March 21, 2019
Senate Approves Work Comp Legislation Concerning Idiopathic Falls
On Tuesday afternoon, the Iowa Senate passed  SF 507 , which states personal injuries due to idiopathic or unexplained falls from a level surface onto the same level surface are not compensable under workers’ compensation. The bill, which passed 32-17, was brought forward to address an Iowa Supreme Court ruling from last November. The Iowa Supreme Court overturned the work comp commissioner and a district court ruling, remanding the case back to the commissioner, stating these kinds of falls may be compensable so long as the employee proves that a condition of their employment increased the risk of injury. The ruling made Iowa an outlier and could potentially convert the employer into a general health insurer. There is a companion bill in the House,  HF 593 , which is eligible to be debated on the floor. ABI supports this legislation.

Senate Subcommittee Advances Empower Rural Iowa Legislation
Late Thursday morning, three members of a Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee met to discuss SSB 1193, which is the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa initiative. An earlier ABI newsletter  article  detailed out the bill and action in the Iowa House. Several organizations attended the subcommittee and spoke in support, thanking the governor for bringing forward the legislation. At the conclusion of the subcommittee, Sen. Feenstra mentioned there will be an amendment on the legislation and he is taking feedback from people who would like to see changes to the bill. This legislation fits well with the 2019 ABI Workforce and Competitive Business Climate priorities.

Department Of Revenue Issues Guidance Regarding New Tax Legislation
Gov. Reynolds signed  SF 220  into law last Friday. The bill goes into effect immediately and retroactively increased the Iowa section 179 deduction limitations for tax year 2018 for entities filing as C-Corporations or S-Corporations for income tax purposes, and for financial institutions subject to the Iowa franchise tax. As a result of the legislation, the Iowa Department of Revenue updated its guidance regarding Section 179. Read more .

Iowa House Approves Amended Iowa Workforce Bill
Early Thursday afternoon, the Iowa House approved on a party-line vote  HF 531 , which was Iowa Workforce Development’s bill. The legislation removed the one-week waiting period language for unemployment that ABI supported, and it also removed the language related to increased unemployment benefits for individuals who had dependents. The debate on the legislation was brief. The floor manager, Rep. Worth (R-Storm Lake), brought up the issue that the unemployment trust fund is not for the purpose of paying for individuals in training to take time off of work. He encouraged construction training programs to come together over the interim and address the issue. ABI was undecided on the legislation. The bill now moves to the Iowa Senate.

Unofficial Results: Eric Giddens Wins Senate District 30 Special Election
Eric Giddens (D-Cedar Falls) defeated Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls) in the Tuesday special election to fill the vacancy created when Sen. Jeff Danielson resigned to take a position with the American Wind Energy Association. See the  unofficial results . Giddens is employed by the University of Northern Iowa as a program manager for the Center for Energy and Environmental Education. Read more .

Senate Signs Off On Unemployment Misconduct Legislation
The Iowa Senate on Wednesday passed  SF 561 , which codifies the definition of misconduct and provides specific examples of acts that could be considered misconduct in an employment situation. The legislation will prevent employees who are terminated due to misconduct from receiving employment benefits. The legislation passed by a 32-17 party-line vote. Read more .

Senate Passes Grid Equity Legislation
On Monday, the Iowa Senate passed  SF 583  with a bipartisan vote of 28-19. The legislation, which is supported by ABI, establishes options for individuals and businesses that choose to have private generation in the future pay for their cost of using the grid. The need for the legislation, and why ABI supports it, is to ensure “long-term benefits to all Iowans” when it comes to energy usage and address that all customers should pay for the grid. Read more .

Environmental Protection Commission Meets
The Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) held a teleconference on March 19. Acting Director Bruce Trautman provided an update to members of the commission and noted the primary concern at the DNR is the flooding in Western Iowa. The DNR is involved in “rescue, evacuation and recovery.” Director Trautman also mentioned they have been tracking  HF 199  “relating to beverage container handling fees paid by distributors to beverage dealers and persons operating beverage container redemption centers.” Read more .

House Ways and Means Recommends Sports Gambling and Wagering Bill for Passage 
HF 648  passed the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Wednesday with an amendment. This bill authorizes sports gambling and wagering, including sports betting and fantasy sports contests. Various sections of code section 99 are amended to allow the racing and gaming commission to authorize the operation of sports betting at race tracks, excursion gambling boats or gambling structures. The bill establishes a $15,000 licensing fee to offer sports betting. Read more .
Acquisitions, New Construction Highlights of Iowa Business Leader Survey
Business leaders continue to be confident about Iowa’s economy according to survey results released today by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). “Business is booming for Iowa’s companies,” said Mike Ralston, ABI president. “Sales continue to be strong for ABI members.”

A focus on opportunities, rather than on challenges, is what stood out to Ralston when comparing the results to past surveys." Surprisingly, not one member mentioned tariffs this time,” said Ralston. “Investing in acquisitions and new construction were highlights.” Read the full news release .

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Going Beyond the Numbers: CFOs Now Hold Pivotal Roles in Modern Corporations
Lori Stewart

The consistent evolution of the CFO’s role over the last generation has been heavily impacted by regulatory demands, digital technology, narrowing margins and political landscape shifts. To keep pace, finance professionals have needed to continually develop in the areas of business acumen, operational excellence, compliance, strategic planning and creative financing. Very few have ever questioned the importance of reporting on the data. However, knowing how to translate the data into lucrative business initiatives in a volatile economy is a skill that few companies can afford to be without. Read more .
"It's Never About Price" Sales Workshop is April 9 at ABI
Designed for owners, CEOs, presidents and selling professionals, learn how to change the "behavior dynamics" of your sales team, and build a high performing sales culture within your company that will get results. The workshop, hosted by Sandler Sales Training and ABI, is April 9, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., at the ABI office. Admission is $29 and includes lunch. Learn more and register .

ISFB and IEDA Offer Free Energy Manager Certification
The Iowa Sustainable Business Forum (ISBF), in partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), is offering full reimbursement of materials, tuition and testing fees for 50 new certified energy managers (CEMs) in Iowa. The program is designed to help businesses save on energy costs, plan for future savings and improve hiring. Learn more .

Winnebago Industries Announces National Park Foundation Partnership
Winnebago Industries–a leading outdoor lifestyle product manufacturer–has announced a multi-year partnership with the National Park Foundation in support of the  Find Your Park movement.  This public awareness campaign inspires people of all backgrounds and abilities to discover and share their own unique connections to America's national parks. Read the full news release .

Winnebago All-Electric Specialty Vehicle Honored with Sustainability Award
Winnebago Industries was honored last week with the Sustainability Award by the RV Industry Association for its efforts in bringing an all-electric option to a vehicle segment well-known for daily idling and onboard generators. The award was presented to the company at an award ceremony at the industry trade show, RVX: The RV Experience, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read the full news release .