Senate approves bill intended expand rural broadband access

February 5, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate on Thursday approved a bill intended to expand rural access to highspeed broadband internet.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, aims to expand private investment in broadband infrastructure by providing tax incentives to telecommunications and cable companies that invest in rural areas.

Senate Bill 149, the Alabama Rural Broadband Act, was a component of the Senate Republicans’ agenda.

“In the 1930s the infrastructure challenge was electricity, and in the 60s and 70s it was ensuring rural areas had clean drinking water,” Scofield said. “Expanding access to broadband internet is the infrastructure challenge of our day. We must ensure that all Alabamians have an opportunity to succeed in the digital economy. Currently, thousands of families and businesses in rural Alabama are without access to fast broadband. That’s unconscionable.”

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Week One Legislative Report: 373 bills introduced in the first week of the 2018 Regular Session

January 15, 2018

Contributed by Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature began its annual Regular Session on Tuesday, January 9. As the annual Session is limited by law to 30 session days within a 105 calendar day period, the Session must conclude by April 23, 2018.

After convening at noon on Tuesday and conducting general business relating to the opening of the Session, both Houses recessed for the Governor’s annual State of the State address Tuesday evening. Initiatives referenced in the Governor’s speech were pay raises for education (2.5 percent) and state employees (3 percent), more money for the Department of Corrections to improve mental health care and hire more correction officers, and improving broadband access throughout the state.

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Senate Republicans float income tax break in “Fighting for Alabama” agenda

January 12, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Ahead of what is expected to be a quiet and relatively non-controversial Legislative Session, Senate Republicans released a four-pronged agenda highlighting priorities that include an income tax break and a push for broadband in rural communities.

Republican senators announced the agenda — notably less partisan and low key than previous years — before heading into the second day of this year’s session on Tuesday.

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Shelby announces $1.26 million DRA grant for Thomasville Career Readiness Center

December 26, 2017

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, December 22, 2017, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., reported that the City of Thomasville will benefit from a $1.26 million Delta Regional Authority (DRA) grant to help establish a new career readiness center in the downtown area.

Shelby said, “Many rural areas lack the basic career resources that are needed to develop a skilled workforce.  This Delta Regional Authority funding is excellent news for the City of Thomasville and the surrounding region.  Not only will the project provide job seekers access to the tools needed to prepare for future employment, but it will promote connectivity and link workers with employment opportunities to meet workforce demands.  I look forward to witnessing the benefits of this strategic and innovative partnership.”

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Public hearing on broadband bill renews debate on government influence in private businesses

April 13, 2017

Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

A bill that would expand municipal governments’ reach into broadband and internet services renewed a debate on government expansion into private enterprise at a committee meeting on Wednesday, April 12.

The House Committee on Commerce and Small Business was a packed house on Wednesday with some people even forced to stand in the back.

The main attraction at the committee meeting was a public hearing on House Bill 375 which would allow certain municipalities to increase government services into broadband and internet.
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Bentley Calls His Plan Our Moonshot

February 3, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, February 2, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) delivered his sixth State of the State Speech to a joint House of the Alabama Legislature in the historic Alabama Capital Building.

Gov. Bentley said that on the State’s 150th anniversary, a state man also first landed on the moon. That year was 1969, before many current Alabamians were even born. Bentley said, “With that first giant leap for mankind, America achieved the unthinkable, the incredible, the unbelievable. And it was Alabama that made the impossible, possible. The powerful Saturn V rocket that took man to space, to new heights, was imagined, engineered and built by a brilliant team of scientists right here in Alabama. It was Alabamians who dared to believe they could do the improbable.”
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BREAKING: Gov. Bentley Great State 2019 Plan Unveiled Tonight

February 2, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Later this evening, Governor Robert Bentley will unveil his far-reaching agenda to move the State forward into the future. The bold, yet inactive “Great State 2019” Plan, outlines a list of priorities often discussed, but rarely acted upon. If this Governor is successful in completing his goal for the State, he will have a legacy claimed by few.

From educational opportunities that offer real hope of impacting the lives of students, to rebuilding the prison systems crumbling infrastructure, Governor Bentley is looking beyond the horizon of his own administration.
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