Tag: Alabama Legislature

Opinions Vary on Possible Special Session, but Outstanding Issues Are Plenty

MONTGOMERY — Hundreds of proposed bills, including high-priority prison and economic development proposals, died when the coronavirus outbreak upended the Alabama Legislature’s 2020 regular session. Now, when the House and Senate will return to Montgomery for a special session and what topics they’ll address are still up in the air.

Some Senate leaders, frustrated by the final days of the condensed session, say they don’t see a reason to return to Montgomery this year. But others said there is business left to handle, including extending a job creation tax credit that in recent years has helped lure companies like Toyota-Mazda, Amazon, Google and Shipt to Alabama. The Alabama Jobs Act, the state’s primary industrial recruitment statute, is expiring at the end of the year. Read more.

ALDOT Considering Allowing Police Cameras, Plate Readers

The Alabama Department of Transportation is considering allowing law enforcement agencies access to ALDOT rights-of-way and structures to install license plate readers and other surveillance equipment.

At least one Alabama lawmaker said legislation may be needed to regulate the use of the devices and information they collect.

Tony Harris, government relations manager for ALDOT, told Alabama Daily News the proposed rules are a result of recent requests from multiple police agencies.
Read more.

As Prison Project Moves Forward, Lawmakers Still Have Questions

Some Alabama lawmakers say they still have questions about Gov. Kay Ivey’s possible selection of private companies to build three state prisons, a process that so far has largely excluded the Legislature.

Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, told Alabama Daily News he plans to send Ivey’s office a letter this week asking if contracting out prison services is an option she’s considering in bids recently submitted to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

“I’m just going to ask point blank,” Ward said. “I am going to be 100% opposed to privately run prisons. That’s a big policy shift that the Legislature should be involved in.”
Read more.

Lawmakers Approve Ivey’s $1.8B Coronavirus Spending Plan

Alabama’s elected leaders have approved a plan to spend $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money, despite Senate leaders saying they were left out of the process before their vote Monday.

“Some meetings took place in our absence that we weren’t involved in and I thought that was inappropriate,” Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, told reporters.

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said House members were worried about slowing down the process of passing the state budgets and getting relief funds to those who needed them immediately, but there was no nefarious intent behind their meetings with Ivey last week.

“The House was willing to step up and bring suggestions to the governor,” McCutcheon said Monday, “We were not working against the Senate. We were not working in secret. We were just doing our job as the House body.”

Ivey said in an emailed statement Monday that her “friendly” amendment to the budget was to ensure CAREs Act funding was made available immediately to those who needed it the most.
Read more.

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Ivey Signs State Budgets Into Law

Ivey Signs State Budgets Into Law

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the state’s two budgets Monday after a unique and at some points tense final weeks of the 2020 regular legislative session.

“I appreciate the hard work of the Legislature during an unprecedented regular session,” Ivey said in an emailed statement.

“While we have yet to know the full impact of COVID-19 on our state, these budgets will ensure continuity of government, while being fiscally responsible. There is more work to be done, and I look forward to working with the Legislature in the days ahead.”

A $7.2 billion Education Trust Fund budget was approved, as well as a $2.3 billion General Fund budget, both for fiscal year 2021, which begins in October. Read more.

After Dispute, Ivey Sends Lawmakers Proposal for $1.8B in Coronavirus Spending

MONTGOMERY — A week after a public dispute between Gov. Kay Ivey and members of the Legislature about who should control about $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money, the governor on Thursday sent lawmakers a detailed proposal for allocating most of it.

The proposed expenditures include money for state agencies’ COVID-19 expenses, businesses, nonprofits and faith-based groups and technology and infrastructure expenses. Read more.

Lawmakers Send Ivey $7.2B Education Budget, Plan to Return to Deal With Possible Veto

MONTGOMERY — In a rare Saturday meeting, Alabama lawmakers approved a $7.2 billion education budget, finishing the heavy lifting in a legislative session derailed by the coronavirus outbreak. They left the capital city but expect to be back in the State House for special sessions on multiple matters later this year.

State House leaders also plan to call back lawmakers May 18 should they need to react to possible amendments by Gov. Kay Ivey or a veto of the state General Fund.

Ivey and lawmakers have wrangled in recent weeks about who gets to allocate nearly $1.8 billion in coronavirus relief funding from the federal government. Ivey last week agreed to cede responsibility and told lawmakers she wanted details on how every penny would be spent before she’d call them back for a special session to allocate it. The Legislature approved a General Fund budget that gives $200 million of the funds to state agencies to spend immediately, something she told them not to do. Read more.

Lawmakers Prep for Possible Ivey Veto of Budget

Legislative leadership expects to pass the state’s 2021 education budget Saturday, but they’re also bracing for Gov. Kay Ivey to veto the General Fund Budget they sent her Thursday.

“Gov. Ivey has indicated she will veto the budget we sent to her (Thursday) as she plans to cede full authority over COVID-19 funds to the Alabama Legislature,” Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, said in a written statement Friday. State leaders are expecting nearly $1.8 billion in federal funds to be used on coronavirus-related expenses.

Saturday could be the final day of the session, although lawmakers will have the option to come back for another day if the governor vetoes the budget.
Read more.

Ivey Cedes Control of Coronavirus Funds, Chides Legislature for Spending ‘Wish List’

MONTGOMERY — After private wrangling between the Legislature and Gov. Kay Ivey over the authority to spend nearly $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money, Ivey on Thursday publicly ceded primary responsibility to lawmakers.

“I have never desired to control a single penny of this money and if the Legislature feels so strongly that they should have that authority, I yield to them both the money and the responsibility to make good decisions – in the light of day where the people of Alabama know what is happening,” Ivey said in a written statement to reporters Thursday afternoon.

But, she said, she will not call the Legislature back into special session until it publicly releases a detailed list of how the money will be spent. And it better not include $200 million for a State House, she warned.

That proposed expenditure was on a wish list of spending circulated at the State House this week and obtained by Alabama Daily News. Legislative leaders disavowed any knowledge of the proposal. Read more.

Also in the Legislature:

House Passes Education Budget, General Fund Goes to Ivey