July 2, 2020
Governor Finishes Signing 2020 Legislation
Gov. Reynolds is typically afforded 30 days to review and approve or veto legislation upon the conclusion of the legislative session. The March suspension of the session and its conclusion in June accelerated that timeline, as all budget measures and many other pieces of legislation became law on July 1. The governor concluded action earlier this week and signed bills of interest to ABI members this week. 

  • HF2589: Medical Marijuana Update Bill – For three legislative sessions, ABI has sought to eliminate potential conflict in the Iowa Code between the evolution of the medical marijuana program and the right of an employer to maintain a drug-free workplace. HF2589 includes all employer workplace protections found elsewhere in the Iowa Code within its own text, thus preventing any misinterpretation of legislative intent and preserving drug-free workplaces.  

  • HF2629: Future Ready Iowa – This legislation was a priority of ABI. The new law makes improvements to smaller apprenticeship programs, provides mandatory standards for computer science education and includes challenge grants for employers developing innovative child care solutions.

  • HF2641: Department of Revenue Update Bill – During most sessions, the Department of Revenue will propose legislation updating the practices of the department to provide clarity to taxpayers, and to ease the administration of tax laws and other non-controversial topics. This year’s bill was amended to prevent state taxation of overseas income [GILTI and 163(j)] exposed to taxation by the earlier passage of federal tax policy aimed at repatriation of overseas corporate income.

Gov. Reynolds Acts to Prevent Unemployment Withholding Tax Increase in 2021
Historically high levels of unemployment related to COVID-19 in Iowa have led to unprecedented claims on Iowa’s Unemployment Trust Fund. The fund level is maintained by withholding taxes paid by employers on a per employee basis. The governor sought and received guidance from the federal government that federal monies could be used to offset the COVID-19 hit to the unemployment trust fund. Today, the governor announced she will deposit $490 million in CARES Act fund to the trust fund. By taking this action the governor has ensured that employers will not see a withholding tax increase in 2021, as the rate will remain in Tax Table 7. More Iowans will be employed next year because of this action. Thank you, Gov. Reynolds! Read the  news release .

Join the ABI Public Policy Team for Virtual Regional Meetings in Two Weeks
ABI’s public policy team of JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf will provide a breakdown of the 2020 legislative session from ABI’s perspective and look ahead to the 2020 elections in a series of virtual meetings to take place in two weeks. The meetings will give members an opportunity to learn more about what happened at the Capitol in 2020 and ABI's accomplishments, and to provide input on 2021 policy issues. There will be three meetings; one for the west, central and east membership regions. See the schedule and register below.

ABI Public Policy Committee Meetings to Be Held Virtually in August
For member safety and because some may not be able to travel due to company policies, ABI will hold all annual public policy development meetings via Zoom. We still plan to have guest speakers begin each meeting, prior to the policy development process. If you have already registered for the meetings, you will receive a link prior to the meeting and no further action is required from you. Please see below for the full schedule of meetings and registration links.

  • Employment & Workforce: August 5 | 11:15 a.m. | Register
  • Workplace and Product Safety: August 6 | 11:15 a.m. | Register
  • Environment: August 13 | 11:15 a.m. | Register
  • Economic Growth: August 18 | 11:15 a.m. | Register
  • Tax: August 20 | 11:15 a.m. | Register

Initial Unemployment Claims Remain Relatively Low
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced there were 8,300 initial unemployment claims filed by individuals for the week of June 21-27. That number is slightly lower than last week. There was approximately $34 million paid out of the state unemployment trust fund, which is about $4 million less than the week prior and does not include federal benefits paid. The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims was 152,781, which is about the same as last week. The top sectors that saw the most initial claims filed included manufacturing (2,172); those not identified by industry including the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (1,247); and health care and social assistance (610). Read IWD's  news release .

Federal Spotlight: USMCA is In Effect
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trade deal replacing NAFTA, went into full effect yesterday. The trade accord is something ABI and the business community at large lobbied our Congressional delegation on intensely, as Mexico and Canada are Iowa’s top two trading partners. The deal makes several changes including strengthening the rules of origin for the production of vehicles, adding stronger patent and intellectual property protections, lowering tariffs on a number products and more. ABI appreciates all members of our Congressional delegation for voting in favor of this agreement, which provides more certainty and market access for businesses.

Federal Spotlight: Congress Approves Extension of the Paycheck Protection Program
This week, the Senate and House both passed legislation aimed at extending the timeframe in which businesses may apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program, which was a part of the CARES Act signed into law in March, allows for businesses to apply for forgivable loans to help cover the cost of payroll and other expenses including utilities and rent. The bill that was approved extends the timeframe businesses may apply from June 30 to August 8. According to  CNBC , there is still $130 billion that can be distrib uted in the fund. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation very soon.
Steven Bradford Elected ABI Board Chair; New Executive Committee, Board Members Also Elected
Steven Bradford of HNI Corporation (pictured above) has been elected chair of the ABI Board of Directors for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Members unanimously elected Bradford during ABI’s 117 th annual meeting on June 29.

“Steven Bradford’s strong, thoughtful leadership ensures ABI will have a successful year,” said ABI President Mike Ralston. “His focus on principled business decisions and what is best for Iowa will mean terrific things for ABI and for our state.” Read the full news release .
Opportunities Awareness Program Now Accepting Applications for Aug. 10-13, Now Virtual
Leadership Iowa University offers a statewide perspective and personalized experience for participants to discover their next steps and move toward their goals–and it's going virtual on August 10-13!  Help us connect the emerging professionals and leaders in our state.   Nominate >    Share >    More information >

Leadership Iowa University is accepting applications at www.LeadershipIowaUniversity.com , now through July 24 or until the program is filled. The participant cost of the program is $75. Those interested may apply as individuals or representatives of their organizations; companies may encourage and support their intern(s) through the program. Capacity is limited between 20-30 participants to ensure a meaningful experience. Applicants will be notified of their status and accepted on a rolling admission basis. With questions, contact  foundation@iowaabi.org  or 515.280.8000.
RSVP Now for the Live Virtual Finale
Many of us have gone from professional wear to “where’s my sweatpants?” The ABI Foundation is following suit with our online auction and live virtual finale where it’s “Black Tie Optional.”

Bid from the convenience of wherever you are, in whatever you’re wearing, starting on Monday, July 20 at 7 a.m. Then join us through Zoom for the live virtual finale on Friday, July 24 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. as bidding closes at noon!  Dress to the nines or lunchbreak in loungewear with your beverage of choice in hand as our longtime auctioneer Nate Weaton and board member Lori Schaefer-Weaton host us for networking, to countdown bidding and a toast!  RSVP for the Virtual Live Finale now >
Thanks to You, We’re Weathering the Pandemic Well
Mike Ralston

A day ago, ABI began a new fiscal year. As I note every year, the date is much more than a simple accounting mark.

July is important to ABI because it provides the opportunity to take stock of the past year and prepare for success in the year ahead. We ask questions such as “Did we meet our programming and budget goals?” and “Did we serve members well?” The question this time, of course, was “Did ABI survive the second global pandemic in its 117 years of existence?”

Through February, ABI was enjoying a record year. There was great participation in events, terrific financial results, strong Foundation programming and legislative success. All of these things were highlights when COVID-19 hit and blew it all up.

In the face of the pandemic, ABI acted in the same way members acted. We took steps to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers (you, ABI members). We postponed or cancelled events. We worked to maximize cash flow and provide programming electronically. While the impact of the pandemic is far from over, I am pleased to say ABI has thus far weathered it well and has continued to serve members throughout it all.

That is thanks to you.  Read more .
Signs of Support Grant Program for Charitable Organizations Announced for 2020
Signarama-Ankeny has announced the 2020 grant program to benefit local charitable organizations in Polk County. Signs of Support assists charitable organizations in replacing or creating effective, affordable signage and graphics to further their mission. Application forms are available from Signarama Ankeny and are due by Sept. 15. The types of signage eligible for consideration are facility signage, event signage, ID signage and vehicle graphics. Learn more about the grant program .

ACS to Host Webinar: Technology's Essential Role in Business Recovery on July 14
The right strategy can enable your business to weather 2020 better than your competitors. Join ACS on July 14 at 11 a.m. for a virtual panel discussion on business recovery strategies, highlighting the essential role technology plays in helping organizations reduce costs, reduce risk, enable innovation and enhance the customer experience. Panelists will include: Eric Herzog, CMO and VP of Worldwide Storage Channels, IBM; Scott Sinclair, senior analyst, ESG; and Denny Fisher, chief client experience officer, ACS. Register now .

Business Publications Corporation Introduces the Iowa Stops Hunger Initiative
Last week Business Publications Corporation announced Iowa Stops Hunger , a joint, statewide project between its three flagship publications—the Business Record,  dsm  magazine and  ia  magazine—and presenting sponsor Hy-Vee to help stop hunger and fight food insecurity in Iowa. You're invited to join them on a yearlong journey as they delve into hunger through virtual events, reporting, stories, videos, a dedicated website, a custom magazine, social media and a corporate challenge for the business community.  Learn more .

JBS USA Unveils Plans to Invest $5 Million in Iowa to Support Local Communities as Part of New Hometown Strong Initiative
Building on its ongoing sustainability and social responsibility efforts, JBS USA, an American-based food company and owner of Plumrose USA, a premium branded meat company, announced plans today to invest $5 million in Iowa to help local communities respond to coronavirus and invest in the future. The investment is part of a new, national $50 million initiative called Hometown Strong that adds to commitments JBS USA has made this year to protect employees and ensure their job security amid the global pandemic. Read the full news release .

EMC Insurance Companies was recognized as the winner of two innovation awards: the Best in Category – Creativity and Best in Category – Conference Alignment awards, by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) during their annual Award in Innovation presentation on July 1, 2020. These national awards were created by NAMIC in 2014 to recognize mutual insurers that exemplify the vision and entrepreneurialism it takes to stay relevant in changing times. Read the full news release .