329, advanced by the Senate on a 40-9 vote Wednesday would allow Farm Bureau to offer its members health benefit coverage outside of the regulations of the State Insurance Division or the Federal Affordable Care Act. Read more about SF 2329.

Read more:
ABI Legislative Update Call on March 16
Next Friday marks the second legislative funnel deadline, which is the day all bills have to be out of one chamber and a committee in the opposite chamber. There are some exceptions, such as Ways & Means and Appropriations bills. For the most updated legislative information, join us at 8 a.m. The call is a benefit of ABI membership. If you've already RSVP'd for a previous call, there's no need to register for this call. If you haven't RSVP'd, please email Michelle Vollstedt .

Water Filter Regulatory Reform Approved by Senate
SF 2330 , a bill supported by ABI that allows national certification of water filters and removes the Department of Public Health from conducting a separate certification, passed the Senate 48-2, putting Iowa in line with 49 other states and eliminating a needless barrier to business. The legislation must advance out of the House Commerce Committee prior to next Friday's funnel deadline to continue through the process. This bill passed the House in 2015 and has been introduced previously, but we weren't able to get this common sense regulatory reform legislation to the Governor.

Candidate Filing Deadline Next Friday
Individuals interested in running for statewide or legislative races have until Friday, March 16, to file with the Secretary of State. Candidates who file the necessary paperwork will then be on the ballot for the primary election in June. Numerous representatives and senators have announced they are not seeking re-election in 2018, which means there will be several open seats. To see the full list of individuals who have filed to run for office as of March 7, click here ABI participates in Economic Progress for Iowa Citizens (EPIC) and will arrange interviews for open-seat candidates of both political parties this spring and summer. Many ABI members are also members of EPIC and have the opportunity to meet candidates in Des Moines who are from all around the state.

ABI Members Appointed to Boards and Commissions
Several individuals who work at or lead ABI member companies have been appointed by Gov. Reynolds to serve on state boards and commissions. Once a person is appointed, they then go through the Senate confirmation process of a subcommittee, full committee and the entire body. Individuals must receive two-thirds support of the Senate to be confirmed. The following individuals have been appointed, and those that follow have been confirmed by the Senate. See the full list of appointees and boards.

Mike Naig Named Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
Gov. Kim Reynolds has named Mike Naig as Secretary of Agriculture. The promotion to lead the Department of Agriculture comes as Secretary Bill Northey recently resigned his post following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate to serve as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service at the USDA. Naig had served as Northey's Deputy since September 2013. Naig has announced his intentions to run for a full term this fall and will face multiple challengers in the June primary.

Federal Spotlight: NAFTA and Tariffs
The seventh round of talks to renegotiate NAFTA was held during the last two weeks. Several key issues remain unresolved, including rules of origin for automobiles, investor-state dispute settlements and whether or not there should be a sunset on any new agreement that might be reached. Negotiators are hoping to come to a conclusion on the issue sooner rather than later, as Mexico's elections take place on July 1 and the U.S. has its elections in November. The next round of talks will take place later this month in the U.S. Keep reading.

Northey Confirmed for Federal Post
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue administered the oath of office to Bill Northey at the Annual Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner. Northey will serve as the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service (FFAS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Prior to his appointment, Northey served as Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture, a position he held for more than 11 years. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz had delayed his appointment since September over an ethanol dispute.

Business Roundtable in Cedar Rapids on March 23
ABI will host a business roundtable discussion in Cedar Rapids at International Paper on March 23. Several area legislators have been invited. This is a great opportunity to have a conversation with key policy makers about issues that are pertinent to your business. The roundtable will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is only open to ABI members. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity by RSVP'ing to Michelle Vollstedt at 515-235-0561 or mvollstedt@iowaabi.org. See the agenda.
Early-bird Rate Ends Today For Employee Drug Testing Program
Learn how to minimize the impact of drug use in your workplace. Attend the "Employee Drug Testing Program: Signs, Symptoms, Solutions" seminar on March 22, 8:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m., at the ABI office.  

The seminar will include:
  • Legislative update
  • Expert panel on signs and symptoms
  • Speaker on drug abuse in Iowa: evolving threats, impacts and responses
  • Speaker on litigation issues regarding drug testing
  • Lunch and breaks for networking
Early-bird pricing is $75 for ABI members and $90 for non-yet-members if you register today. Register now.
From the Desk of...
The New Future For Mid-Market Manufacturing

Andrea Olson, CEO

There are changes on the horizon for mid-market manufacturers. Many will say they're already here. From proposed federal budget cuts, to transformations in advanced technologies, to the talent war, manufacturers are starting to feel the pressure.
This is a new time in the age of manufacturing, and the changes are even more impactful to the success or failure of companies since the industrial revolution. Deemed the "Fourth Industrial Revolution," this era is pressuring organizations to reshape the way they do business, from the front office to the shop floor. Keep reading.
Top News
Enterprising Women  Magazine Names Michelle DeClerck as One of World's Top Female Entrepreneurs
Pictured: Three Iowa winners of 2018 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards -  Anitha Timiri, CEO, ePATHUSA Inc;  Kimberly Baeth, president, Golden Openings; Michelle DeClerck, president, Conference Event Management

Michelle DeClerck, president of Conference Event Management in West Des Moines, was among those honored with 2018 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards on Tuesday. The awards are an annual tribute to the world's top female entrepreneurs.  The presentation was at the 16th Annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards Celebration & Conference at The Four Seasons Hotel in Miami, Florida. To win, nominees must demonstrate they have fast-growth businesses, mentor or actively support other women and girls involved in entrepreneurship, and stand out as leaders in their communities. Read the news release.

Essentials of Safety Program Management Certificate Program Available
DMACC has partnered with the Iowa-Illinois Safety Council to help you learn the basics of how to create a new culture of safety, maintain a safe working environment, develop a comprehensive training plan, comply with OSHA guidelines and reporting requirements, and be prepared for an OSHA inspection. A certificate in safety program management can be earned in five half-day sessions. The sessions will be March 23, April 6, April 20, May 4 and May 18; 8 a.m.-12 p.m.; at the DMACC Southridge Campus, Room 20B. The cost is $750 and includes two hours of personalized consulting services. Learn more and register.

"Sales and Use Tax for Manufacturers" Webinar on March 28
Dickinson Law will host a webinar, "Sales and Use Tax for Manufacturers," on March 28 at 12 p.m. Attorney Cody Edwards will discuss topics including often overlooked exemptions for manufacturers, what a "manufacturer" is for purposes of Iowa sales tax and typical audit issues/exposure areas for manufacturers.  Register here.
Stellar Announces New Regional Sales Manager
Stellar Industries, Inc. has named Kevin Harmon as the new Mid-South regional sales manager.  Harmon has 15 years of service at Stellar, where he has been a part of production, quality control and inside sales, and now fills the role of regional sales manager for the Mid-South region, covering Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana. He  works with current distribution to continue to nurture current customers, as well as grow the territory by establishing new customers and distribution. 

Governor's Club Sponsors