September 3, 2020
Unemployment Insurance Tax Tables Remain the Same for 2021
In tremendous news for the business community, Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) officially announced Monday that Iowa employers will remain in Tax Table 7 for 2021. In June, Gov. Reynolds allocated $490 million out of the $1.25 billion Iowa received in CARES Act funding to support the unemployment trust fund balance after record payments due to COVID-19. According to IWD Director Beth Townsend, this action will save Iowa employers more than $400 million in increased unemployment taxes in 2021. ABI appreciates the governor’s leadership on this issue. Read IWD’s full news release.

Friend of Iowa Business Endorsements to Be Announced Next Week
The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee (IIPAC) Board of Directors met Tuesday to determine Friend of Iowa Business Endorsements for candidates running for the Iowa Legislature. The IIPAC Board considers a number of different factors when determining who to endorse including an incumbent’s voting record on pro-jobs bills, a candidate’s statements on business issues, the makeup of a district and feedback from the ABI members. The Friends of Iowa Business endorsements will be announced next week.  

New Workers' Compensation Rates Remain Stable
Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen approved the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) August 3, 2020 workers' compensation rate filing with an overall increase of 0.3%. The voluntary and assigned risk rates will be effective on Jan. 1, 2021. Though this is a slight increase, rates have gone down since 2017 with an average 24.5% decrease overall since that point in time.

ABI member the Business Record also published an article in their daily newsletter yesterday featuring workers’ compensation. The article mentioned that in Iowa more than 500 claims have been filed since COVID-19, attempting to claim COVID-19 as a workplace injury. The article also highlights how other states have addressed this issue, examines SF2338, which is the COVID-19 Response and Back-to-Business Liability Act that ABI spearheaded during the 2020 Legislative Session, and also lays out the role of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner in these matters.

ABI’s public policy team believes it will be extremely difficult for a claimant to prove they contracted COVID-19 in the workplace and receive work comp benefits under current Iowa law. This is a topic we will continue to monitor closely and appreciate any feedback about what you have experienced in your company.

Governor and IDPH Team Up for #StepUpMaskUpIA Campaign
Gov. Reynolds, along with the Iowa Department of Public Health, launched the #StepUpMaskUpIA Campaign at the end of July to encourage Iowans to take steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. A primary aspect of the outreach campaign is to encourage Iowans to wear a face covering when they are in public. Taking this action has been shown to be an effective measure at slowing the spread of the virus. If your company would like to take advantage of the resources that IDPH has available for the effort, click here

Initial, Continuing Unemployment Claims and Trust Fund Payments Shrink
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced there were 6,377 initial unemployment claims filed by individuals for the week of August 23-29. Approximately $21.6 million was paid out of the state unemployment trust fund, which is about $1.6 million less than the week prior. The number of continuing unemployment claims was 76,832, which is a decrease of 6,480 claims from last week. The top sectors that saw the most initial claims filed included manufacturing (1,357); those not identified by industry including the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (1,118); and health care and social assistance (545). Read IWD's news release.

DOR Extends Tax Filing Deadlines for Businesses Affected By Governor’s Latest Proclamation
Last week, the Iowa Department of Revenue (DOR) announced they would extend some tax filing deadlines for certain businesses affected by COVID-19. Director Kraig Paulsen signed Order 2020-04, which permitted this action to go into effect. The latest information on Iowa tax changes can be found here.
Executive Open Recap
This year's Executive Open on Monday looked a little different. Elbow bumps replaced high-fives and handshakes, networking was socially distanced, and impromptu conversations across the parking lot took the place of the post-round reception.

What made the event a huge success once again is what remains the same each year–a great turnout of 100+ golfers, valuable introductions being made and important deals being struck.

Congratulations to the winning group: Brian Crotty, Tony Niedert, Devin Boyer and Nick Pirotte. Thanks to all of the golfers and sponsors who participated, and to the staff of the Des Moines Golf and Country Club for their warm hospitality.
#ABIMFG2020 is Going Virtual
For the first time ever, ABI's annual Advanced Manufacturing Conference is going virtual. This year's conference is Sept. 30 from 9 a.m.-2:15 p.m.

Highlights will include:

  • Keynote address, "Business, Industry and COVID-19: The Industry 4.0 Guide to Response, Recovery & Rebound" by AI industry influencer Matthew Lamons
  • Women Leaders in Manufacturing panel discussion with Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation), Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company) and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity)
  • Two tracks of workshops–11 options in all

See the complete agenda and register now.
Upcoming Election: Be Informed, Get Involved
Mike Ralston

There is an old axiom that says once Labor Day is behind us, the political season begins. I am not sure that is accurate anymore, because it seems that the political season never ends. At any rate, there are roughly two months until Election Day and Labor Day are almost upon us, so the political season must be here.

In keeping with that fact, the board of directors governing ABI's PAC, the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee, met Tuesday at ABI. Members of the board worked through a full agenda and made decisions regarding several officials and candidates to receive IIPAC's "Friend of Iowa Business" endorsement. Those officials and candidates (both Democrats and Republicans) who are receiving endorsements have demonstrated their support for business, and IIPAC is proud to support them. 

To keep you posted on this and other election news, Vice President of Public Policy JD Davis, Director of Public Policy Brad Hartkopf, Communications Manager David Hildahl and Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt maintain several communications. You can find information in ABI’s weekly newsletter, in special elections publications available to IIPAC donors and in other forums.

You can also find valuable resources at another place on the web: There you will find information to help educate you and your employees on issues, on candidates and on ways to be involved. IAVotes is focused on nonpartisan advocacy and unlike IIPAC, does not support candidates. It seeks only to educate and inform.

Most importantly, contribute, support and help pro-business candidates. Encourage your employees to register and to vote. You cannot tell them for whom to vote, but you can share information about where candidates stand on the issues. Surveys indicate that your employees want to know this kind of information.

And if you haven't contributed to IIPAC, please do so NOW. I have, and so have ABI members (and ABI staff members) across Iowa. It's important!
Fredrikson & Byron Announces New Shareholders
Fredrikson & Byron announced Wednesday the election of three new shareholders to the Des Moines office: Tracy L. Deutmeyer (left), Jennifer L. Hodge Burkett (middle) and Kendra D. Simmons (right). The three work in the advertising, marketing & trademark; real estate; and employment & labor groups, respectively. The 300-attorney law firm is based in Minneapolis with offices in Bismarck; Des Moines; Fargo; Mankato; St. Paul; Saltillo, Mexico; and Shanghai, China. Read the full news release.

Forty-four Davis Brown Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2021 
Forty-four Davis Brown attorneys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in the 27th edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the Des Moines metropolitan area in their respective fields. Selection is based on an annual peer-review survey in which more than 87,000 attorneys cast millions of votes on the legal abilities of other attorneys in their practice areas around the country. Four attorneys were also recognized by their peers as “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas. Read the full news release.

Kyle Mertz Named EVP of Benefits Division, TrueNorth Companies, L.C.
TrueNorth has announced that benefits principal and practice leader, Kyle Mertz, will assume the role of executive vice president of the benefits division, effective Sept. 1. Mertz will oversee the strategic direction of the division, including business development, innovation, and leadership and colleague advancement. He has been in the insurance industry since 2006. Read the full news release.