June 2021 Group Watch: Alabama Wins Gold Shovel Award

Area Development, a prominent national business publication, has selected Alabama for its Gold Shovel Award, recognizing the state’s economic development success in the manufacturing sector during a challenging 2020. The honor follows a year of strong results for Alabama, with companies announcing new facilities and expansion projects involving nearly $5 billion in new capital investment despite uncertain global business conditions. The Gold Shovel award is a testament to Alabama’s skilled workforce and to the pro-business environment that makes the state such an attractive location for investment.  Alabama has been a frequent winner since the magazine launched the awards in 2006, when it also won a Gold Shovel. The state also claimed the award in 2013 and in 2019. This is the second GoldShovel Award that Alabama has earned during Governor Ivey’s tenure.

June 2021 Group Watch: Company Called Landing Leaving California to Land in Bham

Landing, the nationwide membership network of fully-furnished apartments, is relocating its headquarters from San Francisco to Birmingham. The company plans to create 816 new full-time jobs as it continues to grow in a time when housing is at a premium nationwide. Landing’s new headquarters will be located in downtown Birmingham at the John Hand Building. Bill Smith, the creator of Birmingham-based Shipt, founded Landing in late 2019 as a startup targeted at supplying housing needs for on-the-go professionals. Since the COVID-19 pandemic increased the need for remote work, the company has seen exponential growth, surging from operating in nine cities a year ago to more than 80 today; it has seen 1,250-percent growth in 12 months time. Landing offers a flexible membership leasing model for fully-furnished apartments, with on-call concierge services and housekeeping through an app.

June 2021 Group Watch: Manufacture Alabama Endorses Ivey

The state’s only trade association dedicated exclusively to the needs and interests of manufacturers and their partner industries and businesses, Manufacture Alabama has endorsed Governor Ivey for re-election. In a statement put out by the association, MA president Georger Clark explains that Ivey has earned the associations support, “due to her commitment to our state, her deep understanding of industry’s needs and her unwavering support for our manufacturers across Alabama. Governor Ivey has long been a friend to our association and a passionate advocate for the manufacturing industry.  She has always been committed to make Alabama an even better place to live and conduct business and leads with a common-sense approach. Her tireless leadership has brought positive outcomes to our manufacturers and we couldn’t be prouder to give her our full endorsement.” Read more here.

June 2021 Group Watch: AL Lawmakers Reflect on Session; Tout Medical Marijuana Law

Legislators in Limestone County recently rehashed the activity of the 2021 regular session and called it, overall, “a success.” There was much discussion of the passage of the medical marijuana bill and the governor signing it into law, something that only a few years ago, seemed impossible. Several in attendance spoke about overcoming opposition and praised the benefits it will provide for those who need it. Read more here.

June 2021 Group Watch: State Rep. Selected for Exclusive Leadership Program

State Rep. Rex Reynolds, R-Huntsville, was selected to participate in the 2021 Emerging Legislative Leaders Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. The program is sponsored in conjunction with the state Legislative Leaders Foundation. It allows up to 50 of the best and brightest legislators from across the nation to participate in intensive case studies, problem-solving exercises and small-group discussions designed to further heighten their already proven leadership skills. Reynolds was selected from more than 200 lawmakers nationwide who were nominated for the 50 slots. Since 2005, more than 600 legislators have benefited from the program.

June 2021 Group Watch: Nancy Gardner Sewell, Mother of U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, Dies

Congresswoman Terri Sewell announced on social media the passing of her mother. She was 81 at the time of her death and was the first African-American councilwoman for Selma, Alabama. We extend our profound condolences to Rep. Terri Sewell and the family.

May 20, 2021 Group Watch:

The 2021 regular session of the Alabama Legislature is over. The body met for its 30th and final legislative day this past Monday.

Every year, there are legislative winners and losers, and this year was no different. On the success side, the big news includes the passage of a medical marijuana bill that has now been signed into law and the passage of the biggest education budget in state history.

And at the beginning of the session, a series of gambling bills seemed to hold real promise. Then the issue stalled, then gained steam, only to stall out again and eventually die right at the end of session.

For this and all the bills pronounced dead, there’s always next year (or a special session)! Check out our summary on this and other political news below.

2021 Session Recap

  • The governor signed into law the bill allowing medical marijuana in Alabama for certain conditions and illnesses.
  • Lawmakers gave final approval to a bill to ban curbside voting
  • The House gave final approval to a Senate-passed bill banning vaccine passports.
  • Lawmakers approved legislation to lift the state’s decades-old ban on yoga in public schools.
  • The House gave final approval to a Senate-passed bill to delay for two years certain provisions of the Alabama Literacy Act.
  • Lawmakers gave final approval for the general fund budget for the next fiscal year, which include a 2-percent raise for public workers.
  • The largest education budget in the history of the state, providing teachers with a 2-percent salary increase, expansion of the pre-K program, incentives to retain and attract math, science and technology instructors, and funding for expanded health and mental health services for school children.
  • The governor signed into law legislation to allow restaurants and retailers to deliver limited amounts of beer, wine and liquor to private residences.


  • A series of bills that would have allowed the people of the state to vote on the establishment of a state lottery and the creation of a gaming commission to oversee and regulate gaming and to allocate the proceeds. House members were unable to reach an agreement that would have the support needed to pass.
  • A measure to ban certain treatments for transgender minors did not receive a vote in the House.
  • Legislation to make it a crime for local police officers to enforce any new federal gun restrictions.

May 20, 2021 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week


May 15
Greg Cochran, ALM Executive Director, and ALM’s newly elected President and Vice President recognized Immediate Past President Mayor Leigh Dollar of Guntersville for her outstanding leadership on behalf of the League and its membership.

May 20, 2021 Group Watch: Alabama Stands with Israel

Before the session was over, the Senate passed a resolution outlining the state’s support of Israel. It expresses “solidarity with Israel in its defense against terrorism in the Gaza Strip.” Read the full resolution below.


May 20, 2021 Group Watch: Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Kay Ivey’s Prison Plan

A Montgomery County Circuit Judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by State Auditor Jim Zeigler and others challenging Gov. Ivey’s plan to lease and operate privately owned prisons. The court granted a request by the Alabama Department of Corrections to dismiss the case. The court rejected claims that the prison leases violate a state law that prohibits the leasing of the facilities without consent of the legislature. Plaintiffs in the case are Zeigler, state Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham, Kenny Glasgow, a pastor and prisoner rights advocate from Houston County, and Leslie Ogburn, whose property adjoins the site of a proposed prison near Tallassee in Elmore County. Defendants were Governor Ivey, Prison Commissioner Jeff Dunn, and two real estate entities formed and owned by CoreCivic. CoreCivic has until June 1 to obtain financing for construction of the two proposed prisons in central and south Alabama.

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