Legislative News
LAST CHANCE: Register now for Tuesday's Iowa Business Day on Hill
Iowa Business Day on the Hill is less than one week away and time to register is running out. There is a lot going on and things are moving quickly at the Statehouse. There will be many issues to talk with legislators about at the Capitol. Learn about issues important to Iowa businesses and help promote Iowa's business community at Iowa Business Day on the Hill! Click here to register.  Click here to see who else is attending.

Iowa businesses advocate for workers' comp reform, debate expected soon
ABI members showed support for a proposed workers' compensation law by attending and testifying at a public hearing Tuesday evening in support of the legislation,   HF 518. The bill seeks to bring balance back to Iowa's workers' compensation system.

Thirty-three individuals spoke at the public hearing, including ABI members and other advocates, as well as various union representatives and plaintiff attorneys who oppose the bill.

HF 518 and its companion  SF 435 have both passed their respective Commerce committees and are eligible for debate. Legislators have received more than 1,000 contacts in support of the legislation, but they still need to hear from you. If you have not yet contacted your legislator about this bill,  click here to do so now.

Tort reform moving forward
The Iowa Legislature considered several bills this week related to tort reform. Making sure Iowa's legal system is fair is part of the competitive business climate priority for ABI in 2017. Two key bills that passed were statute of repose and asbestos claims. Click here to learn about bills under consideration at the Legislature regarding tort reform.

Bills moving at the Capitol
It's been a busy week at the Statehouse. The House has  worked late into the evenings and work has not yet wrapped up for the week. The ABI public policy team is tracking more than 400 bills at this point in the session. Here are just some of the bills that moved this week:

SSB 1035 - This bill would increase the amount of workforce housing tax credits from $20 million to $30 million under the overall $170 million tax credit cap. The program which encourages the development of workforce housing is currently oversubscribed. The bill would also create a small city set-aside under the workforce housing tax credit program. The bill passed the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday by a vote of 12-3.
     ABI Position: Undecided

SF 32 - This bill would give employers the option of using hair for the purpose of drug testing employees. It passed a House subcommittee on Wednesday. This legislation has already passed the Senate.
     ABI Position: For

HF 314 - This bill adds definitions to the Iowa Code concerning the phrases "utility maintenance vehicle" and "utility services." A Senate subcommittee approved this bill Wednesday. It has already received passage from the House.
     ABI Position: For

SF 438 - This legislation would prevent state and local governments from mandating the use of project labor agreements for public construction projects. The bill passed the Senate on Thursday afternoon 26-21.
     ABI Position: For

Gov. Branstad's computer science education bill passes the Senate
A bill meant to encourage schools at all levels to provide and promote computer science education passed the Iowa Senate unanimously with a 49-0 vote on Tuesday. As computer technology continues to advance and play a larger role in the economy, this kind of education is seen as key to developing a 21st century workforce. The bill, SF 274, sets up a taskforce to construct guidelines and policies for schools. The state provides incentives for schools to set up the program, but does not mandate it. ABI is supporting the measure, which Gov. Terry Branstad identified as priority legislation. Click here to read news coverage about this bill.

Revenue Estimating Conference meets Tuesday
The Revenue Estimating Conference will meet Tuesday, March 14, to look at the state's financial picture from the last quarter and estimate what the finances will look like for state fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1, 2017. If the numbers are lower than the December 2016 estimates then the budget for 2018 will have to be adjusted downward. If they are higher, the state will use the December number. Once the REC meets, the discussion at the Capitol will shift to appropriations.

House Appropriations and Ways & Means committees discuss tax credits at joint meeting
Members of the Iowa House Appropriations and Ways & Means committees met jointly Wednesday to hear a tax credit presentation from the Legislative Services Agency. The room was full of committee members and little room for the public to listen to the discussion. However, the message from Republicans and Democrats was clear - all
 options are on the table for discussion, particularly in this tight budget climate. ABI will be monitoring any proposed changes to tax credit programs that would affect ABI members.

Federal Spotlight: Federal Blacklisting rule headed for defeat
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 49-48 in favor of H.J. Res 37, a disapproval of the "Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces" regulation, known as the Blacklisting rule. The resolution is now headed to President Trump's desk for a signature that would finally null the regulation. The intent of the regulation had been to improve compliance with labor laws and increase efficiency and cost savings in federal contracting. In reality, the proposal created more red tape with burdensome new tracking and reporting requirements.

From the Desk of...
Why have marketing in manufacturing?

Andrea Olson, Founder and CEO

Industrial organizations rely heavily on a direct, distribution or dealer sales force for growth. Many of these companies have built themselves from the ground-up through street smarts, sweat, and hustle. With many sales build upon long-term relationships, why does a manufacturer need marketing? Aside from creating the brochures, maintaining the website and coordinating tradeshows, how can marketing help grow the business? It's a frequent misconception that many manufacturing leaders have a hard time getting their minds around.
The function of marketing has degraded in recent years, with the advent of "do-it-yourself" tools, allowing the tactical nuts-and-bolts of marketing implementation to be done by more junior staff. In addition, many mid-market manufacturers really never had the need to utilize marketing 50, 60 or 70 years ago - having built the business on a unique invention (at the time), penetrating an underserved market, or establishing a contract with a few large OEMs.
The problem today is that things have changed. Most notably:
  • There is a massive increase in competition, more specifically, global suppliers
  • Large OEMs are now examining not only the quality of a supplier's product but how they can save money and improve transactional efficiencies through technology

Keep reading...

Top News
KCRG profiles Jackson Manufacturing (KCRG)
Jackson Manufacturing in Maquoketa was the latest company featured as part of KCRG's regular Made in Eastern Iowa feature.

Menary tapped to be next president of Grinnell Mutual  (Grinnell Mutual)
Jeff Menary has been selected to succeed Larry Jansen as president of Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. Jansen will retire in December. Menary has served as the company's Executive Vide President of Line Operations since July of 2014.

STEP Forward manufacturing event coming to the Quad Cities March 14 (NAM) 
The NAM's Manufacturing Institute has launched a STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering & Production) Forward initiative to give manufacturers an opportunity to raise awareness of the skills gap and the value of women in manufacturing by showcasing existing female talent and providing role models. The Manufacturing Institute and the Arconic Foundation will present STEP Forward: Quad Cities on March 14.

EMC's downtown footprint grows with $40 million expansion (Business Record)
President EMC Insurance Group on Tuesday celebrated the opening of its new four-story, 106,000-square-foot addition to its downtown campus.

Sheryl Sandberg and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds discuss the value of women in tech at Facebook's Altoona data center (Sheryl Sandberg)
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg visited the company's Altoona data center on Monday where she spoke with Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds about the importance of women in leadership roles and in STEM fields.

DICA receives sixth patent for recessed handle design (DICA)
DICA received a patent in January for its unique handle system on SafetyTech outrigger pads. It is the sixth patent awarded for integrated SafetyTech and TuffGrip designs.
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