September 2021 Group Watch: Special Election Set; Penni McClammy Announces Plans to Run for Father’s Seat

Govenor Kay Ivey has set the dates for a special election to fill the Alabama House seat vacated by the death of Rep. Thad McClammy D-Montgomery. McClammy, 78, died August 21. He had represented District 76 in Montgomery since 1994. The primary will be November 16, with a runoff, if necessary, on December 14. The special general election will be March 1. His daughter, Patrice “Penni” McClammy, has already said she plans to run for her father’s seat and will make the formal announcement tomorrow. Read more here.

September 2021 Group Watch: Hassell wins Alabama House District 78 Race

Alabama has a new state representative. Democrat Kenyatte Hassell defeated Republican Loretta Grant to win the seat in the special general election. According to unofficial results from the Alabama secretary of state’s office, Hassell received 1,028 votes, and Grant received 254. Hassel is Montgomery’s urban director for YoungLife. He also is the co-owner of heritage Barbershop. The district 78 seat became vacant after former Rep. Kirk Hatcher was voted into the state Senate.

September 2021 Group Watch: Fewer COVID Restrictions at the State House

A special session will probably be called before the end of September, and when Representatives and Senators make their way back to the State House, they’ll find that COVID-19 restrictions put in place for safety will be less stringent than before. The Senate will once again be open to the public, but it has not yet been decided if the same will be true for the House. Since it has more members, it may need the space where members of the public would be to allow representatives to be spread out.

September 2021 Group Watch: Mike Hubbard Seeking Early Release

Attorneys for Mike Hubbard, former Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, filed a request for his early release from prison after serving 12 months of a 28-month sentence. Hubbard received a split sentence, with 28 months in prison followed by eight years of probation. He is not eligible for parole, sentence deduction or supervised release/ Court officials scheduled his release for January 8,2023. According to the motion filed by lawyers for Hubbard, he has taken responsibility for his actions and poses no threat if released. Hubbard wrote that his incarceration had been humbling and difficult, particularly the separation from his family and community. Hubbard pledges to work to rebuild trust with those who have lost faith in him and the entire political system.

August 2021 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Thanks to the Delta variant, COVID-19 has come roaring back in Alabama, prompting Governor Ivey to issue a new emergency order late last week to ensure healthcare workers and hospitals in particular have everything they need to battle this recent wave.

And yet, despite the virus numbers, positive economic development news keeps popping up all over the state, with Alabama’s business climate raking in more praise and multiple announcements of new companies and new investment being made.

Plus, we all know politics never sleeps, so it’s no surprise that endorsements and other election news continue to make headlines too.

Find more details on all this and more below.

August 2021 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

The committee to study the state’s response to the pandemic was meant to meet today but concerns over COVID have pushed the meeting to next week. #alpolitics

August 2021 Group Watch: Governor Kay Ivey Issues “Limited” COVID-19 Emergency Order

Governor Kay Ivey issued what is described as a “limited, narrowly-focused” state of emergency declaration that she said is intended to help hospital and healthcare workers respond to the surging COVID-19 pandemic. The governor’s office said the proclamation would relax regulatory burdens to allow expanded capacity in healthcare facilities, provide additional liability protections and increased authority for frontline healthcare personnel as well as make the shipment of emergency equipment and supplies easier.

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August 2021 Group Watch: Alabama’s Business Climate Scores Near Top in New Rankings

Business Facilities, a national economic development publication, ranked Alabama’s business climate among the top states in an analysis evaluating key economic categories. Alabama earned the No. 5 spot in the magazine’s flagship business climate ranking, while also earning high marks for workforce training, manufacturing employment and output and the horsepower of the state’s auto industry. Besides the high ranking for business climate, Alabama also earned No. 3 for customized training, No. 6 in manufacturing employment, No. 6 in automotive manufacturing and No. 8 manufacturing output. The report also singled out several Alabama cities: Huntsville was named the No. 4 Millennial Magnet; Mobile was No. 5 Best Business Climate; Birmingham-Hoover ranked No. 5 on the Health Care Hubs list; Huntsville also earned the No. 6 Tech Hubs spot; and Decatur claimed the No.7 spot in Manufacturing Hubs.

August 2021 Group Watch: Hanwha Cimarron LLC to open New Manufacturing Plant

Hanwha Cimarron LLC, a maker of filament-wound carbon fiber tanks and pressure vessels, announced plans to invest $130 million to open a new manufacturing facility in Opelika, where it will create 261 new jobs. The new facility will help fuel the company’s growth in the carbon overwrap pressure vessel market, catering to the needs of industries including aerospace, drone, defense, marine, rail and gas transport and storage. In December 2020, South Korea-based Hanwha Solutions Corp. acquired Huntsville-based Cimarron Composites as part of a strategic expansion into the hydrogen energy business.

August 2021 Group Watch: Three Companies Team Up for $40M Plant in Alabama

Three companies with more than a century of experience in the U.S. steel and auto industries are teaming up in a joint venture called Madison Metal Processing that will operate a new, $40-million factory near Huntsville. The companies collaborating in the venture are Toyota Tsusho America Inc., Southern Mobility Products and SteelSummit Holdings, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp. of Americas. Starting later this year, Madison Metal Processing will supply steel blankets, the precursor to automotive surface body parts, for up to 300,000 vehicles produced at the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing auto assembly plant in Huntsville as well as other auto suppliers. The 110,000-square-foot Alabama facility is bringing 40 new jobs to the region. Full production is planned for mid-2022, with trial production already under way.

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