November 19, 2020
Governor Issues New Measures to Mitigate COVID-19 Spread
Gov. Reynolds delivered a primetime address on Monday evening to announce she has signed a new emergency proclamation that ramps up state mitigation efforts regarding COVID-19. Effective through Dec. 10, one of the most significant measures enacted requires masks or a face covering to be worn when inside an indoor space that is open to the public and within six feet of individuals who are not members of their household for 15 minutes or longer. There are several exemptions to this, which can be found in Section 4 of the proclamation. The governor also stated these protocols will be reviewed over the week and could be ramped up if capacity in hospitals doesn’t improve. View the Iowa Department of Public Health’s summary of the enhanced measures.

Iowa Democrats Select Leaders for 2021 
The Iowa House and Senate Democratic caucuses met this past weekend to choose their respective leadership teams for the coming legislative session. On the House side, Democrats chose Todd Prichard to continue leading their caucus. On the Senate side, Democrats chose first-term Sen. Zach Wahls to lead them. Democrats in both chambers will remain in the minority following the 2020 elections. They have 41 members compared to 59 GOP members in the House and 18 members compared to 32 GOP members in the Senate. Republicans have already selected their respective leaders. You can view the 2021 Democratic leadership teams below.

  • House
  • Todd Prichard of Charles City (Minority Leader)
  • Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights (Minority Whip)
  • Brian Meyer of Des Moines (Assistant Leader)
  • Lindsay James of Dubuque (Assistant Leader)
  • Eric Gjerde of Cedar Rapids (Assistant Leader)
  • Charlie McConkey of Council Bluffs (Assistant Leader)

  • Senate
  • Zach Wahls of Coralville (Minority Leader)
  • Amanda Ragan of Mason City (Minority Whip)
  • Nate Boulton of Des Moines (Assistant Leader)
  • Bill Dotzler of Waterloo (Assistant Leader)
  • Pam Jochum of Dubuque (Assistant Leader)
  • Herman Quirmbach of Ames (Assistant Leader)
  • Jackie Smith of Sioux City (Assistant Leader) 

Need Assistance with State Government Agencies? Contact ABI's Public Policy Staff.
As the pandemic persists, employers are continuing to adjust to an ever-changing climate relating to proclamations, directives and protocols issued by Gov. Reynolds and state agencies. Agencies have changed their hours, temporarily closed facilities to the public, offered more services online, etc., and it’s possible that employers could run into issues when it comes to receiving a license, getting feedback on a regulatory question from an agency and more. If you need assistance with a state government agency, the ABI public policy team wants to help solve these types of problems for members. Please contact JD Davis or Brad Hartkopf for assistance.

Federal Spotlight: OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Likely to Be Issued Under Biden Administration
Though President-elect Joe Biden will not officially become president until Jan. 20, 2021, there is already significant talk about some of the actions his administration will first take when he enters office. One of those actions is issuing an emergency temporary standard for employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This broad workplace safety mandate would establish a nationwide floor of specific precautions employers must take to protect their employees from COVID-19. The business community is largely opposed to this action as it would likely provide little flexibility for compliance. Should this measure come to fruition, businesses will face greater exposure for penalties. You can read more from Politico.   

ATRA Survey Shows Support for Small Business Relief
The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), a national partner of ABI, released a survey on Tuesday that shows a solid majority of both Republicans and Democrats support continued relief for small businesses and others affected by the pandemic. Key findings of the survey show that 78% of respondents said the government should support small businesses affected by COVID-19 with grants or loans versus 7% who said lawyers should help small businesses pursue legal claims instead. 63% of respondents agree that elected officials should aid those harmed by the pandemic, rather than by trial lawyers. This is very positive news as Congress continues to debate another COVID-19 relief package, which could include liability protections for businesses nationwide. The aforementioned issue has already been taken care of in Iowa with ABI successfully spearheading a robust set of liability for protections for businesses and others during the 2020 legislative session. You can view the survey here.

Federal Spotlight: Sen. Grassley’s Historic Vote Streak Ends
Sen. Charles Grassley hadn’t missed a Senate roll call vote in over 27 years. That incredible feat came to an end on Tuesday as he quarantines in Iowa due to a positive COVID-19 test. Grassley’s streak, 8,927 consecutive votes, goes back to July 14, 1993, which is the last time he missed a vote as he was touring the historic flood damage in Iowa with then-President Bill Clinton. He broke the previous record held by former Sen. William Proxmire of Wisconsin in January 2016. Sen. Grassley is a leading example of what it means to serve in representative government. He has visited all 99 counties in Iowa every year since he first came into the upper chamber in 1981. ABI wishes the best to Sen. Grassley as he recovers from his illness.
Dec. 1 is Deadline to Submit 2021 Conference Workshop Proposals
Dec. 1 is the last day to submit workshop proposals to present at the 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference. If you can deliver dynamic, engaging sessions with a strong emphasis on takeaways, we want to hear from you. Submit your proposal now. The conference is June 8-10, 2021, in Coralville/Iowa City. Email questions to Emily Betz, ABI conference programming co-chair, at ​
Three Ways You Can Improve Your Financial Health
Audrey Faber
Human Resources Generalist
Focus OneSource

Many Americans are not prepared for unexpected expenses or a decline in pay. An analysis from JP Morgan Chase recommends that individuals should have savings of at least six weeks of take-home pay in an emergency fund. Although many of us are familiar with the rule of thumb that we should have a few months of income saved up in case of an emergency, the majority of Americans still fall short.

During times when nearly 50% of Americans don’t have anything set aside for savings, understanding good financial health is even more important. Financial health is a term that is used to describe an individual’s monetary situation. This may include income, savings, retirement fund and expenses.

Setting your employees up for financial success.

Employers can help their employees get ahead of the financial game by offering a rich suite of benefits. Here are a few of the best ways you can help your employees save money and improve their financial health. Read more.
BrownWinick Ranked in U.S. News – Best Lawyers 2021 “Best Law Firms” List
BrownWinick has announced the firm has been included in the U.S. News – Best Lawyers 2021 “Best Law Firms” publication. This marks the 11th consecutive year that BrownWinick has been recognized as one of Iowa’s “Best Law Firms.” Firms included in the 2021 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. Read the full news release.

IACCT Welcomes New Executive Director
The Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT) has chosen the current executive director of Iowa and Minnesota Campus Compact, Emily Shields, as its new executive director. Shields will take over MJ Dolan’s role following her retirement at the end of December 2020, after serving as IACCT’s executive director since 2007. As the executive director, Shields’ key responsibilities will be to lead the 15-member IACCT board, guide and provide support to Iowa community college lobbying and legislative efforts, and foster relationships with government agencies and non-profits. Read the full news release.
New Hire at Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust
Jennifer Welton (pictured) has joined Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust as vice president, treasury management. Welton previously served as commercial lender, vice president at Great Western Bank. She joins CRBT with nearly 20 years of banking experience.