December 2018 Group Watch: Happy Holidays!

Things never stop moving in Alabama politics and government, but we’re taking moment to soak in all the holiday spirit around us and hope that you do too. Everyone here at The Bloom Group wishes a Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year to you and yours!

November 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

While midterm elections around the country had some interesting results, here in Alabama, things played out true to past form. Republicans kept their super majority in the legislature. They also retained all of the constitutional offices. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Governor Kay Ivey became the first Republican woman elected governor in the State of Alabama. Lurleen Wallace who succeeded her husband George Wallace was elected as a Democrat in the 1960s. Ivey won a crushing victory over her Democratic challenger by a 60-40 margin.
  • Will Ainsworth was elected Lt. Governor with 61% of the vote.
  • Steve Marshall was elected Attorney General with 59% of the vote.
  • Rick Pate was unopposed for Agriculture Commissioner.
  • Greg Reed re-elected Alabama State Senate majority leader: The Senate Republican caucus met the day after elections for their caucus meeting and re-elected Senator Greg Reed of Jasper as the Senate Majority Leader. The vote was unanimous. When the legislature meets in its organizational meeting, Senator Del Marsh is expected to return as Senate Pro Tem.
  • McCutcheon unanimously nominated as Speaker: The 77 members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus unanimously voted to nominate Mac McCutcheon of Madison to continue to serve as Speaker. The nomination is tantamount to election since Republicans hold a super majority. The caucus also nominated Victor Gaston of Mobile to continue to serve as Speaker Pro Tem.

November 2018 Group Watch: Education Leaders Want More $ For Classrooms

The Alabama State Board of Education wants to put more money toward classroom supplies to relieve some of the pressure on classroom teachers. The board recently approved a budget recom-mendation asking lawmakers for $600 per teacher. The current rate is $536 per teacher. They are also asking for an additional $11.2 million for technology, professional development, library enhancement and textbooks. Other budget priorities include preschool, special education and school safety.

November 2018 Group Watch: AL Ranked in Top 10 in Biz Climate

National publication Site Selection rated Alabama No. 8 in its business climate analysis. The rating reflects the state’s consistent attractiveness for high value economic development projects. Alabama scored in the top ten in 2016 and 2017. Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said the primary objective of the state’s economic development team is to facilitate the creation of high caliber jobs that benefit the citizens and communities. Governor Kay Ivey won election recently after campaigning on her success at improving the state’s economy, recruiting new jobs and record low unemployment.

November 2018 Group Watch: Happy Thanksgiving!

‘Tis the season to count blessings and show gratitude, so as always, we’d like to tell our clients how much we appreciate the opportunity to represent you and your interests. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

Nov. 9
My son Hannon finished the Highlands College Half Marathon today. I’m so proud of him and his commitment. @HighlandsAL@HCollege

October 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Fall weather has finally arrived, and with it, increased and new funding for several programs and initiatives around the state.
  • Livingston’s University Charter School Earns $1.7M grant: The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University Charter School in Livingston a five-year grant worth at least $1.7 million as part of a program to support and increase the number of high-quality charter schools nationwide. The grant is funded through the department’s Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program (CSP) National Dissemination competitive grants competition. U.S. Senator Richard Shelby said in a statement released by his office, “The grant for West Alabama’s University Charter School will help give students the opportunity to excel academically while also building character and responsibility.” He added that the program will have a major impact on the development and progress of students in the Black Belt, preparing them for future professional success.
  • Alabama DHR Raises Low-Income Childcare Subsidies: The Alabama Department of Human Resources has increased the subsidies that help low-income families obtain childcare services, thanks to a $40.7 million boost in federal funding provided by the Omnibus bill signed earlier this year by President Trump. The new rates will vary depending on the childcare market. The department conducted a market survey last year to determine costs by region. DHR spent $98 million on child care subsidies in fiscal year 2018 and plans to spend up to $112 million in fiscal year 2019. There are approximately 31,000 children in Alabama receiving subsidies for childcare.
  • Gov. Ivey Awards $1.89M to Aid Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse Victims: Governor Ivey recently announced awards of $1.89 million in grants to support organizations and programs that help victims of domestic violence and elder abuse throughout the state. She announced a grant awarded to the Alabama Department of Human Resources. DHR’s Adult Protective Services Division provides in-home services and temporary placement options for victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation. The grant sources are the U.S. Department of Justice and the Domestic Violence Trust Fund.

October 2018 Group Watch: New State Center to Monitor Cyber Attacks

Governor Kay Ivey recently announced the opening of the Security Operations Center (SOC), an operation designed to protect state technology systems from cyberattacks. The SOC, part of the state’s Office of Information Technology, works as a centralized agency to assess all threats coming into the state. Individual agencies have their own teams, but the state’s Chief Information Security Officer said the center will help improve overall security. The center has four employees monitoring state systems and any attacks on them.

October 2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

Oct. 15
Sometimes a big hug is all you need to lift your spirits. Thank you to Jason and the thousands of workers who have committed to restoring power and hope to our service territory. See more here.

October 2018 Group Watch: New Medicaid Program

Governor Ivey recently announced that the federal government has approved a new statewide care-management program to complement and enhance the state’s current system of long-term care services provided to approximately 23,000 Alabama Medicaid recipients. The Integrated Care Network (ICN) program was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in September, to offer more community options for Medicaid longterm care recipients. The ICN program is for Medicaid recipients who live in a nursing home setting, or receive services in their home through Medicaid’s Elderly and Disabled (E&D) waiver or the Alabama Community Transition (ACT) waiver. The state will implement a system of case management, outreach and education, with the goal of increasing the number of persons receiving in-home care rather than living in a nursing home facility.

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