Legislative News

Legislative Briefing and Reception a success
Thank you to the more than 500 people who attend the ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception on Wednesday.  More than 400 ABI members networked with Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, the bipartisan legislative leadership team, legislators and state administration officials. The excitement in the room from ABI members and legislators was unmistakable.  Thank you to ABI's public policy and legislative reception sponsors who helped make the event possible. We look forward to the continued momentum through the legislative session.

First ABI legislative conference call is January 20
The first legislative conference call will be held Jan 20 at 8:00 a.m. There is no cost to register and it is an opportunity to receive the most up-to-date legislative information from the ABI public policy team. RSVP to Michelle Vollstedt, mvollstedt@iowaabi.org.

Branstad emphasizes budget cuts, economic development, water quality funding, education, and public safety
On Tuesday, Gov. Terry Branstad delivered his final Condition of the State address to a joint session of the Iowa Legislature. Although this will most likely be his final address to the legislature, he laid out a bold agenda for the year. Among the highlights:
  • two-year budget plan
  • increased funding for education
  • water quality funding (House File 2541), which passed the Iowa House last year
  • collective bargaining reform, specifically related to state employee health care plans
  • growing Iowa's skilled workforce through STEM and Future Ready Iowa
The governor also touted 2017 as the Year of Manufacturing and charged the Economic Development Authority with carrying out initiatives to work with manufacturers to increase manufacturing in the state of Iowa. The Governor's agenda and budget can be found  here.

Read More:  Branstad's agenda: Clean water, computer ed, traffic safety (Des Moines Register)
Legislators react to Branstad's 'historic' speech (Radio Iowa) 
Senate welcomes new leaders and members
Sen. Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) was sworn in as the new president of the Iowa Senate replacing Sen. Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque). Whitver's opening speech highlighted the optimism for the future of the state of Iowa and for the work of the Iowa Senate this session. Click here   to read his remarks. New Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) also emphasized the opportunities the state has for the future and his primary objective for this session: growth.  Click here   to read his remarks. New Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) spoke about past bipartisan achievements of the Legislature, the need to raise the minimum wage, increasing education funding, water quality funding, and Treasury Secretary Mike Fitzgerald's "Iowa Retirement Savings Plan." Click here to read his remarks. There are eight newly elected senators for the 87 th General Assembly.    

House focuses on balanced budget and tax code
There will be 16 new members for the Iowa House during the 87 th General Assembly.  During Speaker Linda Upmeyer's (R-Clear Lake) speech, she noted that Iowa's tax code is too complex, that bureaucracies should be based on their tradition and not protectionism, and that the state budget should be treated like a family treats its budget. Click here  to read her remarks. House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow's (R-Windsor Heights) speech included remarks about how Iowa's economy is overregulated and overtaxed, and the need to set school supplemental aid in the first 30 days of the session. Click here  to read his remarks. House Minority Leader Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) highlighted the need to protect women's rights, voting rights, and worker's rights. Click here   to read his remarks.  

Special election set in House District 89 for Jan. 31
Gov. Branstad has set a special election date of Jan. 31, to elect a new representative in House District 89. The seat became open when Rep. Jim Lykam (D-Davenport) was elected to the Iowa Senate last month. House District 89 includes part of Davenport and other communities in Scott County.

A full district map can be found  here. If you live in House District 89 make sure to research the candidates and vote on Tuesday, Jan. 31st. For more election and voter registration information go to  www.iavotes.com.

Federal spotlight: ABI Washington fly-in set
ABI is once again hosting a Washington, D.C. fly-in this fall. The trip is limited to the first 20 participants and registration is filling up fast! The trip includes meetings with Iowa's Congressional delegation and ABI's national partners. If you are interested in attending the Oct. 2-5, 2017 trip, please contact ncrain@iowaabi.org for more details.
Business Horizons application process open!
Make nominations and submit applications now for Business Horizons 2017, a program of the ABI Foundation. Business Horizons will be back at Central College in Pella, June 25-29. This weeklong program offers high school students the chance to learn about career opportunities, the business world, teamwork, leadership development and personal development. 

Students who apply soon will receive priority consideration and an $85 discount on registration. Applications will be accepted until the program is full. Click here to learn more!
From the Desk of...
ACA Reporting Deadline Extended

Katherine A. Beenken
Associate, Ahlers & Cooney

Benefits professionals have one more thing to be thankful for this time of year -- a 30-day extension to furnish employees forms associated with Affordable Care Act reporting. Specifically, the deadline for providing 2016 Form 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage), and Form 1095-B (Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns) is pushed back to March 2, 2017.

Applicable large employers, those with 50 or more full-time or equivalent employees, are generally subject to the ACA's employer mandate as it relates to reporting requirements. The deadline extension to provide ACA forms to employees was announced November 18 in IRS Notice 2016-70 . In granting this automatic extension, the IRS stated that it would not permit additional, permissive, extensions to the new due date. Employers who have already requested the deadline extension prior to the publication of Notice 2016-70 may not receive a formal response from the IRS. Employers are "encouraged" to provide the required forms "as soon as they are able." Keep reading...
Top News
MidAmerican Energy announces two more sites for Iowa wind farms  (KDLT News)
MidAmerican Energy has announced plans to build wind farms in Boone, Greene and Mahaska counties.

CIRAS to offer Future of Manufacturing Series (CIRAS)
Educational series will offer workshops on topics such as augmented and virtual reality, emerging materials and technologies and recruiting and retaining a tech-based workforce in Iowa.

How Kim Reynolds ascended to Iowa's governorship (Des Moines Register)
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds sat down with Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register to discuss her Iowa upbringing, political career to date and what it means to soon become Iowa's first female governor.
Governor's Club Sponsors