January 28, 2021
Week Three of the Iowa Legislature in the Books
Observers of the legislative process know it is critical for legislation to be introduced at the beginning of the legislative session to ensure legislative initiatives advance. Several ABI priorities are now on the move. In addition to the summary below, make sure to join our first virtual legislative update at 8 a.m. on Friday.

SSB 1055 was introduced in the Senate Labor Committee. The bill changes the burden of proof in Iowa’s drug testing law. The proposal requires employees who bring drug testing lawsuits against employers prove their case rather than placing the burden on the business to disprove the claims of the lawsuit.

In other action, HSB 22 passed the House Judiciary Committee. The bill creates a simple misdemeanor for those who attempt to defraud a drug test with synthetic urine thereby reducing attempted fraud. The bill has bipartisan support.

See the list below for more information on other bills ABI supports and opposes.

  • HSB 133/SSB 1089 – Governor’s broadband bill – The legislation provides increased incentives to those who install broadband at certain speeds in targeted service areas. A subcommittee is scheduled for next week on SSB 1089. ABI supports the legislation as part of the 2021 infrastructure priority and the deployment of high-speed broadband is critical for attracting businesses and individuals to Iowa. ABI position: For.

  • SF 84 – E-verify – On Monday, a subcommittee recommended passage of legislation that requires all employers to use the federal e-verify system. ABI spoke against the bill, as it implements a mandate on businesses and imposes onerous penalties for those that violate the requirements. It now goes to the full Judiciary Committee. ABI position: Against.

  • HF 230 – Childcare tax credit income threshold – The bill raises the income threshold for individuals seeking to take advantage of the child and dependent care and early childhood development tax credits from $45,000 to $90,000. The legislation passed out of Ways & Means and is ready for floor debate. This is just one of many child care proposals that are being offered in the legislature. ABI position: Undecided.

We will discuss these issues and many others tomorrow morning during our first legislative update at 8 a.m. You won't want to miss this ABI members-only opportunity. Contact Michelle Vollstedt if you would like to register.

Dickey Wins Special Election for State Senate Seat in Southeast Iowa
On Tuesday, Republican Adrian Dickey defeated Democrat Mary Stewart in a race to fill the vacant state senate seat in Iowa Senate District 41. The contest came to fruition after former State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks resigned following her election to Congress. Unofficial results from the secretary of state show Dickey garnered 5,040 votes to Stewart’s 4,074 votes. Dickey, from Packwood, works in the family business Dickey Transportation and is also a volunteer firefighter. He'll fill out the term of Miller-Meeks and face re-election in 2022. The ABI public policy team looks forward to working with Senator-elect Dickey during the 2021 legislative session.

DNR Stakeholder Meeting on Water Rules Next Week
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is holding a stakeholder meeting via Zoom to discuss several proposed changes to the Iowa Administrative Code regarding separation distances, wastewater, general permits, sludge, private sewage disposal systems and operator certification. The chapters included in the proposed rulemaking are 40, 41, 43, 49, 60, 62, 63, 64, 67, 69 and 81. The Zoom meeting will be on Feb. 3, 2021, from 1-3 p.m. Register for the meeting here. You can view the pertinent documents here.

Federal Spotlight: Biden Signs Executive Order Aimed at Establishment of Emergency Temporary Standard 
Last week, President Joe Biden put his signature on an executive order that will affect workplaces across the country. The order directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to consider issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) by March 15, as well as update employer guidance focused on protecting workers from COVID-19. The EO also directs OSHA to review and make necessary changes to enforcement efforts and coordinate with states to ensure that all workers are covered by any new OSHA standards or rules.

Biden also has called on Congress to pass legislation that authorizes OSHA to implement an ETS. Should an ETS be implemented, it could limit employer flexibility to address safety in the workplace by imposing a one-size-fits-all mandate. Some states, such as California and Virginia, have already implemented statewide ETS and the National Association of Manufacturers recently held a meeting to discuss what a Federal ETS might look like based on the current state policies. ABI is continuing to monitor the situation as it unfolds at the federal level.
Reserve Your #ABICON21 Room Now
It's not too early to book your room for the 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference, June 8-10, in Coralville/Iowa City. A discount code is available for the host hotel, the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. For the discount code, go to the conference webpage and select the "Hotels" tab. The deadline to use the discount code is May 17, 2021. Conference registration opens Feb. 25.

Conference safety protocol: Masks will be required unless you’re eating or drinking. Social distancing is strongly encouraged, and we've reserved extra space to accommodate for that. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the event space. Attendees should stay home if they have symptoms, are high risk or have a fever over 100.3 per the CDC. 
ABI Foundation Update
Leadership Iowa has opportunities to support its efforts in connecting a knowledgeable network of leaders in our state.

Do you know a problem solver in your industry or community? Nominate them, or yourself, for a transformational experience for Iowa leaders. Complete the brief form before May 1 to be considered for the upcoming class starting in the fall.

Do you know a community that would like to host Iowa leaders? Selected locations demonstrate their area’s unique attributes during one of the program’s eight two-day sessions. Complete the brief form before Feb. 3 to be considered for the upcoming class starting in the fall.

We’re welcoming 2021 with a bit of laughter tonight from 5:15-6:45 p.m.! The Leadership Iowa Alumni Society looks forward to a virtual evening of comedy and connections (and a few prize giveaways). This event is sponsored by Riley Resource Group, courtesy of Bob Riley (LI ’02-'03). Special thank you also to Teehee's Comedy Club and owner Sid Juwarker (LI '07-'08).
Values Pave a Path Through Chaos
Mark K. Phillips
VP of Treasury Management Services
Bank Iowa

What if I told you every decision you made over the last few months was wrong? Would it strike a nerve? Probably more so today than during normal circumstances, right? That’s because even the most confident among us has questioned the choices they’ve made since the COVID-19 outbreak.

While business continuity and other disaster preparedness plans offered some guidance, you probably found, as many others did, that those tools were far from perfect when it came to adapting operations for a global pandemic.

One thing I observed as we moved deeper into the crisis was that organizations with a clearly articulated purpose had fewer troubles adjusting. That is not to say making the tough calls was easy. Far from it. However, those organizations with strong, defined values had a leg up. The values that govern their engagement with stakeholders during normal times served as guideposts on what would otherwise have been a bewildering journey into the unknown. Keep reading.
"COVID Property Tax Relief Planning for Manufacturers" Webinar is Feb. 5
On Feb. 5, JM Tax Advocates will host a live property tax webinar. Josh Malancuk, a national property tax specialist, will lead a bilingual Japanese and English discussion to address your questions and provide you with tips to regain control of the growing U.S. property tax burden on domestic and international manufacturers. Register now.

Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust Announces Officer Promotions
Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust recently announced the following promotions:

  • Theresa Blong is now senior vice president, credit.
  • Ron Maxa is now vice president, operations.
  • Tiana McGuire is now assistant vice president, retail banking.
  • Hether Stauffacher is now assistant vice president, credit.
  • Derek Kemble is now credit officer.
  • Angie Lagerquist is now treasury management officer.

Google is Helping Get Vaccines to More People
As public health authorities ramp up COVID vaccination efforts, Google is committed to continuing to do its part. The company is focused on providing authoritative information about vaccines across its platforms, and this week it published a blog post highlighting new initiatives, product features and a commitment of more than $150 million to promote vaccine education, outreach and equitable access.

MHCS Announces Appointment of New Shareholder 
McGowen Hurst Clark Smith (MHCS), a certified public accounting and business advisory firm, has announced the promotion of Nate Back, CPA from tax principal to shareholder. Back joined MHCS in September 2014 and leads the tax department. He is also involved in the firm’s business valuation and litigation support practice areas. Read the full news release.

BrownWinick Welcomes Justin G. Allen
BrownWinick has announced Justin G. Allen has joined the firm’s medical malpractice and insurance defense team. Allen was previously a prosecutor at the Polk County Attorney’s Office for 18 years. During his time there, Justin handled everything from traffic tickets to homicide and everything in between. Read the full news release.