The Bloom Group, Inc. newsletter covering week 10 of the 2011 Alabama Legislature.
The Bloom Group:
(left to right)
James Dupree
Lisa A. Woodard
Allen Sanderson, Principal
Hal W. Bloom, Jr., Principal
John W. Floyd


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Montgomery, AL 36104
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For every client and in every situation, The Bloom Group operates in pursuit of these goals:

  • To consistently deliver to each of our clients the highest level of governmental relations services tailored to the client’s specific individual needs and based on a firm understanding of their business.
  • To develop and value a personal and professional relationship — based upon mutual trust and respect — with clients, legislators, members of the executive branch and others with whom we deal.
  • To always conduct our governmental relations affairs in an ethical and honest manner.

May 27 Issue

News & Views from the State House

Teacher Tenure Reform a Reality

On Tuesday, a House committee approved a Senate-passed bill to reform teacher tenure guidelines in Alabama. On Wednesday night, after a marathon debate on the House floor, the House voted 56-43 to give final passage to a bill that streamlines the process that school boards use to discipline or fire teachers. The vote was principally along party lines, with Republicans voting overwhelmingly to approve the measure and Democrats voting against the bill. Read more here.


Temporary Setback for Payroll Deduction Law

The International Association of Firefighters and the American Federation of Teachers won the first round of a legal battle over Alabama’s new payroll deduction law. U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith in Huntsville has issued a temporary injunction that prohibits state officials, officials at Alabama State University and the cities of Mobile and Jacksonville from refusing to deduct union dues for the two unions. Read more here.

Final Approval of State Budgets

In the early morning hours on Wednesday, The Alabama Legislature gave final approval to both state budgets. The pre-dawn vote occurred after members adjourned just before midnight on Tuesday and re-convened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning. The bare-bone budgets provide for over 1,100 fewer classroom teachers and less money for the state Medicaid agency. Governor Bentley is said to be unhappy with the cut to Medicaid and is rumored to be considering an executive amendment to address funding for the agency. Read more here.

State Employees' Insurance Costs

The Senate passed two bills this week that require state employees and school workers who retire after December 31 to pay more for their health insurance if they are not 65 and eligible for Medicare. The bills’ sponsor, Republican Senator and Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh of Anniston, said the state’s cost is spiraling out of control for insuring retirees who are not eligible for Medicare, and the insurance coverage will be threatened if the state does not get help from retirees. The amount paid would depend on their years of service and age. The votes were mainly along party lines, with Republicans favoring the bills and Democrats opposing the measures. Democrats maintain the bills break a promise the state made to public employees. The bills now go the House for consideration.

Limits on Lawsuits

On Thursday, the House gave final approval to three bills that place limits on lawsuits in the state. One of the measures restricts where lawsuits can be filed in wrongful death lawsuits. The second bill will reduce the amount of interest that can be collected following a verdict from 12 percent to 7 percent. The third bill reduces the amount of time plaintiffs have to file lawsuits against architects, engineers and general contractors. Governor Bentley is expected to sign all three.

Sex Offender Bill

The House voted unanimously on Tuesday to strengthen the law that requires convicted sex offenders to register with law enforcement. Current law requires offenders to register two times each year. The House proposal requires registration four times each year. The offenders would be required to provide vehicle information, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. The bill also closes a loophole in the current law by requiring homeless sex offenders to register once a week with law enforcement.

Bentley Protects Ethics Funding

On Tuesday, Governor Bentley signed into law a bill that guarantees funding for the Alabama Ethics Commission. The law guarantees the commission funding of one-tenth of one percent of the state’s General Fund budget. The law also provides that any change in the minimum funding formula requires a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Legislature. During the signing ceremony, the governor said the new law makes sure that funding is always available for the agency that “makes sure we have ethical government.”

Principal Perspective

by Allen Sanderson
This week, I’m using this column to let you know a little bit more about Lisa A. Woodard, who has been an associate of The Bloom Group since 2006. She brings our team some invaluable expertise in education, thanks to over 35 years of dedicated work in this field. For 14 years of those years, she taught gifted students.
This expertise has been recognized and honored several times. She earned “Outstanding Teacher” recognition from the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, was the recipient of “The Right Stuff Award” at the U.S. Space Academy and received the “Spirit of Freedom” award for her outstanding service to youth.
Despite the long hours and multiple task juggling that her responsibilities at The Bloom Group sometimes require, she says she really likes the work, believing one of the biggest impacts a person can have on the world around them is to affect public policy. “That’s what I get the chance to do in this position,” she said. 
In light of her vast experience, the issues Lisa often works on concern state education policy and federal education policy, and so it is no surprise that she describes Wednesday’s important vote approving teacher tenure reform as “huge.” “A bill was passed that changes 70 years of tenure law and makes teachers and public schools more accountable,” she said.
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