July 2020 Group Watch: Rep. Ron Johnson Dies

Representative Ronal Johnson of Sylacauga, the Dean of the House of Representatives, died from complications associated with liver cancer. He was 76 years old. Rep. Johnson held the District 33 seat for more than 40 years, making him the longest continuously serving member of the House. He was highly respected and one of the most productive members of the House. He was passionate in his engagement regarding the needs of his constituents and will be greatly missed by all.

June 2020 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

COVID-19 is still with us and still affecting business, school schedules and the legislative process. Read on for more details.
  • Special Session Still on the Table, But Not Before August: Governor Kay Ivey recently told legislators that there will be no special session prior to August because the state’s budget numbers will not be in before July 15. In a video conference, Ivey  told lawmakers that all options are on the table regarding whether or not there will be a special session. Ivey said that before calling a special session, she and her staff will work with a bipartisan group of legislators to ensure a plan is in place to maximize time in Montgomery and provide transparency to the public. She stressed that a special session will only address legitimate issues that cannot wait until the 2021 regular session in coming in February.
  • Roadmap to Re-Open Schools Almost Ready: State school superintendent Eric Mackey recently reported that the state’s roadmap for reopening K-12 public schools in August will be a multi-tiered plan and will include a virtual option for parents uncomfortable sending their children back inside school buildings. Tiers in the plan will be based on the spread of coronavirus in the community, with safety as the top priority. While a virtual option will be on the menu, not all school districts have the capability to serve that many students. The state Department of Education is creating a statewide virtual platform that schools can use to serve their students. Following a competitive process over the coming weeks, a statewide vendor for this service is expected to be named. The vendor will be available to assist those systems currently without a virtual platform.

June 2020 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

@thebloomgroup
June 17
Republic ServicesDiverts 1.7 Billion Pounds of Food, Yard Waste from Landfills http://story.cd/AAOKMAvia
@PRWeb

June 2020 Group Watch: Gov Ivey Awards Grants to Assist in COVID-19 Recovery

Governor Kay Ivey has awarded more than $17 million to provide relief for Alabamians who faced unemployment and economic difficulties as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Community Services Block Grants will be distributed to 20 community action agencies to provide services to qualified persons in Alabama. Funds will be used for a range of social and emergency services for senior citizens, people with disabilities and low-income families, including people who suffered financial losses during the pandemic. Types of assistance will be determined by the local agencies based on needs and may include food or rental assistance or help with prescription medication. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

June 2020 Group Watch: Automakers Ramping Back Up

Alabama automakers have been ramping up production following the COVID-19 outbreak, with strict new protocols in place to prevent spread of the virus. Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz all are implementing similar measures as employees return to work, including temperature checks, staggered shifts, frequent sanitizing and additional protective gear. Employees are having their temperature taken each time they return to work and answering a questionnaire to identify any potential exposure during lunch breaks and shift changes. Masks and cloth face coverings are required at all times inside all buildings unless people are eating or drinking, and offices are providing one new mask per day for employees. Face shields are required in certain areas, and cleaning and disinfecting activities have increased.

June 2020 Group Watch: Bill Pryor Named Chief Judge of 11th Circuit Court

Judge William “Bill” H. Pryor Jr. recently took over as chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Pryor served as Attorney General of Alabama from 1997-2004, before being nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the 11th Circuit in 2003. The 11th circuit court has jurisdiction over all appeals that come out of federal district court in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The court meets in Atlanta. Selection as a chief judge on federal courts is based on seniority, and the chief judge serves a seven year term.

June 2020 Group Watch: AL Investment in Law Enforcement Could be Biz Recruitment Tool

In some places, there are movements to defund and disband police, particularly in major American cities where dissatisfaction with local law enforcement is prevalent. U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer believes this not a mainstream view in Alabama and could present an opportunity for enhanced business recruitment from places downsizing their police and public safety operations. Palmer says that businesses want to locate in communities with quality education and public safety systems. He welcomes businesses to Alabama, noting it as a safe place to locate  operations and raise a family.

COVID-19 Update: Gov Ivey Issues New Order

COVID-19 Update: Gov Ivey Issues New Order

Earlier today, Governor Ivey issued a “stay at home” order for the entire state effective on Saturday, April 4 at 5pm in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This new order tightens the restrictions on movement, gathering and commerce that were already in place. You can read the order in its entirety here.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about how this order will affect or impact your business or organization or need help navigating the fine print and layers of bureaucracy, please, don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of The Bloom Group team.

We are here to answer questions, address concerns and guide you through any issues that may arise as a result of this and earlier orders. Look left to find full contact info for every one of us.

And feel free to forward this to any of your clients or friends who may also have questions or governmental relations needs.

Stay safe and well!

March 16, 2020 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Last week, the sixth of this regular session, saw a education lottery bill get introduced, and amid all the other happenings, Governor Ivey addressed the coronavirus crisis, issuing information on the state’s response now that the virus has made its way into Alabama. Here’s a wrap-up with more detailed information in articles below.

  • Tuesday, March 10, (11th day of session): The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee approved two House-passed bills to require that all annexed property in overlapping police jurisdictions be approved by all affected parties in certain situations, and to authorize the Board of Nursing to establish standards for student nurse apprenticeships. Additionally, the committee approved bills to authorize the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue to make appointments to county boards of equalization under certain conditions, and to authorize the Board of Social Work Examiners to charge and collect fees for verifying the existence of a current license, reinstating an inactive or lapsed license. The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills to create a K-12 Teacher Bill of Rights; to authorize local school boards to offer yoga in grades K-12; and to require monitoring for inmates on work-release in certain circumstances. The Senate debated at length bills relating to the allocation of state judges and to further provide for penalties under the Monument Protection Act before carrying over both measures and adjourning for the day.
  • Wednesday, March 12  (committee day): the House Local Legislation and Jefferson County Local Legislation Committees approved bills of local application only relating to Jefferson and Geneva Counties. The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to require the Department of Corrections to make quarterly reports to the Joint Legislative Prison Oversight Committee and to revise the reporting requirements; to update the statutes relating to video depositions in child abuse prosecutions; and to provide that a conviction of a parent for rape or incest is a ground for termination of parental rights. The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved a bill to modify the participation requirements for the Math and Science Teacher Education Program. The House Education Policy Committee approved bills to require mental health awareness to be included in the annual training for employees of each K-12 school; to further provide that board members of the Community College System may serve two full terms; and House-passed bills to provide for the education of children of military families and to provide for the establishment of charter schools to serve military families. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved bills to expand the expungement of criminal records to include certain misdemeanor and felony offenses and to create the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights.
  • Thursday, March 12 (12th day of session): The House gave final approval of 28 Senate-passed sunset bills to continue the operation of various boards, agencies and commissions, and a bill to provide a mental health service coordinator for each K-12 school system subject to a legislative appropriation. The Senate passed bills requiring student expulsion or long-term suspension in certain circumstances and gave final passage to House-passed bills to authorize the development of property adjacent to military bases and to provide supplemental appropriation to various agencies including the Department of Public Health for the state response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The House plans to reconvene on March 26 at 9:30 am. The Senate is scheduled to return on Tuesday, March 31 at 2:30 pm. Both are subject to change due to coronavirus. 

March 16, 2020 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

from our client, @3M
March 12, 2020

For healthcare workers & people caring for #coronavirus patients, a respirator is a central piece of protective gear for keeping healthy. 3M’s Dr. Nikki McCullough explains the proper way to wear a mask via@NPR: https://n.pr/2TYPQBP

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