January 16, 2020
2020 Legislative Session Kicks Off
The second session of the 88th Iowa General Assembly commenced on Monday with opening speeches from legislative leaders. Gov. Reynolds issued her Condition of the State Address on Tuesday. Conditions of the Judiciary and the Guard were also delivered later in the week.

Gov. Reynolds issued a very substantive and bold address before a Joint Convention Tuesday morning. ABI priorities were included in her speech including expanding and continuing to fund Future Ready Iowa programs such as the Iowa Employer Innovation Fund and the Last-Dollar Scholarship program. She suggested addressing the child care cliff effect and expanding childcare tax credits to a larger number of Iowans. She asked for more funds to grow broadband in underserved areas. Another key proposal she unveiled was her Invest in Iowa Act. This proposal would raise the sales tax a penny, which in turn would put the first three/eighths of that toward funding the Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. The next five/eighths would go toward cutting income and property taxes, and providing a stream of resources for mental health.  

On the Senate side, Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) spoke about the success of Iowa’s economy and what can be done to deliver more on our state’s tax competitiveness and upskilling our workforce. President Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines) spoke about how Iowa can improve its tax climate, reduce barriers to work and address childcare. Some of the issues Minority Leader Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines) remarked about included expanding voting rights, growing our skilled workforce and equal pay for equal work. 

On the House side, Speaker Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) said workforce should be the top priority this session including childcare. He also addressed the need for high-speed internet in rural areas. Majority Leader Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) didn’t dive into specific policy measures, but urged the legislature to expand freedom for Iowans. Minority Leader Todd Prichard (D-Charles City) said his caucus will introduce legislation to address the high cost of childcare and create more affordable housing.

You can read the governor’s and legislative leaders' full speeches below:

Wiggins Retirement and Three Finalists Announced for Iowa Supreme Court
There has been a whirlwind of activity over the last few weeks in the Iowa Judicial Branch. Last Thursday, the State Judicial Nominating Commission unveiled three nominees to fill the seat of late Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady. Gov. Reynolds has 30 days to select the new justice, who will be either District Court Judge Joel Barrows of Bettendorf, attorney Matt McDermott of Des Moines or attorney Dana Oxley of Cedar Rapids.

Acting Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice David Wiggins announced last Friday that he will retire from the Court on March 13. He was appointed to the High Court by Gov. Vilsack in 2003. His current term was set to expire at the end of this year. His replacement will be chosen by Gov. Reynolds in the next several months. This will be Gov. Reynolds' fourth appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court, which is composed of seven justices. Read more from the  Des Moines Register

Governor Chooses Interim Director for DOT
Last Friday, Gov. Reynolds selected Stuart Anderson, a civil engineer with the Iowa Department of Transportation for 28 years, to serve as interim director of the agency. Anderson replaces former DOT Director Mark Lowe, who stepped down last month. A permanent director is expected to be chosen by the governor in the near future.

Federal Spotlight: USMCA Passes Senate; Trump Signs Phase One Trade Agreement with China
There was an incredible amount of positive news on the trade front this week as the United States Senate ratified the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by a resounding vote of 89-10 today. It passed the House late last year 385-41. The new trade accord will now head to President Trump’s desk for his signature. Canada, which still must approve the pact, is extremely likely to do so in the near future.

President Trump also signed a Phase One trade agreement with China this week as the world’s leading economic powers take a step back from trade tensions. Some aspects of the deal include expanding China’s purchase of U.S. agriculture goods, addressing intellectual property protection and ending forced technology transfer. Read more from  CBS News .
Record Turnout for Legislative Briefing and Reception
A record crowd turned out for ABI’s Legislative Briefing and Reception held at the Iowa Events Center on Wednesday. Members, lawmakers, statewide elected officials and agency directors turned out in force as ABI kicked off the first week of the 2020 legislative session. First, JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf provided a preview of the legislative session for ABI members. Then attendees had the opportunity to network and talk about important business issues with legislators and peers. It was truly a memorable event, and it couldn’t have happened without the strong support of member companies. Thank you from the ABI staff.
The Impact of Workforce Wearables – Part 3, For Industrial Organizations
Strategic Relationships Manager 

For organizations to compete and succeed in the business environment of today, their core business strategies must include attracting and retaining talent, maximizing returns on human capital, ensuring efficient processes and managing costs.

Organizations that experience a high volume of accidents pay a hefty price. Prospective employees seek out businesses that put safety first, and those without effective safety programs often have trouble securing and keeping talented workers. Additionally, a high number of OSHA recordables means a high experience modification rating — also known as EMR or mod score — and high worker compensation premiums. By helping businesses approach safety in a proactive manner and reduce the overall number of safety incidents, MākuSafe supports strong strategies. Read more .
Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust Officer Promotions
The following Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust employees were recently promoted:
  • Kevin Bruns is now executive vice president, wealth management.
  • Brittney Clarke is now senior vice president, retail banking.
  • Lori Tomasek is now first vice president, private banking.
  • Pauline Herb is now first vice president, treasury management.
  • Wendy Nielsen is now first vice president, marketing and public relations.
  • Brad Holub is now vice president, commercial banking.
  • Michael Goerdt is now vice president, specialty finance group.
  • Melanie Pierce is now assistant vice president, treasury management.
  • Ellie Zittergruen is now assistant vice president, specialty finance group.
  • Lesa Ament is now administrative officer.
  • Nick Svare and Marina Miller are now portfolio officers, specialty finance group.

DMACC Leadership Programs Filling Need for Beginning and Mid-level Leadership Training
For the past several years training surveys such as the Iowa Trends in Talent Development have identified leadership training as a top training need. Amongst items specifically cited in the 2019-2020 Iowa Trends in Talent Development was the need for emerging leaders training, coaching, conflict resolution and behavioral styles.

Aligned with these trends, DMACC Business Resources and DMACC Continuing Education partnered to launch the Emerging Leaders program. This program, which focuses on beginning leaders and high potential employees, is a nine-session series meeting once per month and covering topics of: Introduction to Management, Time and Meeting Management, Managing Generational Differences, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, Emotional Intelligence, Communication to Connect to the Situation, Change Management, Difficult Conversations, and Coaching and Developing Your Employees.

This popular program is capped at 30 seats and has just begun its fourth iteration with a waiting list for a fifth. Following round one, the Emerging Leaders focus group comprised of area business leaders determined the next step in the employee development. Thus, Evolving Leaders aimed at graduates of Emerging Leaders and leaders with 2-5 years’ experience was developed. The condensed program provides a deeper dive into the areas of: Generational Leadership, Inclusive Leadership, Connective Communication, and Employee Coaching.

Emerging Leaders presents the information, Evolving Leaders dives deeper and moves into application and practice. With both programs a business purchases a seat and can then choose to send one employee to all sessions or divide sessions amongst employees according to topic. 

DMACC plans to continue to anticipate and respond to business training needs by developing new programs to ensure your workforce has skills needed to thrive. For more information, visit the websites for the Emerging Leaders or Evolving Leaders programs, or email dbr@dmacc.edu .