November 2022 Group Watch: AL Rural Healthcare Providers Get Grants

It’s largely accepted that rural and low-income areas in Alabama are at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving quality health care. To address the concerns of those living in theses areas, the USDA has awarded $7.3 million in emergency rural healthcare grants to rural Alabama. Eleven facilities across the state will receive funds for repairs and improvements, and the USDA estimates that nearly 200,000 rural Alabamians will benefit from them. The entities receiving grants are as follows:

  •          Troy Hospital Healthcare Authority – $120,000
  •          Russellville Hospital – $1 million
  •          Russell Hospital Corporation – $426,600
  •          Bullock County Development Authority – $299,600
  •          City of Greenville Healthcare Authority – $910,000
  •          Tombigbee Healthcare Authority – $910,000
  •          City of York Healthcare Authority – $114,000
  •          Marion Medical Center – $437,500
  •          Healthcare Authority of Winfield – $1 million
  •          Washington County Healthcare Authority – $1 million

November 2022 Group Watch: AL Republicans Announce New Leaders Ahead of Session

Earlier this month, the Alabama House Republican Caucus met and chose Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, as its nominee for Speaker of the House; State Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, as its Speaker Pro Tem nominee; State Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Decatur, as House Majority Leader; State Rep. Wes Kitchens, R-Arab, as Caucus Vice Chair; and State Rep. Debbie Wood, R-Valley, as Caucus secretary/treasurer. Nominations are equal to election to these positions since Republicans control a supermajority in the House and have committed to vote together. Read more here.

November 2022 Group Watch: U.S. Steel Moving Full Speed Ahead in AL

U.S. Steel CFO Jessica Graziano said the company’s electric arc furnace at Fairfield Works near Birmingham will operate at near maximum capacity for seamless pipe in the fourth quarter. While the company continues to navigate challenges due to escalating raw materials and energy costs, the company is on pace for its second-best financial year ever. Fairfield’s electric arc furnace, a $412-million investment that began production in 2020, was the first in U.S. Steel’s history and built to produce 1.6 million tons of steel a year.

November 2022 Group Watch: Gov. Ivey Taps New Staff

After handily winning the governor’s election and gearing up for her second term Governor Kay Ivey has made a staff change. She’s appointed Drew Harrell as director of legislative affairs. He comes to the position from the BCA, where he was most recently that organization’s vice president of governmental affairs. Read more here.

November 2022 Group Watch: Wishing You & Yours a Wonderful Thanksgiving

As we all prepare for Thanksgiving and the accompanying feast (where are those stretchy pants?), we at The Bloom Group want to stress who grateful we are for our clients. From each BG team member, thank you for entrusting your governmental relations needs to us; thank you for giving us the opportunity to represent you and do the work we love (and that some of us have been doing for more than 35 years!); and we hope you take a moment to take stock of all you have to appreciate in your own life. Gratitude is a very uplifting attitude. We wish you all a safe and relaxing holiday!

October 2022 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Lots of tech sector announcements have made headlines in the last month. Amazon has funded a training program for mechatronics and robotics at Tuskegee University. The plan to expand access to high-speed internet into currently underserved areas throughout Alabama is getting underway. And Microsoft is helping folks in Randolph County increase their digital skills in an effort to boost employment prospects. 

In other big news, medical cannabis is on the move, with Birmingham, the state’s largest city, voting to allow dispensaries to locate within its borders. And Alabamians might be getting a tax rebate; Ivey is currently working on a plan for historic budget surpluses and tax relief is on the table. 

Find more details on this and other #alpolitics activity below.

October 2022 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

Oct 23
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one Alabama family is an example of how important it is to stay aware and ask questions.

October 2022 Group Watch: High-Speed Internet in Alabama

In January of this year, the Alabama Legislature and Gov. Kay Ivey approved a plan to spend $276 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act federal funds on the expansion of access to high-speed internet. Recently, the governor and legislative leaders announced that $82 million of that would be used for a grant to help fund a “middle-mile” broadband network that officials said would have statewide impact. Fiber Utility Network, a corporation formed by eight rural electric cooperatives, will create the network to connect more than 3,000 miles of new and existing fiber infrastructure over the next three years. The “middle-mile” network will be the next step in an initiative Gov. Ivey and lawmakers have said is a priority for several years. The governor said more than 300 Alabama cities and towns will benefit from the network.

October 2022 Group Watch: Birmingham Moving Ahead With Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

The Birmingham City Council took a first step toward allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, with a first reading of an ordinance to allow them in Birmingham. Under state guidelines, Jefferson County could end up with as many as nine dispensaries. Birmingham Major Randall Woodfin noted that municipalities have to pass legislation allowing dispensaries before they can locate in a city. Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Dothan, Daphne and Foley have also taken this step. Under Alabama’s law, medical marijuana can be sold in the form of tablets, capsules, tinctures or gel cubes for oral use. They could be gels, oils or creams for topical use. They could be suppositories, transdermal patches, nebulizers, or liquids or oils for use as an inhaler. Raw plant material, products that could be smoked or vaped, or food products such as cookies or candies will not be allowed.

October 2022 Group Watch: The State Race to Watch

A lot of attention will be paid to national elections on November 8, as there’s a chance for the balance of power to shift in both chambers of Congress. But here at home, there is a race that’s garnering headlines too. Being called the “hottest race in the state” by some, the battle for the District seat 33 in South Alabama between longtime Democratic Senator Vivian Figures and Republican challenger Pete Riehm is one the GOP thinks it can win. Read more here.

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