October 10, 2019
Speaker-elect Grassley; Majority Leader Windschitl
Pictured: Rep. Pat Grassley and ABI member Bud Hockenberg at the Legislative Reception in January 2019.

Iowa House Republicans on Monday elected new leaders to represent the caucus in the 2020 legislative session. The election took place after Speaker Upmeyer  announced  her intention to step down. Rep. Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) is the current chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and was elected by members of his caucus to serve as speaker. Rep. Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) was formerly speaker pro-tempore and was elected to serve in the position of majority leader. Rounding out the House leadership is Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake), who formerly served as majority whip. He was elected to serve as speaker pro-tempore. The changes in leadership will ultimately result in changes to at least one key house committee as the speaker does not typically serve on policy committees. All the new leaders have been endorsed as a Friend of Iowa Business. 

Waterloo City Council Passes Local Ban the Box Ordinance
The city council of Waterloo passed an ordinance on Monday that would prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal background history and conducting a background check until a conditional offer of employment has been extended. The ordinance dictates what public and private employers do in their hiring practices at the local level. The Iowa Legislature in 2017 passed a law that stated in Iowa Code  364.3 , “A city shall not adopt, enforce, or otherwise administer an ordinance, motion, resolution, or amendment providing for any terms or conditions of employment that exceed or conflict with the requirements of federal or state law relating to a minimum or living wage rate, any form of employment leave, hiring practices, employment benefits, scheduling practices, or other terms or conditions of employment.” ABI has received feedback from members and businesses concerned about this ordinance. If you have questions about the ordinance, the state law or how you can get involved with the issue, contact  Nicole Crain .

Early Voting Open for Local Elections
Iowans have the opportunity to elect representatives to school, city and countywide offices in person on Nov. 5, but early in-person and absentee-by-mail voting has started. Some ballots include community college board of trustees members and whether a school board should have to include a revenue purpose statement specifying the use of dollars from the statewide penny for infrastructure. Although local elections don't generally garner media attention, the candidates who you elect do have the most ability to alter the amount of taxes you pay as a business property owner and as a homeowner. The majority of revenue from the property taxes you pay go to schools and cities. Make sure you know the candidates and understand where they stand on business issues important to your company. If local chambers are hosting a forum, take time to attend and ask questions, read the biographies printed in local papers and look for the sample ballot in the newspaper or online. If you aren’t yet registered to vote, or not sure where to go on election day, go to  iavotes.com  or  sos.iowa.gov  for more information.

Gov. Reynolds Invites Employers to Employer and Reentry Roundtable
Gov. Reynolds on Wednesday announced a roundtable for employers at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. The event will be held from 8 a.m.-noon. Gov. Reynolds focused on second chances in her condition of the state address in January, and this event aligns with the goals of getting more Iowans into the workforce and giving those individuals with a criminal background a second chance. In the release, Gov. Reynolds stated: “By forging a partnership between the business community, the Department of Corrections, and Iowa Workforce Development, we can help formerly incarcerated individuals find a better path. Providing Iowa employers with a much-needed workforce while opening new doors for Iowans on the road to redemption is an obvious win-win.” Employers may register for the roundtable event at  Eventbrite . A link to the online registration will also be available at  doc.iowa.gov . If you are interested in attending an event and have additional questions, please contact Richelle Seitz at  richelle.seitz@iwd.iowa.gov .

Upcoming EPA Webinars on Noncompliance for Small Wastewater Treatment Plants
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is presenting a series of technical assistance webinars over the next several weeks to highlight best practices for addressing noncompliance at small wastewater treatment plants. The training is for owners and operators of small plants. Participants will learn how to fine-tune their systems and troubleshoot common noncompliance issues to return them back to compliance. The first webinar, scheduled for next Thursday, Oct. 17, will cover conversion problems.  Register now . There is a second webinar scheduled for Nov. 13, which will cover separation and disinfection issues.

Air Quality Meeting Next Month; Opportunity to Submit Topics
The DNR Air Quality Bureau has announced the next air quality client contact meeting will take place on Nov. 21, 1 p.m., in Des Moines. It will be held in the DNR Conference Room 2N at the Wallace Building. Its staff is also accepting topics to be discussed for the agenda from stakeholders. The full agenda and a call-in option number will be released approximately a week before the meeting. Agenda items should be submitted to  Matthew Johnson  by Thursday, Oct. 31.

EASY Air Communication Materials Available
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently released communication materials that businesses can use to explain the benefits of the new online air permitting system, Easy Air. The DNR, along with stakeholders including ABI, created a  fact sheet talking points  and a  sample newsletter. The new online permitting system is designed to save businesses time and money when it comes to applying for air construction permits and Title V operating permits. The system is scheduled to come online this December. ABI was supportive of an appropriation during the 2018 legislative session that facilitated this project. There will also be a meeting following the client contact meeting on Nov. 21 to discuss an update regarding EASY Air. It’s scheduled for 2 p.m., and more details will be released at a later time. 
#ABICON20: Apply to Be a Workshop Presenter
ABI is seeking workshop presenters who can deliver dynamic, engaging sessions with a strong emphasis on takeaways for its 2020 Taking Care of Business Conference . Please note attendees pre-register for workshops and attendance typically ranges from 20-85 participants. The hour-long workshops will be June 10. Submissions are due Dec. 1. Contact Emily Betz , ABI conference programming co-chair, with questions. Apply now .
Access to Skilled Workforce, Global Markets Priorities for Iowa Manufacturers, Farmers
Editor's Note: Thank you to the Iowa Soybean Association for allowing us to share this article and photo.

Story by Aaron Putze , Photo by Joseph L. Murphy , Iowa Soybean Association

The state of manufacturing and business is strong in Iowa. But just like farming, threats are always present. They include global economic gyrations and political unrest to regulatory uncertainty and tight labor market. How do these issues intersect with Iowa agriculture? How do the priorities of Iowa manufacturers align with those of the soybean industry? What opportunities exist to increase manufacturing jobs and off-farm employment?

These are just a few of the topics I discussed with Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI), during a recent conversation at the organization’s headquarters in downtown Des Moines. Keep reading .
Keys to Integrating Executive Compensation and Benefits
Marcus Iwig, CFP, CPA, MAcc
Lead Advisor
Foster Group

The key to success is creating a plan that integrates all of your benefits and is designed to help you achieve your goals. Having a clear understanding of all types of compensation, savings tools and other benefits, along with knowledge about tax law as it pertains to your situation now and in the future, will help you construct a financial plan that gives you the opportunity for success. Here are four keys to consider ... Read more .
BrownWinick Welcomes New Associates
BrownWinick Law Firm has welcomed three new associate attorneys :

  • Amy Howells has a general practice including, but not limited to, administrative law, health law and litigation.

  • Tess Pocock has a general practice including, but not limited to, administrative law, agribusiness, business and corporate law, environmental law, government relations, litigation, public utility regulations and real estate law.

  • Ryan Shellady has a general practice including, but not limited to, administrative law, agribusiness, construction law, litigation/trial law, and employment and labor law.
Sandler Training Nebraska/Iowa to Hold Sales Workshop in Fort Dodge
Join Sandler Training Nebraska/Iowa in Fort Dodge for a sobering discussion about the incredible cost of embedded sales mediocrity and the impact it can have on your bottom line. This no-holds-barred session will challenge your core beliefs about sales performance. Designed for owners, CEOs, presidents and sales 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 is Oct. 23, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.  Learn more .

Winnebago Industries to Host Investor Day in New York City
Winnebago Industries, Inc. (NYSE:WGO), a leading outdoor lifestyle product manufacturer, will host an Investor Day on Nov. 6 at Tavern on the Green in New York City. Winnebago Industries President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Happe, and other members of the Winnebago Industries leadership team will provide an overview of the company’s long-term strategies and business updates, including perspectives on the recently announced acquisition of Newmar Corporation. Read the full news release .

Seminar for Top Decision-makers Coming to Fairfield
"The Journey to Your Vision" seminar, presented by Iowa Farm Bureau's Renew Rural Iowa, will be Nov. 12 at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Every business faces peaks and valleys as it progresses through stages of growth. Do you know what stage your business is in and how you can reach the next level? Attend this valuable one-day seminar to help stack the odds in your favor by understanding the stages of business growth, their unique challenges and methods to overcome them. Learn more .

New Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Work-based Learning Toolkit Available
As presented at last week's Advanced Manufacturing Conference in Altoona, the Advanced Manufacturing Work-based Learning Toolkit is a quick resource for your work-based learning questions and provides best practice models from the Iowa Intermediary Network that can be replicated in your community.

Manufacturers have a range of options to better engage and inform students under the age of 18 through site tours, job shadows and even hands-on internships. Through work-based learning you might introduce your company to a future employee, and you are sure to strengthen local economic development by showing students they can work close to home and still have a fulfilling career.

The toolkit has been released as part of a multi-year partnership between ABI, Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa’s 15 community colleges (represented by partners from Northeast Iowa Community College) and the Iowa Intermediary Network.

Nominate Your Workplace for the 2020 Healthiest Workplace Award
Does your workplace excel in creating a culture of health and wellness? Apply for a Healthiest State Annual Award and be rewarded for your efforts. Award applications are now open and will close at 5 p.m. on Nov. 5. Finalists will be announced in early 2020. And save the date for the 2020 Healthiest State Annual Awards Reception on Feb. 6, 5-7 p.m., at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines.

UPS First Company to Receive the FAA's Drone Airline
UPS (NYSE:UPS) subsidiary  UPS Flight Forward Inc.  recently announced it has received the U.S. government’s first full Part 135 Standard certification to operate a drone airline. The company will initially expand its drone delivery service further to support hospital campuses around the country, and to provide solutions for customers beyond those in the healthcare industry. UPS Flight Forward plans in the future to transport a variety of items for customers in many industries, and regularly fly drones beyond the operators’ visual line of sight. Read more .