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

@alabamatoday

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.

April 2018 Group Watch: Senator Shelby to Lead Appropriations Committee

Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby is on the brink of becoming the new chair of the Appropriations Committee. The post carries great influence over more than $1 trillion in annual spending. Shelby was confirmed by panel members to lead the committee and is sure to be ratified by the full Senate. He would replace Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, who recently retired from the Senate due to poor health. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri would take over Shelby’s current role as chair of the low-profile Rules Committee.

April 2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

@thebloomgroup
April 10
Great news!!
RT from @lutherstrange
Great news for our state and country! Congratulations to my friend and former colleague.

April 2018 Group Watch: Search for Superintendent of Education Narrows

Alabama Board of Education members narrowed a field of seven semi-finalists down to four finalists, who are being interviewed on April 20. Board members will vote after the interviews. The four finalists are (in alphabetical order): Dr. Eric Mackey, Director of the School Superintendents of Alabama; Dr. Kathy Murphy, Superintendent Hoover City Schools; Dr. Craig Pouncey, Superintendent Jefferson Schools; and Robert Scott, former Education Commissioner in Texas.

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