January 9, 2020
ABI Files Lawsuit Against Waterloo Over Ban The Box Ordinance
Last week, ABI filed a  petition   against the city of Waterloo for the city’s criminal history ordinance that was passed late last year. You have read about this issue in past editions of the weekly newsletter. The lawsuit follows a  letter  that ABI submitted to the city during the discussion phase stating the violation of state law and requested they reconsider the ordinance, but the council moved ahead and finalized the ordinance. For more information about the petition or how you can help, please contact  Nicole Crain .

Highlights of media coverage:

Legislative Session Begins Next Week
The second session of the 88th Iowa General Assembly commences on Monday, January 13. The 2020 legislative session is tentatively set for 100 days with per diem expenses for lawmakers expiring on April 21. The first week at the Capitol is typically set with several formalities as legislative leaders from both parties give their opening speeches to talk about priorities for their caucuses this year. Gov. Reynolds will issue her Condition of the State Address on Tuesday in the House Chamber. The Condition of the Judiciary Address and the Condition of the Guard Address will be delivered later in the week. You can watch the governor’s speech  online . You can also view live feeds from House and Senate on the  legislative website .

Iowa Caucuses in Less than a Month; Utilize ABI’s Caucus Toolkit
Registered Iowa Democrats and Republicans will have the opportunity to make their voices heard before the world on Monday, February 3 as the first-in-the-nation caucuses will take place in the Hawkeye State. Caucus sites have been announced by both Republicans  and  Democrats . Democrats will also host satellite caucuses for those who are not able to attend at their assigned caucus site. Iowa has a closed caucus system, which means Independents cannot caucus and Republicans can only attend the GOP caucus and vice versa for the Democrats. While the primary focus of the caucuses is to support a candidate that you prefer for the presidential nomination of your party, other aspects of the event include selecting individuals to serve as delegates for their party’s county convention and also submitting individual planks to the party’s platform. It’s important you get out to caucus as Iowa historically plays a large role in determining the fate of many candidates’ campaigns.  ABI’s Caucus Toolkit  has all of the tools you need to learn more and get engaged in this process. 

Register for Monthly ABI Legislative Update Calls
Throughout the course of the 2020 session, ABI members will be briefed on how the session is progressing by the ABI policy team. One way you can stay up to speed and have your company’s voice heard on policy matters is by registering for the monthly ABI legislative update calls. JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf will lead the 30-minute calls. Members will hear the latest on key business proposals at the Capitol and have the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions. The first call will take place on Friday, January 31 at 8 a.m. Contact Michelle Vollstedt at  mvollstedt@iowaabi.org  or 515-235-0651 to register.

EPA to Host Webinars on American Iron and Steel Requirements
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct two webinars over the next two weeks to discuss the State Revolving Fund (SRF) American Iron and Steel (AIS) Requirements. Discussion topics will include AIS implementation, project and product coverage, the waiver request process and the national waiver. Discussion of the expiring Stainless Steel Nuts and Bolts in Coupling/Flanges/Restraints/Saddles/Joins will also occur during the webinars. The first webinar will be Tuesday, January 21 from 12-2 p.m. CST. You can view a  flyer  of this webinar focused on manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, and register  here . A second webinar, focused on states and borrowers, will be Thursday, January 23 from 12-2 p.m. CST. Registration can be found  here .

Federal Spotlight: USMCA Passes Senate Committee
On Tuesday, January 7, the Senate Committee on Finance overwhelmingly approved the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) by a resounding vote of 25-3. This action moves the USMCA one step closer toward ratification as the House recently approved the new trade accord 385-41. The business community at large has been very supportive of this deal, which is set to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While there is expected to be wide bipartisan support for the deal in the full Senate, it’s unclear when the vote will come to the floor as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said President Trump’s impeachment trial will take precedence over all other business in the upper chamber. The Senate is currently waiting for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to send the articles of impeachment over from the House, which must occur under the current Senate rules for the trial to commence. Read more from  CNBC .  
Building Business Value Program Coming to Fairfield
No matter how young and vibrant you feel, you will eventually want to retire and enjoy the benefits of your hard work. When that day arrives, you should have a solid exit plan in place to successfully leave the business on your terms, set the minds of your employees and clients at ease, and help your chosen successor take the reins with confidence.

Join us for the Building Business Value program in Fairfield on Feb. 13, 12-3 p.m. It will help you assess and take action on some of the questions below:
  • Do you have a plan for the future of your business? Do you know what your exit goals are?
  • Are there gaps between your current situation and your desired situation?
  • Are you prepared for both the planned events and potential unplanned events?
  • Does your culture and total compensation support your largest asset–your people?
  • Do you have a strong strategy for the 4 R’s: Recruit–Retain–Reward–Retire?

Speakers will include Kevin Lentz, president, Performance Marketing; Jim Nalley, VP, BCC Advisers; Mark Wyzgowski, managing principal, CliftonLarsonAllen; and Brian Crotty, managing director, HDH Advisors.  Register now .
ABI Supports New Statewide Business Radio Program
ABI is excited to support a new half-hour radio program, the Iowa Business Report. The program is produced by well-known award-winning Iowa radio executive Jeff Stein. It airs weekly on radio stations across Iowa. You may also listen to the program on ABI's website .

Episode 1 features an economist who explains how Iowa's economy is different from that of neighboring states, an update on the USMCA and a profile on ABI member company Vermeer Corporation.
The Power of the Pause: The Age of the Mini Recession
KC Mathews
EVP and Chief Investment Officer
UMB Financial Corporation

There seems to be a common consensus these days that we are due for a recession. It’s understandable why many may believe this: Over the past 40 years, the U.S. has experienced a recession approximately every 10 years (1980-82, 1990-91, 2001, 2008-09).

Duration of the cycle
Since 1945, the average duration of the 11 economic expansions in the U.S. has been 59 months, just shy of five years. Economic cycles after 1945 relative to cycles prior to 1945 have been more stable with fewer recessions due to more effective monetary policy.

In July 2019, we set the record for the longest expansion in U.S. history. If one bases their recession forecast solely on duration, they could argue that we are due for a recession. But we must be careful with averages: For example, if I had one hand on a block of ice and the other on a hot plate, the law of averages would say that I should be quite comfortable, but the reality is quite the opposite. Read more .
Farm Credit System Veteran Joins Midwest Growth Partners 
Iowa-based private equity fund Midwest Growth Partners (MGP) announced Friday that Ben Fogle (pictured) will join their team as a partner and member of the firm’s Investment Committee. He will lead the fund’s efforts in USDA compliance and helping MGP execute the Farm Credit System’s strategic investing initiatives. Fogle most recently served as managing director of capital markets for Farm Credit Services of America in their Omaha corporate office. As part of the move, Fogle will open an Omaha office for MGP, strategically expanding the firm’s operational footprint. Read the full news release .
Honkamp Krueger Promotes Brawdy to Partner
Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C. (HK) is announcing the promotion of tax manager, Scott A. Brawdy, CPA, (pictured) to partner effective Jan. 2, 2020. Based out of the firm’s Davenport office, Brawdy leads the firm’s state and local tax (SALT) department, assisting businesses with complex sales and use tax issues, nexus tax laws, compliance with the South Dakota vs. Wayfair Supreme Court case, sales tax audits, and more. Read the full news release .
HR Simple to Host DOL Salary Regulations Changes Webinar
2020 has hardly started and there are already changes. Change #1: Salary/Overtime per new Department of Labor regulations. Solution #1: DOL Salary Regulation Changes and More Webinar . Topics covered will include the new DOL regulations; regular rate, bonuses and overtime; and exempt vs. non-exempt employees.  Register to attend the webinar for free.

2019 Recap: AT&T Made Major Investments in Iowa
AT&T recently announced that in 2019 it invested nearly $100 million in capital expenditures in the state, and more than $210,000 in Iowa organizations and events. It invested in AT&T's wireless broadband network to bring Iowans high quality wireless connectivity for their homes and businesses, upgraded its network with the latest wireless technology and built more than 100 brand new towers to support connectivity and first responders. AT&T also supported the communities where its employees live and work by assisting businesses during this spring's flooding, investing in coding and STEM programs, and more.
Curbtender President Among Courier 20 Under 40 Winners
From The Courier : "Mark Watje took the reins at a major Cedar Falls manufacturer before turning 30. The president of Curbtender Inc., which builds garbage trucks and street sweepers, may be young among his industry peers. But he’s been in training since grade school, when he went along on his father’s sales calls. 'I vividly recall being in people’s offices as they’re making deals and structuring different arrangements for business,' Watje said. 'I thought this is something normal that people just did.'" Read the full article .