The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) and the Alabama economic development community scored a win last Friday when Governor Kay Ivey signed HB 289 into law as Act 2019-52, permanently exempting individuals acting as economic development professionals from lobbyists’ requirements unless (or until) they seek incentives through state legislative action.
Proponents of the bill have long argued that classifying such professionals as lobbyists would result in disclosures that could place the state's economic development opportunities at risk.
The BBA played an active role in advocating for Act 2018-571, the 2018 law that temporarily ensured that legitimate economic development activities did not qualify as lobbying. While it clarified that certain persons engaged in economic development activity would not be classified as lobbyists, the provisions of the 2018 law expired on April 1, 2019.
“The BBA would like to thank all its partners for their advocacy efforts around this critically important issue,” said BBA Senior Vice President of Public Policy Waymond Jackson. “Final passage of HB 289 ensures Alabama will remain competitive at every level of the economic development process. HB 289 allows economic developers in Alabama to continue to serve their communities at a high level.”
Another priority item for the BBA this legislative session is legislation that encourages research and development activities that result in job growth and improve the Birmingham region’s ability to attract new industry in R&D.
To access the status of other key legislation and stay up-to-date on bills the BBA is monitoring, please visit our tracking report.