February 21, 2019
Legislative Committees Advance Employment Bills
This week, legislators held meetings in the House and Senate on bills that ABI members have expressed concern about, and some are included on ABI’s  Job Crushers list . Here are just a few that advanced this week.
  • HSB 42 – IWD Policy Bill: Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) proposed legislation that would make changes to Iowa’s unemployment insurance system. Read more.
  • HF 259 – Firearms on Employer Property: Similar to SF 213 currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee, HF 259 prohibits employers from having a policy that doesn’t allow employees, volunteers or subcontractors to bring a firearm on to the employer’s property as long as it's locked and out of sight in the motor vehicle of the employee. Read more.
  • SSB 1149 – Unemployment Legislation: Similar to HSB 42, but includes employee misconduct language, the subcommittee held a second meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21 to take more comments from the public and ask questions of Iowa Workforce Development. Read more.
  • SF 240 – Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA): A subcommittee of the Senate Local Government Committee met Tuesday, Feb. 19 to debate legislation that would add strict scrutiny in cases of the state proving a compelling reason to burden a person’s exercise of religion. Read more.
  • SF 243 – E-Verify: In the Iowa Senate, a Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on SF 243, which mandates all employers with one or more employees use the federal government’s e-verify system. Read more.

Idiopathic Falls Supreme Court Case Legislation Introduced
Last fall, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned two lower courts and the state workers’ compensation commissioner in a ruling related to an idiopathic/unexplained fall due to an individual’s medical condition that happened to occur at the workplace. The Supreme Court’s interpretation is explained in an earlier ABI newsletter  article . Read more .

Future Ready Iowa Appropriation Legislation Introduced
ABI’s priority in 2019 is once again workforce. This week the House released  HSB 179 , which includes full funding for the Future Ready Iowa Initiative as passed by the Legislature in 2018. The funding, among other items, includes $17.2 million for the Last Dollar Scholarship and $1.2 million for the Iowa Employer Innovation Fund, which will help encourage public-private partnerships around the state. Read more .

House GOP Releases FY20 Budget Targets
House Republicans unveiled their budget targets for Fiscal Year 2020 on Tuesday. Their budget proposal is $7,667,975,760, which is just slightly more than what Gov. Reynolds put forward in her budget. The revealing of budget targets is one of the first steps in the process of crafting a budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning in July. Some key areas of the proposed budget include $41.02 million for economic development, $41.10 million for ag and natural resources, and $961.40 million for education. Read more .

EPC Denies Petition for Rulemaking on Numeric Lake Standards
The Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) met Feb. 19 to discuss the Iowa Environmental Council’s petition for rulemaking regarding numeric water quality standards for nutrients in public lakes. The argument in favor of the rule claimed the state must protect Iowa lakes, jobs and personal experiences associated with enjoying the lakes. Prior to the meeting, ABI had submitted  comments  with several other organization opposing the petition. Read more .

Department of Revenue Proposes Remote Sellers Rule
The Department of Revenue provided notice of rules to implement the sales tax collection requirements imposed on marketplace facilitators and remote sellers by the tax reform bill passed by the Iowa Legislature in 2018. According to the department, the proposed rules provide information about how and when remote sellers and marketplace facilitators are required to register, collect and remit sales tax in Iowa. Read more .

Governor Selects New Iowa Supreme Court Justice
Gov. Reynolds announced on Wednesday that she had chosen Christopher McDonald to serve on the Iowa Supreme Court. McDonald, from Des Moines, was previously a justice on the Iowa Court of Appeals and has served in that capacity since September 2013. He had also been a district judge in the Fifth Judicial District. He received his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law and his undergraduate degree from Grand View University. McDonald is Gov. Reynolds’ second Supreme Court pick. Read more from the  Des Moines Register .  

Special Election Set For Senate District 30
Following the resignation of State Senator Jeff Danielson (D-Cedar Falls) last week, Gov. Reynolds has set the special election to fill his vacant Senate seat for Tuesday, March 19. Danielson, a four-term senator and fireman, announced he is taking a new job that will be disclosed at a later time. Both parties will hold nominating conventions in the immediate future to select nominees who will then face each other in the election next month. Read more .
Registration is Now Open for ABI's Annual Conference
Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan will headline ABI’s 2019 Taking Care of Business Conference, June 4-6, in Ames. The conference is expected to draw 1,000 business leaders to venues including Hilton Coliseum and the Sukup End Zone Club at Jack Trice Stadium. Read the full news release .
Drew Wynes Joins ABI Public Policy Team
Drew Wynes has joined the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) as its public policy coordinator.

He will work to advance ABI’s priorities during the 2019 legislative session, including workforce, competitive business climate and regulatory reform.

“From elections to issues, local to state government, Drew brings a wide variety of experience to benefit ABI members,” said ABI President Mike Ralston. “We’re excited to have him join the ABI public policy team.”

Read the full news release .
3 Ways to Invest in Iowa's Qualified Opportunity Zones
Mark K. Phillips
Cash Management Services Manager
Bank Iowa

When I first learned of the prospects of opportunity zones in Iowa, my imagination went wild.

Opportunity zones are low-income census tracts identified by economic development leaders as distressed communities worthy of attention and investment.

I could think of 30+ clients who could benefit in a huge way from participating in the program. I spent the rest of that week on the phone making sure every single person I knew who was in a position to leverage this program knew about it and was thinking expansively.

It’s not every day you get to save (and earn!) money by helping others. Read more .
ACS and PTC Partnership Launch Party Featuring IoT and AR Solutions
Join ACS and PTC for their partnership launch party, Feb. 27, 5-7 p.m., at ACS headquarters in Urbandale. While there, discover how they're bringing groundbreaking technologies–internet of things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR)–to Iowa. Highlights include a sneak peak of PTC's ThingWorx Platform and Augmented Reality Platform, an opportunity to meet the experts and a prize drawing. Learn more about the  launch party . Also, read a  news release  about the new partnership and how ACS is building upon the Iowa Governor's manufacturing initiatives.

Make It OK: Mental Health in the Workplace Event is March 4
Mental health impacts all aspects of our lives, including the time we spend at the workplace. That’s why your organization is invited to attend Make It Ok: Mental Health in the Workplace   on March 4 at the Science Center of Iowa. Explore the  Mental Health: Mind Matters  exhibit, as well as hear from Minnesota Public Radio host  John Moe . His podcast,  “The Hilarious World of Depression,”  is critically-acclaimed and shares how mental health stigma is impacting today’s workplace. Learn more and register .

Rob Cheng, CEO of PC Matic, Recognized as 2019 CRN® Channel Chief
PC Matic has announced that CRN® , a brand of The Channel Company, has named Rob Cheng, CEO, to its prestigious list of 2019 Channel Chiefs. The top IT channel leaders included on this list continually strive to drive growth and revenue in their organization through their channel partners. Read the full news release .

Back by Popular Demand: Industrial Stormwater Training
ABI members will be among those featured in Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership's (ISWEP's) workshop, The Bottom Line on Industrial Stormwater, on March 19 in Coralville. Presentations will feature experts on industrial stormwater permitting and compliance. Learn more and register .

FedEx Launches Seventh Annual Small Business Grant Contest
FedEx Corp. announced on Tuesday the launch of its seventh annual Small Business Grant Contest. This year, the contest offers grants and services to 10 U.S.-based small businesses, distributing a collective prize pool of $220,500—the largest sum since the contest was established in 2012. Learn more .