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Alabama 2022 Legislative Report: Week 1

The Alabama Legislature began its annual legislative session on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Beth Lyons (alreporter.com)

State of Alabama

Published: 6:44 PM CST January 17, 2022
Updated: 6:44 PM CST January 17, 2022

The Alabama Legislature began its annual Regular Session on Tuesday, January 11. As the annual Session is limited by law to 30 session days within a 105 calendar day period, the Session must conclude by April 25, 2022. Generally, the Legislature meets in Session on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Committee Meetings held chiefly on Wednesday. 

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, January 18 for Day 3 of the Session with the House convening at 2:00 p.m. and the Senate convening at 3:30 p.m. 

DURING THE WEEK 

Governor Ivey gave her annual State of the State address on Tuesday evening. She outlined the priorities of the administration for this Session and indicated that her proposed budget would include a 4 percent pay raise for state employees and teachers, a bonus for state retirees, implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act which has been disrupted due to COVID-19, and funds to add two mental healthcare crisis centers. 

Also of importance to the administration is the allocation of the remaining $580 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), indicating that her proposals would be funding for broadband, water and sewer infrastructure projects, hospital, nursing home reimbursement, and the unemployment insurance trust fund. [The State received an appropriation of about $2.1 billion in ARPA money. $400 million has already been allocated for 2 new prisons. Approximately $580 million remains from the original disbursement with the remainder to be received by Alabama later in the year.] 

While there were several Committee Meetings held during the week and budget presentations to the Legislators from several agencies, the main discussions and meetings this week centered around the expenditure of the ARPA monies. It is expected that the Governor will call a Special Session to be held within this Regular Session on those expenditures. Although there has been no bill introduced or certainty as to the expenditures, the proposals being viewed at present include: 

  • Hospitals and nursing homes (COVID-19 care reimbursement) $ 80 million 
  • Broadband $ 34 million
  • Healthcare (including mental health and veterans homes) $ 36 million
  • Telemedicine $ 5 million
  • Rural Hospital Assistance Grants $ 30 million
  • County reimbursement for inmate care $ 11 million
  • Volunteer Fire Departments $ 20 million
  • Broadband Infrastructure $ 51 million 
  • Water/Sewer Emergency Projects $120 million 
  • Water/Sewer Matching Grants $105 million 
  • Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund $ 79 million 

The General Fund Budget legislation was introduced in the House (HB113 by Rep. Clouse) proposing to allocate $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2023 (October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023) up from $2.4 billion appropriated for the current fiscal year’s budget. The Education Fund Budget was also introduced in the House (HB135 by Rep. Garrett) proposing to allocate $8.2 billion, an increase of the current year’s $7.6 billion. 

In other happenings, members of the Coastal Alabama Partnership Organization held a Legislative reception after a day of programs which included presentations from the Governor, Lt. Governor, Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources, ALDOT, and the Chair of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee.