February 6, 2020
Capitol Action This Week
Over 120 subcommittee meetings were held this shortened week at the Capitol as legislators look to advance their priorities prior to the first funnel deadline on Feb. 21. A bill must have passed a full committee in either chamber to remain eligible for consideration following the first funnel. There are certain exceptions to this deadline including ways & means and appropriations bills. The policy team had no shortage of meetings this week as we look to advance ABI priorities and blunt the progress of anti-jobs legislation. Here are some of the key bills that we tracked this week.

SSB3077 / HSB607  – Future Ready Iowa.  House and Senate subcommittees both considered Gov. Reynolds’ legislation that seeks to expand Iowa’s skilled workforce, provide incentives for businesses to invest in child care infrastructure and strengthen computer science education in schools. The bill also expands the definition of eligible student for purposes of the Last-Dollar Scholarship. Workforce and the proliferation of quality and affordable child care are ABI priorities. View more  here ABI position: Support.

SSB3116 / HSB657  – Invest in Iowa Act.  This legislation, which Gov. Reynolds highlighted in her Condition of the State Address, was unveiled this week. The comprehensive bill includes several divisions. Some key points include:
  • Reduces individual income taxes – The top rate is 7.48% in 2021 and then that is lowered to 5.5% in 2023 if the revenue targets are met.
  • Eliminates the 4% growth trigger currently in law
  • Increases the sales tax a full penny
  • Provides for the state general fund to cover the majority of cost that currently rests at the county level as it relates to mental health levies, which will reduce property taxes for businesses and individuals
  • Funds the Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, but changes the percentages of monies going into the existing formula and strengthens language around the use of the dollars
  • Allows families with an income up to $90,000 to take the child care tax credit, currently $45,000
  • Eliminates the excise tax on water
  • The bill does not address corporate tax rates
  • ABI is currently receiving feedback on this proposal from the Tax Committee. The non-partisan Tax Foundation recently scored the proposal from a sales tax and individual income tax perspective. You can see that here. If you have feedback about how this bill would affect your company, please contact Nicole Crain or JD Davis.

HSB519  – Attorney Fees.  A key bill that passed out of the House Judiciary today is HSB519. This bill started off as prohibiting cities and counties from implementing a policy that wouldn’t allow businesses to ask about criminal history on their employment applications, but the language was deemed unnecessary because it’s already the law. There was a strike-after amendment approved in committee today that would require a city or county to pay the attorney fees and court costs of someone challenging an ordinance, resolution, motion or amendment if the ordinance is found to be in violation of state law by the court. The bill passed committee on a party-line vote and is now funnel-proof.  ABI position: Support.

SF2074  – Employees Running for Office.  This legislation mandates that an employer cannot prohibit an employee from running for office. It also states that an employer cannot take an adverse action against an employee who decides to run for office. ABI posed several questions during the subcommittee and is opposed to the bill as employers are in the best position to determine whether they want to allow their employees to run for office or not, and this is an erosion of Iowa’s at-will employment policy. ABI position: Opposed.

Legislative Update Calls to Occur Every Other Week
Following feedback from ABI members on last week’s legislative teleconference call, the ABI public policy team has decided to hold the calls every other week from now through the end of the session. The change comes as the legislative action is heating up at the Capitol and as we look to provide ABI members with more real-time opportunities to engage their legislators on the issues that matter most. The next call will take place on Friday, Feb. 14, at 8 a.m. The call is for ABI members only. Contact  Michelle Vollstedt  to register.

Opportunity to Comment on FY21 Air Quality Bureau Budget
Iowa DNR’s Air Quality Bureau is seeking feedback from the public and stakeholders on the Air Quality Bureau Budget for Fiscal Year 2021. The budget is mostly funded by fees paid by industry, and as such, the bureau recently held fee advisory meetings where stakeholders had the opportunity to ask questions of DNR staff. You can view the  information provided by DNR . ABI attended the meeting and asked several questions about the budget and continued to encourage DNR to use state and federal resources to pay for portions of the air program that benefit all Iowans, such as the monitoring network. The proposal does include a $3 reduction in tonnage fees due to unexpected increase in emissions last year. Please send any comments you have to  Wendy Walker  by the close of business on Feb. 17.

Federal Spotlight: U.S. House to Vote Today on State Right to Work Laws Elimination
The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote later today on the PRO Act. The act, which stands for Protecting the Right to Organize, is a comprehensive bill that enacts many of the President Obama-era policies and seeks to eliminate the Right to Work Act. One of ABI’s key state legislative victories and a continued focus of the association is to protect the right to work and ensure no employee is forced to pay dues or fees to a union if he or she chooses not to belong. Congresswoman Axne and Finkenauer are cosponsors  of the legislation, as is retiring Congressman Loebsack. The language in the legislation is concerning, and Iowa employers should make sure your U.S. Senator knows why it is important to oppose this legislation. Although we have every indication the bill will not move forward in the Senate, it is still important to let them know where you stand as there are already 40 Democrat cosponsors. Read a  PRO Act fact sheet  and why it is bad for Iowa businesses and employees.

Federal Spotlight: Trump Acquitted by the Senate
President Donald Trump, the third U.S. President to be impeached by the U.S. House, was acquitted of two impeachment charges by the U.S. Senate yesterday. The vote on the first article, abuse of power, was rejected 48-52 with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) being the only Republican to cross party lines to vote guilty. The second charge, obstruction of Congress, was voted down 47-53 along party lines. It takes 67 votes to remove a president from office. The votes were preceeded by the president's State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday and the Iowa caucuses on Monday. Read more from  The New York Times .
Connecting Statewide Leaders is Coming to Muscatine
The future of Iowa depends on the manufacturing sector. Join ABI members, Leadership Iowa alumni, community leaders and the current Leadership Iowa class for an engaging conversation about Iowa's top industry. This Connecting Statewide Leaders session and networking lunch is March 5, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., at Kent Corporation in Muscatine. Register now .
Registration Now Open: Pre-employment Testing Process Seminar
During this seminar, experts will talk about substance abuse in the workplace, as well as the testing of physical abilities to match essential job demands. Information will be provided on new legislation, current trends, what to look for and more. The seminar is March 26, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., at ABI's office in downtown Des Moines. View the agenda and register .
2020 Conference Shaping Up to Be the Best Ever
Mike Ralston
Iowa Association of Business and Industry

All of us on the staff at ABI have an incredible perk as a daily part of our jobs. We have the opportunity to learn what it takes to have a successful business. Our teachers are the very best found anywhere and they are you, ABI members.

One thing you teach is that providing value for customers is Job One. If that doesn't happen, there is no reason for your customers to buy your products or services. Well, we have customers at ABI, we just happen to call them members. And we better be providing you with value for your investment in the association. Read more .
Leadership Transition at Sukup Manufacturing Co.
Effective February 1, 2020, Steve Sukup (pictured) is president and chief executive officer of Sukup Manufacturing Co. Charles Sukup, former president, announced his planned transition to chair of the board of directors in November 2019. Both have served in their previous roles since 1995. In his previous role as vice president and chief financial officer, Steve has been integral to the company’s innovation and growth. Read the full news release .
Kim Grzywacz Wins Women in Buses Award
Kim Grzywacz (pictured on left) with CIT Signature Transportation headquartered in Ames was honored by her industry peers as the 2020 Women In Buses award recipient on January 12 at the American Bus Association’s national conference in Omaha. The Women in Buses award recognizes the role of women in the motorcoach industry who work collaboratively on issues and concerns of women business leaders as well as industry specific trends in this male-dominated industry. Read the full news release .
Taxpayers of Central Iowa to Hold Focus on K-12 Education: Funding & Outcomes Event
Iowa, once a leader in K-12 education, has fallen to the middle of the pack. Per-pupil funding has outpaced the national average in the past 30 years, Yet, educational outcomes are stagnant, begging the question: Is our current funding model working? If not, what would a more ideal model look like? Mark Jacobs (Reaching Higher Iowa), Brad Buck (Waukee Superintendent and former director, Dept of Ed), Shawn Snyder and Patti Schroeder (Iowa Association of School Boards), and a Polk County Legislator will provide facts and observations on these questions, critical to our communities and the state. The event will be from 7:30-9 a.m., Feb. 19, at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens. Register now .

ACS to Host C-Suite Discussions: Leading Through Chaos Event
Join ACS and Renaissance Executive Forums for a panel discussion examining successful strategies in crisis management on Feb. 25, 3:30-5:30 p.m., at the Des Moines Golf & Country Club. Experts will share proven tactics for remaining calm and overcoming unexpected business challenges such as legal and public relations issues, natural disasters, data breaches, economic difficulties and more. Panelists will include Vince Newendorp, vice president–facilities and rebuild, Vermeer Corporation; Dawn Buzynski, director of public relations, Strategic America; and Brian McCormac, attorney, BrownWinick Law Firm. Register now .

Honkamp Krueger Announces 2020 Executive Board
On Wednesday it was announced the executive team at Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C. has elected new officers:
  • Gregory Burbach, CPA, CFP, as the chief executive officer
  • Katie Thomas, CPA, CFP, CGMA, partner, as president
  • Michael Welbes, CPA, ABV, partner, as vice president and director of M&A
  • Kevin Schmitt, CPA, CFP, partner, as vice president
  • Ryan Hauber, partner, as secretary
  • Jennifer Daughetee, partner, as treasurer 
American Equity Ranks in J.D. Power's Top 5 for Customer Satisfaction
American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company, a leader in the sale of fixed index annuities, earned the distinction of “Better than Most” as 4th place for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The carrier’s satisfaction index score outpaced the annuity industry average as well as other top fixed index annuity carriers. This is the first year the annuity provider category was included in the “Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking” for the U.S. Life Insurance Study. Read the full news release .