March 5, 2020
Iowa Business Day on the Hill is Next Week
ABI members will gather from all over the state next Wednesday for the 2020 Iowa Business Day on the Hill . This year, ABI is partnering with the Iowa Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, the Iowa Chamber Alliance, the Iowa Business Council, the Iowa Taxpayers Association and the National Association of Women Business Owners. We start the morning at ABI where members will be briefed by policy staff and then hear from Senate Ways & Means Chairman Jake Chapman (R-Adel). We’ll then head to the Capitol to lobby legislators on important business issues. Those who have registered for the IIPAC luncheon will first have the opportunity to hear from Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) and Speaker of the House Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) will then stop by to share some comments and take some questions from attendees. Look for a full recap in next week’s newsletter.

Two Weeks Until the Second Funnel
Time is moving quickly as the Iowa Legislature is nearing the second funnel deadline on March 20. Bills will had to have passed a full chamber and then through a full committee to be considered for the rest of session. There are of course exceptions to this rule such as ways & means, appropriations and a few other types of bills. With that in mind, the Legislature has gone into full debate mode as legislators look to move their priorities forward. There was action on pro-business legislation this week, which you can see below.

  • HF2309 – This ABI priority legislation passed the House today. It holds that if a party successfully challenges a city or county ordinance, resolution, amendment or motion in court, the municipality must pay reasonable attorney fees and court costs to the prevailing party. The vote was 51-44. ABI position: For

  • HF2473 – Another ABI priority passed the House this week. The bill creates criminal penalties for those who use synthetic urine to defraud a drug or alcohol test. The purpose of the bill is to deter people from committing acts of fraud that could ultimately endanger the workplace. The legislation passed, with bipartisan support, 55-42. A companion bill in the Senate is also ready for floor debate. ABI position: For

  • SF2400 – Gov. Reynolds' legislation related to Empower Rural Iowa was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. It makes changes to the state’s broadband program by further incentivizing private industry to deploy broadband in underserved and rural areas of the state. The bill and its companion in the House are eligible for floor debate. ABI position: For

  • HF2573 – The bill exempts airplane repair and replacement parts, maintenance services and remodeling from sales tax. It removes the requirement that must be used in scheduled/nonscheduled FAA to qualify. It passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support in the House with a vote of 89-7. ABI position: For

  • HF2569 – The legislation sets up a pilot program, subject to a $250,000 appropriation, through Iowa Economic Development Authority to provide up to $5,000 matching grants for businesses that recruit workers from Puerto Rico and bring them to Iowa. The matching grant funds are used for relocation expenses laid out in the bill. The bill, which has already passed the State Government Committee, was approved in an Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday. ABI position: For

  • HF2417 – The bill requires employers to treat employees who choose to adopt a child the same as an employee who is the biological parent of a newborn child regarding employment policies, benefits and protections for the first year. The bill was amended on the floor to narrow the age range to children who are six years and younger. The legislation passed 94-1. The Senate bill is different as it has language that prohibits short-term disability benefits being awarded to adoptive parents. Should the Senate legislation advance, the bills will have to be reconciled. ABI position: Undecided

  • HSB671 – The bill increases total maximum annual tax credit allocation for equity investments in a qualifying business or innovation fund by $2 million while reducing the total maximum tax credit allocation for the Innovation Fund Investment Tax Credit by $2 million. The bill passed a Ways & Means Subcommittee on Wednesday. ABI position: For

For questions about these or other bills, please contact  JD Davis  or  Brad Hartkopf .
Meet Our Newest Members

Brilar, LLC
Career Search Associates
Enterprise Fleet Management
Kwik Trip, Inc/Kwik Star
Marion Economic Development Corp.
McGill Junge Wealth Management
Schemmer Associates
Second Chance Placement LLC
The State of Your Business: What I’m Hearing on the Road
Mike Ralston
Iowa Association of Business and Industry

When I write these columns each month, I typically focus on thanking you for your investment in ABI and on the state of our organization. This month's column will be a bit different, because I would like to share with you what I am hearing from ABI members about the state of  their  business.

In the past 60 days or so, I have visited ABI members in several different counties and literally been north, south, east and west in Iowa. From Atlantic to Muscatine, Dubuque to Sioux City, Waterloo to Fairfield, and many points in between, I have been all over our state and talked with ABI members at each stop.

These visits have produced mixed business reports. Many members experienced strong years in 2019. Some even experienced record years. By that, I mean sales, orders and employment (among other indicators) were all trending upward. But more members than usual (not a majority, but more than usual) experienced some softening in their business in 2019. Nearly all were concerned about the year ahead. Read more .
John R. Gilliland Named Associate Vice President
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) announced on Tuesday that John R. Gilliland (pictured) , a financial advisor and portfolio manager in the firm’s wealth management office in Des Moines , has been promoted to associate vice president. Gilliland, who has been with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management since 2012, holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell College and a law degree from Creighton University.
Kim Garrett Joins QCR Holdings, Inc. 
Kim Garrett (pictured) has joined Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust’s parent company, QCR Holdings, Inc. as vice president, corporate communications and investor relations manager, and is based in the CRBT main office. She previously served as senior manager, change management and team transition at Collins Aerospace.
Brooke McLaughlin Joins CRBT
Brooke McLaughlin (pictured) has joined Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust as commercial real estate banking officer. She previously served as the assistant vice president, special assets officer for QCR Holdings, Inc., CRBT’s parent company.
Deadline Extended: Last Chance to Apply to Be a Part of Manufacturing 4.0
The Iowa Economic Development Authority is seeking participants for a Manufacturing 4.0 working group. The working group will help guide the future of Manufacturing 4.0 strategies in Iowa.  Working group members will be selected to represent manufacturing expertise and stakeholder interests within the state, with a balance within each group to ensure it represents urban and rural interests, academic representatives, and public, private and non-profit representatives. Applications are being accepted through March 6.  Learn more and apply .

DMACC to Celebrate "The Art of Imagination" at ciLive! 11
Embrace the art of imagination! The 11th annual  Celebrate! Innovation Live  – also known as  ciLive! 11  – is coming up March 9-13 at the DMACC West Des Moines Campus. Each year, ciLive! brings some of the brightest minds and creative thinkers to Central Iowa. The event is free and open to the public. The theme of ciLive! 11 is “The Art of Imagination,” and speakers will include a panel of cast members from the cult-classic film “Napoleon Dynamite,” an Academy Award-winning costume designer, a visual effects supervisor for Marvel Studios, two Discovery Channel program hosts, a NASA project chief and many more. Read the full news release. 

New Virtual Learning Lab to Offer One-of-a-kind Training for Students at the DMACC West Campus Microsoft Datacenter Academy
DMACC, the largest undergraduate college in Iowa, will unveil a new, cutting-edge Virtual Learning Lab (VLL) at the  Microsoft Datacenter Academy  located on its West Des Moines Campus, at 12:15 p.m. on March 11, during  ciLive! .  The new lab incorporates state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, providing students with a valuable opportunity to navigate within the large, complex and highly secured data centers located throughout Central Iowa via a simulated environment. Read the full news release .

AGP Chairman Named Director of Year by NCFC 
At the 2020 Annual Meeting of the National Council for Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), Brad Davis, chairman of the board and president of Ag Processing Inc (AGP), was named recipient of the award for Farmer Cooperative Director of the Year. The prestigious award is presented annually to a farmer cooperative director in recognition of outstanding leadership and contributions to his/her cooperative’s achievements. Davis has served on the AGP Board of Directors for over 26 years and as AGP Chairman since 2002. Read the full news release .

R&R Names Top Brokers of 2019
R&R Real Estate Advisors (REA), a subsidiary of R&R Realty Group (R&R), recognized its top-producing brokers of 2019 on Friday. Senior Vice President Adam Kaduce was named 2019’s Top Producer for closing 43 deals with a leasing value of $25 million. Fellow Senior Vice President Chris Curran earned the 2019 Rainmaker Award for 46 deals with a leasing value of more than $16 million. Commercial Real Estate Representative Alec Wilcox was named 2019’s Rising Star.
Russell CEO Honored with 2020 Build Iowa Award
Russell CEO Jim Russell was recently recognized as the 2020 Build Iowa Award winner from Master Builders of Iowa. The award honors Master Builders of Iowa (MBI) members and brings public attention to excellence in the construction industry. Each year, the Build Iowa Award is presented to a general contractor or an associate member employee who best exemplifies the tenets of the MBI organization: skill, responsibility and integrity. The nominees are judged by the way they have performed both within the construction industry, as well as in their communities. Watch the video honoring Jim Russell.

ABI Members to Be Recognized at ESGR Employer Awards
This Saturday evening in Johnston, Iowa ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) will honor more than 25 companies from across the state with a variety of awards, recognizing them for doing things that often aren’t expected, and things that are well beyond the regulations outlined in USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act). ABI member companies to be recognized include American Equity, Bayer Crop Science, Dee Zee Manufacturing, Martin Marietta and Nationwide Insurance.