December 12, 2019
USMCA Deal Reached by House Democrats and Trump Administration
Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced her caucus has come to an agreement with the Trump administration on moving forward with the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA). The Tuesday morning announcement breaks an impasse that had existed for months between the two parties. Speaker Pelosi insisted negotiations between the two sides increased the labor and environmental enforcement standards in the accord, which had been a sticking point. Members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation praised the developments and are likely to support passage of the deal once it hits the floor of the House and then the Senate. House Democrats have indicated the deal will be brought forward for a vote next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said a vote on the trade pact will occur following President Trump’s likely impeachment trial in the Senate.
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Take Advantage of Early Bird Registration for ABI’s Legislative Briefing and Reception
We’re just a month away from ABI’s 2020 Legislative Briefing and Reception, and more than 200 people have already registered. ABI’s second-biggest event of the year will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 15, in Des Moines. All 150 members of the General Assembly have been invited, along with Gov. Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Gregg, and other statewide elected officials and department directors. The event is expected to draw over 500 people and is an excellent opportunity for you to hear a preview of the legislative session from ABI’s policy team, network with your peers and chat with legislators about issues that are important to your business. The early bird registration deadline is Dec. 20.  Register now  and  view full event details .

Still Time to Make Your 2019 IIPAC Investment
We’re only a few weeks away from 2020, but there is still an opportunity for you to contribute  to ABI’s pro-jobs PAC, IIPAC, before the New Year comes. We don’t take your  investment  in IIPAC for granted, and ABI has a proven track record of supporting candidates who are ultimately victorious in their races. We’ve seen proof the last three years in particular, as the legislature has approved over 40 bills that ABI has registered in favor of that will enhance our business climate. With an election coming up next year, we need to make sure we have plenty of resources to help those who have had the backs of business.

Governor’s FOCUS Committee Announces Recommendations
On Wednesday, Gov. Reynolds' committee on criminal justice reform met for the final time this year and laid out recommendations for the Legislature. The committee, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Gregg, was formed in November and was tasked with creating ideas to reduce recidivism through successful offender reentry. Some of the committee recommendations include implementing fair chance hiring or ban the box for the public sector, continuing employer outreach including the governor’s reentry roundtables, expanding workforce reentry services in prison, streamlining the voter rights application and coordinated delivery of post-secondary education in prison. Read the  entire list of recommendations

DNR Stakeholder Meeting on Wastewater and Drinking Water Rules
The Iowa DNR will hold a stakeholder meeting to discuss a number of proposed changes to the Iowa Administrative Code with regards to drinking water, wastewater, private sewage disposal systems and sludge. The meeting will take place on Thursday, Dec. 19, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. It will be held at the Urbandale Public Library (3520 86th St.) in Meeting Rooms A and B. View the  proposed changes . If you have questions about the proposed rule changes or the meeting, please contact Courtney Cswercko at  or 515-725-8411. Written comments may also be emailed to her or mailed to Courtney Cswercko, Iowa DNR, 502 East 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319, until Jan. 10, 2020. Please contact  JD Davis  or  Brad Hartkopf  if you have any concerns with the proposals.

Federal Spotlight: ATRA Releases Latest “Judicial Hellholes” Report
The American Tort Reform Association unveiled its 2019-2020 “Judicial Hellholes” report on Tuesday. The report , which received coverage in the New York Post , the Pennsylvania Record and , puts a spotlight on some of the nation’s worst jurisdictions as it relates to litigation. ABI works in conjunction with ATRA and is a member of this association, which seeks to bring fairness, predictability and efficiency to America’s civil justice system. ABI is pleased to see neither the state of Iowa or any of our municipalities are on the list of “judicial hellholes.” Learn more at .

Federal Spotlight: ABI Signs Onto Cadillac Tax Repeal Letter
ABI recently added its name to a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) encouraging them to come to an agreement to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac Tax” by the end of the year. The letter , signed by over 1,000 diverse stakeholders, was submitted to the leaders last week. The Cadillac Tax, which is not set to go into effect until 2022, imposes a 40% excise tax on higher cost employer-provided health care plans. The House passed legislation in July to fully repeal the tax, and the ball is now in the Senate’s court. Any repeal or further delay of the tax would likely be inserted into an end of the year budget deal. 
#ABICON20: General Speaker Announced
Phil Jasper, president of Mission Systems at Collins Aerospace, will be a general speaker at ABI's annual conference in June. He is responsible for delivering military, government and civil solutions to help customers worldwide safely and successfully complete their most complex missions.

A 26-year veteran of the industry, Phil is committed to developing innovations that fully leverage commercial avionics technology into the military market. Working with Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense, Jasper serves as a lead advocate to help streamline how the United States procures commercial items and to protect intellectual property rights—both critical issues for aerospace and defense companies.

Jasper is a native of Lamont, Iowa, and attended Iowa State University.

The 2020 Taking Care of Business Conference will be June 9-11 in Cedar Rapids. Registration opens Feb. 20 at .
Survey: Iowa Manufacturers Project Stronger Sales in the New Year
Nearly 60% of Iowa business leaders expect sales to increase next year, according to survey results released Wednesday by ABI.

“The positive survey results are a promising way to kick off 2020,” said Mike Ralston, ABI president. “This positions Iowa’s economy for growth in the new decade.”

Last quarter, only 47% of survey respondents expected sales to increase over the next year.

Approximately half of ABI’s 1,500 member companies are manufacturers. The association represents nearly every industry in Iowa except retail. Read the full news release .
Kari Sebern, P.E.
Sebern Structural Services, PLLC

I’m a structural engineer by trade. By society’s standards, this means I dwell in the deep recesses of my left side brain. But if I stay here, it means I’m only utilizing a portion of my potential. And this puts me at dangerous risk of becoming a commodity. I used to fully believe that spending all of my time honing in on these logical strengths would make me most successful. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that it’s poor practice to try to use one side of my brain nonstop every day and expect extreme efficiency and perfection. I am not a machine, I am human. A productive, rewarding and successful career is comprised of a concerted balance of left and right brain engagement.  Read more .
Fredrikson & Byron Expands Government Relations Practice to Iowa
Attorney Noah J. Tabor has joined Fredrikson & Byron to lead its Government Relations Group in Iowa. “We are pleased to expand our government relations practice to Iowa with the addition of Noah to our team,” said Kevin Goodno, chair of the firm’s Government Relations Group. Tabor brings more than a decade of political and government relations experience to help clients navigate complex political and policy issues to achieve desired results. Read the full news release .

TAI Announces Nominations Open for the 2020 Prometheus Awards
The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) is pleased to announce the nomination period is now open for the 2020 Prometheus Awards presented by LWBJ. The most prestigious recognition for Iowa’s technology industry, The Prometheus Awards acknowledge individuals and companies impacting Iowa’s over $10 billion technology industry. Finalists and award winners epitomize great talent, solidifying Iowa’s reputation as a technology state. Read the full news release .

2020 Outlook: Optimistic Hiring Intentions Expected in First Quarter for Iowa
U.S. employers expect the hiring pace to remain steady in Q1 2020, though regional and industry forecasts are mixed, according to the ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN) Employment Outlook Survey. The survey of more than 11,500 employers show softening in 10 of 13 industries and in two regions of the United States, while employers in Iowa expect to hire at a promising pace. Among the local employers surveyed, 21 percent plan to hire more employees from January through March. Read the full news release .