While we are only halfway into 2023, the majority of state legislatures have already adjourned for the year. Currently, only nine states are still in session: California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Lawmakers in the rest of the states have gone back to their home districts and will not consider any more legislation until 2024.
Throughout the year, AEM has traveled to state capitols across the US, meeting with state legislators on policies that strengthen and grow the manufacturing industry. Since January, a number of bills have passed at the state level that will improve our roads, bridges, and highways; expand broadband connectivity to our rural communities; and help grow farm income.
Lawmakers in Iowa created a Dairy Innovation Fund, which will make new technologies and equipment increasingly available to more Iowa dairy farmers through low interest loans and grants. The FY2024 budget, which included funding to create the $750,000 Dairy Innovation Fund, was signed by Governor Reynolds on June 1, 2023. With the help of the Dairy Innovation Fund, dairy farmers will be able to access critical financial resources that can lead to cost improvements and increased efficiency through the usage of modern dairy technology. AEM helped secure passage of the legislation through a comprehensive advocacy campaign, including meetings with lawmakers and an earned media campaign. Chad Huyser, president of Lely North America and member of AEM’s Dairy Leadership Group, also authored an op-ed in the Oskaloosa Herald calling for the bill’s passage.
State lawmakers passed legislation to fast-track infrastructure projects in the state of California. Governor Newsom signed into law a sweeping package of 11 budget bills and an executive order to make it easier to build transportation, clean energy, and water infrastructure across California. The governor said the proposal intends to cut down on paperwork and the process to receive approval permits for infrastructure projects. Projects on Newsom’s list include a reservoir in Northern California, a tunnel moving water to Southern California, and broadband expansion.
To take advantage of federal CHIPs Act funding for semiconductor manufacturers and the semiconductor supply chain, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 4. SB4 allocates up to $200 million to support Oregon firms applying for CHIPs dollars. Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed SB4 into law in April. This grant and loan funding reflects the approach proposed by Governor Kotek in her recommended budget.
Lawmakers in Wisconsin bolstered R&D investment in the state by increasing the Research Credit refundability from 10 percent to 25 percent. AEM worked closely with legislators, member companies, and the broader business community in Wisconsin to build support for an increase in R&D refundability. Governor Evers ultimately approved the increase from 10 to 25 percent in the state budget in July. The increase will go into effect in 2024.
Two dealer bills that were introduced earlier this year in the New Mexico House and Senate did not pass before their session adjourned on March 18. New Mexico House Bill 398, and a companion bill, Senate Bill 313, were introduced this session and made substantive changes to the existing New Mexico Franchise Termination Act, adverse to both agriculture and construction equipment manufacturers. In particular, it added a requirement that the supplier/manufacturer give a dealer 2 years notice if the termination is because the dealer has “consistently failed to meet and maintain the supplier’s requirements for reasonable standards and performance objectives.” The termination decision will be void if the dealer satisfies those requirements within the 2-year period.
While session has winded down, AEM is still engaging with governors across the country. Kicking off the year, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds welcomed manufacturing leaders from across the Hawkeye State to the State Capitol to discuss the state of the equipment manufacturing industry. Executives from a range of AEM member companies shared their thoughts on workforce development, funding for new broadband infrastructure, the benefits of precision agriculture technology, the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and rural development. In Montana, AEM met with Governor Greg Gianforte at Felco Industries. The governor met with Felco’s leadership, greeted employees, toured the facility, and discussed issues that impact the industry, including infrastructure investment, workforce development, and U.S. global competitiveness. AEM also joined Governor Henry McMaster at BOMAG in South Carolina to announce the launch of a new supply chain connectivity program, CONNEX South Carolina.
These intimate conversations provide great opportunities for AEM member company executives to share why AEM’s policy priorities are important to our industry and should be considered when lawmaking. As we finish out 2023, AEM will continue to meet with governors to advance pro-manufacturing policies.
For more AEM news and updates, subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor.