December 2021 Group Watch: Keeping Critical Infrastructure Secure – A Bill That Needs Passing

Our national well-being relies upon secure and resilient critical infrastructure, which includes physical and cyber systems that underpin the provision of essential services in our society. These critical assets include pipelines, electric power generation facilities, transmission towers, water systems, mining operations and transportation facilities such as trucking terminals. In Alabama we are fortunate to have an incredible network of critical assets, and we have to protect them. Currently in the Alabama Legislature, a bill has been pre-filed for consideration in the 2022 Legislative Session that will do just that. HB 21 will provide for further protections of these assets, and the Legislature should be urged to quickly pass this measure. According to George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama, this is bill that can not wait and should be given top priority. Manufacture Alabama is the only trade association in Alabama dedicated to creating a business and political climate that promotes a positive, competitive environment and enhances the opportunity for growth of the state’s manufacturers.

December 2021 Group Watch: AL Infrastructure to Get Billions of $$ from Fed Law

Alabama could get more than $6.8 billion in road and transportation funding in the recently approved $1.2 trillion Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act. While broad outlines of how money will be allocated are now available, more federal direction is needed before specific projects are identified. According to information from the U.S. Department of Transportation, this is approximately what Alabama can expect over five years:
  • $5.8 billion in road and bridge funds.
  • $406 million to improve public transportation
  • $142 million for airport infrastructure
  • $128 million to reduce transportation-related emissions
  • $79 million for expansion of electric vehicle charging networks
  • $44 million for commercial motor vehicle safety
  • $32 million for highway safety traffic programs
  • $146 million to increase the resilience of the transportation system
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Alabama has 620 bridges and nearly 3,000 miles of highway in poor condition.

December 2021 Group Watch: University of Alabama Gets $4M for Forensic Science

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby announced that the University of Alabama has been awarded $4 million from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice agency for the establishment of a National Center on Forensics. The University will establish and operate the center in partnership with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and the Alabama District Attorney’s Association. According to Senator Shelby’s office, the funding was allocated through the fiscal year 2021 “Consolidated Appropriations Act.” The center will serve to develop and implement scientific and technical educational opportunities with a concentration on underserved rural areas for the medical and legal communities. It will also provide forensic science and legal training to criminal justice professionals.

December 2021 Group Watch: Christmas on the River Turns 50

Christmas on the River, a beloved Demopolis tradition that features a parade of brilliantly lit up boats floating down the stretch of the Tombigbee River that runs through the city, celebrated its 50th year with the 2021 event, held earlier this month. Upwards of 20,000 people gather each year to kick-off the holiday season with the festive display. The Bloom Group’s founder Hal Bloom was instrumental in bringing the event to life when he was director of The Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce in 1972. Bloom’s contributions were honored at the 2021 event. Read more here. 

December 2021 Group Watch: Alabama Innovation Corporation Board Announced

State leadership announced the seating of the Alabama Innovation Corporation board of directors, a legislatively established public-private partnership. In July 2020, Governor Ivey established the Alabama Innovation Commission and its advisory council to develop policy recommendations aimed at spurring economic growth centered around entrepreneurship, innovation and technology. According to the governor’s office, the commission’s report focused on five key areas to address current issues facing the state’s economy. This included entrepreneurship and access to capital, talent attraction and retention, increasing commercialization, bridging digital and economic divides and workforce development. Members of the new Alabama Innovation Corporation board of directors include:
  • Governor Kay Ivey
  • House Speaker Mac McCutcheon
  • Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed
  • House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels
  • Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton
  • Rich Bielen -Protective Life Corporation CEO
  • Dr. Michael Chambers University of South Alabama
  • Abe Harper -Harper Technologies president
  • David King -Dynetics president
  • Bill Poole -State of Alabama Finance Director
  • Britney Summerville -Birmingham Bound founder
Read more here.

December 2021 Group Watch: AL Power Partners with HData

HData, an early-stage regulatory technology startup delivering automated compliance and instant business intelligence to the U.S. regulated energy industry, announced a strategic partnership with Alabama Power Company and relocation to Birmingham. HData’s platform uses regulatory data to automate compliance and business intelligence for electric utilities, gas companies and oil pipelines. HData announced open positions, with the aim to recruit locally.

December 2021 Group Watch: Merry Christmas & Happy 2022 to You

It’s been a whirlwind year, and we at The Bloom Group are ready for a short slowdown to enjoy the holidays with our loved ones before we hop back into things come January. We hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year. Session begins almost as soon as 2022 begins, and we’re ready to monitor all the action and report to you. Watch for weekly editions of Group Watch, and as always, reach out to our team with any governmental relations needs. We are here to advocate for you.

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

The second special legislative session ended earlier this month and succeeded in getting a good bit done.

Several major economic development wins for the state came to light this month too. Amazon delivered some great news, announcing three new facilities in three cities that mark major investment from the company.

UAB earned some top marks in an international ranking, and other state higher ed institutions scored too, with Governor Ivey announcing a wave of grant money soon to flow their way.

All combined, there’s plenty to be thankful for this month. And at The Bloom Group, we’re extremely grateful for our clients. Thank you for letting us represent you, and we hope you and your families have a Thanksgiving holiday filled with good food, fellowship and fun.

November 2021 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

@egmackey
Nov 17
Thank you teachers for all that you do — we sincerely appreciate your hard work and dedication to our students and our state! #ThankALTeachers Week is a way for Alabamians to show gratitude for our teachers. Learn more about#ThankALTeachers Week at http://weteachalabama.com.

November 2021 Group Watch: Results of Second 2021 Special Legislative Session

The Alabama Legislature adjourned its second special session after approving new district lines for state House and Senate seats, congressional seats and state school board posts. Following the U.S. census that is conducted every 10 years, states are required to reapportion districts based upon population changes and current demographic data, which prompted the governor to call the session. The special session call also included legislation authorizing $80 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to be distributed to Alabama hospitals and nursing homes. Many nursing homes and hospitals across the state, particularly in rural areas, are experiencing financial distress heightened by the pandemic. Though not in the call, the legislature also approved two bills designed to address presidential executive order mandates. One of the bills provides exemptions to COVID vaccination mandates for individuals with religious or medical objections, and the other allows the attorney general to seek injunctive relief from the courts as a remedy for violations.

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