July 30, 2020
2021 Public Policy Process Begins Next Week
Two public policy committees will meet virtually next week as ABI begins formulating our 2021 public policies.  Employment and Workforce  will meet at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 5.  Workplace and Product Safety  will meet at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 6. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend will be the guest speaker for Employment and Workforce. Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts will be the guest speaker for Workplace and Product Safety. There is still time to register for the meetings if you haven’t done so.

Federal Spotlight: U.S. Senate Unveils the HEALS Act
The HEALS Act is the Senate’s version of legislation necessary to continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1 trillion Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act was introduced on July 27 as a counter to the $3 trillion U.S. House of Representatives HEROES Act. With legislative proposals in both chambers, negotiations will begin immediately and are expected to last days, if not weeks.

Important Senate HEALS Act features include:
  • Liability Protections for Businesses: Businesses of all sizes are protected, and those located in states with stronger liability protections will retain those protections in addition to these new federal protections.
  • Unemployment Insurance: Continues to provide workers with additional federal unemployment assistance on top of their traditional state unemployment benefits, but decreases the additional federal amount to $200 per week from the current $600.
  • Stimulus Checks: Authorizes a second round of income tax rebate checks. Certain provisions remain the same as the CARES Act payments–$1,200 for individuals/$2,400 for married couples.
  • Back to Work Child Care Grants: Authorizes short-term assistance to help child care providers reopen and stay open so that parents have a safe place to send their children when they return to work. Allows states to build out programs to help child care providers reopen and maintain operations for nine months. The proposal also includes $10 billion in funding for this program and an additional $5 billion for child care direct support via block grants. 

Negotiations between the House and Senate are being tracked by ABI staff, and as consensus forms, details will be made available to ABI members. With questions or for additional detail, please contact JD Davis  and  Brad Hartkopf.

ABI Participates in DNR Water Use Stakeholder Meeting
ABI Director of Public Policy Brad Hartkopf was one of a number of stakeholders who joined DNR officials for its annual water use meeting last week. The primary purpose of the meeting is to discuss and set the cost of the annual water use permit fee. The DNR and stakeholders came to an agreement to set the fee at $95 for each permit for FY21. This is the same amount as last year. The DNR will now bring this proposal before the Environmental Protection Commission in August for approval. You can view the DNR’s  PowerPoint presentation  for more information. If you have any feedback on this issue, please send it to  Brad Hartkopf .

Initial Unemployment Claims Fall from Last Week
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced there were 7,441 initial unemployment claims filed by individuals for the week of July 19-25. That number is down by approximately 1,900 from last week. There was approximately $31.8 million paid out of the state unemployment trust fund, which is about $100,000 more than the week prior and does not include federal benefits paid. The number of continuing unemployment claims was 110,960, which is about 5,000 claims fewer than last week. The top sectors that saw the most initial claims filed included manufacturing (1,805); those not identified by industry including the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (1,154); and health care and social assistance (693). Read IWD's  news release .

Request for Policy Ideas for the Iowa Insurance Division
The Iowa Insurance Division (IID) will hold its legislative meeting on Monday, September 14. The meeting will be held virtually. The purpose of the meeting is to have stakeholders bring forward policy ideas for consideration to the IID for the 2021 legislative session. If any ABI member has any suggestions on policy proposals that fall under the purview of the Insurance Division, please send those to  JD Davis  and  Brad Hartkopf .

2020 EPIC Interviews Have Been Completed
There was a fantastic turnout for the 2020 Economic Progress for Iowa’s Citizens (EPIC) candidate interviews this year. Over the course of three days this week, EPIC members heard 24 different candidates lay out their vision and position on key business issues. The interviews allow both candidates and EPIC members to get to know one another, as individual EPIC members often endorse candidates and invest money in their campaigns. Thanks to all of the candidates and EPIC members who took part this week. EPIC would also like to send a big thank you to former ABI Chair Charles Sukup and current IIPAC Chair Kirk Tyler for taking time out of their schedules to lead the interviews.
#ABICON21: Reserve Your Hotel Room Now
Hotel rooms for ABI's annual conference sell out faster and faster each year. It's not too early to book your room for the 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference, June 8-10, in Coralville/Iowa City. A discount code is available for the host hotel, the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, as well as an additional hotel, Drury Inn & Suites Iowa City Coralville. For the discount codes, go to the  Taking Care of Business Conference webpage   and select the "Hotels" tab. Conference attendees are responsible for making their reservation and paying for their own hotel accommodations.
THANK YOU: ABI Foundation’s 2020 Auction Exceeds $30,000 Goal
The ABI Foundation weeklong online auction embracing “Iowa’s best” concluded on Friday with a live virtual finale for our network. It is thanks to you that $30,201 was raised for the 501c3 non-profit that is committed to Iowa businesses! All funds directly support the statewide educational leadership programs for high school students ( Business Horizons ), college students ( Leadership Iowa University ) and established professionals ( Leadership Iowa ). With your involvement, we look forward to continuing to create inter-generational leadership in our state’s communities and companies. Tax-deductible donations are accepted year-round on the ABI website . Special ‘thank you’ to our auction sponsors, Barton Solvents  and the  Gilliland Group at Morgan Stanley !
6 Important Steps in Creating a Culture of Health
Lynn Kooker MS, CHES®
VP, Human Resources & Wellness
Focus OneSource

Employee wellbeing programs are gaining popularity year over year for good reason—engaged employees are more productive, have higher commitment to the company and are less likely to leave.

Creating a “culture of health” to elevate employee wellbeing does not happen overnight, but there are some things you can do now to get started in the right direction.

1. Get feedback from employees.  Happy employees are productive employees. But what makes them happy? Sure, good pay and benefits are the obvious answer, but do you really know what else your employees want? Don’t try and guess, just ask them. Using a simple survey via SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo you can gain valuable information about how your employees feel about the current culture and what is important to them. Keep reading.
Winnebago Industries Specialty Vehicle Division Offers Exclusive Antimicrobial Coating in Mobile Units with Polser USA
In the wake of COVID-19, the awareness and importance of protecting people operating in mobile outreach vehicles has never been greater.  Winnebago Industries  Specialty Vehicle Division  and  Polser USA  have reached an exclusive partnership agreement to provide Polser USA's permanent antimicrobial coating on the interior walls of Winnebago Class A Specialty Vehicles. Research shows Polser USA's antimicrobial (AMB) coating technology eliminates nearly all surface microorganisms within several hours. Read the full news release .