Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday called for legislative support of a bill that could help attract thousands of additional jobs to Alabama.
The Alabama Commercial Aviation Business Improvement Act of 2013 will level the playing field between Alabama and surrounding states in the recruitment of aviation industry suppliers. Those suppliers are expected to begin locating near Mobile to provide supply-chain support for the new Airbus plant. Neighboring states already have similar laws in place. By approving this legislation, Alabama can help ensure the state remains competitive with other, nearby states in recruiting jobs by attracting those suppliers.
"This bill will have a significant economic impact on Alabama," Governor Bentley said. "We already expect Airbus to provide 1,000 jobs for Alabamians, and Airbus suppliers will bring thousands more. We want those jobs in Alabama, not in a neighboring state."
The bill applies to a small category of lawsuits which involve manufacturers of commercial aircraft with 100 seats or more. It is intended protect the rights of Alabama citizens to bring suit against the manufacturer, but will also protect the manufacturer from out-of-state and foreign plaintiffs who may seek to file suit in Alabama simply because the manufacturer located its plant here.
"Without this legislation, Airbus suppliers could very easily decide to locate in nearby Florida or Mississippi -- states that have already implemented bills similar to the one being introduced in Alabama," Governor Bentley said. "We have worked hard to create a positive business climate here in Alabama, and this legislation is needed to help us build on our progress and attract even more jobs."
The Alabama Commercial Aviation Business Improvement Act (Senate Bill 238 & House Bill 330) is sponsored by Senator Cam Ward, Senator Vivian Figures and Representative Bill Poole.
"With so many potential jobs on the line, we need to move as quickly as possible to make sure our legal climate is competitive with our neighboring states," Senator Ward said. "I am proud to work with the Bentley Administration on legislation that will help us continue our mission of creating more jobs. I hope the Legislature will move quickly on this pro-business measure."
"It is critical that we lay the proper foundation to attract additional suppliers for Airbus and realize the thousands of multiplier jobs that will come," Senator Figures said. "I stand ready to work with Governor Bentley, my colleagues and Airbus to bring as many jobs as possible to our great state of Alabama. It is our time for a great economic boom, and we must do everything we can to make it a reality."
"Just as recruiting Mercedes-Benz to Alabama in the 1990s helped usher in a new era of economic development in the automotive industry, the recruitment of Airbus is poised to do the same for the aerospace industry," Representative Poole said. "We need this legislation to help attract the Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers that will bring additional jobs for Alabama citizens."
The Alabama Commercial Aviation Business Improvement Act provides that the manufacturer would be liable for causes of action occurring no more than 10 years after delivery of the aircraft. If the cause of action occurs at the 10-year deadline, the plaintiff still has two years to bring the action.
Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield reiterated that the legislation will help ensure that the jobs and investment that come with the expected aerospace corridor locate in Alabama instead of other states.
"The aerospace corridor to be created by the announcement of Airbus will be one of the biggest projects our state has seen," Secretary Canfield said. "We are going to do everything we can to help make doing business easier for the aerospace industry in Alabama so that the new jobs come here."
The Alabama Department of Commerce estimates that the Airbus plant will have a $409 million impact on the state's economy. The Airbus plant will directly employ approximately 1,000 Alabamians. In addition, the construction phase of building the Airbus facility in Mobile is expected to create more than 3,000 construction-related jobs over a three-year period. The Department of Commerce estimates another 3,700 Alabamians could be employed by Airbus suppliers locating in the state.