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Ivey announces Delta Regional Authority to invest over $1 million to strengthen Alabama’s economy, infrastructure

Brandon Moseley



By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the Delta Regional Authority had awarded over a million dollars in seven awards.

The Delta Regional Authority, together with their federal and local-based partners, will support public and private partnerships and bring $7.1 million in new investments to Alabama.

“The Delta Regional Authority is an essential partner to Alabama in helping us meet the needs of the most rural parts of our state,” Ivey said. “By investing more than $1 million in our state, DRA is helping rural communities strengthen their infrastructure, improve economic opportunities, and increase access to important cultural enhancements.”


The investments were made through the DRA States’ Economic Development Assistance Program, the agency’s main federal funding program that invests in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development and small business and entrepreneurship projects.

“This new funding will continue to spur economic growth and opportunities in rural Alabama,” U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said in a statement. “Monroeville, Carrollton, Tuskegee, Camden, Selma, and Perry County, as well as the entire state, will benefit from these investments, and I am grateful for the partnership Alabama continues to have with the DRA.”

Alabama is one of eight states to receive DRA investments. The agency’s total investments in the Mississippi River Delta Region and Black Belt of Alabama will reach $20 million in 2017. With contributions from public and private partners, total investments will be $231.6 million.

“These investments in Alabama align with DRA’s efforts to help create new jobs, support infrastructure improvements and create job opportunities,” DRA alternate federal co-chairman, Peter Kinder, said. “Our resources will provide sanitary sewer services to rural residents, build community capacity and help attract new businesses to the Black Belt of Alabama. This effort highlights DRA’s ability to build public-private partnerships to invest in the future of the Delta region.”

The city of Monroeville was awarded $256,500 for industrial park building enhancement. DRA’s investment will support a new production facility fully equipped with the most modern digitally controlled, special effect and package printing press. 60 new jobs will be added.

Carrollton will receive $180,000 for sewer system improvements. Carrollton will use this investment to address major deficiencies in the town’s wastewater treatment system, and improvements will be made to prevent the failure of its wastewater system, address regulatory and compliance issue and allow the town to provide sanitary sewer service to residents and businesses.

The city of Tuskegee will receive $280,000 for a project to advance the area’s economic competitiveness and productivity of the workforce. DRA’s investment will result in the immediate creation of 35 jobs for predominantly low and moderate income persons, promote economic development to increase the city and county tax base and enhance Exit 38 as a gateway to the city of Tuskegee.

The city of Camden–Ivey’s hometown–will receive $200,000 for improvements to Bridgeport Park. DRA’s investment will help improve and expand the city of Camden’s infrastructure to support existing economic development initiatives and benefit the local business community.

The city of Selma was awarded $58,424 for an investment into the ArtsRevive Community Development Corporation. The award will support advancement of the Carneal Cultural Arts Center. This effort will increase tourism, foster entrepreneurism in the local cultural arts and anchor creative places making activities to energize and improve the downtown economic corridor.

Camden also received $29,328 for the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission’s efforts to expand its Job Access and Reverse Commute program that provides various transportation needs to low-and-moderate-income residents seeking to obtain and maintain employment.

Perry County received a DRA investment of $42,000 to provide safe roads for employees to commute to and from their jobs and maintain the suitability of roads for local businesses, which will have a positive impact on the local economy. The project will provide full depth reclamation, paving, striping and traffic markers for nine miles on County Road 12.

“I applaud the Delta Regional Authority for their continued investment in Alabama’s rural communities, including their help funding the enhancement of the industrial park in Monroeville,” U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne said. “These investments will help spur economic development, boost infrastructure, and increase the quality of life for Alabama’s citizens. I pledge to continue working with the Delta Regional Authority and community partners to benefit our state’s communities.”

“The Delta Regional Authority’s generous investment in the state of Alabama is going to have an immediate impact for our rural communities,”  U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Selma, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement takes a step towards addressing some of the most pressing issues in rural Alabama, such as infrastructure development and job growth, while also facilitating creative arts programs and boosting tourism.”

“I am pleased to see these economic investments being made – especially in Tuskegee – where good paying jobs can be hard to find,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said. “Enhancing Exit 38 off of I-85 is a welcomed improvement, and I appreciate DRA investing in East Alabama.”

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states.

To date, the DRA’s SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged more than $3.7 billion in public and private investments into local small business owners, entrepreneurs, workers and infrastructure development projects. These investments have helped create or retain more than 37,000 jobs, trained more than 7,300 workers for 21st century jobs and provided water and sewer services to more than 66,000 residents since DRA was established.

Gov. Ivey said that this was an, “exciting day for each of you as well as for the state of Alabama.”

“ADECA manages the DRA program for Alabama,” Ivey said. “Their awards are not but handouts but are instead investments to improve the quality of life for our people.”

“I hope to continue to work with Governor Ivey and Ken Boswell at ADECA,” said Co-Chairman Kinder, who grew up on a cotton farm north of Memphis, Tennessee.

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House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley



By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”


Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.

The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.

Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.

Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.

The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.

Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.

The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.

Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.

In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.

SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.

Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”

The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.

The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.

The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.

The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.

SB185 passed 101-0.

Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1  for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.

SB215 passed the House 87-0.

The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.

SB231 passed 87-2.

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.

The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.

Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.

Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.


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Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison



By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.

Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.

Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.


The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.

Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.

Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.

Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.

Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.

Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.

Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.

The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.

Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.

It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.

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Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison



By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.

The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.

Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.


Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.

Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)

Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.

Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.

The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.

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Ivey announces Delta Regional Authority to invest over $1 million to strengthen Alabama’s economy, infrastructure

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min