January 30, 2020
Week Three at the Capitol is Complete
The Legislature concluded its third week of the 2020 legislative session this week. ABI staff has been busy working to ensure that ABI members' interests are being heard, as over 500 new bills have already been filed between the House and the Senate. Below are recaps of some of the key issues we tracked in week three:

  • SSB3077/HSB607 – Future Ready Iowa. These companion bills have been filed by Gov. Reynolds. The comprehensive legislation has several divisions including creating a new Future Ready Iowa expanded registered apprenticeship program aimed at providing financial assistance to encourage apprenticeship sponsors of apprenticeship programs with 20 or fewer apprentices to maintain apprenticeship programs in high-demand occupations. It creates a child care challenge program, which provides matching moneys to qualified businesses, non-profits and consortiums for establishing local child care facilities. It also establishes a workforce diploma pilot program, instructs schools to increase computer science education and expands the definition of an eligible student under the Last-Dollar Scholarship program. ABI supports this legislation, as workforce is the association’s top priority this year.

  • HSB519 – Criminal background checks. The bill would prohibit cities from banning employers from requesting from an applicant information related to the applicant's criminal history. Rep. Holt, who chaired the subcommittee, announced that there would be a strike-after amendment, as the bill in its original form is unnecessary because it’s already the law. The amendment states should someone challenge a city or county ordinance, motion, resolution or amendment and that is ruled unlawful, the court will award attorney fees and costs to the party who prevails in challenging it. ABI is undecided on the original bill, but in favor of the amendment. Related: The Courier: Legislator says Iowa law prohibits 'ban the box' policies.

  • HSB539 – Synthetic urine prohibition. The legislation creates criminal penalties for those who defraud a drug or alcohol test. The bill passed a subcommittee in the House this week. A companion bill passed a senate subcommittee last week. There was talk of amending the bill to include the public sector. ABI views this as a workplace safety issue and supports the legislation.

  • SF459 – Guns in employer parking lots. The bill prohibits employers from having a policy banning employees from having weapons in their vehicles on the employer’s property. This bill moved through a senate subcommittee last week, but was not considered yet in full committee this week. ABI is strongly opposed to the legislation, as it infringes upon an employer’s private property rights. Contact your senator and encourage them to oppose SF459.  

First Legislative Update Call Tomorrow
The ABI public policy team will hold the first legislative update teleconference call tomorrow, Jan. 31, at 8 a.m. With the third week of session complete, bills are moving at a fast pace as the legislature moves into February. You won’t want to miss out on hearing the breakdown of key business issues being considered at the Capitol plus your opportunity to ask questions of the public policy staff. The call is for ABI members only. You can register with  Michelle Vollstedt .

Governor Selects Oxley for the Iowa Supreme Court
Gov. Reynolds named Cedar Rapids attorney Dana Oxley to the Iowa Supreme Court on Tuesday. Oxley, 52, fills the vacancy left by former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady who recently passed away. Oxley has been an attorney with Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, PLC in Cedar Rapids since 2011. She’ll be the second woman to currently sit on the High Court. This is the governor’s third appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court. Gov. Reynolds will make her fourth selection later this year, as Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins recently announced that he will retire from the bench in March. 

Secretary of State Unveils Fast Track Filing for Biennial Reports
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced last week that the fast track filing system for biennial reports is now up and running. Businesses registered with the state are required to file with the state every two years. It’s estimated that 70,000 businesses will file biennial reports in 2020 according to the secretary of state’s office. Fast tracking filing for new businesses started in June 2018, and this is the next step in providing businesses with a more convenient and expedited process for filing with the SOS. Click  here  to utilize the system. To learn more about the process, watch this  video .

Iowa Caucuses Monday, Feb. 3
After months of candidates and political staff traveling across Iowa meeting with individuals, the political hype will soon come to an end. On Monday, Feb. 3, the Iowa caucuses will be held. The caucuses are important in the presidential nominating process for each party’s candidate, as well as in selecting delegates for party conventions. Make sure you’re prepared to caucus. Check out ABI’s IAVotes.com  Caucus Toolkit

Federal Spotlight: Trump Signs USMCA Into Law
On Wednesday, President Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) into law, which is a tremendous victory for the business and agriculture communities. The USMCA is set to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The U.S. House and Senate recently overwhelmingly approved the deal, which preceded the president’s signature. Mexico and Canada are by far Iowa’s top two trading partners, and this deal brings certainty and more market access. Canada must still approve the accord, but is expected to do so by April. All six members of Iowa’s congressional delegation voted for the new trade deal, and ABI appreciates their support.

Federal Spotlight: Trump Announces Rule to Replace WOTUS
President Trump’s administration unveiled a new rule last week that will take the place of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which will be implemented in the very near future, narrows the jurisdiction of the EPA over certain waterways by removing seasonal streams, small waterways and wetlands from the federal government’s oversight. The move is being praised by industry, farmers and landowners, as it provides more clarity and scales back the previous onerous requirements that WOTUS imposed. Environmental groups are vowing to sue the administration over the proposal. Read more from  The Wall Street Journal
#ABICON20: Additional General Speaker Announced
Joan Higginbotham, a retired NASA astronaut, will be a general speaker at ABI's annual conference in June. To date, she is the third of only three African-American women to travel into space.

As a rocket scientist, Higginbotham participated in 53 space shuttle launches during her nine years at Kennedy Space Center. After being selected as an astronaut candidate in April 1996, she reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996 for training. 

In 2016, she flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on a 13-day mission to the International Space Station. On that mission, her primary task was to operate the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (the robotic arm). She logged over 300 hours in space.

In November 2007, Higginbotham retired after 20 years of distinguished service to NASA to pursue a career in the private sector. She is currently the director of human exploration primes at Collins Aerospace.

Higginbotham resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and two bonus daughters. 

She will share the stage with these previously announced speakers:
  • Keynote Speaker – Dr. Tarika Barrett, COO, Girls Who Code
  • General Speaker – Phil Jasper, president of Mission Systems, Collins Aerospace.

The 2020 Taking Care of Business Conference will be June 9-11 in Cedar Rapids. Registration opens Feb. 20 at  www.ABITakingCareOfBusiness.com .
Karl Schaphorst
Owner and President
Sandler Training Nebraska/Iowa

Multiple sources suggest that the number one need in business is finding good salespeople. This shouldn’t be a difficult task. I mean, if you want an engineer, hire someone with an engineering degree. If you want an accountant, hire someone with an accounting degree. If you want a marketing person, hire someone with a marketing degree. So, if you want a salesperson, just hire someone with a sales degree ... Oh wait, they don’t have those.

So, who trains the salespeople then? Usually it is the company or business owner and it is heavily based on product features and benefits. The training is short, informal and usually on-the-job. This results in a very predictable selling behavior that is time consuming, cumbersome and inefficient for the salesperson. While there are exceptions, almost all the salespeople I run into sell the same way–including me–until I came across the Sandler Selling System. To illustrate the ‘dance’ that ensues when buyer and seller come together, I charted the predictable behaviors that take place when I encounter a salesperson. Read more .
Kent Corporation CEO Attends USMCA Signing, Applauds Agreement
Pictured: Paul Pate, Iowa Secretary of State; Gage Kent, CEO of Kent Corporation; Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture

Kent Corporation’s CEO, Gage Kent, attended the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday as a guest of Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. Across the U.S., more than 43,000 manufacturers, employing two million Americans, export to these neighboring countries to the north and south. Kent Corporation has been an active proponent of the USMCA and supports those who have worked hard on behalf of producers. Read the full news release .
High Demand for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Training Offered Through Partnership with Amazon
The ​ DMACC Continuing Education  ​program continues to report a high demand for training courses offered through its regional partnership with  Amazon , and a third course is scheduled to begin Feb. 11 on the DMACC Ankeny Campus. Jobs that require training in AWS cloud computing have increased by 177% over the past four years. DMACC  is currently the only community college in Iowa authorized to provide face-to-face AWS training courses taught by Amazon-certified instructors. The college’s partnership with Amazon began in 2019. Read the full news release .
Intellectual Property Attorney Glenn Johnson Joins McKee, Voorhees & Sease PLC
MVS is excited to announce that Glenn Johnson (pictured) , a highly experienced and successful litigator, has joined the firm. Johnson is a registered patent attorney with an undergraduate background in biology and chemistry. He will provide assistance, direction and counseling to MVS clients in helping them protect and defend their IP rights in the ever-changing scientific and economic environment. Read the full news release .
Lessing-Flynn Nets 9 NAMA Awards
Lessing-Flynn took home nine trophies recognizing the agency’s recent success on behalf of its clients at the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Region III Best of NAMA Awards Celebration held Wednesday, January 15, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Earning a Best of Show designation was the After the Storm, We Make Mulch video for Vermeer Corporation. The project highlighted how a Florida-based company used Vermeer equipment to aid in cleanup after Hurricane Michael devastated the southeastern U.S. in 2018. Read the full news release .

Elkhart Plastics, Inc. Ranked in Top 10 for Fourth Year
Elkhart Plastics, Inc. (EPI) is ranked in the Top 10 for overall rotomolding sales in North America in  Plastics News’  2019 Rotational Molders Ranking report for the fourth year in a row. EPI ranks No. 7 in overall rotomolding sales out of 99 companies included in the report. While the company maintains its rank from last year, sales figures grew from $96.1 million to $110.2 million in just one year. Plastics News released the rankings report in August 2019 based on data from fiscal year 2018. Read the full news release .

CEC Announces Managed Systems Program (MSP)
Communications Engineering Company (CEC), a nationally recognized technology systems integrator in the Midwest, announced yesterday its new Managed Systems Program (MSP). Designed as an all-inclusive subscription service, MSP helps organizations of all types and sizes better manage technology initiatives. The MSP financial strategy makes budgeting for technology easier by providing flexible financing options to support system development needs. MSP is available to support businesses, schools, healthcare organizations, manufacturing plants, government agencies, transportation companies and houses of worship. Read the full news release .