November 21, 2019
ABI Attends Governor’s Criminal Justice Reform Committee
Brad Hartkopf, director of public policy, joined stakeholders for Gov. Reynolds’ third FOCUS Committee meeting on Criminal Justice Reform at the Capitol on Wednesday. Lt. Gov. Gregg chairs the committee. He began the meeting by welcoming everyone and recapped the last meeting. The meeting of the group was focused on workforce and what can be done to reduce barriers in this regard. Agencies and private sector stakeholders presented what they were doing in criminal justice reform. Presenters included Iowa Workforce Development, the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Prison Industries, the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Conversations ensued regarding workforce resources, mobility assistance for reentering individuals, employers offering second chances and occupational licensing barriers. The next meeting of the committee is set to take place on Monday, Dec 2. If you have questions or want more information, contact  Brad Hartkopf .

Governor Announces Last-Dollar Scholarship Recipients
ABI was on hand Tuesday when Gov. Reynolds announced more than 5,800 Iowa students have been awarded Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarships for fall 2019. Preliminary numbers show over $6.6 million has been distributed, which is the first time it’s been available. The average award is $1,132. The Last-Dollar Scholarship, which received more than a $13 million appropriation during the 2019 legislative session, is designed to help students get post-secondary credentials up to an associate’s degree in a high-demand field. The program focuses on four important areas: advanced manufacturing production, construction and engineering, health care and biosciences, and information technology. In addition to the Last-Dollar Scholarships, ABI supported the Employer Innovation Fund component of Future Ready Iowa. Initial award recipients were announced in August. The second round of recipients will be released by Dec. 1, 2019. Read the  full news release .

Updated House Committee Assignments
The Iowa House Republican caucus recently announced committee assignments for members during the 2020 legislative session. The move follows the selection of Pat Grassley as Speaker-select and Matt Windschitl as Majority Leader. Some notable changes include:
  • Rep. Ray “Bubba” Sorensen (R-Greenfield) now chairs the Economic Development Budget Subcommittee.
  • Rep. Brian Best (R-Glidden) now chairs the Transportation Committee.
  • Rep. Holly Brink (R-Oskaloosa) is now vice chair of the Appropriations Committee and maintains her role as vice chair of the Economic Growth Committee.
  • Rep. Joe Mitchell (R-Mt. Pleasant) is now the vice chair of the Ways & Means Committee.
  • Rep. Phil Thompson (R-Jefferson) will serve as vice chair of the State Government Committee.

DNR Seeks Comments on Impaired Waterways
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released its new  draft of impaired waters  and is requesting feedback from stakeholders and the public. The DNR unveiled data that shows 27 impairments are being recommended for removal from the 2018 list, once signed off by the Environmental Protection Agency. The report identifies surface waters that do not fully meet all applicable state water quality standards for their intended use and that need a water quality improvement plan, according to the  news release . The public comment period is open from now through Dec. 28. Comments should be sent via email to  Dan Kendall  or mailed to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Attn: Dan Kendall/Water Quality Monitoring & Assessment Section, Wallace State Office Building, 502 East 9th St., Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

Federal Spotlight: Sen. Ernst Co-sponsors HIT Delay Legislation
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst recently co-sponsored S.172, which is legislation that would pause the implementation of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) through 2021. Without legislative action, it is set to go into effect next year. The HIT was one of several new taxes imposed under the creation of the Affordable Care Act. Health insurers would pay a fee on their health policy premiums, which would ultimately increase costs for individuals and businesses. ABI and our members have lobbied members of our Congressional delegation to back legislation to either delay or repeal this onerous tax. ABI would like to thank Sen. Ernst for her support of the business community by co-sponsoring this bill. 

Chief Justice Cady Passes Away
Mark Cady, chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, suffered a heart attack last week and is deceased at the age of 66. Cady, who received his education from Drake University, authored multiple high-profile decisions during his tenure on the Supreme Court. He was first appointed by former Gov. Branstad to serve as a district court judge in 1986. From there, he would be selected to serve on the Iowa Courts of Appeals in 1994, was named to the Supreme Court in 1998 and then became Chief Justice in 2011. Gov. Reynolds will select a new justice to serve on the court sometime next year. Cady’s successor will be the governor’s third appointee to Iowa’s high court. A public service was held on Wednesday in Des Moines. ABI extends our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Cady family for their loss.
Conference Workshop Proposals Due Dec. 1
Want to share your wisdom with Iowa's top business leaders? The deadline to submit workshop proposals for the 2020 Taking Care of Business Conference is Dec. 1. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Conference attendees pre-register for workshops, and attendance typically ranges from 20-85 participants for each workshop. The hour-long workshops will be held on Wednesday, June 10. The 2020 conference is June 9-11 in Cedar Rapids.
ABI Manufacturing Conference Receives National Coverage
IndustryWeek columnist Paul Ericksen recently wrote a column recapping his experience at the Advanced Manufacturing Conference on October 2, 2019. Here is what he had to say: "The IABI should be commended for putting together this conference. Based on my experience, I believe Iowa-based manufacturers should make themselves aware of and consider participating in future such events." Read the full article .
Your Next Great Employee May Just Need a Second Chance
Eric Prosperi
Director of Commercial Services
Goodwill of Central Iowa

With unemployment as low as it is, I see many companies taking a second look at hiring candidates with criminal backgrounds. It may be out of necessity to fill openings, but it can be a positive change for businesses and communities. 

Many re-entry candidates have advanced skills that companies need. Many also are motivated to be successful because they know a job can be the difference between successfully re-joining society and going back behind bars.

Working with re-entry candidates can have challenges too. Fortunately there are non-profit programs that companies can partner with to ensure success. The CEiR program is a good example. Read more .
Sukup Manufacturing Co. Announces Leadership Succession
Charles E. Sukup (pictured) , president of Sukup Manufacturing Co., announced Tuesday that on February 1, 2020, and after 25 years, he will transition from chair, president and CEO to chairman of the board. His brother, Steve Sukup, who has been CFO and vice president will become president and CEO. Although Charles will no longer be involved in day-to-day operations, he looks forward to being an ambassador for Sukup Manufacturing Co. and supporting its growth and success in sales and product innovation. Read the full news release .
Collins Aerospace Featured in U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Blog about Child Care Initiatives
Here is an excerpt from the blog, Case Study Launch: Starting Small and Growing to Meet Childcare Demand: "In Cedar Rapids, a small group of employers partnered to develop a childcare solution that would allow each company to benefit from the in-demand services while sharing the costs. Due to success of that initiative and continued high demand from within the community, the Collins Aerospace Day Academy was built." Read the full blog post .

Manpower Supports Veterans this Holiday Season
While the Christmas season can represent very happy times for some, it can be a very challenging time for others. For the second year, Manpower is facilitating the Shop for a Veteran event, to help veterans who are currently hospitalized shop for their loved ones.
For those who are hospitalized due to illness or injury, shopping and preparing for Christmas is nearly impossible. To help provide a bit of a feeling of normalcy, Manpower helps our veterans who are hospitalized or receiving services from VA Central Iowa Healthcare “shop” for their loved ones for Christmas. Read the full news release .

R&R Employees Step Up Giving Efforts in 2019
As part of an annual giving campaign, employees of R&R Realty Group (R&R) pledged a record-breaking $175,713 to the United Way of Central Iowa. This figure represents a substantial increase from the $150,725.79 given during the 2018 campaign. R&R’s employee participation rate for the 2019 United Way campaign topped 90 percent, a figure which Rupprecht says is due to the company’s Employee Engagement Committee. Read the full news release .

Sandler Sales Training Launches Daily Sales Tip Podcast
Sandler Sales Training has launched a podcast, “Supercharge Your Day with Super K,” featuring a short daily sales tip video from CEO and owner Karl Schaphorst. The podcast is designed to help encourage you, increase your closing rate, put an end to “maybe's,” have fun selling and most importantly become a sales professional.  Sign up  to receive the free podcast sent to your inbox each weekday.

Give Back Iowa Challenge
Volunteerism, at its core, has an enormous impact on the health and well-being of communities in our state. Last year, over 50 organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit, took part in the Give Back Iowa Challenge organized by Volunteer Iowa.

The Give Back Iowa Challenge is an eight-week statewide employer-supported volunteer initiative, which serves as a competitive way to encourage organizations and businesses alike to participate in community volunteering. The challenge runs from April 1 through May 31. It’s simple; register your organization, track the hours of your employees, record those hours on our system and celebrate your employees!

Registration is now open. Register your company before March 20 to be included in all pre-event media. Complete information and resources on how to participate and find volunteer opportunities are provided in the Give Back Iowa Challenge toolkit .