Say Goodbye to 2020 with a Final Public Policy Review

December 11, 2020 | Holiday giving spirit JD Davis, Vice President, Public Policy, ABI,

We all feel it. The compulsion to close the books on 2020, move on to 2021 and have a fresh start. However, it will benefit us if we take one last look back on the ABI policy responses to the COVID-19 challenges of 2020, assess how the association reacted to them and look at how ABI is positioned to work on pro-business, pro-growth policy moving forward.

On March 17, 2020, Gov. Reynolds issued an emergency proclamation shuttering many businesses in the state while also recognizing that Iowa is home to several essential industries that must continue despite the virus. Due to necessary government action at all levels and the progress of the virus, Iowa employers and employees experienced sudden and high levels of unemployment. As a first response, state and federal resources were made available to aid the unemployed to the greatest extent possible.

As Iowa dealt with the pandemic, ABI acted to make sure that Iowa employers were recognized as the job creators that they are. ABI promoted the implementation of policy ensuring that individual member company unemployment rates would not affect that company’s 2021 unemployment tax rates. Further, with an unprecedented number of claims for unemployment benefits in aggregate, all employers were at risk of higher unemployment taxes in 2021 just to keep the Iowa Unemployment Trust fund solvent. ABI encouraged and supported action by Gov. Reynolds allocating $495 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to the Iowa Unemployment Trust Fund. This action provides certainty to all employers that unemployment withholding taxes will not increase in 2021. No other administration in the country has demonstrated such foresight.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2020, it became clear that individuals and organizations would attempt to use the court system to lay blame for who is responsible for infections of what is a community-spread pandemic. ABI led an effort to shield businesses, hospitals, schools and others from liability actions in Iowa courts. The Iowa Legislature and the governor responded by enacting a liability law that has been held out as a model for other states.

2020 was also an election year for 25 of 50 Iowa Senators and all 100 members of the Iowa House. The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee (IIPAC), the political arm of ABI, met with candidates for office, considered recommendations for support and ultimately made bipartisan endorsements of 20 Senate candidates (19 won) and 59 House candidates (57 won). When these winners take their oath of office in January 2021, ABI will again be working with chambers that are comprised of a majority of pro-business, pro-growth candidates.

None of the necessary steps to face the difficulties that 2020 presented could have been achieved without the diligent efforts of ABI members interacting with policymakers as they sought to deal with the unprecedented challenges of 2020. As we shift focus to 2021, please keep up the great public policy advocacy. Consider joining your fellow ABI members at the Legislative Briefing and Reception. You can do so by registering here: