July 2018 Group Watch: AL to Collect Online Sales Tax

Alabama will start collecting online sales taxes on October 1, 2018. The change comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows sales tax assessments on businesses that aren’t located in a state. According to the Alabama Department of Revenue, remote retailers with in-state sales of more than $250,000 must register with the Alabama Simplified Sellers use tax Program and begin collecting no later than October 1. There are currently more than 230 out-of-state online participants in the program. Under the program merchants pay a flat 8 percent sales tax, of which, 4 percent goes to the state, and 2 percent each to the affected county and city.

July 2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

July 19
I’ll miss Alvin Holmes in the legislature. Alvin’s humor at the microphone was a welcome relief on many long filibuster filled days. #alpolitics

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

Last week’s primary elections are headlining the state’s current political news by leaving a lot undecided and pushing several races to a runoff on July 17.
  • Gov. Ivey Faces Maddox: Governor Kay Ivey and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox will face each other in the general election in November. Ivey clinched the Republican nomination for governor without a runoff, after beating back a field of GOP challengers. Maddox defeated former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb for the Democratic nomination. Ivey received more votes than the combined Democratic field. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to the governor’s office since 1998.
  • Runoff for Lt. Governor: After a close race, Twinkle Cavanaugh and Will Ainsworth will face each other once more in a runoff for lieutenant governor. Cavanaugh, president of the Public Service Commission, currently has a slight lead over Representative Ainsworth, R-Guntersville. Cavanaugh and Ainsworth will be vying for the vacant seat of lieutenant governor, which serves as the backup to the Alabama governor. The last lieutenant governor, Kay Ivey, was sworn in as governor following the resignation of former Governor Robert Bentley.
  • Runoff for Attorney General: Current Attorney General Steve Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King will meet in a runoff for the GOP nomination for attorney general following a spirited primary campaign. Marshall’s campaign tied Donald Trump with his own work on shortening death penalty appeals and joining lawsuits over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, designed to extend legal status to those brought to this country as children. King’s campaign focused mostly on fighting crime.
  • Runoff for AL’s 2nd District: U.S. Representative Martha Roby will face former Democratic Congressman turned Republican Bobby Bright in a runoff for Alabama’s conservative 2nddistrict. Roby, who is a four-term incumbent, emphasized her record and working relationship with the White House. Bright is a former mayor of Montgomery and represented the district as a Democrat for two years before losing to Roby in 2010.

June 2018 Group Watch: Parker Wins Republican Nomination

Associate Justice Tom Parker won the primary election for Alabama Chief Justice, beating out colleague and incumbent Chief Justice Lyn Stuart in a close fight for the Republican nomination. Parker will face Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bob Vance, the unopposed Democratic candidate. Parker’s position in the campaign was largely focused against social issues, like same-sex marriage and abortion. He also campaigned on the priority of increasing funding for the judicial system.

June 2018 Group Watch: Congrats!

The Bloom Group congratulates Ryan Hollingsworth for being recently named the Executive Director of School Superintendents fo Alabama. He’s currently superintendent of Marion County Schools, a position he’s held for a decade. He’ll start his new position on July 1. Read more here.

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

The school year may be drawing to a close, but there’s education news, and as summer heats up, so does campaigning ahead of coming elections.
  • Gov. Ivey denies rumors: Accusations alleging that Governor Kay Ivey is gay were recently made by a state legislator but quickly and vehemently denied by Ivey. Read more here.
  • Steve Marshall joins lawsuit: Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall recently announced that he would join a seven-state coalition of state attorney generals that are suing the federal government to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program was originally put into place to protect immigrants who were brought into the country illegally while they were minors. Since that time, an estimated 800,000 people have registered for the program. Many challenges to the program are based on the fact it was created by executive order without congressional approval. Marshall cites his commitment to the rule of law as the basis for joining Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia as co-plaintiffs.
  • New state superintendent for education: Dr. Eric Mackey was selected as the next superintendent of education by the State Board of Education. Mackey, the executive director of School Superintendents of Alabama, was selected over Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Craig Pouncey and Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy. Mackey has experience working with legislators and school districts across the state. He lists his priorities as improving assessment and accountability, increasing teacher quantity and quality and improving the culture and morale of education leaders statewide. The Mackey era begins May 14.

May 2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month


May 16, 2018
Birmingham’s Randall Woodfin takes a stand against racism in his city  #ALPolitics cc: @WoodfinForBham

May 2018 Group Watch: Lt. Gov. Candidate on Immigration

Imagine that while you and your family sleep, another family breaks into your house and moves into your basement. Once you discover them, you call the authorities to have them removed but are told that because they have established residency, it would be wrong for you to force them to leave. According to Will Ainsworth, who’s running to serve as Alabama’s Lt. Governor, similar scenarios are occurring many times each week in this country when illegal immigrants violate our borders and laws. According to Ainsworth, similar scenarios are occurring many times each week in this country when illegal immigrants violate our borders and laws. He says that illegal immigration is an epidemic that has gone untreated for far too long, and it drains billions of taxpayer dollars when we provide unearned government services to those who do not pay taxes into our system.


May 2018 Group Watch: Rural Broadband Coming

Gov. Kay Ivey was joined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Congressman Robert Aderholt in announcing a $2.9 million e-connectivity Grant for Brilliant, Alabama. The grant will bring e-connectivity to rural Marion County through the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, a Great Depression-era initiative. The Tombigbee Electric Cooperative will use the USDA Community Connect Grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in the community of Brilliant and in the surrounding areas of Marion County. This project will connect nearly 500 households to high-speed broadband as well as businesses and essential community services.

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

Governor Ivey has been busy since the session ended, and there’s been some positive movement in the search for our next Superintendent of Education.
  • Gov. Ivey opens campaign headquarters in Montgomery: Alabama Governor Ivey recently opened her campaign headquarters in Montgomery. She has been governor for a little less than a year, but expressed confidence that the state is on the right path under her leadership. Ivey said she has righted the ship of state and that a dark cloud is no longer hanging over the state. She also introduced her dog, Bear, to the assembled crowd. She said the dog was three years old when she got him and he was already named, so she didn’t change it. She added that she did get him an Auburn collar though.
  • Gov. Ivey announces funding for new behavioral health services: Governor Ivey announced that the State of Alabama has set aside $11 million in its recently passed budgets for the Alabama Department of Mental Health to expand behavioral health services for Medicaid-eligible children and youth. When combined with federal matching funds, the money is expected to generate more than $36 million in total spending during the 2019 fiscal year. The funding will expand services provided at home or in the community to two groups of young people. One group is children and youth with emotional disturbances, and the other is children and youth with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Gov. Ivey signs bill to boost online sales tax collections: Governor Ivey signed into law a bill expected to increase the taxes Alabama collects for online sales. The state started the Simplified Sellers Use Tax three years ago to help collect taxes owed by Alabama customers on purchases from online vendors. The new law allows the state to collect from third-party vendors that sell products through online marketplaces. The change is estimated to increase state and local revenues by $23 to $39 million a year. The use tax is the sales tax for products bought out of state for use in Alabama.

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