August 2023 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

Aug 16

This afternoon,@RepJerryCarl shared a federal update with League members and special guests at our second congressional luncheon. We appreciate Rep. Carl for taking the time to meet with our local leaders. #alpolitics

August 2023 Group Watch: “Be Linked Alabama” is Bringing Broadband to More Alabamians

Alabama currently ranks 24th in the country for states with the best and worst internet. But Governor Kay Ivey and the Department of Economic and Community Affairs are working to improve that ranking, announcing more than $400 million in federal funding and $1.4 billion from the U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program (BEAD) will be used to expand access to high-speed internet across Alabama. The efforts to bring broadband connectivity to more Alabamians are being promoted under the name Be Linked Alabama and include the state’s new Anchor Institution/Middle Mile (AIMM) program, which will be funded with the second round of American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated during the 2023 Legislative Session. More than $200 million will support this effort, which will potentially serve 500 anchor facilities. These facilities  include institutions such as colleges and universities, rural hospitals and government facilities that are inadequately served. “Middle-mile” deployment that will provide the infrastructure to help facilitate last-mile deployment by internet service providers will also be funded.

August 2023 Group Watch: Alabama Funds More EV Charging Stations 

Governor Kay Ivey has awarded grants of more than $1.2 million to get the state ready as more electric vehicles are purchased and travel Alabama highways. Funds for the projects came from appropriations under the state Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Program. The grants target well-traveled highway systems away from the interstates or busy locations. Most of the latest awards are in locations along Alabama’s highway system on the state’s eastern corridor. The Montgomery County Commission was awarded $461,700 to install eight charging stations at the recently completed Whitewater Park on Maxwell Boulevard.

August 2023 Group Watch: Work on Gambling Legislation Continues

A small group of legislators is working to bring gambling legislation (again) in the next session of the Alabama Legislature. Noting that legal or not, gambling is already happening in multiple areas around the state, these lawmakers stress the importance of passing a bill (or bills) that will allow the state to regulate and tax the activity. The main goal is a lottery constitutional amendment on the November 2024 ballot. Read more here.

August 2023 Group Watch: International Investment Boosting Job Growth in AL

Job growth tied to international investment in Alabama has been rapidly outpacing the state’s general employment growth rate, according to a report that tracks the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) across the U.S. The Global Business Alliance analysis says employment in Alabama tied to FDI surged 12 percent between 2015 and 2020, compared to overall employment growth of just 1 percent during the same period. Almost 700 international companies have operations in Alabama, and nearly 117,000 jobs in the state stem from international investment. In the past decade, international investment in Alabama has surpassed $25 billion, generating more than 38,000 job commitments in key industries including automotive, aviation and metals manufacturing. Last year, FDI pouring into Alabama topped $5.5 billion, representing more than half the annual total, a record $10.1 billion. These investments come from companies based in India, South Korea, France and Japan.

August 2023 Group Watch: Senator Britt Secures AL Defense Appropriations Priorities

U.S. Senator Katie Britt shared she’s secured nearly $1.1 billion in defense and military funding for Alabama as a member of the Committee on Appropriations. Britt joined her colleagues in advancing the FY2024 Defense Appropriations Act, which provides a total of $831.3 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Defense. According to her office, the funding priorities will supercharge military readiness, combat illegal drug trafficking, modernize the defense industrial base, advance munitions procurement and support service members and their families. The Alabama priorities she promoted include $645 million in funding that directly supports the defense communities in every corner of the state, from research and development in hypersonic to direct energy, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. The funds also include hundreds of millions of dollars for Abrams’ tank restoration at Anniston Army Depot.

August 2023 Group Watch: Speaker Ledbetter Chair-Elect of the Council of State Governments Southern Office

Alabama Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter was unanimously elected to serve as the 2023-2024 chair-elect of the Council of State Governments Southern Office at the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) in Charleston, South Carolina in July. As chair-elect, Speaker Ledbetter will assist the incoming chair, West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair, in guiding CSG South during the coming year. He will also serve as chair of the 79th SLC Annual Meeting, to be held in Alabama in the summer of 2025. The purpose of this meeting is to provide Southern state lawmakers with the opportunity to work together to create more effective public policy so their home states are better served. 

August 2023 Group Watch: Bobbie Knight Elected to Alabama Power BOD

A familiar face has just joined Alabama Power’s board of directors: Bobbie Knight, president of Miles College, who retired from Alabama Power in 2016 after 38 years with the company. Knight, prior to being named the first female president of Miles College, held various executive and leadership positions with Alabama Power, including vice president of the Birmingham Division, vice president of Public Relations and general manger of Supply Chain. She was a member of the Miles College Board of Trustees and was also CEO of Bobbie Knight Consulting. She co-chaired Mayor Randall Woodfin’s 2017 transition team and was one of 21 women selected worldwide to take part in the leadership Foundations Fellows Program of the International Women’s Forum, allowing her to study at Harvard University and the Judge School of Business at Cambridge.

August 2023 Group Watch: Innovate  Alabama Awards Millions to AL Small Biz

Innovate Alabama awarded more than $2.1 million to 15 small businesses in its third round of supplemental grants. Entrepreneurs who have received Phase I or Phase II SBIR or STTR grants received up to $250,000 of supplemental funding to support the growth of their small businesses. The businesses selected in this round are in Auburn, Birmingham, Huntsville and Prattville and are: Alveolus Bio, Analytical AI, Archarithms, CFD Research Corp., EngeniusMicro, Fagan Consulting, IERUS Technologies, 3-Tech, Outpost Technologies, Quadrus Advanced Manufacturing, Research in Flight, Summit Information Solutions, SemanticGuard, Xplosion Technology and Zeus Research and Technology. 

August 2023 Group Watch: Trendco USA Creating 292 Jobs at Tuskegee Facility

Columbia, South Carolina-based Trendco has committed to creating 292 jobs over five years at a facility in the new Regional East Alabama Logistics Park (REAL) in Macon County. Trendco plans to invest $43 million to launch a manufacturing operation in the new  REAL Park, a logistics hub in Tuskegee, where it will produce nitrile medical gloves. Once the glove lines are established at the Tuskegee facility, the company plans to expand production into masks and gowns, ensuring a reliable domestic source for these important PPE items to mitigate potential supply chain disruptions.

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