On Monday, State Representative Ginny Shaver addressed the Centre Rotary Club telling them about the busy Legislative Session underway in Montgomery.
She started by telling about the two special sessions called by Governor Ivey. The first was in September for the Legislature to deal with the Prison Crisis in Alabama. She told the group if the Legislature had not acted the Federal Government could have come in and taken over the State’s Prison System. She said the Legislature chose to use the State’s Rescue money in the amount of four hundred million dollars from the Feds and a seven hundred eighty five million dollar bond issue to add two Prisons to the system and additional programs to the Prison System. A new four thousand bed prison will be built in Escambia County and one in Elmore County. These beds are replacing beds in old, outdated facilities. The Justice Department will not allow the State to add new beds to the system. These actions will have to be approved by the US Justice Department.
In November another special session was called to deal with redistricting which is required after the Official Census numbers are in. This is to accommodate the changing population areas due to citizens moving. This changed the Representative Shaver’s District 39 lines. She explains those changes:
In January another special session was called to deal with ARPA Funds which are from the American Rescue Funds. They had 580 Million dollars that had to be allocated or sent back to the Feds. $192 Million went for infrastructure, 79 million went to the unemployment trust fund to offset an additional tax on the employers of the state, 225 million was earmarked for water and sewer projects across the state, 80 million was reserved for hospital and nursing homes for COVID reimbursement.
Shaver said they are burning through the legislative calendar now being at the halfway mark. She said this session could be over by mid April rather than the end of April.