Conference registration is open!
Registration is open for ABI's 2017 Taking Care of Business Conference, June 6-8, in Dubuque. It may seem hard to believe but the conference is less than four months away. 

Sign up now to take advantage of our early bird discount and ensure you're able to participate in your top choice activities, including tours, workshop golf and more.

Don't miss out on Iowa's premier business conference and the opportunity to network with more than 500 of the state's top leaders. 
Legislative News
TWO WEEKS until Iowa Business Day on the Hill
Iowa Business Day on the Hill is just two weeks away, on Tuesday, March 14. Special guest speakers will provide a federal legislative update and Iowa business lobbyists will have the latest information from the State Capitol. Lawmakers are considering dozens of bills that would have a profound impact on employers and they need to hear from businesses. Your support is needed. Register for Iowa Business Day on the Hill today!

Iowa Department of Revenue issues guidance on non-conformity
Several weeks ago, ABI reported in our weekly newsletter that the State of Iowa is not going to couple with federal tax law changes for the 2016 tax year. This left many practitioners and the public wondering what to do. The Department of Revenue issued guidance earlier this week. You can read the guidance here.

Legislative funnel is next week
It is clear the legislative funnel is imminent by the amount of proposed legislation under consideration at the Statehouse. ABI's policy team is tracking almost 400 bills on members' behalf. ABI also attended more than 40 subcommittees. The funnel is a self-imposed legislative deadline that requires most policy bills to be out of one committee in either the House or Senate to stay alive. Keep reading...

Iowa Workforce Development employment bills introduced
Legislation brought forward by Iowa Workforce Development was introduced Wednesday in the Iowa House. A subcommittee was held on  HSB 144 on Thursday. This bill increases the amount needed to re-qualify for a second benefit year of unemployment benefits from a flat $250 to 10 times the individual's weekly benefit amount. ABI supports this legislation and it is considered part of the competitive business climate legislative priority.

Another bill,  HSB 143, is Iowa Workforce Development's attempt to fix the Irving Supreme Court case. In that case, the Iowa Supreme Court determined a claimant who was disqualified for misconduct from supplemental/concurrent employment may still draw wage credits from other base period employers. The case overturned more than 40 years of application for Iowa's unemployment insurance fact finders. You can read more information about the case  here.

The last bill is  HSB 145, which conforms state law with federal law relating to OSHA penalties.  Current Iowa Code sets a dollar amount in code for a minimum and maximum. This proposal allows the commissioner to set the minimum and maximum penalty amounts via rule. Each violation is considered a willful violation. The bill would go into effect immediately.  

Monthly Legislative Update Teleconference is Friday, March 3
The end of the first funnel is next Friday, March 3 and so is the monthly ABI Legislative Update Teleconference. We will discuss the status of bills that are still alive and what we expect to see during the month of March. If you haven't RSVPd for the other conference calls, please contact Michelle Vollstedt,, to sign up.

Pro-jobs bills advance in House and Senate
Debate occurred in both chambers this week on three bills that ABI supports:
HF 293: A bill relating to Iowa Prison Industries and competitive bidding for contracts from state agencies and departments. It passed the House on Wednesday 99-0.
SF 1: A bill requiring a jobs impact statement when administrative rules are instituted. It passed the Senate 50-0.
HF 231: A bill that requires an apprentice to be an Iowa resident in order for the company to obtain financial awards from the economic development authority. This bill passed the Senate 50-0 on Wednesday.  

Water quality bills introduced
The Iowa House and Senate have introduced and moved out of subcommittee different versions of a comprehensive water quality plan that addresses water quality funding and Iowa's nutrient reduction strategy. ABI has an environmental legislative priority addressing water quality, among other topics. ABI has worked to advance its members' interests in water quality to include industry as part of the water quality solution and to promote a targeted, accountable approach to water quality funding. Keep reading...

Medical cannabis expansion introduced
The Iowa House on Tuesday introduced a bill that would expand Iowa's existing medical cannabis law. The bill, HSB 132, passed out of a subcommittee on Wednesday and the Public Safety Committee Thursday. The current law only allows individuals with intractable epilepsy to get a card that will allow them to have the oil. The new proposal expands the definition of debilitating medical condition and at this time does not provide any protections for employers who have drug and alcohol free workplace policies. Keep reading...

Contribute now to take part in exclusive PAC events in 2017
As part of our continued efforts to increase your return on investment for membership and political involvement with  the organization ABI  developed a political program for 2017. In addition to education presentations, ABI has events scheduled for Gold Level Investors in ABI's political action committee, IIPAC. If you want to learn more about our leadership levels and exclusive events, please contact Nicole Crain, .

Federal Spotlight: Ex-Im action stalled while board awaits new directors
The Export-Import Bank successfully secured a long-term reauthorization in 2015, but the agency has not been able to take action on major transactions because it lacks a quorum for its Board of Directors.

All five board seats are currently open and require confirmation by the Senate. Without a quorum, the agency is not able to review and approve transactions over $10 million. Lawmakers have indicated that President Trump has expressed a commitment to nominating members for the Ex-Im Bank Board of Directors. Keep reading...
From the Desk of...
Structure Matters for Start-Ups

Chris Sackett
Managing Partner
BrownWinick Law Firm

Entrepreneurs make many mistakes in the initial formation and early capitalization of their companies. Two of the most frequent ones are essentially opposite sides of the same coin. The first is underestimating the importance of organizational, governing and offering documents and the corresponding rights reserved to founders and granted to investors in those documents. The theory sometimes expressed is, "the early documents and structure don't matter much, because they will be completely gutted when the next round of money comes into the company." The second mistake is almost the opposite - unnecessarily overcomplicating the content of the documents and the structure of the offering/company in the early stages. Both should be avoided, as they will undoubtedly cause problems in the future.

Organizational, governing and offering documents and the structure and rights set forth in those documents send a message - either the company knows what it is doing from a structural, management and capitalization standpoint, or it does not. If they are well drafted, carefully considered, fair and reasonable, and generally conform to the structure investors expect for a growth-oriented start-up, they will serve you well.  Keep reading...
Top News
Deere CEO says company will keep headquarters in Quad Cities (Quad City Times)
Sam Allen says the company will keep its world headquarters in the Quad Cities for as long as he's around.

Stellar Industries signs letter of intent to purchase ACI (Stellar Industries)
Stellar Industries, Inc., announced this week that it has entered into a letter of intent to purchase the assets of American Crane, Inc., and Tire Trucks International. Both companies are located in Garner.

Conference Event Management announces national selection by 
Goldman Sachs  (CEM)
Conference Event Management has been selected to participate in Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program, an initiative that helps entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity. 

Kemin nears opening of Russia plant (Business Record)
Kemin Industries, Inc., will open its new Russia manufacturing facilities and office in April. The new facility will be located in the Special Economic Zone of Lipetsk and feature a manufacturing plant, administration offices and quality labs and warehouses.

2017 Iowa Recognition of Performance Excellence Conference & Celebration will take place March 30 (Iowa Quality Center)
Join the Governor of Iowa in honoring the 2016 Iowa Recognition for Performance Excellence participants. Keynote speakers will include Mary Searcy Bixby, San Diego Charter School 2015 Baldrige Award recipient, and Dean F. Kappel, Mid-America Transplant 2015 Baldrige Award recipient.
Governor's Club Sponsors