The Bloom Group, Inc. newsletter covering week 5 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

Contact us:
401 Adams Ave, Ste 710
Montgomery, AL 36104
Telephone: (334) 244-8948
Fax: (334) 213-0688


Our Mission

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.

April 8 Issue

News & Views from the State House

Moving Right Along

Quite a lot got done this week. On Tuesday, the Alabama House voted to let residents decide whether they want to opt out of “Obama Care.” Last week, the House debated the proposed constitutional amendment but fell short of the votes required to pass the measure. Under the rules of the House, the measure was reconsidered and passed 67-28. The vote was mainly along party lines. The bill’s sponsor says the legislation is needed to prevent Alabama residents from being forced to participate in the healthcare program. Democrats, who oppose the legislation, say it is purely symbolic, since federal law supersedes state law. The House also passed what some are calling an Arizona-style immigration bill to allow police to arrest anyone who cannot prove he or she is in the country legally. They voted 73-28 to pass the bill after almost six hours of spirited debate. The bill would cause employers to lose business licenses if they knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Read more here.
Other happenings include:
  • The Alabama Senate voted unanimously to rewrite the state’s new ethics law at the recommendation of the State Ethics Commission and the attorney general. The law approved in December 2010 prohibits offering gifts and other things of value to a public official to influence official action. The revised bill specifies that the offer must be made to “corruptly influence” official action. The changes were needed to clarify the intent of the law and prevent legal challenges over vagueness.
  • Twenty-two GOP senators announced Tuesday they will not accept the Legislature’s automatic 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase, but they are not agreeing to forfeit the much larger increase passed in 2007.
  • On Wednesday, the Senate Finance and Taxation-General Fund Committee approved a bill to expand the tax breaks available to television shows produced in Alabama. The state’s tourism office and film recruitment office support the legislation. The bill’s sponsor said it would create more jobs and give more exposure to the state.
  • The same committee also approved a $1.8 billion General Fund budget for non-education related agencies of government such as prisons and Medicaid. The budget received a second reading on Wednesday evening and passed by the full Senate on Thursday on a 27-4 vote. The Senate passed budget restores funding for important programs such as the Children Advocacy Centers. The budget provides no raise for state workers and requires them to pay more for retirement and health insurance benefits. It also eliminates funding for museums, festivals and historic sites. Read more here.
  • The House Ways and Means-Education Committee voted on Thursday to approve a bill to transfer $30 million from a fund that provides telephone service for the deaf to the education budget. The move met spirited, yet silent, opposition. Several dozen deaf residents watched as interpreters used sign language to translate details of the debate. The committee chair emphasized that the transfer would be “one time only” and would not prevent the dual party relay fund from paying for anyone’s telephone service. Read more here.
  • Late Thursday, the House approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville, that bans elective abortions later than 20 weeks into pregnancy. Supporters of the bill pointed to evidence showing that unborn fetuses can feel pain. Read more here.

Tort Reform for Building Industry

As Thursday's last item of business, The House passed landmark legislation that cuts the time limit for filing civil litigation against engineers, architects and builders. The bill known as the “Statute of Repose” was sponsored by Rep. Greg Canfield of Vestavia and reduces the time limit from 13 years to 7 years. The Alabama Council of Engineering Companies has worked towards this outcome for several years. 

Governor's Policy Director Exits

Michael Ciamarra, policy director for Alabama Governor Robert Bentley resigned after just three months on the job. According to the governor’s press office, Ciamarra is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Ciamarra has been in and out of government over the years. He served on the staff of former governor Fob James and as vice president of a conservative think tank, the Alabama Policy Institute in Birmingham. 

Appeals Court Upholds Ruling

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the preliminary injunction by a Huntsville federal judge issued last month. The injunction blocks the enforcement of a law that prohibits payroll deductions for public employees who are paying membership dues to groups that use the money for political activity. The Alabama Education Association challenged the law. The appeals court also said that the trial judge went too far when he also ordered state officials to deduct for the association’s political action committee.

College Rally at the Capitol

More than 1,000 students from universities around the state descended on Montgomery on Thursday and rallied in front of the Alabama State House seeking additional funding for the state’s colleges and universities. The football-style rally included cheerleaders and bands from Alabama State University and the University of West Alabama. The chief complaint among students is the continually escalating cost of tuition. A number of public officials spoke at the rally including Governor Robert Bentley.

Principal Perspective

by Allen Sanderson 
Alabama politics doesn't "clock out" at 5 p.m. So at The Bloom Group, neither do we, if that's what it takes to ensure our clients' interests are served and their needs are met. When the legislature is in session, at least one member of our team is always at the State House watching, morning, noon and night. Even when the representatives and senators are back in their home districts, the wheels of government are always in motion. So too, are we. We keep our fingers on the political pulse, our ears to the ground and our noses to the grindstone year-round, monitoring and advocating for you.
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