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Week Nine Legislative Report

Beth Lyons

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The Alabama Legislature convened for day 19 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, March 13 with twenty-seven committee meetings held throughout the week to consider legislation. Both Houses then convened on Thursday, March 15 for Day 20.

There have been 915 bills introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, March 20 for day 21 of the Session with the House and Senate convening at 2:00 p.m. Fifteen committees have scheduled meetings as of the time of this report.

SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK:

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would prohibit the possession, sale, or transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB383 by Senator Hank Sanders].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would prohibit the carrying and possession of a firearm on the premises of a public school regardless of whether the person has intent to do bodily harm and would provide criminal penalties. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB394 by Senator Harri Anne Smith].

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A bill was introduced in the House that would prohibit the sale or transfer of an assault weapon to any person under 21 years of age. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB513 by Representative Ralph Howard].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would allow public schools to offer elective courses focusing on the study of the Bible in grades 6 through 12, and allow the display of artifacts, monuments, symbols and texts related to the study of the Bible. The bills are pending in the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee and the House Education Policy Committee [SB391 by Senator Tim Melson and HB511 by Representative Reed Ingram].

A bill was introduced in the House that would allow the State of Alabama to observe Daylight Savings Time year-round upon an act by Congress to amend the existing prohibition in federal law. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB508 by Representative Craig Ford].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would further provide for permits for shoreline restoration, including the use of living shoreline techniques, by riparian property owners in coastal areas. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee [SB395 by Senator Greg Albritton].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide reporting requirements, publication requirements, and certain requirements regarding the accounting of funds derived from civil forfeiture. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee [HB518 by Representative Arnold Mooney].

SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK:

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would revise notification and confidentiality provisions governing certain economic incentives provided for by law and would clarity what incentives are subject to the notification requirements [HB317 by Representative Ken Johnson].

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee amended and passed a bill that would allow an out-of-state vendor participating in the Simplified Sales and Use Tax Remittance Program (SSUT) to continue to participate in the Program if a physical presence in the state is established through the acquisition of an in-state company, provide that the transaction is subject to sales tax if completed at a retail establishment, and provide that the eligible seller also includes sales through a marketplace facilitator. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB470 by Representative Rod Scott].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee held a public hearing and substituted a bill that would authorize certain persons employed by a state or local board of education to carry a firearm on school premises. The bill now goes to the full House [HB435 by Representative Will Ainsworth].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee held a public hearing and carried over a bill that would authorize the formation of trained volunteer school emergency security forces at public K-12 schools in the state consisting of current and retired school employees and local citizens [HB449 by Representative Allen Farley].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would provide that a person is not criminally liable for using physical or deadly force in self-defense or in the defense of another on the premises of a church. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB34 by Representative Lynn Greer].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a House bill that would authorize the State Fire Marshal to regulate and issue pyrotechnic display operator licenses and pyrotechnic special effects operator licenses to persons who provide fireworks displays, pyrotechnics, and related special effects to an audience. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB376 by Representative Barbara Drummond].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would expand the list of non-curable lease breaches, shorten the notice period of noncompliance with a lease from seven days to three days, and provide that a tenant is entitled to only two curable breaches, instead of four, within any 12 month period. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB421 by Representative David Sessions].

The House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would require county and municipal police departments and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to adopt written policies to prohibit racial profiling, compile statistic on traffic stops and file reports with the Office of the Attorney General. The bill now goes to the full House [SB84 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would re-authorize certain sales and property tax abatements for data processing centers for an additional five year period. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB379 by Senator Jabo Waggoner].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would further provide for persons charged with driving under the influence and the installation of ignition interlock devices. The bill now goes to the full House [SB301 by Senator Paul Bussman].

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require the Department of Public Health to establish a form for an Order for Pediatric Palliative and End of Life Care to be used by medical professionals outlining medical care provided to a minor with a terminal illness. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB194 by Representative April Weaver].

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee held a public hearing and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would add a manufacturers license to the types of alcohol beverage licenses for an establishment that conducts tastings or samplings in an entertainment district. The bill now goes to the full House [SB339 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would create the Voluntary Alabama Firearms Do Not Sell List and allow a person to restrict his or her firearm purchasing authority by voluntarily adding his or her name to the List. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB376 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would prohibit the possession or sale of sky lanterns. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB325 by Representative Ron Johnson].

The House Judiciary Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would provide for the voluntary transfer of a case from municipal court to the county district or circuit court when the defendant qualifies for a pretrial diversion program, mental health court, veteran court or similar program. The bill now goes to the full House [SB37 by Senator Cam Ward].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would add certain enumerated public officials and boards to the list of entities supported by the Alabama Workforce Council, and revise the membership of the Council. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB170 by Representative Alan Baker].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would provide for the issuance of a non-profit special events retail license and provide that a licensed manufacturer may donate its product to a licensed non-profit special event. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB414 by Representative Craig Ford].

The House Fiscal Responsibility Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require a county, municipality or local school board entering a bond financing agreement to include a schedule of all of their debt obligations for the time span of the maturity of the debt obligation. The bill now goes to the full House [HB500 by Representative Chris Sells].

SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK:

The House substituted, amended and passed the $1.75 billion General Fund Budget which includes an additional $53.8 million for Medicaid, an additional $55 million for Corrections, and funds for a 3% cost of living increase for non-education state employees. The bill now returns to the Senate for action on the House amendments [SB178 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate substituted, amended and passed the $6.63 billion Education Trust Fund Budget which includes funds for a 2.5% increase for K-12 employees, 197 additional middle school teachers, a $18 million increase for Pre-K, a $16 million increase for community colleges, a $27 million increase for 4 year colleges, and a $450,000 increase for public libraries. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate amendments [HB175 by Representative Bill Poole].

The Senate passed a House bill that would give a cost-of-living increase of 2.5% to public education employees. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB174 by Representative Bill Poole].

The House passed a Senate bill that would make a $30 million supplemental appropriation for the Department of Corrections. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB175 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House amended and passed a Senate bill that would authorize a 3% cost-of-living increase for state employees. The bill returned to the Senate for action on the House amendment which was approved. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB185 by Senator Clyde Chambliss].

The House substituted and passed a Senate bill that would allow certain retirees under the Employees’ Retirement System to receive a one-time lump-sum bonus to their retirement allowances. The bill returned to the Senate for action on the House substitute which was approved. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB215 by Senator Gerald Dial].

The Senate passed a House bill that would provide oversight of currently license exempt faith-based child care facilities. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB76 by Representative Pebblin Warren].

The House amended and passed a bill that would create the Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security and would authorize the task force to annually study the current educational and safety laws, rules, and policies of the state in order to assist the Legislature in making effective changes to protect and benefit the citizens of the state. The bill is now pending in the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee [HB447 by Representative Terri Collins].

The Senate passed a bill that would allow funds in the Education Trust Fund Budget Stabilization Fund to be used for school security. The bill is now pending in the House Ways and Means Education Committee [SB323 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House amended and passed a bill that would require law enforcement officers to complete sensitivity training, would require law enforcement agencies to recruit licensed social workers to be law enforcement officers, and require uniformed officers who carry firearms to also carry non-lethal weapons. The bill is now pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [SB335 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The Senate passed a bill that would designate the first day of December of each year as Mrs. Rosa L. Parks Day. The bill now goes to the House [SB365 by Senator Vivian Figures].

The House passed a Senate bill that would establish the Alabama Infrastructure Bank to provide for the appropriation and pledge of certain tax revenues, motor vehicle license taxes and registration fees, diesel fuel tax revenues, and motor carrier tax revenues. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB100 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House passed a bill that would further provide auditing procedures for pharmacy records and would limit recoupment for certain errors by a pharmacy. The bill is now pending in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee [HB457 by Representative Elaine Beech].

The House and Senate passed companion bills that would create the Alabama Rural Hospital Resource Center with the University of Alabama at Birmingham to facilitate access to high quality care and improve the health of rural Alabamians by increasing the viability and capabilities of eligible hospitals at no or minimal cost to those hospitals [HB446 by Representative Randall Shedd and SB351 by Senator Greg Reed].

The Senate substituted and passed a House bill that would modify the Wallace-Folsom Savings Investment Plan to authorize a contribution to, and continued investment in, an ACES Program or ABLE Program savings account by the guardian or conservator of the designated beneficiary, and allow the distributions from the accounts be used toward expenses at any higher education institution. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate substitute [HB251 by Representative Ken Johnson].

The Senate passed a bill that would require a county, municipality or local school board entering a bond financing agreement to include a schedule of all of their debt obligations for the time span of the maturity of the debt obligation. The bill is now pending in the House County and Municipal Government Committee [SB364 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The Senate substituted and passed a bill that would increase the amount a licensed manufacturer of liquor may sell at retail for off-premises consumption from 750 milliliters per day to 4.5 liters per day. The bill now goes to the House [SB352 by Senator Jimmy Holley].

The House passed a bill that would re-authorize certain sales and property tax abatements for data processing centers for an additional five year period. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB494 by Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter].

The House amended and passed a bill that would substantially overhaul the Juvenile Justice System, and provide for community-based treatment centers for certain low-level offenders. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB225 by Representative Jim Hill].

The House passed a bill that would allow manufacturers and dealers of boats located within the State to make application to the Department of Revenue for the authority to issue temporary license plates and registration certificates for boat trailers when sold out of state. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB293 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The House amended and passed a bill that would exempt the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo from payment of state, county, and municipal sales and use taxes related to capital expenditures for four years. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB118 by Representative Steve McMillan].

The House amended and passed a bill that would make genital mutilation of a female under the age of 19 a Class D felony. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB284 by Representative Connie Rowe].

The Senate passed a resolution calling on Congress to permanently adopt what is now Daylight Saving Time as the new standard for time in the United States year round. The resolution now goes to the House [SJR101 by Senator Rusty Glover].

BUDGETS:

  • The Education Trust Fund Budget, HB175 by Rep. Poole, has been passed by both chambers and returned to the House for action on a Senate substitute.
  • The General Fund Budget, SB178 by Sen. Pittman, has been passed by both chambers and returned to the Senate for action on a House substitute.

SUMMARY:

  • Bills Introduced: 915
  • Bills that have passed house of origin: 415
  • Bills that have passed both houses: 175
  • Bills that are pending the governor’s signature: 71
  • Bills that have been vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional amendment bills pending referendum: 11
  • Bills enacted: 93

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Hubbard lawyer says Gov. Ivey has a job for him

Bill Britt

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Defense attorney Lance Bell starts closing arguments in Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard trial on Thursday, June 9, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool

An attorney for former Speaker and convicted felon Mike Hubbard is pushing for Gov. Kay Ivey to appoint him St. Clair County District Attorney, and he is telling people that Hubbard’s good friend and Ivey donor, businessman Jimmy Rane, is going to make it happen.

Lance Bell is a small-town lawyer based in Pell City located in St. Clair County. Bell gained statewide notoriety as one of Hubbard’s criminal defense attorneys. He wasn’t hired for his legal acumen, but because he was mentored in his early career by Van Davis, the acting Attorney General overseeing the Hubbard prosecution, according to those close to his hiring.

In the recent Republican primary, current St. Clair County DA Richard Minor won the nomination for the Criminal Court of Appeals. Minor faces no Democrat competition so undoubtedly he will be elevated to the court in January, leaving a vacancy in the county DA’s office.

Bell is not supported by the majority of Republicans in St. Clair or the county’s judiciary said at least four St. Clair insiders, even though he is ALGOP county chair. However, Bell is saying that because of his relationship with Rane, that he will be chosen because Rane is best friends with Gov. Ivey.

Rane is one of Ivey’s biggest supporters, giving her at least $300,000 in campaign contributions and lending her his airplane to barnstorm the state before the Republican Primary in June.

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According to lawyers who ask to speak on background, Bell engaged in some activities on Hubbard’s behalf that should result in a bar complaint.

As reported by APR‘s Josh Moon, during six hours of testimony in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier, disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley admitted that Bell and Augusta Dowd, another Hubbard lawyer, contacted him about appointing a special prosecutor to investigate prosecutor Matt Hart and acting AG Davis. Attorneys familiar with Bar rules say this is a problem that should land Bell and Dowd in big trouble.

Deposition: Bentley was pressured by lawmakers, attorneys, major donors to upend Hubbard trial

But this is not Bell’s only problem according to the layer APR spoke with about the matter.

Also during the Hubbard trial, it was Bell who contacted ALEA to arrange for attorney and radio host Baron Coleman to issue a complaint accusing Hart of leaking grand jury information. Bell’s actions are recounted in an affidavit by Hall Taylor current ALEA Secretary.

Twice, according to attorneys familiar with the process, Bell used suspect tactics to try and derail Hubbard’s prosecution, and twice, Bell lacked candor before the court, according to two of his peers.

Rane is a powerful millionaire who is dominant in Republican politics, and it is not unusual for him to lavish hundreds of thousands of dollars on high profile candidates like Hubbard and Ivey. Most recently, PACs loaded with Rane’s cash flooded the campaign of appointed Attorney General Steve Marshall who will race Democrat Joesph Siegelman in the fall.

That Bell is spreading the word that Ivey’s got his back was not verified by the governor’s office.

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Ivey announces Carpenter Technology Corporation plans for Alabama Emerging Technology Center

Brandon Moseley

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(ADAM BRASHER/THE AUBURN PLAINSMAN)

Monday Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) joined executives of Philadelphia-based Carpenter Technology Corporation at the Farnborough International Airshow to announce plans for adding an Emerging Technology Center at its campus in Limestone County in northern Alabama.

“Carpenter’s decision to locate this facility at its existing Athens site reflects the company’s confidence in its Alabama operation and the workforce there,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “I know that the discoveries made at this center will power many advances in high-tech manufacturing for Carpenter.”

The facility will initially focus on additive manufacturing (AM) technology development, with future investments slated for soft magnetics and meltless titanium powder. Carpenter is promising to invest $52 million in the Emerging Technology Center, which is vital to accelerate the company’s key growth initiatives and is aligned with its business strategy of becoming an end-to-end solutions provider in the AM area. The project is expected to create an estimated 60 jobs over the next five years.

Governor Ivey and Carpenter officials announced the project during a ceremony at the Alabama Department of Commerce’s “Made in Alabama” booth at the Farnborough Airshow, the aerospace industry’s premier 2018 trade show.

Stephen Peskosky, Carpenter’s Vice President of Corporate Development, stressed the significance of Carpenter’s expanded operations in Alabama. “Our relationship with the state of Alabama has flourished since we selected Limestone County for our forging facility in 2011. With the addition of the Emerging Technology Center, our Athens, AL location continues to be a key location in supporting many of the key markets we serve.”

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Carpenter’s 500,000-square-foot Alabama manufacturing facility began operations in 2014. The facility produces high-end specialty alloy products, primarily for the aerospace and energy markets. It later expanded the Athens site to produce superalloy powders used in applications including jet engine disks and 3-D printed aircraft engine components and other products.

Economic Developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing, refers to the process of building parts through the combination of material, layer-by-layer, from a CAD file. The Emerging Technology Center will allow Carpenter employees to conduct research and development of new alloys and 3-D printed parts that will primarily be utilized within aerospace and energy markets.”

Nicole Jones added, “Carpenter’s addition to its already-existing 500,000 square foot facility in Athens (Limestone County) is a testament to north Alabama’s rich technological history and demonstrates confidence in our state’s workforce. Thank you, Carpenter Technology Corporation, for your continued investment in Alabama.”

“We are excited that Carpenter Technology has once again decided to expand their presence in Limestone County,” County Commissioner Mark Yarbrough said. “They have been, and will continue to be an outstanding community partner.”

The company has invested $575 million in its Alabama operations.

“This new facility is vitally important to the growth of Carpenter’s AM industrialization,” said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, “It not only complements the company’s ongoing AM investments and recent acquisitions in this evolving space, but it also creates high-paying jobs in Alabama while also expanding the capabilities of the state’s already robust aerospace industry.”

Carpenter Technology Corporation (NYSE: CRS) is a recognized leader in high-performance specialty alloy-based materials and process solutions for critical applications in the aerospace, defense, transportation, energy, industrial, medical, and consumer electronics markets. Carpenter was founded in 1889 and has evolved to become a pioneer in premium specialty alloys, including titanium, nickel, and cobalt, as well as alloys specifically engineered for AM processes and soft magnetics applications. Carpenter has expanded its AM capabilities to provide a complete “end-to-end” solution to accelerate materials innovation and streamline parts production.

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Jones testifies before International Trade Commission on negative impact of newsprint tariffs

Brandon Moseley

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Tuesday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) testified at a hearing held by the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on the negative impacts recently imposed newsprint tariffs have had on Alabama’s newspapers.

Jones has advocated to stop to these tariffs, which are already hurting newspapers. In April, Jones wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross calling for an end to the newsprint tariff. He has cosponsored bipartisan legislation to suspend the tariffs while the Commerce Department examines the impacts of the tariffs on the printing and publishing industry.

“This issue first came to my attention back in March, when Bo Bolton, publisher of the Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Alabama—home of Harper Lee—traveled all the way to Washington D.C. to meet with me and my team,” Sen. Jones testified. “Bo’s message was urgent and clear: newly implemented tariffs by the Department of Commerce threatened the livelihood of his small-town newspaper, and thousands of other small, community papers that serve as the lifeblood of their communities throughout this country.”

“I have had a regular stream of publishers visit with me sharing the exact same message, asking for any relief possible before they would have to start cutting their services and laying off what few staff they might have,” Jones continued. “The sources for domestically produced newsprint are quite scarce, requiring newspapers around the country to purchase their newsprint from Canadian suppliers. In other words, the domestic jobs that would be protected by these tariffs is relatively minuscule compared to the number of jobs in the United States that these tariffs threaten. But one domestic producer, NORPAC, which is owned by a New York hedge fund, filed a complaint with the Department of Commerce alleging Canadian newspaper suppliers were being subsidized by their government and thus able to sell below market value. As I understand is common practice, the Commerce Department levied preliminary tariffs of 6.53 percent in January. That jumped to an average of 22 percent in March, when the Canadian producer was found to be [selling] below the market price.”

“Here’s what I just don’t understand: why would this Administration levy these outrageous tariffs when our own newspaper publishers, logging industry, and paper suppliers do not support the decision?” Jones continued. It seems to me that the only thing being protected by this tariff is a small portion of a Wall Street hedge fund’s portfolio. It certainly isn’t protecting the 600,000 printing and publishing jobs across the country, including jobs at every newspaper in the state of Alabama.”

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“The Decatur Daily is facing an increase of $450,000 over their 2017 costs, and they’ve eliminated 11 full-time positions already,” Jones said. “Aside from payroll, newsprint is their single largest expense. You’ll hear that refrain from many small papers. Samuel Martin, publisher of the Birmingham Times in Birmingham, Alabama, wrote to me saying that they are, “hanging on by our fingertips already to survive and things like these tariffs will be the difference on surviving for so many.””

Most newspapers and journals are in the process of migrating to the internet. The Alabama Political Reporter does not have an old fashioned print version so uses no newsprint whatsoever.

“While some big-named media outlets have found their footing in the digital age, that’s not the case for everyone,” Jones said. “For many in small towns in Alabama and across the country, folks still like to get their news from actual newspapers. They still like to read a paper front to back. Hold it in hand. They cut the coupons. They read the local events calendar. They learn about what their local officials are doing or, in some cases, not doing. Frankly, there are still far too many places where Americans still struggle to get access to broadband. These folks don’t have the option to go online to get their news. The digital model just doesn’t work there, at least not yet.”

“These small newspapers cover local news that wouldn’t make it into larger regional papers if they were to shut their doors. Local businesses lose perhaps their only outlet in which to reach their customers,” Sen. Jones testified. “The biggest losers in this fight ultimately will be the residents that rely on local newspapers to stay informed. So when I say that these papers are the lifeblood of communities, it is not an exaggeration. It’s a fact. That’s why I have been so deeply concerned about this tariff. If it’s not rolled back, it will present and existential threat to local newspapers that are already strapped. “

“It is why I left duties on Capitol Hill this afternoon to come here today to urge you to reconsider this tariff,” Jones said. “Instead, consider the significant impact it has already had on these small American businesses. I hope you take to heart the urgent calls you are hearing today and make the right decision to eliminate these tariffs and to protect this industry and valuable the service that it provides to all of us.”

Forbes Media Chairman Steve Forbes wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “Since March a tariff of up to 30 percent on Canadian uncoated paper has raised the price of newsprint, making it difficult for cash-strapped newspapers to circulate their work. As if limiting economic freedom weren’t enough, the administration is also undermining Americans’ freedom of expression with this needless tax on journalism.”

North Pacific Paper Company plans to hire 50 new full- and part-time employees, the company announced May 2. The company, owned by the New York hedge fund One Rock Capital Partners, also announced the limited restart of operations for one of its paper machines, idled this past year.

The Longview, Washington-based company attributed the moves to “the U.S. uncoated groundwood papers industry starting to see a level playing field against unfairly traded imports.”

On May 2 North Pacific Paper Company (Norpac) which filed the trade complaint last fall has hired 50 more employees and is reopening a third machine at their Longview, Washington facility which they had shut down last year.

“After years of unfair, demoralizing market conditions and the associated difficult decisions that were required to survive, we have worked with our employees to test and create a system that can respond rapidly to the dynamic needs of the customers we serve. As more clarity regarding the impacts of competing on a level playing field become clear we will further improve our organizational capability,” said CEO Craig Anneberg in a news release.

Doug Jones was elected to the Senate in a special election on December 12.

(Original reporting by newsandtech.com contributed to this report.)

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Week Nine Legislative Report

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