January 2, 2020
Legislative Briefing and Reception Approaching Fast; Sign Up Today
One of ABI’s most popular events is set to take place in less than two weeks. Over 270 ABI members have already registered for the Legislative Briefing and Reception, and with dozens of lawmakers and agency directors expected to attend, you can expect a fantastic event. The evening starts with a comprehensive preview of the legislative session from ABI’s public policy team. JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf will break down the hot topics and provide insight into what we see happening in 2020. Then you will have the opportunity to network with your local legislators about issues impacting your business. Make sure you  register  today if you haven’t done so already.

Agencies Pre-file Legislation for 2020
We’re just under two weeks out from the legislative session commencing, and several bills have already been pre-filed by a variety of agencies and departments. Lawmakers, the governor’s office and the aforementioned entities are allowed to pre-file legislation before the legislative session convenes. ABI is currently reviewing the proposals, which include a number of bills filed by Iowa Workforce Development that relate to unemployment insurance. View the  pre-filed bills .

Business Tax Changes Have Arrived
As we move into 2020, it’s important to note significant changes to Iowa’s tax code that will affect the business community. The following will take effect in tax year 2020:
  • Section 179 cap fully couples with federal cap—then annually indexed to inflation ($1 million/$2.5 million). This matches the limits allowed for in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
  • Coupling with federal repeal of like-kind exchanges (1031) for all but real property
  • “Rolling” federal conformity to the Internal Revenue Code begins

All of this is due to the Iowa Legislature approving and the governor signing  SF 2417  in 2018, which implements a series of consequential modifications to the tax code. You can view the Iowa Department of Revenue’s  guidance page  for more information.

Empower Rural Iowa Recommendations Unveiled
The Empower Rural Iowa task forces recently released their recommendations for the 2020 legislative session. The initiative, which was formed in July 2018 by Gov. Reynolds, held “Ideas Summits” in a number of communities across the state in 2019 to develop means to invest, grow and connect rural Iowa.  HF 772 , which passed the Legislature unanimously and was signed by Gov. Reynolds during the 2019 session, enacted a number of policy changes designed to empower rural Iowa including increasing the rural-set aside in the workforce housing tax credit and expanding incentives for private investment in rural broadband. Read the  latest recommendations , which build on the success of HF 772. 

ABI Attends DNR Water Rules Meeting
Brad Hartkopf, ABI director of public policy, attended a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stakeholder meeting on Dec. 19 about proposed changes to drinking water, wastewater, private sewage disposal systems and sludge. The agency is  putting forward  a number of amendments concerning the aforementioned topics to the Iowa Administrative Code. A room full of stakeholders attended the meeting and offered questions about the proposals. If you have comments or questions about the rules, please submit them to  Courtney Cswercko  by Jan. 10. If you have questions about the meeting, please contact  Brad Hartkopf .

List of Applicants for Iowa Supreme Court Vacancy Set
Twelve individuals are set to be interviewed to fill the opening on the Iowa Supreme Court. There is a vacancy on the seven-member panel due to the recent passing of Chief Justice Mark Cady. The State Judicial Nominating Commission, which is composed of 17 individuals, will interview all of the applicants on Thursday, Jan. 9 on the fourth floor of the Judicial Branch Building. The public is welcome to observe the interviews in person. They will also be  live streamed . The commission will ultimately select three people as finalists for the position. Gov. Reynolds will then have 30 days to choose one of those individuals to serve as the next justice on the court. You can view all of the applicants and the times they are going to be interviewed  here . The public is welcome to  submit  written comments concerning the qualifications of the applicants to the secretary of the commission, which are due by 5 p.m. on Jan. 7.

Federal Spotlight: New DOL Overtime Rule Goes Into Effect
Several new laws and regulations have gone into effect now that we have entered the new year. One regulation employers must comply with is the new wage threshold for overtime pay for employees established by the U.S. Department of Labor. The rule, which would impact over an estimated 1 million U.S. workers, expands the salary threshold from $23,660 to $35,568. Those who are paid a salary versus an hourly wage are entitled to be paid overtime if they’re under the new number. There is also a duties test that employees must meet to be eligible for this benefit. This threshold is far less than the $47,000 first proposed under the Obama administration in 2016. That proposal never went into effect, as it was blocked in court. The salary threshold had not been raised since 2004 and is generally viewed as a reasonable compromise by stakeholders. Read more from  CNBC .
Apply Now for Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa University
The ABI Foundation is now accepting applications to its accelerated experiential programs, Business Horizons (high school) and Leadership Iowa University (college). Nominate to recognize students in your community and connect the programs with your network to make a difference for our state’s up-and-coming leaders today!

Business Horizons  is an innovation simulation for high school students (grades 9-12) to team up and compete as a start-up from inception to investor pitch, using their strengths and skills to strategize and visualize future plans in Iowa.  

Students lead and manage each step of the development process including vision and mission statements, financial projections, marketing materials and more, culminating with three competitions: the investor pitch, infomercials screening and trade show. Iowa professionals add real-world value, serving as week-long mentors, expert consultants, workshop facilitators and keynote speakers. 

Students can earn college credit and a Central College scholarship by attending. All Iowa high school students with any career interests are invited to attend.

Business Horizons 2020 is July 19-23 on the Central College campus in Pella. Students who apply before May 15 will receive a $60 discount; applications will be accepted until mid-July or the program is filled. Applications can be completed now at  www.BusinessHorizonsIowa.com

Leadership Iowa University  is a college internship capstone connecting our state’s next decision makers with tools for professional and personal success.

“This program really reinforced, ‘If you want to be a number, move somewhere else. If you want to be a leader, stay in Iowa,'” said Jules Martinez of Dordt University, a 2019 participant.

Participants connect with a multitude of Iowa businesses and professionals through exceptional touring and networking opportunities, allowing the class to experience life as an Iowa entrepreneur, civic leader and other paths. Students proactively develop skills needed for an evolving workplace by strengthening self-awareness and self-confidence, then plan their next steps with the help of HR professionals.

Leadership Iowa University 2020 is August 9-13 in Des Moines. Applications will be accepted until the program is filled. Applications can be completed now at  www.LeadershipIowaUniversity.com .
Celebrate with Fellow LI Alums
Start the New Year right with the current Leadership Iowa Class of 2019-20 and the Leadership Iowa Alumni Society on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel. The dinner celebration will begin at 6:30 p.m., immediately following ABI’s annual Legislative Briefing and Reception.  Register now .

Who:  Leadership Iowa alums
Cost:  $50 per person, welcome to bring guest at the same cost
Dinner Registration Deadline:  Friday, Jan. 10
Note:   ABI’s Legislative Briefing and Reception  and the  Leadership Iowa Alumni Dinner and Celebration  are two separate events, each requiring their own registration. 
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You Are the Reason for ABI's Success
Mike Ralston

ABI is not a political organization; it's a business organization. That said, our award-winning public policy work is some of the most important we conduct every year.

Year in and year out, ABI is always at or near the top of any list of organizations that successfully impact policy development in Iowa. That's good, because that is what ABI members expect and demand.

There are many reasons ABI's public policy work is so successful. We provide our members with all the tools you would expect of a successful public policy organization. ABI has a political action committee, a grassroots organizing tool, a nonpartisan elections resource and all the technology you would expect. We also have on staff some of Iowa's very best public policy and communications professionals.

However, while those things are critically important, the real reason for ABI's success is YOU. Read more .
Volunteer Opportunity: Iowa FIRST LEGO League State Championships
Do you want to inspire Iowa kids in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math? Celebrate 60+ teams’ amazing learning experiences? Enjoy your Saturday and Sunday with some awesome kids? Register to become a volunteer at the Iowa FIRST LEGO League State Championships on Jan. 18 and 19 in Ames.
Winnebago Industries Appoints Sara Armbruster to Board of Directors
Winnebago Industries, Inc. , a leading outdoor lifestyle product manufacturer, has announced the appointment of Sara Armbruster to its board of directors, effective  December 18, 2019 . Armbruster will sit on the Finance and Human Resources Committees. She is vice president of strategy, research and digital transformation for  Steelcase Inc. Winnebago Industries  further announced it has increased the size of its board of directors from eight to nine. Read the full news release .