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June 2016 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

If you thought summer meant a slow-down in business and political news, think again. In the month since the 2016 regular session ended, we’ve seen several positive economic development announcements and the trial and subsequent conviction of the Alabama Speaker of the House. Read on for more details.

Mercedes-Benz Supplier Adding 200 Jobs
German supplier Eissmann Automotive will build a new 130,000-square-foot facility for production in Pell City. The St. Clair County facility currently has 650 employees, and the expansion will add 200. Eissmann makes car interiors, shifter modules and other parts for auto makers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jeep and Volkswagen. The $14.5 million expansion is the most recent of several since the facility located in Pell City. A $2.3 million expansion completed in 2015 added 80 new jobs. Eissmann North America is one of the largest private employers in Pell City.

Auto Supplier to Invest $530 Million in Birmingham
Auto supplier Kamtek will break ground in coming weeks on an $80 million, 148,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the City of Birmingham. The project will include an investment of $530 million and create 354 jobs through 2020. The facility will produce aluminum automotive casting parts for major auto manufacturers in the United States. Mayor William Bell said the company is valuable to the community in terms of economic development and employment. Of the more than 900 employees, 37 percent live in the City of Birmingham and 78 percent live in Jefferson County. The company could expand further, with the potential to increase to 400,000 square feet by 2025.
In other news…

On June 10, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was convicted on 12 counts of using his office for personal gain. The guilty verdicts cost him his seat in the legislature, his position as Speaker and could lead to jail time (sentencing is scheduled for July 8). He maintains that he is innocent and has promised to appeal. In the meantime, the process of replacing Hubbard as Speaker has already begun. A vote of the full House will elect the new Speaker at the start of the 2017 session or during a special session later this year, if the governor calls one. Current contenders include:

  • Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa
  • Rep. Victor Gaston, R-Mobile
  • Rep, Phil Williams, R-Huntsville
  • Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle
  • Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw
  • Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia

Several other representatives have also expressed interest.

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