State Legislature meets in special session to deal with COVID funds

State Legislature meets in special session to deal with COVID funds

  • By DANIEL TAYLOR The Reporter
  • Jan 21, 2022 Updated Jan 21, 2022

Days after the 2022 regular session officially commenced, Gov. Kay Ivey convened the Alabama Legislature into a special session to deal with the State’s remaining $772 million in federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds.

The Reporter spoke with Alabama Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield about the special session and what he is looking forward to in the regular session, which should resume early February.

“We went into a special session yesterday [Wednesday] to deal with just the ARPA [America Rescue Plan Act] money, which I think is very wise so we could single that out… We’re not just spending this money, we’re investing this money, and we have been very thoughtful and deliberate on how we utilize these resources.”

Of the total sum, Scofield said he helped get $276 million to go toward rural broadband expansion. The rest will be split among water and sewer infrastructure, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care related services such as first responders.

Part of that money may also go toward replenishing the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, Scofield said.

“That brings down the rate that businesses pay into that. So that’s a big deal,” he said. “That is going to be a big deal for our businesses to get more money in their pockets.”

Scofield said the special session bills have been largely bipartisan and he expects “every corner of the state” will benefit from what’s to come.

“I really think we’ve done good work on this,” he said. “There’s no pork in it. It’s all going to be [distributed through] a competitive grant process.”

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