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Governor Ivey ceremonially signs key legislation aiming to drive innovation

Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) on Thursday hosted a ceremonial bill signing for legislation passed during the 2021 regular session, which includes two key pieces of legislation aimed at accelerating the growth of Alabama’s innovation economy.

She signed in ceremony House Bill 540 and House Bill 609, both of which were recommended by the Alabama Innovation Commission that Governor Ivey established early last year.

House Bill 540, sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) and Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper), creates the Alabama Innovation Corporation, a first-of-its-kind, public-private partnership in Alabama to serve as a catalyst for the state’s growing innovation economy.

House Bill 609, which was sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Gray (D-Opelika) and Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham), creates the Innovate Alabama Matching Grant Program to provide matching grants to eligible businesses that have received federal Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer Research awards.

The governor formally signed the bills into law earlier this year. The legislation garnered bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature, as many saw the bills as prerequisites for economic growth and entrepreneurship.

Two other bills were signed during the ceremony.

HB 192, an additional bill sponsored by Poole and Reed, reauthorizes the Jobs Act and the Growing Alabama Act, two economic development programs which provide business incentives to in-state and out-of-state companies wishing to expand or locate to Alabama. It also provides a funding mechanism for certain economic development projects in Alabama. This was a priority bill for Governor Ivey in the beginning of the session.

SB 77 was sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur). This bill abolishes the Division of Purchasing in the Department of Finance and replaces it with the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer within the Department of Finance. It also authorizes the Chief Procurement Officer to make and supervise state purchases of supplies and services.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL