July 16, 2021
More Speakers Confirmed for Public Policy Meetings 
ABI is pleased to announce a number of additional speakers for the annual public policy committee meetings next month. 

  • Iowa Department of Revenue Director Kraig Paulsen will speak to the Tax Committee
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon will speak to the Environment Committee 
  • Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Joe Cortese is set to present at the Workplace and Product Safety Committee
  • Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham had already been confirmed for the Economic Growth meeting

You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to hear from these individuals and provide your input on ABI’s public policies for 2022. Register for the meetings today!
Record Year for New Business Filings
Iowans registered the highest number of business entities in the state’s history in the 2021 fiscal year, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. Between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, 33,260 businesses registered with the Secretary of State’s Office.

“Despite the pandemic, this data shows that Iowa had a substantial amount of economic activity over the last twelve months,” Secretary Pate said in a media release. “I’m proud of the work that my staff put in so that businesses could get off the ground. Although our lobby was closed to the public, we were here working behind the scenes to keep the wheels of commerce moving in Iowa.”

The months of January and March also saw the most new business filings in 2021, with 2,940 filings in January and 3,579 filings in March. Read more from The Gazette.
DNR Air Advisory Group Meeting in Two Weeks
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host an air advisory group meeting on Thursday, July 29 and you are invited to attend and provide your input. The primary focus of the meeting is to learn more about the background rationale DNR is looking at when it comes to requiring electronic submittals. Electronic submittals could include air emission inventory reporting, air permitting applications and air quality documents. You’ll be able to provide feedback on a draft rule proposal affecting air construction and Title V permit applications, and air emissions inventory reporting. The draft rule will be available to view on July 22 for a two-week informal review and comment period. Registered participants will receive the agenda, meeting materials and the draft rule language. The information will also be posted on the Public Participation website under Workgroups --- Air Electronic Submittals Advisory Group.  
Two More Candidates Announce Campaigns for 3rd Congressional District Race
Two more Iowans have announced their intentions to run for Congress. On Tuesday, State Senator Zach Nunn (R-Altoona) declared in a campaign video that he would be seeking the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional District. Nunn, a former two-term State Representative and now first-term State Senator, is a military officer and small business owner.

Last Wednesday, Nicole Hasso, a Republican from the Polk County suburb of Johnston, announced that she would be seeking the GOP nomination for the 3rd Congressional District. Hasso grew up on the south side of Chicago and earned an academic scholarship to Drake University. She currently works in financial services. 

With Nunn and Hasso now in the race, there are currently three individuals, including former five-term State Representative Mary Ann Hanusa of Council Bluffs, seeking the GOP nomination for the 3rd District. There will likely be more individuals announcing their ambitions over the course of the summer and fall. Two-term incumbent Cindy Axne (D-West Des Moines) has yet to officially declare if she’ll seek re-election to the U.S. House or run for the U.S. Senate or governor of Iowa. Read more from The Des Moines Register.
DeJear Announces Exploratory Committee for Gubernatorial Race
On Monday, Deidre Dejear, the Democratic nominee for Secretary of State in 2018, declared that she had formed an exploratory committee as she considers running for governor. DeJear, a small business owner, will also travel across the state on a listening tour as she decides whether to officially jump into the race. Before the 2020 Caucuses, DeJear also previously served as Vice President Kamala Harris’s Campaign Chair in Iowa when Harris was a candidate. Three-term State Representative Ras Smith has already officially announced he is running for the Democratic nomination for governor. Other potential candidates weighing their options include State Auditor Rob Sand and Congresswoman Cindy Axne. Read more from The Des Moines Register.
Scholten Not Running for Office in 2022
Former two-time 4th Congressional District Democratic nominee J.D. Scholten announced this week that he wouldn’t run for office this cycle. Scholten says he will focus on expanding turnout efforts for rural Democrats instead. Scholten will be the Executive Director of RuralVote.org, which is a Super PAC aimed at backing Democrats. In 2018, he nearly upset former Congressman Steve King when he came within a few points of defeating the longtime incumbent. He lost to Congressman Randy Feenstra in 2020 as well. Read more from Radio Iowa.
Marketable Foods for Human Consumption - The Saga Continues
On Tuesday, ABI public policy staff testified before the Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC) and objected to ARC 5720C, which is related to a marketable foods for human consumption sales tax exemption that was promulgated by the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR). This is the second hearing in front of that body following two hearings before the department itself. The second round of hearings was conducted upon the request of the Governor’s office.

Taxpayers and revenue collectors are at odds over the way the IDR has crafted the definition of this term. Taxpayers maintain the new rule will limit the exemption and raise taxes beyond the statutory authority of the IDR. The IDR maintains it has only stated the manner in which they have been interpreting the exemption historically. The purpose of ABI’s appearance before the AARC was to inform the legislative members that while IDR and affected ABI members could not agree on the revenue impact of their new rule, work was underway between the parties to develop language for legislative adoption that would supercede the IDR’s interpretation and define terms in the Iowa Code that comports with the common understanding of the law by Iowa’s food processors. For more information please contact JD Davis at jddavis@iowaabi.org.
Federal Spotlight
The Rise of the Regulatory State
Last Friday, the Biden Administration announced a 72-point plan to deploy new directives to federal agencies requiring additional federal regulation purporting to spur competition in the marketplace. These directives are as diverse as allowing the FTC to re-open and potentially disapprove of previously non-contested mergers of companies that have already been consummated, to rules requiring greater passenger train preference and access to traditional freight rail lines by the Department of Transportation. While these are only two examples, the new directives are economy-wide, affecting labor markets, internet access, healthcare, agriculture, food processing, airlines and more. While a congressional stalemate of sorts is currently limiting wild swings in public policy, the Biden Administration executive actions have ABI and our federal partners working hard to determine the implications to our members. A copy of the announcement of the action by the Biden Administration is here.
ABI UPDATE
2021 Regional Meetings in the Books
ABI’s public policy team wrapped up the final regional meeting of 2021 in Ottumwa yesterday. ABI held meetings in Coralville, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Des Moines and Ottumwa. Attendees learned about the results of the 2021 legislative session for the business community. They also asked questions and provided feedback for what ABI should focus on in 2022. ABI would like to thank the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and Indian Hills Community College for hosting regional meetings and also all of the attendees who participated.
FROM THE DESK OF...
The Present and Future of Drug and Alcohol Testing—What Employers Should Know About the Iowa Supreme Court’s Recent Decisions
By Kendra Simmons, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Iowa’s statute governing drug and alcohol testing—Code Section 730.5—has long plagued Iowa employers. Even the most well-meaning employers, who are truly just trying to do the right thing and make every effort to comply with the statute’s strict requirements, can face a lawsuit based on a technical violation that has not actually caused an employee harm. While the Iowa Supreme Court recently granted some relief, reform of the statute is still desperately needed.



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Delta Dental
Free Webinar - July 21
Is Remote Work The New Normal?
Join ABI member hrsimple.com at 12:00 p.m. on July 21st for a free webinar discussing remote work and what employers need to know. This webinar will touch on topics like:
  • when remote work may be required as an accommodation,
  • when requests for remote work may be refused,
  • how to ensure compliance with employment laws,
  • wage-hour and workplace safety, for remote workers
  • and what obligations employers take on when employees work remotely from another state on a regular basis.
 
ABI members can register for free by clicking HERE.
NAWBO Iowa Launches Second Year of Business Institute
The National Association of Women Business Owners is launching its second Iowa Business Institute program this October. The 7-month program is focused on the ultimate goal of business growth by enhancing business skills, building connections, and receiving education through engagement. 

Interested women business owners can learn more and submit an online application HERE. Applications are due by September 10th.
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