State Legislature returns on Tuesday

The Alabama House of Representatives convenes for the 2023 legislative session Tuesday, March 7, 2023, in Montgomery, Alabama. (AP Photo/Julie Bennett)

Both Houses of the Alabama State Legislature will be in Montgomery on Tuesday for Day 3 of the 2023 First Alabama Special Session to appropriate over a $billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey called the special session on Tuesday during her state of the state address. Days 1 and 2 of the special session were on last Wednesday and Thursday.

The Alabama House of Representatives will convene at 1:00 p.m., and the Alabama Senate will convene at 3:30 p.m.

At 10:00 a.m., there will be an informational meeting of the House Committee on Military & Veterans Affairs in Room 617.

At 4:00 p.m., the Lee County Legislative Committee will meet for an organizational session in Room 429 of the Statehouse. No bills will be discussed.

All four meetings can be viewed online at the Legislature’s webpage.

By law, it takes a minimum of five legislative days to pass anything. The first day is for introducing the bill, and the second is to consider the bill in committee.

On Thursday, the committee advanced the proposed legislation to the full House.

The proposed spending plan would allocate:

— $339 million for healthcare costs, including another $100 million to reimburse Alabama hospitals for their pandemic-related expenses. The nursing homes will also receive $100 million to reimburse them. The Legislature is also appropriating $25 million to support mental health programs and services.

— Another $400 million for water and sewer infrastructure projects. This includes $195 million for high-need projects, $200 million for matching funds for public water and sewer systems, and $5 million for septic systems in the Black Belt region.

— $260 million for improvement and expansion of broadband network access.

— $55 million for projects that address the economic impacts of the pandemic. The legislation says the Department of Finance may distribute the money for a wide range of needs, such as food banks, long-term housing, and summer learning programs for children.

In separate legislation, unrelated to the ARPA funds, the committee advanced a bill to pay $50 million from the existing budget surplus to pay off the remaining debt from the 2013 raid on the Alabama Trust Fund.

The third day is to consider the bill on the floor of the first House. On the fourth day, the bill is considered in committee by the second House. On the fifth day, the bill can be passed by the second House and sent to the governor for her consideration. Of course, if the bill is delayed at any point for any reason, it will be necessary to continue to meet for additional legislative days – including weekends if necessary.

The 2023 Regular Legislative Session will resume on March 21. One hundred seventy-four bills have already been pre-filed for the regular session.

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