State Legislative Session making progress, but there’s more to be done

By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Asher Redd

The Alabama Legislative Session picked up it’s pace leading into the legislative Spring Break.

Before the regular session convened, a special session was called to complete unfinished  business and outline a new budget leading into the new fiscal year.

“It kind of started out a little bit slow in that we had the special session to start the regular. That kind of ate up the first couple of weeks,” said Alabama 16th District Rep. Kyle South.

Gov. Kay Ivey promoted in both her inauguration and State of the State addresses that broadband expansion was one of her biggest goals leading into her second full term.

The push to broadband expansion is funded by federal money allocated to states via the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021.

“You know, that was a big part of the Federal Infrastructure Bill last year, and the state quite hadn’t gotten to the point where the feds have told us ho much be receiving off that,” South said.

South said that in the past two years, the state allocated $750 million of ARPA funds.

The state is expected to receive an addition $1 billion in ARPA funds this year, which will help push the broadband expansion.

After the legislative spring break, South said he expects to discuss two major topics: job incentives and a to outline a new budget.

“We’ll kind of shift gears and back into regular session and start dealing with job incentives. That’ll probably be the main priority going back,” South said.

Certain job incentives are highlighted in the Alabama Jobs Act to entice people to move to the state for work.

The Alabama Jobs Act was signed into law in 2015 and is set to expire in July of 2023.

“The Jobs Act for the state has got the be renewed. So that, like I said, is the priority out of the gate,” South said.

The incentives from the Alabama Jobs Act is currently capped at $350 million annually.

Since it went into affect, the Jobs Act helped the state follow through with 217 projects, and it brought in over 38,000 jobs to the state.

South said outlining the budget is a close second to the job incentives.

With the state budget in a surplus, according the the Legislative Services Agency, of more than $2.7 billion, lawmakers teased the idea of getting rid of a number of state taxes, including a grocery tax on certain items.

“We’ll really get into the thick of it starting Tuesday of this next week,” South said.

The Alabama House of representatives is set to convene on Tuesday, April 4 at 1:30 p.m.

The Alabama Senate will convene shortly after at 2:30 p.m.

Categories: Alabama News, Local News