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.

October 2022 Group Watch: Germany Trade Mission Brings Opportunities to AL

Alabama’s first overseas trade mission in more than three years successfully connected a diverse group of growth-minded state companies with counterparts in Germany, potentially setting the stage for new opportunities and partnerships. According to Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, the five companies on the mission operate in fields including the life sciences sector, microgrid power systems, next generation EV charging strategies and international project management services. The Germany business development trip was the first Commerce-led trade mission since September 2019, when an Alabama group traveled to the United Arab Emirates. Alabama companies represented on the trade mission included Adah, Gene Capture, BLOC Global Group, Domestique and ASHIPA Electric Limited.

October 2022 Group Watch: Amazon Teams Up with Tuskegee University for Training Program

Tuskegee University has a new partnership with Amazon that will establish advanced training programs in mechatronics, robotics, supply chain management and logistics operations for students at the Macon County institution. Amazon donated $1.2 million to fund the program, which also includes scholarships and setting up a pipeline for leadership roles at the tech giant. This collaboration is the latest example of innovation in rural Alabama, where universities and companies are engaged in developments that are shaping the future in various research areas and industries. The Amazon-Tuskegee alliance will provide training in design, distribution, risk assessment and other topics through classroom and lab instruction. The college of Business and Information Science will lead the supply chain initiative, and the College of Engineering will lead the mechatronics and robotics program.

October 2022 Group Watch: Changes to AL Constitution on November Ballot

Come election day November 8, there will be more than names on the ballot: Multiple proposed changes to Alabama’s 121-year-old state constitution will also be there, waiting for voters to either approve and ratify them or reject the revisions. State legislators unanimously gave Alabama voters the opportunity to make their voices heard on a reworked constitution last legislative session. Before you head to your polling place, learn more about the proposed changes here.

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