Top Headlines: State to receive over $2B in relief funds, Startups adapt to pandemic needs

Alabama to receive over $2 billion in COVID-19 relief funds
Alabama is in line to receive more than $2.47 billion from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, according to estimates by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA). The CARES Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27. A supplemental act passed Congress on April 23. The CARES Act provides $2.3 trillion in funding for individuals, schools, state and local governments and businesses. – AL Political Reporter 

Birmingham startups adapting to pandemic needs
As the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down businesses and stranding workers at home in March, Andy Beck, managing partner of Birmingham’s Viper Imaging, realized most of its business had dried up until at least mid-summer. But in the six weeks since, Viper Imaging has doubled its workforce and sales team and is producing non-contact temperature detection devices for utilities and industrial clients. –

After record year, Alabama tourism revenues expected to fall
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to end years of record growth in Alabama’s tourism revenues as spending falls by the billions. The Alabama Tourism Department said 28 million visitors spent nearly $17 billion in the state in 2019, which was the third straight year that travel spending grew by more than $1 billion in the state. Tourist spending increased nearly 8% statewide, according to the agency. But state tourism director Lee Sentell says revenues this year could decline to as low as $14 billion, he said. – AP

Hyundai, Kia to restart factory operations today
Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said Monday their US plants will resume operations this week after taking thorough quarantine measures to guard against the new coronavirus. Hyundai and Kia plan to restart production at their plants in Alabama and Georgia, respectively, on Monday (US time) and flexibly operate the plants “depending on the COVID-19 developments and local market conditions,” a company spokesman said. –

Coronavirus brings first round of subcontractor cuts to Airbus
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury is calling the coronavirus pandemic the “gravest crisis” for the aerospace industry, forewarning the European plane maker’s plans to “right-size” its entire business operations. Production is slashed, airplane deliveries are delayed, and cost-cutting is underway after revenues plummeted and cash reserves dwindled. The first cut to Mobile’s Airbus facility came on Friday, with the announcement that 14 subcontractors within the engineering center were losing their jobs in the coming weeks. –

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Alabama man tests Disney by camping overnight on Discovery Island
Disney World has been closed since the middle of March, but that didn’t stop a man from camping on an abandoned island at the park. A 42-year-old Alabama man was arrested on Thursday at Disney World’s Discovery Island, telling deputies he was unaware he was trespassing and called the island a “tropical paradise,” according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies noted there were numerous “no trespassing” signs posted. – WBHM

Lawmakers return today to wrap up legislative session and budgets
The Alabama legislature returns to Montgomery Monday to finish the 2020 regular legislative session and work on the state General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets. The first item to be considered will be the SGF. The 2020 SGF budget was $2.222 billion. The proposed 2021 budget is $2.389 million — a $167.3 million increase in spending. This is despite the economic collapse the state is experiencing as a result of the forced economic shutdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus. – AL Political Reporter

Lockheed to continue MDA THAAD support with $628M contract
Lockheed Martin has secured a five-year, $618M to continue product support for the Missile Defense Agency’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system against ballistic missile threats. The company’s missiles and fire control business will help MDA engineer, maintain and secure the weapon system through the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Work will be done in Alabama, Texas and California. – GovConWire 

Brandt Ayers, former publisher of The Anniston Star, dead at 85
H. Brandt “Brandy” Ayers, the small-town publisher who turned The Anniston Star into a voice for integration in the 1960s, died early May 3, friends and family members say. He was 85.  “I don’t think Brandy ever shied away from taking the position that was unpopular, if that was what he believed,” said Felicia Mason of the Alabama Press Association. – Anniston Star

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