June 25, 2020
Governor Signs ABI’s Top 2020 Priority into Law
On Thursday, June 18, Gov. Reynolds signed  SF 2338  into law. The legislation provides liability protections from COVID-19 related claims to businesses, health care providers and others. ABI spearheaded legislative efforts to develop and pass the bill after receiving feedback from members and culling best practices in other states. The bill provides for product liability protections, health care provider liability protections, premises owner liability protections, and a safe harbor for businesses that substantially comply with regulations, orders and public health guidance related to COVID-19. The law is retroactive to January 1, 2020. Special ABI thanks to our supporters in the Iowa Legislature and to the governor.

ABI and NAM Partner on State and Federal COVID-19 Liability Reform
On Sunday, June 21, ABI President Mike Ralston and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons co-authored an  op-ed  in the Des Moines Register. It called on Congress and the states to enact COVID-19 liability reforms that will shield businesses from an explosion of lawsuits related to the pandemic and allow ABI member companies to lead the economic recovery. ABI staff also led a best practices session hosted by NAM for its Manufacturers’ State Affairs Program. Features of the legislation and the strategies for passage were shared to help businesses in other states promote similar liability protections nationwide. 

Governor Issues Executive Order Establishing Economic Recovery Advisory Board
On Thursday, June 19, Gov. Reynolds signed  Executive Order 6 , which creates the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board aimed at modernizing Iowa’s economy through education, health care, workforce and quality of life. The board is composed of Iowa business leaders across several different sectors. A number of executives from ABI member companies are on the panel including:
  • Ben McLean, CEO, Ruan Transportation Management Systems (Advisory Board Chairman)
  • Mary Andringa, chair of the board, Vermeer
  • Randy Edeker, CEO, Hy-Vee
  • Rosalind Fox, factory manager, John Deere
  • Dan Houston, chairman, president and CEO, Principal Financial Group
  • Emily Schmitt, general counsel, Sukup Manufacturing Co
  • Barbara Sloniker, executive vice president, Siouxland Chamber
  • Adam Wright, president and CEO, MidAmerican Energy Company

ABI staff stands ready to assist these members in their participation on the board and looks forward to recommendations that may come from it. View the  news release

Iowa Unemployment Rate Slightly Drops In May
Iowa Workforce Development announced last week that Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 10.0% for the month of May. In April, the unemployment rate was 10.2%. There were 168,100 Iowans out of work during the month, which is approximately 20,000 less than the month of April. Initial unemployment claims continue to pull back as well. With businesses continuing to reopen, it’s very likely the unemployment rate will continue to fall as we move over the course of the summer. Read IWD’s  news release .

Iowa is a 2020 Battleground State in Federal Races
Many Iowans feel we have done our part in presidential selection when the Iowa caucuses conclude. Not so this year. Iowa can expect to be a top battleground state for federal elections for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Recent polling shows President Trump and former Vice President Biden in a statistical dead heat. The same goes for Sen. Joni Ernst and her challenger Theresa Greenfield, as polling is within the margin of error in that race. With primaries to select candidates for congressional seats concluded, those races are shaping up and polling data should be available soon. Iowa's purple state reputation will make all of these races close. Look for updates on those races in this space as head-to-head polling becomes available.
New Buy ABI Partner: Mount Mercy University
ABI is excited to welcome Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids to our growing list of Buy ABI partners. Members now receive a 10% tuition discount on Bachelor, Master and Doctoral programs at the university. With nine block starts each year, you can get started now. Classes are offered online, on campus and through virtual seminars. Visit the Buy ABI webpage to learn about additional benefits from Mount Mercy University and to see special offers from all of our Buy ABI partners.
Minor Ripples Leading to Major Changes
Matthew D. Edwards
CEO and President
Trility Consulting, LLC

If you could only pick one thing that would ripple change across people, process and technology, what would it be?

One idea? Wet signatures. Imagine what would have to change if some form of multi-factor digital signature or verification was enabled and wet signatures were no longer required.

Many industries have solved this problem. However, in highly regulated ones, such as banking and financial services, not everyone has made the same progress.

With the recent CARES Act and PPP program, this was never more obvious. During the abrupt change we all experienced during the COVID-19 period, many people understandably did the paperwork from home but still found themselves needing to provide wet signatures for banks.

I had the privilege to partner with Iowa-based  Bâton Global  to discuss post-COVID human-centric transformations that nearly all businesses will need to consider going forward. In this series, we are focusing on how the banking and finance industry is ready for transformation today and what that might look like when enacted. However, the conversations are applicable to any industry.

There are many things organizations can and will do to evolve their organizations, and the themes we discussed include... Read more .
$1 Million Gift Will Help Minority Students Earn Degrees Through ‘UNI at DMACC’ Program
A new partnership between the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) aimed at helping location-bound students in Des Moines earn a college degree through UNI received a $1 million boost this week thanks to the generosity of UNI alumni. The  “UNI at DMACC” 2+2 program  launching this fall at the  DMACC Urban Campus  in downtown Des Moines is part of UNI’s efforts to help multicultural students earn four-year degrees. Read the full news release .

Iowa Rural Summit Registration Open for Community Teams
Teams of up to five people can now register for the 2020 Virtual Iowa Rural Summit to be held online August 20-21. While individuals will pay $50 apiece to register, rural communities can have a team of up to five people register for only $150 for the two half-day events. The Iowa Rural Summit brings together community leaders, resources and service providers to share best practices, new ideas and opportunities for collaboration.  Learn more .

West Des Moines Executive Development Coach Receives ActionCOACH Highest Honor 
Leading business coaching firm, ActionCOACH, named Monte Wyatt of West Des Moines the winner of its highest honor, ‘Partner of the Year’ award, at its spring franchise conference held virtually on May 29. This is the second year in a row Wyatt has been recognized as the top ActionCOACH Partner in North America. Read the full news release .