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March 28, 2022 Group Watch: Niagara Bottling Building $112 Million Opelika Production Plant

California-based Niagara Bottling will open a new $112 million production facility in Opelika’s Industrial Park and hire 50 employees. The company offers bottled purified, distilled and spring water; water for infants; sparkling water; flavored vitamin water; and tea, which are sold wholesale and shipped to grocery stores and convenience stores.

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March 28, 2022 Group Watch: Koch Foods Finishes $60 Million Attalla Distribution Center

Koch Foods celebrated the opening of a $60 million distribution center in Attalla that will support poultry farmers in northeast Alabama and the surrounding region. Koch Foods announced the project in November 2019, and it continued despite the pandemic. Company officials said the facility will service 100 railcars every two weeks

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March 28, 2022 Group Watch: Gov Awards $80M in COVID-19 Funds To Hospitals & Nursing Homes

Governor Ivey has awarded an additional $80 million in COVID-19 recovery funds to provide reimbursements for Alabama hospitals and nursing homes. The funding for the award comes from the state’s portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars appropriated by the legislature in January. According to the governor’s office, the

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March 14, 2022 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

While it has faced vocal opposition, the bill to remove the requirement to have a permit for the concealed carry of a gun in Alabama is now law. After being passed by the House, modified in the Senate and then approved by the conference committee (made necessary by Senate changes), Governor Ivey signed the bill into

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March 14, 2022 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@thebloomgroup March 13 Virginia gains optometric laser procedures for glaucoma, post-cataract care | AOA

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March 14, 2022 Group Watch: Legislature Day-by-Day, Play-by-Play

Tuesday, 19th day of regular session:  The House passed a number of bills of local application only and general bills relating to education funding, including the $8.1 billion education budget for FY23 and several appropriations for non-state entities such as Lyman Ward Military Academy and Tuskegee University. It also approved a Senate-passed bill to provide

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March 14, 2022 Group Watch: AL Senate Committee Approves Lottery & Gambling Package

The Alabama Senate Tourism Committee approved legislation that would authorize a lottery and at least five casinos in the state; it would also create a state gaming commission that could crackdown on established gambling. The committee approved the bills without dissenting votes. The proposed legislation would grant “emergency powers to

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March 14, 2022 Group Watch: Lawmakers Pass Bill To Legalize Fentanyl Test Strips

The Alabama Legislature passed a bill to make it legal to use and distribute test strips that detect the presence of fentanyl in other drugs in an effort to prevent overdoses. Fentanyl is an addictive opioid far more potent than heroin that is often added to illegal street drugs. The Jefferson

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March 14, 2022 Group Watch: Senate Passes Board of Optometry Bill

A bill expanding the services and procedures optometrists are allowed to provide in Alabama passed the Senate last week. If it becomes law, the Alabama Board of Optometry would be the sole authority regulating the expansion of certain practices and procedures for optometrists. It would also require optometrists providing these procedures to meet certain training benchmarks. Senator Del Marsh, R-Anniston,

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March 14, 2022 Group Watch: Governor Signs Bill to End Concealed Carry Permit Requirement

Alabama lawmakers gave final approval to a bill to repeal the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun, an idea proposed for about the last 10 years. Gov. Ivey immediately signed the legislation into law, which takes effect in January 2023. The House and Senate voted mostly along party

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