2/13/17 Group Watch: Luther Strange Appointed to U.S. Senate

Governor Robert Bentley appointed Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate following the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. Strange, 63, was elected the state’s attorney general in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. The appointment follows a lengthy process of interviews and questions about what role, if any, the Alabama attorney general’s office had in probing controversies swirling around the governor. Bentley expressed confidence in Strange’s ability to serve the people of Alabama.

2/13/17 Group Watch: Governor Bentley Appoints New AL AG

Governor Robert Bentley announced on Friday the appointment of Steven Marshall, former Marshall County District Attorney, as the new Alabama Attorney General. Marshall will fill the vacancy left by Luther Strange upon his appointment to the Unites States Senate. Read more here.

January 2017 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The new year is starting off strong, with tons of political news swirling around Inauguration Day on January 20 as well as hearings on Trump’s cabinet appointees, including Alabama’s Jeff Sessions. More localized stories are revolving around the Alabama Legislature’s soon-to-start 2017 session, including some ideas on education reform.

Bentley Setting Senate Special Election for 2018
Governor Robert Bentley will soon be appointing a replacement for Senator Jeff Sessions, but that person will only be temporary. The governor recently announced that he would schedule the Special Election to coincide with the 2018 statewide elections. He cited two reasons for his decision: this timeline will save money and is likely to have a larger turnout since voters will have a number of local and statewide matters to spark interest and bring them to the polls. The governor has interviewed 20 state and federal officials and a businessman as possible contenders for the interim appointment. Read the full list:

  • Jim Byard, ADECA Director
  • U.S. Representative Mo Brooks
  • Alabama State Senator Bill Hightower
  • Former Representative Perry Hooper Jr.
  • Alabama State Senator Del Marsh
  • Chief Justice Roy Moore
  • Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Glenn Murdock
  • State Senator Arthur Orr
  • State Senator Tripp Pittman
  • Representative Bill Poole
  • Representative Connie Rowe
  • State Senator Cam Ward
  • Alabama Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee
  • U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt
  • Alabama State Senator Phil Williams
  • Tim James
  • Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange
  • U.S. Representative Martha Roby
  • State Senator Greg Reed
  • U.S. Representative Gary Palmer

And read Bentley’s latest comments on the special election here.

Sessions’ Chief of Staff to serve in White House
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team recently announced the appointment of Rick Dearborn as Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House. Dearborn is the longtime chief of staff to Senator Jeff Sessions. In his new role, Dearborn, who is currently executive director of the Presidential Transition Team, will lead the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Cabinet affairs. Dearborn has worked for six U.S. Senators and spent more than 25 years working on Capitol Hill.

State Senator calls for Education Plan 
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh of Anniston is calling for a comprehensive plan for public education in Alabama. Marsh has sponsored high-profile education reform bills in recent years says the development of a cohesive school strategy should start with educators and not lawmakers. Directors of two groups representing education leaders said Marsh’s idea has merit. Dr. Eric Mackey, executive of the School Superintendents of Alabama, said test scores show Alabama students lagging behind those from other states to a degree that can’t be fully blamed on Alabama’s high poverty rate. He said a comprehensive plan needs to account for the wide disparity among Alabama school systems. The executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards agrees and said the time is right because of new leadership and other changes in education.

January 2017 Group Watch: Talladega College Part of Inaugural Parade

Talladega College President Dr. Billy Hawkins announced that the Marching Tornado Band has accepted an invitation to perform in the president’s inaugural parade. We’d like to congratulate Talladega College, a longtime The Bloom Group client, on this wonderful opportunity. The school established a GoFundMe page (click here to visit it), which set a goal of $75,000, to defray the expenses. On Thursday, Dr. Hawkins appeared on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,”  where he described the educational value of the experience for the 300-member band. Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain shared news of the GoFundMe page on his personal website, urging others to make donations. As of this morning, the fund was reporting contributions close to $600,000. Talladega College under the leadership of Dr. Hawkins has been described as one of great hidden treasures of Alabama.

January 2017 Group Watch: More Automotive Jobs Possible in Birmingham

Mayor William Bell says one of the city’s existing suppliers is looking to expand its current facility and create 400-600 jobs in Birmingham. The mayor declined to release what automotive supplier may be expanding, or when the formal announcement will be made. The comments were made during the mayor’s “state of the city” address at a Kiwanis Club luncheon in downtown Birmingham. When asked about the status of a stadium near the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, Bell said a decision will be made soon on what type of stadium will be constructed to house UAB football and other events. The mayor commented that stakeholders may need to decide to build a larger, dome facility that can be used year-round. The estimated cost for such a facility is $400-$500 million.

December 2016 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The holidays are almost here, and 2016 is winding down, but there’s still plenty of political activity: Jeff Sessions’ U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs, as is a spot in the Alabama House. Plus, you may have to wait longer to get part of your tax refund in 2017.

Luther Strange to Run for U.S. Senate
Alabama Attorney Luther Strange has announced his intention to seek the U.S. Senate seat left open by Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be the nation’s attorney general. Strange says he filed the appropriate paperwork with the federal election authorities. Once Sessions formally vacates his Senate seat, Governor Robert Bentley will appoint his replacement and call for a special election. State law does not set a specific time for the special election but says the governor must “forthwith order an election” if the vacancy occurs more than four months before the next general election, which is in 2018. Sessions’ current term runs until 2020.

Representative Oliver Robinson Resigns House Seat
Representative Oliver Robinson from Birmingham recently announced he will retire immediately from Alabama House of Representatives. Robinson has served since 1998 and said he is retiring to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Robison’s daughter works for Governor Robert Bentley and will be serving as the governor’s liaison in the House. With Robinson’s retirement, Birmingham Mayor William Bell has lost an advocate and friend. Robinson supported bills backed by the Mayor intended to take power from Birmingham’s City Council President, who has been a fierce rival of Mayor Bell. Governor Bentley will determine a date and call a special election to fill Robinson’s vacated seat.
Federal Tax Refunds to be Delayed 
It is estimated that almost 500,000 Alabamians will not receive their federal tax refunds until after February 15, 2017 due to a new law aimed at reducing identity theft and fraud. The Internal Revenue Service will hold refunds until mid-February 2017 for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. The additional time allows for closer scrutiny for the tens of millions of people who claim credits. The IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns on January23, 2017. The filing deadline for 2016 returns is April 18, 2017, three days later than usual, because April 15 falls on Saturday, and Emancipation Day, which is celebrated in Washington D.C., is commemorated on Monday, April 17.

December 2016 Group Watch: AL Legislature Receives High Marks

The 2016 Session of the Alabama Legislature received high marks for fiscal and social conservatism from the American Conservative Union on their conservatism report card. The ACU praised the Alabama House and Senate for enacting more conservative legislation during the 2016 sessions. The ACU scores every House and Senate member based on their votes on a selection of bills picked for their adherence to conservative principles. The average score for members of the Senate increased 12 percentage points from an average score of 55 percent out of 100 in 2015 to 67 percent in 2016. The House’s average score increased five percentage points from 48 percent in 2015 to 53 percent in 2016. The Alabama Legislature ranks highly among conservative states, with the Senate among the top five states.

December 2016 Group Watch: Tweet Trends in Legislature

Alabama Today recently did some research and came up with some interesting stats concerning social media use by Alabama Legislators, reporting that 55 percent of them use Twitter. But how they use it and how often varies. Read the full article here, and don’t forget to follow The Bloom Group on Twitter, @thebloomgroup.We use it to report the news you need to know as it happens.

December 2016 Group Watch: Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

As we approach the close of this year, all of us here at The Bloom Group are already looking forward to representing and serving our clients in 2017. We hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy holiday season and a wonderful start to the New Year!

November 2016 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The role Alabama leaders may play on the national stage now that Donald Trump is president-elect and a suspension of the Governor Bentley impeachment hearings are the talk of the town this month.

AL Senator Jeff Sessions Joins Trump Transition Team
President-elect Donald Trump is shaking up his transition team as he plunges into the work of setting up his administration. The transition effort will be led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence and will include steadfast supporters like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Sessions was an early supporter of Trump and a fierce defender of him and his candidacy.

Former AL AG Bill Pryor Among Contenders for Supreme Court
Among the names on a Trump list of 21 possible Supreme Court nominees is Mobile native Bill Pryor. Pryor served as Alabama’s Attorney General from 1997-2004, becoming the youngest state AG in the country. In 2005, Pryor was nominated by President George W. Bush as a U.S. Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, a position to which he was confirmed by the United States Senate. Pryor has steadfastly opposed legalized abortion, ruled against gay marriage and ruled for for religious organizations fighting Obamacare contraceptive mandates. He is a practicing Catholic and a graduate of Tulane Law School.
House Judiciary Committee Suspends Impeachment Hearings
The House Judiciary committee has suspended its impeachment hearings against Governor Robert Bentley after receiving a request from the State’s Attorney General’s office expressing concerns that the hearings could jeopardize the AG’s criminal investigation into a separate criminal matter. Committee Chair Mike Jones said his decision to suspend the hearings is consistent with his commitment to work cooperatively with other investigating agencies. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said that proceeding with impeachment hearings while there is an active criminal investigation would put a number of parties in a difficult position.

The Bloom Group, Inc.

401 Adams Avenue, Suite 710
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Telephone: (334) 244-8948
Fax: (334) 213-0688

Live Audio Feed

Listen to your senators and representatives at work. Click here to find links to live audio of the House and audio plus video of the Senate.

Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee

Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee

The News You Need

Find the latest information on all things Alabama politics on Alabama Today.