September 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Positive economic news and appointment announcements top the news in Alabama politics this month.

  • Gov. Ivey Replaces Chris Elliot on ATRIP-II Committee: Governor Kay Ivey appointed State Senator Vivian Davis Figures to serve on the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program-II Committee replacing State Senator Chris Elliot. Ivey pointed to Figures track record of seeking progress and bringing people together, along with being the most senior senator from the Mobile/Baldwin County Delegation. Elliot is a freshman legislator from Baldwin County and Figures has served in the state senate since 1997. This committee is charged with reviewing and awarding of grants for eligible road and bridge projects.
  • BIO Alabama Names Exec Director: BIO Alabama announced that healthcare executive Sonia Robinson has joined the statewide bioscience trade association as its first full-time executive director, leading efforts within the sector to grow employment, increase research development and expand international trade. The biosciences industry contributes $7.3 billion in economic impact to Alabama annually. Robinson’s career in healthcare marketing and public relations, plus her experience with startups are all very relevant to the issues BIO Alabama is addressing. Birmingham-based BIO Alabama is the state partner of the international life sciences trade organization Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).
  • Alabama High on Area Development magazine’s 2019 “Top States for Business” List: Alabama earned a No. 4 ranking and Top-10 marks in 11 different individual categories in Area Development’s 2019 survey, underscoring the state’s business-friendly environment, leading job-training programs and other advantages for economic development. The ranking follows a record year for Alabama’s economic development team. In 2018, companies announced projects involving $8.7 billion in new capital investment in the state, the highest total for a year, according to an analysis by the Alabama Department of Commerce. Alabama trailed Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina in the magazine’s rankings. North Carolina rounded out the Top 5.

September 2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

Sept 11

They sacrifice for us.
“She thought she was going it alone, until her husband walked through the door.” Watch the video.

September 2019 Group Watch: AL Hospitals Sue Opioid Makers

A group of 21 Alabama hospitals have filed a lawsuit against opioid makers and distributors, taking the battle over the epidemic to the courts. The 21 plaintiffs filed suit in the Circuit Court of Conecuh County that Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, CVS, Walmart and Walgreens fueled the nation’s deadly opioid crisis. The complaint states that overdose deaths in Alabama sharply increased from 2013 to 2017 and caused staggering financial, operational and emotional expenses for hospitals. Dozens of hospitals in Arizona, West Virginia and Texas have filed similar lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors.

September 2019 Group Watch: Legislation Boosts Rural Biz

Alabama’s unemployment is at an all-time low and with many companies relocating to its business-friendly environment, our state’s economy is strong. Unfortunately, rural counties have lagged behind their urban neighbors in infrastructure development, job creation and revenue growth. The Alabama Incentives Modernization (AIM) Act, passed earlier this year by the legislature is a step in the right direction. It provides incentives for businesses creating as few as 10 jobs in rural areas. It also expands the number of rural counties eligible for incentives under the 2015 Alabama Jobs Act and enhances incentives within federal Opportunity Zones.

September 2019 Group Watch: Bloom Group Adds to Its Team

We here at The Bloom Group are thrilled to announce an addition to our team. Sara Elizabeth Burnham has joined the company and will be a valuable asset to our present and potential clients thanks to her political and business experience and strong, longstanding relationships. Burnham is currently a real estate agent with Bell & Corwin and will remain active in real estate. Welcome, Sara Elizabeth!

September 2019 Group Watch: CEO of Republic Services, Inc. Honored

Republic Services, Inc. recently announced that Chief Executive Officer Donald “Don” W. Slager was recognized on Forbes’ 2019 America’s Most Innovative Leaders list. Slager ranks #43 of the top 100 innovators and visionaries and is the sole recycling and solid waste services executive on the inaugural list. As Chief Executive Officer since 2011, he has shaped the company into a unified American brand that stands for customer-focused simple solutions, reliability and environmental responsibility. Republic’s industry-leading safety program reflects his commitment to ensuring safety for 36,000 employees and 14 million customers, a successful model that has raised the bar across the industry. Forbes’ 2019 America’s Most Innovative Leaders list measures four essential leadership qualities: media reputation for innovation, social connections and capital, track record for value creation and investor expectations of future value creation.

September 2019 Group Watch: AL Opens European Biz Development Office

The Alabama Department of Commerce has opened a business development office in Stuttgart, Germany, to enhance the state’s strategic efforts to attract European companies considering job-creating investments in the United States. Christoph Dorr, an experienced German businessman who spent seven years in charge of an industrial operation in Alabama, serves as the director of the new European office, which began operating earlier this month. Dorr’s primary emphasis will be to build on Alabama’s longstanding economic development activities in Europe. In 2018, European companies announced projects in Alabama of nearly $1.5 billion in new capital investment and 1,500 jobs.

August 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Movers and shakers in Alabama politics are moving and shaking this month, with announcements, appointments and promotions topping the headlines.

  • Head of Alabama Office of Apprenticeship Announced: Josh Laney has been named  Director of the newly established Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. Laney, who previously served as Senior Director of Workforce Development for the Alabama Department of Education, will head the office created earlier this year by a bill sponsored by State Senator Arthur Orr. Laney’s duties include working with industry and education to develop and expand traditional and industry-recognized apprenticeships for youth and adults. He will lead the office’s support of larger workforce development infrastructure to produce workers with credentialed expertise and focus on growing the state’s registered apprenticeship programs.
  • Gov. Ivey Names William Filmore to Top Legislative Post: The governor’s office confirmed the promotion of William Filmore to lead the Office of Legislative Affairs, the lead conduit between the governor and the Alabama Legislature. Filmore replaces Jared White, who recently left to take a position managing governmental affairs for Auburn University. He has served in state government since 2015, starting as Governmental Relations Coordinator at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency before joining Gov. Ivey in 2017. He previously worked as the governor’s House Liaison and Director of Local Governmental Affairs.
  • Montgomery Attorney Tapped for Federal Judge Vacancy: Montgomery attorney Jerusha Adams has been tapped to fill a federal judge vacancy in the Middle District of Alabama. Adams will replace Judge Gray Borden, who has been selected as a magistrate judge in the Northern District. Adams is a civil litigator at Montgomery’s Capell & Howard law firm. She previously clerked for several federal judges, including current U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins and retired Judge Vanzetta McPherson. Her appointment to the position is pending an FBI background investigatio

August 2019 Group Watch: Rep. Roby Announces Retirement; Says Future Plans Still Unknow

U.S. Representative Martha Roby, R, Montgomery, surprised many a few weeks ago when she announced that she would not seek reelection to Congress when her current term (her fifth) ends. At a recent Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce event, Roby spoke more about the decision but gave few concrete details. She said the decision was made after “much prayer and consideration,” but declined to elaborate further. When asked about what she’ll do next, she said she doesn’t know yet, but she stressed that she remains committed to “fighting for the people of Alabama” during the remainder of her term. She also did not rule out running for office again at some point in the future.

August 2019 Group Watch: AL Hospitals Benefit from Medicare Change

Hospital industry officials are pleased with a recent rule change that will provide wage index increases for four years to hospitals that have been on the low end of reimbursement. Senator Richard Shelby, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced the rule change earlier this month. The change in 2020 will mean an additional $38 million a year for Alabama’s nearly 100 hospitals. The wage index disparity has hurt Alabama’s rural hospitals, 88 percent of which operate in the red. About 40 percent of hospital care in the state is covered by Medicare, thus impacting urban hospitals as well.

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