Rep. Randall Davis (R-Daphne) has introduced a bill which would propose an amendment to the Alabama Constitution to “provide for the distribution and use of certain payments received by the state from settlements and other monies.”
HB360, known also as the Alabama Strategic Investment Initiative, would also require lawmakers to pass legislation creating an authority to issue revenue bonds using money from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster to fund bond payments. The bill would further require the distribution of such funds for specific purposes.
The bill details that funds from the oil spill settlement can be used to repay the $161.5 million taken from the General Fund Rainy Day Account to prop up the General Fund. Further, funds can be used to supplement funds being allocated to Mobile and Baldwin counties, not to exceed $439 million, in the following manner:
- to the Department of Transportation to assist in completing the Highway 98 project, the I-10 to I-65 Beach Expressway project and the Rangeline Road Extension project.
- $50 million for the Strengthen Alabama Homes Fund, for “residential property owner grants to retrofit insurable property to resist loss due to hurricane, tornado, or other 22 catastrophic wind events.”
Oil spill allocations in this fashion would be decreased if any additional funding, such as federal or local matching funds, and if any is left over it would be used to repay the money taken from the Education Trust Fund between 2013 and 2015.
A recent move by Gov. Robert Bentley to use oil spill money to renovate a beach-side mansion has attracted the fury of some state lawmakers and, though it does not specifically mention those efforts, the bill does spell out how the money can be used and leaves little leeway for spending it otherwise.
If approved by the legislature, the amendment could go to the public for a vote as early as November.