Legislative Report – January 21, 2022

Volume 23 Number 2 – January 21, 2022

Governor calls special session

As expected, the Governor called the legislature into Special Session on Tuesday, to begin Wednesday, to address the distribution of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The bill was introduced on Wednesday, and the House and Senate General Fund committees held a joint public hearing on the bill on Wednesday afternoon. Both the House and Senate bills, which are identical, were approved in their respective committees on Thursday morning with no changes.

The bill allocates funds from several ARPA sources, with spending focused on broadband, water and sewer infrastructure, and health care. It also creates the 14-member Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on American Rescue Plan Act State Funds.

From the ARPA Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund:

  • Up to $80 million to the Alabama Hospital Association and the Alabama Nursing Home Association for health care and related services
  • Up to $51 million to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) for broadband improvements
  • Up to $225 million to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) for water and sewer projects
  • Up to $79.5 million to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund
  • Up to $7.8 million for reimbursement of costs for the administration, auditing, and reporting requirements of the state and local fiscal recovery funds

From the ARPA Revenue Replacement Funds: 

  • Up to $34 million to ADECA for broadband improvements
  • Up to $5 million to the Alabama Department of Public Health, or any other health provider to facilitate telemedicine
  • Up to $36.8 million to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, or any other state entity of competent jurisdiction, health care association, or health care provider
  • Up to $30 million for assistance to rural hospitals
  • Up to $20 million for assistance to emergency response providers
  • Up to $11 million for reimbursements of expenses of state inmates housed in county jails from March 3, 2021 to December 31, 2021

From the ARPA Capital Projects Fund:

  • $191.8 million to be delegated to ADECA to be used for the delivery of broadband and related service

Any funds appropriated but unspent by September 30, 2022, will be reappropriated for the same purposes for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2022, and for all fiscal years thereafter extending through December 31, 2026.

The legislature is expected to wrap up the Special Session by next Thursday, January 27, and return to the Regular Session on February 1.

Upcoming legislative schedule

The House and Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, January 25, at 1:00 and 3:30, respectively.