August 27, 2020
Legislative Committee Devises Priorities; Board to Issue Final Approval in September
Yesterday, ABI’s Legislative Committee convened to consider the policy recommendations for 2021 from ABI’s five public policy committees that met over the course of August. The Legislative Committee also discussed potential priorities for the full ABI Board to discuss at the September meeting. ABI would like to thank all of the hundreds of members who took time out of their busy schedules to provide input on what the 2021 policies and priorities should look like.

Governor Allocates $5 Million of CARES Act Funding to Employer Innovation Fund
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced yesterday she will take $5 million from the funds Iowa has received through the CARES Act and put that toward the Iowa Employer Innovation Fund. The fund, which was created in 2018, allows employers, nonprofits, community organizations and employer consortiums to take advantage of grants from the state to upskill workers. The grant application process was opened yesterday and will close on Sept. 16. It will focus on Iowans whose jobs have been affected or eliminated because of COVID-19. No matching funds will be required by the recipient of the grant and the maximum award is $100,000 per applicant. ABI applauds the governor for taking this step in her efforts to upskill Iowa’s workforce. Read the news release for more details.

Opportunity to Join Subcommittee to Review Iowa’s Drug Testing Chapter
The ABI public policy team is putting together a subcommittee of members to discuss and review Iowa’s law related to drug testing. This comes after initial interest was generated by members during the Workplace and Product Safety Committee policy meeting earlier this month. The goal is to review 730.5 and receive feedback from members on any potential issues they have or any changes they would like to see move forward during the 2021 legislative session. If you are interested in participating, please contact Brad HartkopfThe deadline to join is tomorrow, Friday August 28, at the close of business.

Request for Feedback on ABI-Sponsored Environmental Seminars
ABI, in conjunction with member Stanley Consultants, is looking to host environmental seminars this fall. If interested, please complete a short survey to determine what kind of topics you would like to see covered.

IWD to Reimplement Work Search Requirements Next Month
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced last week the work search requirement for those seeking unemployment benefits will be reinstated for claimants–with a few exceptions related to COVID-19–on Sept. 8. IWD initially waived the requirement earlier this year as unemployment numbers soared when businesses were forced to close. According to IWD’s website, “The work search must be a reasonable and honest effort to find suitable work and claimants must complete a minimum of two job contacts a week.” There are currently 58,000 jobs available according to IWD. For more details on the work search requirements, click here.

Unemployment Trust Fund Payments Similar to Last Week; Derecho Likely to Blame for Increase in Continuing Claims
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced there were 6,954 initial unemployment claims filed by individuals for the week of Aug. 16-22. There was approximately $23.2 million paid out of the state unemployment trust fund, which is about $200,000 less than the week prior. The number of continuing unemployment claims was 84,248, which is an increase of 1,860 claims fewer than last week. The increase in claims is likely due to the derecho that struck Iowa a few weeks ago. The top sectors that saw the most initial claims filed included manufacturing (1,897); those not identified by industry including the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (849); and health care and social assistance (642).

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Dives in July
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) issued a news release last Friday indicating that Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 6.6% in the month of July. This is compared to 8.0% from June. The U.S. unemployment rate was 10.2% for July. The number of unemployed Iowans dropped from 137,700 in June to 107,300 in July. This is encouraging news for Iowa’s economy as businesses continue to rehire individuals who were let go during the shutdown earlier this spring.
Gov. Reynolds to Headline Next Week's USMCA Event
Gov. Kim Reynolds has been added to ABI's virtual U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) event next Tuesday. She will kick off the trade discussion, which will be followed by a panel featuring:

  • Canadian Consul General Ariel Delouya
  • Mexican Deputy Consul Ricardo Sanchez
  • Kyle Wells, Canada Desk Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce

The panelists will discuss the importance of North American trade relationships in Iowa, as well as enhancements in USMCA that can benefit Iowa businesses and agriculture producers.

Iowa manufacturers, agriculture producers and businesspeople are encouraged to attend. Register now for this free virtual event.
Expanded Relief for Healthcare Providers and Nonprofits Under the CARES Act
Kim Hunwardsen, CPA
Eide Bailly

The government has recently taken steps to extend, or expand, CARES Act support for nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Distributions
Nonprofit service providers participating in state Medicaid and CHIP programs may now be eligible for federal assistance as part of a new $15 billion Provider Relief Fund. To be eligible for this program, providers must meet all of the following criteria:
  1. Have not received an HHS payment from the $50 billion general distribution to Medicare providers.
  2. Have directly billed Medicaid or CHIP for healthcare related services from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2019, or own an included subsidiary that has billed Medicaid or CHIP.
  3. Have filed either a for-profit or exempt organization tax return for 2017, 2018 or 2019 or be an entity exempt from federal income tax return filing requirements (such as a state-owned hospital or clinic).
  4. Have provided patient care after January 31, 2020.
  5. Have not ceased providing patient care.

Virtual Leadership Workshop Set for Sept. 17
Are you ready to move from surviving to thriving again? Join The Team, Iowa EOS Implementers for a virtual, hands-on workshop focused on driving accountability, reigniting motivation and taking action. Learn about new sources of capital, how to get a grip on your business, how to lead change the human way and five foundational tools you can use immediately. Learn more.

BrownWinick Attorneys Named to 2021 Best Lawyers in America List
BrownWinick has announced that 26 of its lawyers have been included in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers has published their list for more than three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. See the full news release with the complete list of BrownWinick lawyers.

AT&T and Veridian Credit Union Announce $40,000 Donation to Iowa Community Action Partnership for Storm Victims
In response to the severe storms that pummeled Iowa recently and left many Iowans managing significant storm damage, loss of electricity and needing shelter, AT&T and Veridian Credit Union are teaming up on a $40,000 donation to Iowa Community Action Partnership to bring much‐needed support to those hit hardest by the storm. Read the full news release.

MVS Members Named in The Best Lawyers in America 
MVS has announced several members of the firm have again been recognized in the 27th edition of The Best Lawyers in America:
  • Glenn Johnson – Commercial Litigation, Copyright Law, Patent Law and Intellectual Property and Patent Litigation
  • Jonathan L. Kennedy – Trademark Law
  • Christine Lebron-Dykeman – Trademark Law
  • Bruce W. McKee – Patent and Trademark Law
  • Edmund J. Sease – Patent Law and Intellectual Property and Patent Litigation

Glenn Johnson and Edmund J. Sease were also recognized as The Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year.” Read the full news release.