Legislative News
Workers' compensation passes Iowa Senate, to be signed by Governor Branstad
The Iowa Senate on Monday passed workers' compensation reform legislation (HF 518) without amendment. ABI and several other pro-jobs organizations have been vocal in their support of this legislation. The legislation passed 29-21 with all Republicans voting yes and all Democrats and one Independent voting no. 

The Senate debated several amendments that would have substantially altered the the bill to include increased liability of the state's second injury fund and increased costs for Iowa employers. All amendments were defeated. The debate, at times contentious, can be watched online  here.

Gov. Terry E. Branstad has publicly stated his support of workers' compensation reform and we expect him to sign the legislation later today. Once signed, the bill will go into effect for injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2017. For more information about the legislation, contact Nicole Crain,  ncrain@iowaabi.org, or  Jessica Harder,  jharder@iowaabi.org . The ABI public policy team will host meetings around the state soon to review the legislative session with members. Workers' compensation reform will be a key topic.

Read more: Iowa Senate sends workers' compensation changes to Branstad 

Thank your legislators for supporting workers' compensation bill
The passage of workers' compensation reform (HF 518) is a major legislative accomplishment for ABI members, and it couldn't have happened without our allies in the Iowa Legislature. It is important to thank them for their support of this and other ABI priorities.

The rhetoric at the Capitol and in the media about these changes has not positive. Legislators hear from the ABI public policy team each day how important the issues are to members and how grateful we are for their support. They need to hear from members in their district. Please reach out to the legislators in your district and those with whom you have a personal relationships to say thank you. To see who supported the bill click here.

Statewide employment uniformity legislation passes Senate
The Iowa Senate on Monday passed    HF 295, which preempts local governments from implementing ordinances that are different than those at the state level related to wages, benefits and hiring practices, as well as other types of prohibitions on private businesses. The bill is now on Gov. Terry E. Branstad's desk and will be signed this afternoon.

ABI members support consistency when it comes to wage and benefit policies and the association has actively supported this legislation. The patchwork of county and local wages in Iowa have caused additional administrative burdens for Iowa employers.

Join us Friday for monthly teleconference
The next members-only legislative update teleconference will take place Friday at 8 a.m. If you have participated in a call this year, you should have received an email from Michelle Vollstedt Wednesday with call-in information. If you have not yet participated in a call, please RSVP to Brad Hartkopf,  bhartkopf@iowaabi.org. The call will include a full funnel week update and a preview of what to expect in the remaining weeks of the legislative session.

Workforce Development bills advance
The Senate Labor Committee on Wednesday advanced three bills filed by Iowa Workforce Development. We have written about each proposal in past ABI newsletters; and two of the three are positive for Iowa employers and Iowa's unemployment insurance system. The third bill increases the penalties for OSHA violations. The bills have already passed the Iowa House and are now eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate.

Funnel week status report
Tomorrow marks the second funnel deadline for the Iowa Legislature. Most bills must have passed out of one chamber and a committee in the other chamber to remain eligible for debate. Bills that go through the Ways & Means, Appropriations and Government Oversight committees are exempt from funnel deadlines. Click here to see a list of bills important to Iowa businesses that are still alive.

ABI's Nicole Crain and Jessica Harder to speak at employment conference
Next week, two members of ABI's public policy team will speak at the Iowa Employment Conference in Altoona. Nicole Crain and Jessica Harder will speak about the provide a state and federal legislative update, including a look at President Trump's first 100 days in office.

Most of the focus of their remarks will be on the state legislative issues, but there will be some highlights of recent actions at the federal level. There is still time to register. If you plan to be at the Employment Conference, stop by and say hello or join their session.   Click here for more information about the conference and to see the full agenda.

Federal Spotlight: President Trump signs executive order addressing Clean Power Plan
President Trump this week signed an executive order aimed at advancing the president's goals of regulatory relief and energy independence. ABI was part of a large pro-business group affiliated with the U.S. Chamber that supported litigation and expressed concern with the Clean Power Plan.

We received an update from the group, which states "a key section of the president's order directs the EPA Administrator to immediately review the agency's Clean Power Plan regulations on existing fossil-fuel power plants, as well as its New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) rule for new plants, and to begin rescinding them if appropriate." More information on the overall order can be found  here. The U.S. Chamber's press release on the executive order  here.

Governor Branstad revises budget estimates
The final weeks of the 2017 legislative session will focus on passing a balanced budget. On Tuesday, Gov. Terry E. Branstad released revised budget numbers for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019. The adjustments equate to an additional $173 million in reductions to the state's budget for the next fiscal year and an additional $100 million for FY 2019. Although Gov. Branstad has released his revised estimates, it is possible the Legislature could consider additional reductions.

Read more: Branstad revises Iowa spending increases downward   (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier)

Make your IIPAC contribution today
ABI has had a successful legislative year, but the work is not over. We need to continue to support those legislators who support our issues once the Legislature is adjourned. If you have not yet contributed to IIPAC in 2017,  please do so now.

IIPAC contributors will be recognized at the 2017 Taking Care of Business Conference. This year, all Platinum and Gold investors (those who contribute $1,000 or more) will have an opportunity to participate in an exclusive reception and exclusive breakfast event.

In addition to supporting ABI's legislative allies, ABI is preparing to engage in the 2018 gubernatorial election. We cannot do it without you,  please contribute today.
Elevate scholarship applications due
Applications for Elevate Advanced Manufacturing scholarships is Friday, March 31. Elevate is partnering with Iowa's community colleges to offer $500 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing. 

There are 15 scholarships available - one for each Iowa community college. Many applications have been received, but there are still five community colleges that are not yet represented:

Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Valley Community College 
Iowa Western Community College
Southeastern Community College
Western Iowa Tech Community College 

This is a great opportunity for Iowa students, and the application process is simple. Click here to learn more and share this throughout your networks to help support Iowa's future manufacturing workforce!
From the Desk of...
Keep Iowa Competitive

Doug Neumann
Interim President & CEO
Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

State tax credits are important to economic development in Iowa's Creative Corridor. We can point to new jobs, capital investment and tax base growth that absolutely would not have happened without tax credit support in our current tax environment.
That last part is key: in our current tax environment. Iowa has the highest effective corporate income tax rate in the nation, and numerous legislative remedies, including tax credit programs, are used to reduce annual costs to businesses and make this region competitive with other areas. If we were to simplify our tax code and reduce those published rates, many tax credit programs might become unnecessary. And that's why a review of tax credit programs must be done in the context of review of the state's entire tax system.

House Study Bill 187 (HSB I87) caps the amount the state pays out in tax credits each year and ends the practice of issuing refunds when the value of the tax credit exceeds what taxes are owed. It does nothing to simplify the state's tax code or reduce the tax rates that economic developers are burdened with as we try to recruit and retain Iowa jobs.

In the last few years, the state issued tax credits to Creative Corridor companies such as Rockwell Collins, Red Star Yeast Company, Whirlpool, CRST, VSPEC, General Mills, Diamond V and Skyworks Solutions, just to name a few. Those companies provide thousands of quality jobs to Corridor residents at good wages, which ultimately generate a robust economy and builds strong communities.

For example, for every three cents Iowa forgoes in tax revenue to promote research and development, we get a dollar in private investment.   Keep reading...

Top News

Alliant Energy plans Ottumwa industrial park
(Business Record)
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Casey's a top 500 brand (Business Record)
Casey's General Stores Inc., has moved up 31 spots to 455th on a list of the country's top 500 brands compiled by business consultancy Brand Finance.

Midwest Manufacturing Business Conference is next month  (MMBC)
The event is designed to address the current and future business challenges of today's mid-market manufacturers. 

Check out AMP, a podcast dedicated to Iowa's advanced manufacturing (Advanced Manufacturing Podcast)
This bi-weekly podcast features industry experts and incredible stories from some of the biggest rockstars in manufacturing. 

Advance tickets available for EntreFEST, May 4-5, in Iowa City  (EntreFEST)
EntreFEST is a two-day gathering of for Iowa's entrepreneurial and innovation community. Speakers include Jessica Balsley, Matt Coventon and Ying Sa, among others.
Governor's Club Sponsors