Legislative News
Legislators consider tax credit caps
Rep. Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) introduced legislation last week that would limit the amount of tax credits available to individuals and corporations. Grassley, who serves as chair of the House Appropriations Committee, chaired a subcommittee on the bill,  HSB 187, on Monday.

Rep. Grassley began the meeting by asking opponents to consider solutions instead of protecting individual credits. Representatives from state agencies explained that the proposal could cause administrative and legal challenges, such as updating tax forms and rescinding contracts already awarded to businesses.

A brief summary of th e bill is available  here . Another subcommittee meeting is expected before the bill is brought before the full Appropriations Committee. ABI will continue to oppose this legislation and work with members of the subcommittee for solutions and encourage comprehensive tax reform.

Typically, legislation dealing with tax credits and tax policy goes through the House Ways & Means Committee, so it's unusual to see this bill in the House Appropriations Committee. However, given  lower-than-expected state revenue estimates, Rep. Grassley is looking for opportunities to better understand revenues available to the state.  Staff contact: Nicole Crain,  ncrain@iowaabi.org

Read more:
State tax credit backers unite against plan to cap credits   (Radio Iowa)
Advocates defend Iowa tax credits  (Quad-City Times)

Workers' Compensation Watch
At the time of this newsletter, the Iowa Senate has yet to take up the workers' compensation reform bill. The legislation is on the Senate calendar and could be taken up at any time.

Last week, the Iowa House passed HF 518, by a vote of 55-38, with seven members absent or abstaining. Rep. Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines) joined House Democrats in voting no. After the vote was taken, Rep. Clel Baudler (R-Greenfield), who was not in the chamber at the time of the vote, provided an explanation in the House journal stating that, if present, he would have voted no.

As Rep. Gary Carlson said during his closing comments, "The goal is always to make Iowa safer and a more desirable place to work." This bill will help bring balance back to the workers' compensation system to the benefit of employees and employers and help ensure Iowa remains a competitive, desirable place to do business.   Click here for details, which were provided in last week's newsletter, on how the bill makes much needed changes to rebalance the workers' compensation system.

It is critical that senators hear from advocates of this important reform. Contact your senator now and ask him/her to support HF 518! Our opponents are running radio ads with accusations this bill was drafted in the dark by big insurance companies.  Click here to listen to the ad. We need you and your employees to counter this message. Contact your senator, attend an upcoming legislative forum and write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Let others know how important this is to the business community. For more information about the bill or how you can help contact Nicole Crain,  ncrain@iowaabi.org, or Jessica Harder,  jharder@iowaabi.org.

Unemployment bills pass the House
Creating a more competitive business climate is a priority for ABI this legislative session. Two pro-jobs bills advanced out of the House this week.  HF 533 passed the Iowa House 97-0. The legislation corrects an 2016 Iowa Supreme Court decision and codifies how the unemployment system at Iowa Workforce Development has worked for the last 40 years. The court decision had determined a claimant who was disqualified from misconduct from supplemental/concurrent employment may still draw wage credits from other base employers.

The other legislation,  HF 542, increases the amount an individual would have to make to re-qualify for a second year of unemployment benefits from $250 to 8 times the individual's weekly benefit amount. Although the bill received no discussion on the House floor, it passed with a party line vote of 58-39. Both bills must now get through a committee in the Iowa Senate before March 31, which is the second funnel deadline.

Water quality legislation passes House Ways and Means Committee
After an evening of debate in the Iowa House on Wednesday, the Ways and Means Committee met to take up several bills including  HF 538  which addresses  water quality . More than a dozen amendments were offered to the legislation by House Democratic committee members. None of the amendments were adopted and the bill passed out of committee 21-4. Keep reading...

Iowa Workforce Development conformity bill advances
The Iowa House passed  HF 572  by a vote of 87-9. The legislation conforms Iowa's Workforce Development Board with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The legislation's passage is critical to ensure Iowa does not lose out on more than $40 million of federal dollars. The bill also allows more flexibility to use the REED Act monies appropriated last year for Iowa Workforce Development to upgrade their unemployment computer systems.

Statute of repose heads to Gov. Branstad's desk
The House on Tuesday passed SF 413. The bill contains reforms to length of time statute of repose can be filed. For residential property, the length of time has been shortened from 15 to 10 years. For all other real property, the length of time has been shortened from 15 to 8 years. Keep reading...

Funnel Watch: Other bills moving forward
Most bills need to have passed one chamber and one committee in the other chamber by March 31 in order to remain alive this session.

HF 539: Conforms Iowa's Civil Rights code with that of federal law as it relates to when an individual can pursue private action. The bill also eliminates the restriction that the Civil Rights Commission must wait two years before issuing a release to an administratively closed release.  ABI Position: For

  HF 295 : Preempts local governments from implementing wage and benefit policies that differ from the state. The bill passed the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday and is now eligible for the full floor debate. It is expected this bill will be debated early next week, before a Polk County wage increase goes into effect on April 1.  ABI Position: For

 SF 1: This bill codifies an executive order that requires a jobs impact statement when administrative rules are handed down. The bill passed the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday. It has already passed the Senate.  ABI Position: For

 SF 438: The legislation bans the use of project labor agreements for public construction projects, helping protect taxpayers by making sure the best qualified contractors are selected at a competitive rate. The legislation also codifies an executive order. The bill passed the House Labor Committee on Wednesday. SF 438 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." The Senate Transportation Committee approved this bill Wednesday. HF 314 has already passed the House.  ABI Position: For

 SF 403: The bill specifically adds equipment rental property to the definition of theft in state code. This change increases the penalties for committing the act and encourages those who rent equipment to return it. SF 403 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The legislation has already passed the Senate.  ABI Position: Undecided

State launches STEM pre-apprenticeship model 
Gov. Terry Branstad's weekly press conference centered around Iowa's STEM initiative and a new Quality Pre-Apprenticeship model program for four Iowa schools. The U.S. Department of Labor awarded Iowa a $1.8 million state apprenticeship expansion grant last fall as a solution to help employers build a qualified workforce.  Keep reading...

Federal Spotlight: BIPAC offers daily political insight
ABI is the state deployment partner for the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC). In addition to grassroots and voter education efforts, BIPAC also provides political insight to members on a daily basis. That insight is from political analyst Jim Ellis give ABI staff and members a regular update on what is happening in politics around the country.  Click here  to read the daily analysis.

From the Desk of...
Leadership Iowa's value remains long after class ends

Kay Snyder
Leadership Iowa graduate, 2012-13
Iowa Area Development Group

Nominations for the 2017-18 Leadership Iowa class are due May 1. Click here to nominate a current or emerging leader now!

Leadership Iowa has provided value far beyond what I could have imagined during my opening session five years ago. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience two years of Leadership Iowa - first as a part of the 2012-2013 class, followed by a year as a program co-chair. From the beginning I could feel that I was a part of something larger. To this day I am still realizing what a tremendous resource access to over 1,100 incredible people can be through my Alumni Society membership.

The magic of the Leadership Iowa alumni network is that we share this very strong and positive Leadership Iowa experience and mindset, which instantly elevates a chance meeting, call for help or opportunity for collaboration from a cold call to a conversation with a friend. The openness to meet, the kindness and the support that comes from fellow Leadership Iowa alumni are amazing. Keep reading...
Top News
Iowa Employment Conference is two weeks away (Iowa Employment Conference)
There's still time to register for the Iowa Employment Conference, April 5-6, in Altoona. The conference has a strong lineup of presenters, including ABI's Nicole Crain and Jessica Harder.

Report details impact of new Prestage pork processing plant (Radio Iowa)
Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss presented findings of a comprehensive report on the financial impact of the major new pork processing plant that will be built in northern Iowa.

Corridor Angel Investors aim to give startups a boost (Corridor Business Journal)
The Corridor's search for a better matchmaking system to pair startups with potential investors has led to the formation of a locally based angel investor group.
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