September 2021 Group Watch: Mike Hubbard Seeking Early Release

Attorneys for Mike Hubbard, former Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, filed a request for his early release from prison after serving 12 months of a 28-month sentence. Hubbard received a split sentence, with 28 months in prison followed by eight years of probation. He is not eligible for parole, sentence deduction or supervised release/ Court officials scheduled his release for January 8,2023. According to the motion filed by lawyers for Hubbard, he has taken responsibility for his actions and poses no threat if released. Hubbard wrote that his incarceration had been humbling and difficult, particularly the separation from his family and community. Hubbard pledges to work to rebuild trust with those who have lost faith in him and the entire political system.

August 2021 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Thanks to the Delta variant, COVID-19 has come roaring back in Alabama, prompting Governor Ivey to issue a new emergency order late last week to ensure healthcare workers and hospitals in particular have everything they need to battle this recent wave.

And yet, despite the virus numbers, positive economic development news keeps popping up all over the state, with Alabama’s business climate raking in more praise and multiple announcements of new companies and new investment being made.

Plus, we all know politics never sleeps, so it’s no surprise that endorsements and other election news continue to make headlines too.

Find more details on all this and more below.

August 2021 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

The committee to study the state’s response to the pandemic was meant to meet today but concerns over COVID have pushed the meeting to next week. #alpolitics

August 2021 Group Watch: Governor Kay Ivey Issues “Limited” COVID-19 Emergency Order

Governor Kay Ivey issued what is described as a “limited, narrowly-focused” state of emergency declaration that she said is intended to help hospital and healthcare workers respond to the surging COVID-19 pandemic. The governor’s office said the proclamation would relax regulatory burdens to allow expanded capacity in healthcare facilities, provide additional liability protections and increased authority for frontline healthcare personnel as well as make the shipment of emergency equipment and supplies easier.

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August 2021 Group Watch: Alabama’s Business Climate Scores Near Top in New Rankings

Business Facilities, a national economic development publication, ranked Alabama’s business climate among the top states in an analysis evaluating key economic categories. Alabama earned the No. 5 spot in the magazine’s flagship business climate ranking, while also earning high marks for workforce training, manufacturing employment and output and the horsepower of the state’s auto industry. Besides the high ranking for business climate, Alabama also earned No. 3 for customized training, No. 6 in manufacturing employment, No. 6 in automotive manufacturing and No. 8 manufacturing output. The report also singled out several Alabama cities: Huntsville was named the No. 4 Millennial Magnet; Mobile was No. 5 Best Business Climate; Birmingham-Hoover ranked No. 5 on the Health Care Hubs list; Huntsville also earned the No. 6 Tech Hubs spot; and Decatur claimed the No.7 spot in Manufacturing Hubs.

August 2021 Group Watch: Hanwha Cimarron LLC to open New Manufacturing Plant

Hanwha Cimarron LLC, a maker of filament-wound carbon fiber tanks and pressure vessels, announced plans to invest $130 million to open a new manufacturing facility in Opelika, where it will create 261 new jobs. The new facility will help fuel the company’s growth in the carbon overwrap pressure vessel market, catering to the needs of industries including aerospace, drone, defense, marine, rail and gas transport and storage. In December 2020, South Korea-based Hanwha Solutions Corp. acquired Huntsville-based Cimarron Composites as part of a strategic expansion into the hydrogen energy business.

August 2021 Group Watch: Three Companies Team Up for $40M Plant in Alabama

Three companies with more than a century of experience in the U.S. steel and auto industries are teaming up in a joint venture called Madison Metal Processing that will operate a new, $40-million factory near Huntsville. The companies collaborating in the venture are Toyota Tsusho America Inc., Southern Mobility Products and SteelSummit Holdings, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp. of Americas. Starting later this year, Madison Metal Processing will supply steel blankets, the precursor to automotive surface body parts, for up to 300,000 vehicles produced at the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing auto assembly plant in Huntsville as well as other auto suppliers. The 110,000-square-foot Alabama facility is bringing 40 new jobs to the region. Full production is planned for mid-2022, with trial production already under way.

August 2021 Group Watch: $120M AUBix Data Center to Become Economic Catalyst

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that AUBix LLC plans to open a $120-million data center in Auburn that will benefit communities across Alabama by providing a technological edge to businesses and individuals plus enhanced access to high speed internet. Construction has begun on the firm’s new 40,000-square-foot facility just outside the Auburn University campus. Governor Ivey touts this project as evidence that Alabama continues to grow its high-tech footprint and the innovation capacity of its economy. AUBix LLC, a firm founded by an Auburn businessmen, will build and operate the secure, compliant, state-of-the-art, multi-tenant data center. Designed to bring technological parity to underserved communities throughout the state, the facility will optimize growth opportunities for businesses by addressing their critical competitive need for reliable broadband service. AUBix will offer 22,000 square feet of available data center space and more than 3 megawatts of critical power capacity across two data halls with redundant power and cooling.

August 2021 Group Watch: Manufacture Alabama Endorses Attorney General Steve Marshall

Manufacture Alabama “proudly announced their full endorsement of Attorney General Steve Marshall for re-election.” George Clark, President of Manufacture Alabama, said the endorsement is based upon Marshall’s tireless work to protect consumers and his understanding of industry and the needs of manufacturers. Clark praised Marshall for pushing back against harmful regulations and federal overreach and his commitment to the rule of law. According to Clark, his steady leadership has contributed to Alabama’s pro-business environment.

August 2021 Group Watch: Trussville Lawmaker to Lead House Education Budget Committee

Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon has appointed Rep. Danny Garrett, a Republican from Trussville, as chair of the House Ways and Means Education Budget Committee. Garrett replaces Bill Poole who resigned to become state finance director. Garrett served as vice chair of the committee, which plays a key role in developing the funding priorities for public schools, colleges, universities and other education programs. Garrett, a certified public accountant, was first elected to the House in 2014. McCutcheon named Rep. Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn, the vice chair. Rep. Rodney Sullivan, R-Northport, was appointed to fill the vacancy on the committee created by Poole’s resignation.

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