Latest ABI News from the Statehouse on Friday - Monday Memo 3/8/21

March 8, 2021

Legislative Update Friday

Periodically throughout the legislative session, ABI lobbyists host a Zoom conference to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each Zoom.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

The next update will be held this Friday, March 12th, at 8:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  This will be the first update following the completion of the General Assembly’s first legislative funnel deadline, so there will be a lot to cover.  The members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at    

2021 ABI Workers' Compensation Webinar March 23

The 2021 edition of ABI's biennial Workers' Compensation Seminar will be held later this month.  The seminar will be held by Zoom on Tuesday, March 23.  

The seminar will include the latest information on the status of workers' compensation processes and what they mean for your company.  The program will also include other information, such as best-practice data from other companies.  To register, please go to   I look forward to seeing your HR, risk management, or other staff members on the webinar. 

David Hildahl to Leave ABI; New Video Series Coming

Last Tuesday afternoon, ABI Communications Manager David Hildahl told me he is leaving ABI.  David will be joining the ITA Group as a senior writer a week from today, on March 15.  We appreciate David’s work for ABI and we wish him the best.  

Watch for more information soon on the search to fill the communications position.  In the meantime, ABI is working with former Iowa broadcaster Steffi Lee to help with the communications function.  In addition, Steffi is helping to develop a series of videos about association happenings.   Each video will share content about upcoming ABI programs and initiatives, public policy news, and highlights of member companies.  We are excited about this project and look forward to bringing you the first video soon. 

Make Your Convention, Lodging Reservations Now

ABI members and staff are heavy into planning for the association’s 118th annual convention.  The 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference will be held June 8-10 in Coralville/Iowa City and it is shaping up to be a spectacular event.  

Many ABI members have already made their reservations for the conference.  If you haven't made your reservation yet, you can go to and take care of it today.  That link will provide you with information about lodging and information about the conference agenda and speakers, information about terrific venues and special events, and information about the incredible list of things to do in the Iowa River Landing area and the region in general.  Perhaps most importantly, you can also register for the convention.  

All the information you need is on this website.  Or, if you wish to have the ABI staff handle your reservation, simply reply to this email message and I’ll make sure it gets handled.  See you in Coralville/Iowa City in June! 

Call is Out for Great Foundation Auction Items

Speaking of the annual conference, one of the highlights of the conference each year is the auction that benefits the programs of the ABI Foundation.  And, as you read in the Monday Memo of a month ago, the ABI Foundation staff is calling for your donations for terrific auction items. 

With the annual conference just a few months away, Foundation staffers are looking for packages/donations for both the live and silent auction.  If you have donated in the past, please do so again.  If you haven’t donated items to the auction, please take a moment to think about how you or your business can contribute. The conference auction is vital to the success and sustainability of the Foundation’s life-changing programs. Thank you for your consideration. 

LI, BH Nominations Encouraged

Leadership Iowa and Business Horizons are two of the ABI Foundation’s flagship programs.  LI is one of America’s oldest and most successful leadership development programs.  BH provides a terrific week-long entrepreneurial experience for Iowa high school students each summer.  The 2021-2022 Leadership Iowa Class will convene in October and Business Horizons 2021 will be held in July at Central College in Pella. 

Now is the time that you can help the program in an important way.  Nominate participants for LI and students for BH.  Making nominations doesn’t cost a cent and is easy to do.  Simply click on and/or for more information and to make your nominations.  

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

As noted in last week’s memorandum, ABI continues to work with state and local officials related to distribution of the various COVID vaccines now being deployed throughout Iowa.  We are now hearing of greatly improved county vaccination efforts, with more good news to come in the form of increased vaccine doses. Count on ABI to stay on top of this until your employees are vaccinated.  

ABI Executive Committee Meeting April 8; Next Board Meeting May 13

The ABI Executive Committee will next meet by Zoom on April 8.  The next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors (after tomorrow) will be held May 13.  Please watch for more information. 

ABI Working with Federal Partners to Oppose Changes to California Proposition 65

Two weeks ago, ABI was contacted by a member expressing concerns about proposed changes to California Proposition 65.  We have since heard from others.  The regulation, which has been on the books in California for decades, pertains to material labeling for health and safety reasons.  California regulators are proposing to drastically change the regulation and thus its impact on businesses. 

The proposed changes are inappropriate, anti-business, and unnecessary.  ABI is working with our federal partners the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to oppose the changes.  We hope to have more information soon and will provide news as it develops. 

BCC Advisers Shares COVID-19 Impact on M&A

The latest edition of baton, the newsletter from longtime ABI member BCC Advisers arrived last week and it is another great read.  Consistently one of the most informative company newsletters around, this edition was chock full of information about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mergers and acquisitions and about the M&A industry in general. 

Even with the pandemic, there are actions to take to benefit you and your company and there are opportunities to be had.  Click here: to read the newsletter for yourself.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines) and the BCC team for the great information! 

Mike Espeset Elected MBI Secretary, Morgan Stanley Names John Gilliland Vice President

Congratulations to longtime ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames) who was recently elected board secretary for the Masters Builders of Iowa, a great ABI member organization.  Mike is a longtime MBI board member and he will be a terrific officer for MBI. 

A tip of the hat goes to ABI member and sponsor John Gilliland (Morgan Stanley, Des Moines), who let me know about Mike’s election.  And, John was recently promoted to Vice President at Morgan Stanley.  Congratulations and best wishes to Mike and John! 

Great News: Nate Weaton Checks in from Fairfield

It was wonderful to pick up the phone Thursday afternoon and hear the voice of ABI member and former ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield).  As you know, Nate has been battling cancer and about 4 weeks ago, had surgery involving his lymph nodes and some other issues.  Ladies and gentlemen, it was MAJOR surgery and lasted about 15 hours long. 

Here is what matters and it is all good news.  The results of the surgery showed no tumors and no sign of cancer remaining.  Nate dealt with a cardiac issue that has now been treated with medication and he is feeling better every day.  He is even spending a couple of hours each day back at work managing his companies in Fairfield.  

Boy, it was terrific hearing from Nate and I know we are all glad he is doing so well.  I also know we will continue to keep Nate and Lori in our thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for checking in, Nate!