5/20/2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@egmackey
May 16
Back on the budget language. This is one of the hardest working men I know ⁦@AlabamaDeptofEd

5/20/2019 Group Watch: Lottery Debate Coming

It looks like lottery legislation will come up this week after changes concerning a lottery’s proceeds allocation were made in committee last week. The switch now has funds going to the General Fund (75 percent) and the Education Fund (25 percent). Previously, the monies were to go into the state’s oil and gas trust fund. Supporters are hopeful but admit, getting an Alabama lottery is in no way a sure thing. And even if the legislation is passed, it does not go to the governor for signature. The constitutional amendment needed to create a state lottery would go on a ballot to decided by all Alabama voters.

5/20/2019 Group Watch: New Auto Supplier

Japan-based DaikyoNishikawa US plans to invest $110 million to open an auto parts manufacturing facility in Huntsville (its first in the United States) to serve the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. assembly plant now under construction. The company will create approximately 380 jobs at the new Alabama facility, which will produce plastic automotive parts.

May 13, 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Abortion and medical marijuana were just a few of the issues the Legislature worked on last week. Here are the details of the bills moving along:
  • Tuesday, Day 16 of Regular Session: The House Commerce and Small Business Committee approved a bill to prohibit retaliation against an employee who brings a charge of wage discrimination. The House State Government Committee approved Senate-passed bills to provide for a dependent child to receive direct retirement benefits to a special trust from the Retirement Systems of Alabama and to recapture benefits extended to call centers that relocate out of state. The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills to create the Alabama Industry Recognized and registered Apprenticeship program; to exempt from sales and use tax adaptive equipment; to extend the time allowed for the use of provisional teaching certificates from one year to two years; and gave final passage of a Senate-passed bill to require the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of each school year. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to establish the Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board to be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA); to further provide for municipalities, council-manager form of government; and to make further requirements of the State Board of Health regarding immunization registry and reports of immunization vaccines.
  • Wednesday, Day 17 of Regular Session: The House Health Committee approved a bill to establish and maintain an immunization registry for reporting vaccines. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a House-passed bill to make abortion a felony under certain circumstances with a committee amendment. The Senate Education Policy Committee approved a House-passed bill to allow local boards of education to permit time for religious education off campus for elective credit. The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved a bill to exempt from sales and use tax adaptive equipment. The House passed a few bills of local application only and a general bill entitled the Financial Institution Excise Tax Reform Act of 2019. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to provide broadband access to unserved areas of the state; to further provide for the administration of Lifeline qualifying public assistance programs; and a proposed constitutional amendment providing that only a citizen of the United States has the right to vote.
  • Thursday, Day 18 of Regular Session: The House passed a number of bills of local application only and a general bill to authorize the re-organization of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.The Senate passed a few bills of local application only and general bills to authorize a program for medical marijuana use under certain conditions and to authorize the Alabama Small Business Act.

5/13/2019 Group Watch: Shelby Proposes Balanced Budget

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, re-introduced legislation proposing a constitutional amendment that would require Congress to pass a balanced budget. Shelby is concerned with the nation’s growing national debt, which has soared to $22 trillion. If passed by the Congress and then ratified by three-fourth of the states, this amendment to the Constitution would require the total amount of money spent by the United States during any fiscal year, except during times of war, not exceed the amount of revenue received by the government during the same fiscal year, and not exceed 20 percent of the gross domestic product during the previous calendar year.

5/13/2019 Group Watch: Birmingham Hosts Tech Summits

The Aerospace Innovation Technology Summit and the Automotive Advanced Technology Summit both took place in Birmingham with 200 companies participating. The Alabama Department of Commerce is among the sponsors of the summits, which featured workshops, presentations and business-to-business meetings. The automotive and aerospace industries are major drivers of economic growth in Alabama, and these business conventions in Birmingham offer a pathway for companies from across the country and around the world to seek new opportunities and understand how their peers are utilizing and advancing the latest technologies.

May 6, 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Making news this week: The state’s economic development efforts are making great strides, and halfway through the regular session, the Education budget is moving along. Here’s a recap of the rest.
  • Tuesday, Day 14 of Regular Session: The Senate Local Legislation Committee approved four bills of local application only. The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved the Education budget, which contains appropriations for public education. The House passed several bills of local application only, including a bill to permit Sunday alcohol sales in the city of Coker in Tuscaloosa County. After lengthy debate, they also approved the Human Life Protection Act, which defines the circumstances where abortions are criminal. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to create the Underwater Cultural Resources Act; to provide a sales and use tax exemption for the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, Inc.; to update the amnesty and class action provisions relating to the simplified sellers use tax; and to require criminal background checks for adults working in a childcare institution, group home, maternity center or transitional living facility.
  • Wednesday, a committee day: The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved bills to establish the Alabama Industry Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship Program Act to administer state programs in lieu of federal office and to exempt from sales and use taxes adaptive equipment. The House Governmental Affairs Committee approved bills to further provide for bonded title service providers and to increase the maximum fine for licensees of the Board of Examiners of Landscape Architects for regulatory violations. The House Education Policy Committee approved a bill to allow provisional teaching certificates to be extended up to two years. The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved a bill to provide broadband in unserved areas. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to require law enforcement officers to undergo sensitivity training. The Senate Education Policy Committee approved a bill to further provide for public and non-public charter schools.
  • Thursday, Day 15 of Regular Session: The House passed a number of bills of local application only and general bills to reduce the required number of restroom fixtures at public high school sports stadiums for each gender based on seating occupancy; to provide for local boards of education to allow released time for religious education off-campus for elective credit; and to further provide for telecommunications under the Broadband Using Electric Easement Accessibility Act. The Senate passed passed several bills of local application only and general bills to allow municipal corporations to issue summons and complaints in lieu of custodial arrest; to provide supplemental appropriations from the Education Trust Fund for certain agencies for the current fiscal year and to provide a cost of living pay increase for K-12 public education employees.

5/6/2019 Group Watch: Economic Development Wins

Governor Ivey announced that companies locating in Alabama or expanding existing operations invested $8.7 billion in growth projects in 2018, setting a new record for the state. It is anticipated that the investment will generate 17,000 new jobs in communities across the state. Growth in important industry sectors including automotive and aerospace remained strong in 2018, creating momentum for future gains. Other sectors, particularly forest products, also charted a growth trajectory.

5/6/2019 Group Watch: Major Georgia Pacific Expansion

Georgia-Pacific recently announced plans to invest more than $120 million to add a new tissue machine and roll storage building at its mill in Choctaw County. The new projects continue Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific’s modernization of the Naheola mill, which includes ongoing construction of a new biomass boiler and wood yard. In the past five years, Georgia-Pacific’s capital investment at the Naheola mill has totaled more than $500 million, and its statewide investments have totaled approximately $1.6 billion. Across Alabama, Georgia-Pacific operates eight facilities, employs more than 2,600 directly and pays more than $204 million in direct wages and benefits.

5/6/2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@SalenaZito
May 3
This is incredibly gripping. Never forget.

Israel comes to a standstill with a two-minute siren wailing across the country in remembrance of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. https://abcn.ws/2ZIOQDQ 

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