June 18, 2020
Governor Begins Signing Legislation
Now that the 2020 legislative session has adjourned, Gov. Reynolds and her team will begin reviewing bills that passed and deciding whether or not she’ll sign them into law. Yesterday, she put her signature on  29 pieces of legislation . Gov. Reynolds has a 30-day window to veto or approve bills received in the last three days of session. She can veto a whole policy or budget bill, or item-veto specific appropriations or policy language in an appropriations bill. Groups who want items signed or vetoed typically use the 30-day time to send letters of support or opposition to the governor. ABI has submitted a letter respectfully requesting she sign  SF 2338 , which is the COVID-19 business liability protections legislation. If she vetoes or item-vetoes an appropriations bill, she provides an explanation about the reason for the veto. Bills have enactment dates of July 1, unless otherwise specified. Stay tuned for more on this subject over the next few weeks.

IIPAC Needs Your Investment Today
A large part of what ABI’s public policy team does outside of the Capitol is raise money for our PAC. The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee (IIPAC) is our vehicle to ensure that industry’s voice is heard loud and clear in the elections. IIPAC has a record of contributing to candidates from both major political parties. ABI had another outstanding year at the Capitol, but this cannot be sustained without pro-business policymakers being in office and in leadership. IIPAC must compete with opposing interests seeking to elect candidates who would adopt onerous measures and regulations harmful to Iowa’s business climate. ABI’s team takes seriously your investment in IIPAC and channels that support to candidates who have the backs of business. Our track record proves this, which is why we’re asking for your support today. You can invest by clicking  here .

Register for ABI’s Public Policy Committee Meetings
With session now in the rearview mirror, ABI’s public policy team is turning our attention toward 2021 as we begin to develop our policies and priorities for the coming year. Over the course of five separate days in August, ABI’s five public policy committees will meet and start the process of devising our policies for 2021. This is an excellent opportunity for ABI members to have a say in what we stand for as an association and what we are going to prioritize at the Capitol during our advocacy efforts. If you’d like to register, please use the following links:

Initial Unemployment Claims Remain Steady
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced there were 9,516 initial unemployment claims filed by individuals for the week of June 7-13. That number is slightly lower than last week. There was approximately $38 million paid out of the unemployment trust fund, which is about $2 million less than the week prior. The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims also shrank to 154,752, which is about 8,000 fewer claims than last week. The top sectors that saw the most initial claims filed included manufacturing (2,160); those not identified by industry including the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (1,408); and health care and social assistance (840). Read IWD's  news release

Federal Spotlight: U.S. Chamber Issues Updated PPP Forgiveness Guidance
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a federal partner of ABI, recently unveiled an updated guidance document for the Paycheck Protection Program, which reflects the changes recently enacted in a new law signed by President Trump on June 5. The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 did a number of things to make it easier to use the program including decreasing the amount of funds that must be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%, lengthening the timeframe in which PPP funds must be expended from 8 to 24 weeks, and more. You can view the  guide . ABI would like to thank the U.S. Chamber for its work in putting this valuable resource together for employers. 

Federal Spotlight: BIPAC Action Fund Releases More U.S. House Endorsements
The Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) Action Fund has unveiled its latest round of endorsements for the 2020 election. BIPAC, also a federal partner of ABI, uses its action fund to “support candidates committed to free-enterprise who will promote policies that stimulate growth, innovation and prosperity for all Americans.” Today, the BIPAC Action Fund endorsed Republican Ashley Hinson in her race to be the next Congresswoman from IA-1. Hinson, a two-term Iowa House member who recently served as Transportation Chair, has a 100% pro-jobs voting record with ABI. BIPAC’s Action Fund has previously endorsed Republican Randy Feenstra, a former Iowa Senate Ways & Means Chair, who had a very strong pro-jobs voting record during his time in the Senate. They’ve also endorsed former two-term Republican Congressman David Young (IA-3), who will challenge Congresswoman Cindy Axne in a rematch from 2018. You can view  more information
New Pre-Employment Testing Process Seminar Date Announced
The Pre-Employment Testing Process Seminar, which was postponed this spring due to COVID-19, has been rescheduled. The new date is August 19, and you can register now . Experts will discuss substance abuse in the workplace and testing physical abilities to match essential job demands. You will also receive information on new legislation, current trends, what to look for and more. 
Survey: Iowa Manufacturers are Cautiously Optimistic About Economy
Iowa manufacturers are feeling cautiously optimistic about the economy, according to the results of the latest ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey.

“Even with the pandemic, ABI members expect to have a good third quarter,” said ABI President Mike Ralston. “These are stronger numbers than I expected by far.”

Most members projected increased or steady sales, and increased capital expenditures, for the third quarter (July-September).

They also anticipated hiring will remain steady.

“Hiring is less of a focus right now,” said Ralston. “Employers are busy managing HR issues—from furloughs to figuring out when to bring back remote workers.”

Approximately half of ABI’s 1,500 member companies are manufacturers. The association represents nearly every industry in Iowa.

ABI surveyed its board members in early June 2020. The survey found:

  • 43% of survey respondents expect sales to expand over the next quarter. 33% expect sales to stay about the same.
  • 63% expect the number of employees in their business to stay the same. 13% expect that number to grow, and 23% expect that number to decrease.
  • 60% of survey respondents plan to make capital expenditures in Q3. That’s compared to 56% in Q2.
  • COVID-19 related challenges were among the top issues for Q3.

The survey results may be found at  https://bit.ly/2Y750Is .

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Last Call: AMC Conference Workshop Proposals Due June 30
There's less than two weeks left to turn in workshop proposals for the 2020 Advanced Manufacturing Conference. The deadline is June 30. Email  Holly Mueggenberg for a proposal form. The conference is September 30 at The Meadows Event Center in Altoona.
Software Innovations are More Patentable than You Think
Zachary Pratt
Intellectual Property Attorney
Fredrikson & Byron

Since the Federal Circuit decided, and the Supreme Court affirmed, the outcome of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International[1], software engineers have been discouraged from filing patent applications on their software innovations. The Supreme Court stated that “the mere recitation of a generic computer cannot transform a patent-ineligible abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention… [n]or is limiting the use of an abstract idea to a particular technological environment.”[2]

The fallout from this case is that the United States Patent Office (“USPTO”) rejected innovative software ideas on the grounds of ineligible subject matter without going any further than saying the invention is an algorithm implemented on a generic computer. This was highly discouraging to many software engineers, to the point where many stopped filing patent applications altogether if they merely had a software solution. Read more .
"Playing Offense – Back to Thriving" Workshop is July 24
Iowa EOS Implementers will host a one-day virtual workshop on July 24 for leaders who are ready to move from surviving to thriving. You will be introduced to a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools being used by thousands of entrepreneurial leadership teams to clarify, simplify and achieve your vision–the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). The cost is $195 per person. View the flyer and register online .

Gov. Reynolds Formally Proclaims Technology Week 
 The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) is pleased to announce Gov. Reynolds has proclaimed Technology Week in Iowa as June 22-26, 2020 in conjunction with TAI’s Prometheus Awards Week. “Through continued private-public partnerships we’re putting companies on the fast-track to success, positioning Iowa as the Silicon Prairie of the heartland–and that’s something to celebrate,” stated Gov. Reynolds.  Read more .
Upcoming Webinars Hosted by Members

20 Minutes of Tech: Endpoint Protection for Remote Workers and Securing Data Offsite
Tuesday, June 23 | 11 a.m. | CEC | Register

Benefits During Breaks-in-Service, Leaves and Re-Hire Issues
Tuesday, June 23 | 2 p.m. | LMC Insurance & Risk Management | Register

The Evolving Workplace During COVID-19
Tuesday, June 30 | 12-1:15 p.m. | HRsimple |  Register