February 7, 2022 Group Watch: Ainsworth Unveils Small Biz Legislative Package

Lt. Governor Gov. Will Ainsworth announced the Alabama Small Business Commission’s legislative package, which consists of tax cuts, tax exemptions, paperwork reductions and other reforms. According to Ainsworth, the commission’s legislative package would serve to further support Alabama’s growing economy by implementing measures to assist small businesses.

February 7, 2022 Group Watch: Bill to Boost Parents’ Choice in Education Through Committee

The Senate Education Policy Committee approved a bill that would allow parents to take up to $5,561 for public schools and spend it on private school tuition and homeschooling. The bill by Senator Del Marsh was approved on a voice vote after lengthy testimony from school boards and school organizations, who said it would take badly-needed funds out of public schools and put it into an area of education the state has little control over. Marsh has pushed school choice programs throughout his time in the Senate, saying he aims to improve student performance in Alabama.

February 7, 2022 Group Watch: AL Asks Supreme Court to Stop Redistricting Order

In response to suits filed in federal court, a three-judge panel made a ruling blocking Alabama’s new congressional district map, claiming it likely violates the Voting Rights Act. It also issued a court order to draw new district lines. Plaintiffs in the suits say the districts do not accurately reflect the state’s racial makeup and discriminate against Black voters. The state is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the order, and Alabama’s attorney general says it prioritizes race over all other criteria considered when redistricting. This case marks the first big redistricting case to be heard by this Supreme Court, and many believe its outcome with have far-reaching effects outside of Alabama.

February 7, 2022 Group Watch: Gov. Ivey Elected States’ Co-Chair of Delta Regional Authority

Governor Ivey was elected the 2022 States’ co-chair of The Delta Regional Authority (DRA). In this role, she will  work directly with the federal co-chair on economic development and growth in the DRA region. Ivey previously served as co-chair in 2017. The DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training and business development to help create jobs, build communities and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

February 7, 2022 Group Watch: Permitless Concealed Carry Bill Passes Senate Committee

On a 6-4 vote, The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to remove the permit requirement to carry a concealed weapon. In its current form, the bill, sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa, does not eliminate current restrictions on carrying guns in schools or in businesses that forbid weapons on their premises. The committee earlier approved another bill by Allen that would nullify federal gun laws in the state on a 6-4 vote. Both vote counts were along party lines.

February 7, 2022 Group Watch: $75M Muscle Shoals Auto Supply Factory Opens

Dura Automotive Systems celebrated the opening of its new Muscle Shoals manufacturing facility last week. The $75 million plant manufactures battery enclosures for electric vehicles to be made by Mercedes-Benz. Enclosures are lightweight metal housings that hold and protect the battery cells. Planning and construction of the plant was completed in eight months. The 200,000-square-foot facility is expected to employ more than 270 full-time workers at peak production. The plant uses 60 robots; more than 500 light curtains, lasers and proximity switches; and employs sophisticated LED lighting and water treatment systems to minimize power usage and maintain clean water.

February 7, 2022 Group Watch: Gov and Lawmaker Seeking to Delay AL Literacy Act One Year

The legislature passed the Literacy Act in 2019 as part of an effort to improve the reading proficiency of Alabama students, who rank low on national tests. A key provision of the law is that third graders must show they are reading on grade level to be promoted to fourth grade. The retention requirement will apply for the first time to this year’s class of third graders. Rep. Terri Collins of Decatur who sponsored the original legislation has introduced a bill that would delay the implementation until the 2022-23 school year. Since last year, legislators have debated whether to delay the requirement because of disruptions to school caused by the pandemic. In November, Governor Ivey determined a delay was needed and urged lawmakers to approve a one-year delay. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey warned that some schools have more than half their third-grade students at risk of retention.

January 31, 2022 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The special session that was called and started just week before last has already ended, wrapping up after finishing the business at hand, namely divvying up the $772 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated to Alabama.Both chambers convene for the third day of the regular session tomorrow and will get back into issues like gambling and more. The House will be moving forward with some changes made in key roles on various committees.

And as the first example of a new Mazda SUV model being manufactured in the company’s Alabama plant was finished last week, state leaders re-affirm their commitment to keeping the state at the forefront of American auto production.

Read all about this and more in this week’s Group Watch.

The House and Senate return for the regular session on Tuesday, February 1 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m, respectively.

January 31, 2022 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@willainsworthAL
Jan 29
With no Republican or Democrat opponents qualifying against me, I look forward to serving another four years as Lt. Governor. The confidence you have placed in me is deeply appreciated. God’s guidance and your support will allow us to make the best parts of Alabama even better.

January 31, 2022 Group Watch: Special Session Gets Its Work Done

The Alabama Legislature returned for the third day of the special session last Tuesday, and each chamber overwhelmingly passed an appropriations bill of approximately $772 million of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. The special session then concluded on Thursday after lawmakers passed the package allocating the state’s portion of ARPA funds. The bipartisan spending plan overwhelming passed both chambers without controversy. The Senate passed the House’s version of the bill by a vote of 26-0 with one abstention. In the lower chamber, the billed passed 100-1 with two abstentions. The allocation of funds is as follows:
• Broadband expansion – $276 million
• Water and sewer infrastructure – $225 million
• Hospitals, nursing homes, telemedicine expansion and related healthcare – $157.7 million
• Alabama Unemployment Trust Fund – $79.5 million
• Emergency response services – $20 million
• Reimbursement to county jails for housing state inmates – $11 million
• Administrative cost for state agencies – $11 million
• ARPA compliance – $7.8 million

See below to view the bill status for bills being considered during the special session.

The Bloom Group Inc – 2022 1st Special Session – ALL – Bills (1)

The Bloom Group, Inc.

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