Dec. 4, 2014

December 4, 2014

Results are in: Employees want to hear from employers
More and more employees are paying attention to what their employers have to say about politics and find value in such communications, according to a new report from BIPAC, ABI’s national political partner. From BIPAC’s Bo Harmon and Mike Mullins:

A record percentage of employees, 31 percent, recalled hearing from their employer or their employer's representative about politics and the elections this cycle.  That is significantly up from 12 percent in 2012 and 21 percent in 2010. Sixty-three percent of employees who received employer communications said that it made them more likely to vote in the most recent election while only 7 percent said it made them less likely to vote.  Remarkably, of voters who did hear from their employers, a full 86 percent said they found the information helpful when deciding WHICH candidate to support. 

New ozone regulations proposed
The EPA has proposed lowering the national ozone emissions standard to the range of 65-70 parts per billion (ppb) from 75 ppb. The agency also is taking public comment on a level as low as 60 ppb. ABI’s Nicole Crain told The Des Moines Register that lowering the emission threshold could increase costs for business, especially manufacturers, and prevent them from expanding. Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), commented, “This new standard comes at the same time dozens of other new EPA regulations are being imposed that collectively place increased costs, burdens and delays on manufacturers, threaten our international competitiveness and make it nearly impossible to grow jobs.”  The draft proposal of the updated standards were due by Dec. 1, 2014 and a final rule is due by Oct. 1, 2015. You can submit comments to the EPA about the proposalhere.

Senate Democrats, Republicans announce committee assignments
Senate leaders have announced the standing committee and appropriation subcommittee assignments for the 2015 legislative session. View the full list of Democrat assignments here and Republican ranking members here. Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) also announced chairs for the House of Representative standing and budget committees. House Democrats are expected to name ranking members for the committees very soon. The 2015 legislative session convenes on Jan. 12. 

Rep. Dwayne Alons passes away
Rep. Dwayne Alons (R-Hull) died unexpectedly Saturday after being diagnosed with cancer this fall. Rep. Alons was a retired Brigadier General with the Iowa Air National Guard and was first elected to the Iowa House in 1998. He was a staunch supporter of Iowa businesses and employer policies during his service in the Legislature. More importantly, Rep. Alons was a gentleman and a wonderful public servant. He will be missed by all. ABI’s thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time. 

Special elections coming up for vacated seats in Iowa Legislature
Iowans will be heading to the polls again soon to vote in two upcoming special elections. U.S. Sen.-elect Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) recently resigned her seat in Iowa Senate District 12, representing portions of southwest Iowa. A special election to fill the seat will take place on Dec. 30. 

Voters in Iowa House District 4, which includes the majority of Sioux County, will select a new state representative on Jan. 6. The seat had been occupied by Rep. Alons. State parties will have conventions to nominate candidates for both races.

Budget hearings begin
Budget hearings have started for the upcoming fiscal year. According to Iowa law, the governor must submit budget recommendations to the Legislature by Feb. 1. For a schedule of upcoming budget hears, click here. To learn more about the state budgeting process, click here.

ABI public policy team hits road
The ABI public policy team of Nicole Crain, Rachel Geilenfeld and Zach Dalluge have spent the week visiting with legislators around Iowa. The ABI team will continue traveling to other areas of the state to discuss ABI’s 2015 legislative priorities before session begins next month. This week’s conversations with Democrat and Republican lawmakers focused on consumable supplies, transportation funding, broadband access, Iowa Prison Industries competition with the private sector and employment issues in the northwest part of the state. If you would like a member of the public policy team to stop by and visit with you or your employees, please contact Michelle Vollstedtand a member of the team will be in touch!

Join Gov., Lt. Gov. at ABI’s Legislative Reception
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds have confirmed their attendance at the ABI Annual Legislative Reception on January 14. The reception will begin at 4:30 p.m. after the legislative briefing at 4. Registration is open and the early-bird rate ends on Friday, December 19th. More than 100 people have already registered for the event. Don’t delay and register today! A big thank you to our sponsors: CIPCO, ALCOA, ADM, Alliant Energy, Monsanto, DuPont, Hormel and Nestle Purina for helping make the ABI Legislative Reception the best of the year!