January 7, 2021
Comments on Violent Acts in Washington
Yesterday was an awful day for America’s republic. We have heard from many members about the actions in Washington. Our national association partners released statements related to the violence that occurred. You can read them by clicking on the links below. ABI joins the many association members that have issued statements condemning the actions of the violent mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol yesterday.
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, released this statement yesterday.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, issued this statement yesterday.
2021 Legislative Session Kicks Off on Monday; Register for Legislative Update; ABI Legislative Reception Postponed, Virtual Briefing Taking Place on Wednesday
The 89th Iowa General Assembly will convene next week as lawmakers from across the state will gather in Des Moines to develop policy and set the budget for the coming fiscal year. Republicans maintain their trifecta following the 2020 election. Don’t forget to register for ABI’s annual legislative briefing, held virtually on Wed., January 13, to get insight into the 2021 session.

The first week of the legislative session is largely formalities with new members being sworn into office and legislative leaders giving opening day speeches. Gov. Reynolds will deliver her Condition of the State Address on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. where she will lay out the legislative initiatives she would like to accomplish this year. Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen will deliver the State of the Judiciary Address on Wednesday morning, and Major General Benjamin Corell will deliver the Condition of the Iowa National Guard Address on Thursday morning.

As session progresses, ABI’s public policy team of JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf will hold every-other-week legislative updates via Zoom exclusively for ABI members. Members will have the opportunity to learn about the latest issues affecting the business community at the Capitol, as well as have the opportunity to ask any questions. The first virtual update is Friday, Jan. 29 at 8 a.m. Please email Michelle Vollstedt to register.

Reminder: ABI’s legislative reception has been postponed. A virtual legislative briefing will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. You can register here

IEDA/IDPH Hosting COVID-19 Vaccine Information Webinar for Businesses Tomorrow
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) will host a COVID-19 vaccine information webinar for business and industry tomorrow afternoon. The webinar, from 2:30-4 p.m., can be accessed through this link. If you already use Microsoft Teams, you can choose to open it there; otherwise, choose “watch on the web instead”. An account is not required. Click on the “join anonymously” option on the splash page in the browser. Participants will be able to ask questions as time permits using the Q&A chat window.

Air Quality Bureau Seeking No Fee Increase for FY22
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Air Quality Bureau held its annual fee advisory group meetings yesterday and announced that it will not increase fees on industry for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021. During the joint meeting, Air Quality Bureau staff went through each individual air quality program including their financial pictures, staffing updates, accomplishments and more. The bureau is seeking feedback on their proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022 and any projections on Title V tonnages. You can view the documents here. Please send any feedback to Brad Hartkopf by Monday, Feb. 8.

Davis to Speak at Business Record 2021 Legislative Session Event
ABI Vice President of Public Policy JD Davis will preview key issues the business community will be facing during the 2021 legislative session on a virtual panel Tuesday, Jan. 12 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. In addition to Davis, the Iowa Business Council, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Chamber Alliance and United Way of Central Iowa will be featured. For more information and to register go here

Treasury and IRS Announce PPP Expenses Now Deductible
The United States Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance yesterday that now allows for deductions of payments for eligible expenses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The guidance reflects changes that were implemented in the latest COVID-19 relief bill recently signed into law by President Trump. This is very good news for business and industry, and something ABI strongly supports. You can learn more by viewing the news release.

Miller-Meeks Provisionally Seated in Congress; Special Election Date Set
Members elected to serve in the 117th Congress were sworn into office this week. Three of four of Iowa’s U.S. House members are freshmen including former State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa). Congresswoman Miller-Meeks was provisionally seated alongside the rest of her colleagues as Democrat Rita Hart continues to contest the certified election results of the 2nd Congressional District race before the U.S. House Committee on Administration. The ball is currently in the court of the Miller-Meeks campaign, as they are in the middle of a 30-day window to file a response to Hart’s petition. Following that, the committee can ultimately open an investigation or dismiss the claims.

Consequently, Miller-Meeks has resigned her state senate seat, and a special election will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 26 to fill the vacancy. Senate District 41, located in Southeast Iowa, comprises Ottumwa, Fairfield and all of Davis and Van Buren Counties. Both parties will fight hard for this tossup seat although the outcome will not affect which party controls the upper chamber, as the GOP maintains a significant majority. 

Federal Spotlight: One Party Control in Washington, Democrats Win Both Georgia Senate Races
On Tuesday, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in what became the most expensive Congressional races in history. Ossoff, a film producer and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor, both won by narrow margins, and their victories will change the political landscape in Washington D.C. for at least the next two years. The balance of power in the Senate was at hand and the Democrats will now control the upper chamber with a 50-50 margin plus Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Democrats already controlled the U.S. House and the White House. Should Senate Democrats choose to eliminate the legislative filibuster, there is potential for negative policy changes for business including tax increases, additional regulations and legislative mandates.   
Meet Our New Members

  • Amazon
  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
  • B2B CFO
  • C12 Central Iowa
  • Cashatt Warren Family Law, P.C.
  • Greif
  • Hockenberg Search
  • LIST Consulting Group – part of Gross Group LLC
  • Western Governors University
ABI: At the Forefront of COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Discussions
Mike Ralston

Perhaps the primary reason for you to invest in an organization such as ABI is for the times you need help and information. We take that charge—being members’ source for help and information—very seriously. In that regard and for several weeks now, ABI has been at the forefront of discussions related to the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in Iowa. Our goal is to ensure that officials in charge of deployment understand the critical nature of Iowa’s workforce in ensuring life operates smoothly in our state.

The good news is that vaccine deployment is being managed in a way that’s not partisan, not even political, and that follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health are prioritizing front-line medical and health personnel, residents/patients of health care facilities, and vulnerable populations as those first in need of a vaccine. 

That’s as it should be.

Following that, and as soon as it is appropriate, our view is that manufacturing production workers and others who work in close contact should be among the next vaccinated. To that end, members of the ABI team, myself included, are carefully monitoring the situation and staying in close touch with state officials. We’re proactive with regard to this issue, and we’ll continue our work until the pandemic is behind us.

In the meantime, our guidance to ABI members remains the same with regard to questions about vaccination against COVID-19. Answers to some of those questions and recommendations are as follows...Keep reading.
Honkamp Krueger Announces Four New Partners
Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C. (HK) has announced the addition of four new partners to the firm effective January 1, 2021 (pictured from left to right, top to bottom):

  • Angela Fenner is a leader in HK’s general accounting practice and is a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.
  • Laura Hoss, CPA, works with businesses in the service, manufacturing and health care industries.
  • Joshua Miller, CPA, is a leader in HK’s tax department.
  • Dan Wilke, CPA, has more than 14 years of experience in public accounting.
"Captives: A Perfect Fit for ESOPs" Webinar Offered Twice in January
Holmes Murphy, in partnership with Innovate Captive Strategies (ICS) and the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), invites you to learn about an exclusive captive insurance opportunity created specifically for ESOP companies. Topics during this free webinar will include why to choose the ESOPs + captive model, how captives allow ESOPs to reduce their insurance cost, and how to know if you're a good fit. Register for either the Jan. 19 or Jan. 20 webinar.

The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-based Learning Wants You
The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning connects students and employers through shared projects that give students professional experience. This can include virtual projects, internships and apprenticeships. ABI members are encouraged to post a project on the clearinghouse. This three-minute video explains the clearinghouse and asks businesses to get involved. You can also see 10 project ideas to help get the right kind of ideas going. For more information, contact Jake Welchans at 515-281-5494 or jake.welchans@iowa.gov.
Charles P. Romano, Ph.D. Joins McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC
MVS is excited to announce that Charles P. Romano, Ph.D. (pictured) has joined MVS as a senior patent agent. Romano, who is a registered patent agent, brings over 30 years of biotech industry experience and a doctorate in biochemistry to serve clients in the biotech industry and university sectors. His practice will focus on preparation and prosecution of U.S. and foreign patent applications in biotech, patentability analyses and evaluation of third-party technology. Read the full news release.
UI College of Public Health Launches Rural Health Podcast Series
The University of Iowa College of Public Health launched its rural health podcast series on Tuesday. The new series talks with people in a variety of communities about their experiences and perspectives on rural life, employment and health. To listen, search “Share Public Health” wherever you get your podcasts or click here. ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain will appear in an upcoming episode on workplace and employment.

Adam Kaduce Named Temporary Urbandale City Councilor
R&R Realty Group (R&R) is pleased to support Senior Vice President Adam Kaduce as he receives a temporary appointment to the Urbandale City Council. Kaduce will be filling the seat held by Matt Blake as he deploys to the Middle East for roughly nine months.“There are few people more passionate about the Urbandale community than Adam,” said Paul Rupprecht, President of R&R Real Estate Advisors. “We’re proud of his accomplishment and sincerely appreciate his community involvement." Read the full news release.