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Ivey announces request for qualifications for new prisons

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Corrections announced Thursday the next step in the procurement process for new prisons with a Request for Qualifications. It is Ivey’s intention to build three mega prisons and then lease them back from their corporate developers for $78 million a year.

“It is imperative that we work tirelessly to address the long-standing challenges that plague our prisons in Alabama, and I am confident that the development of these facilities will be a major step forward,” Ivey said. “These improvement efforts are an integral part of the Alabama solution that our prison system needs, and I am thrilled with the progress and anticipated trajectory of the procurement process.”

Ivey announced that Alabama is revitalizing its corrections system by replacing prison facilities that pose the greatest risk to public safety, place the largest financial burdens on taxpayers and inhibit development of programs for inmate rehabilitation.

The governor said she is fulfilling campaign promises to improve the state’s infrastructure and reduce public safety risks.

The Alabama Department of Corrections is working with Alabama-based public works professionals, HPM, which has partnered with national prison and correctional system experts, CGL.

Corrections officials say these improvements are part of Alabama’s commitment to reduce overcrowding and facilitate statewide prison reform which will save money, make prisons safer, reduce recidivism and improve public safety.

For companies that want the contract to build the new prisons, participation in the RFQ phase is mandatory. ADOC is requiring that interested developer teams submit a Statement of Qualifications, which demonstrates the team’s financial capacity and technical expertise. Responses will be due by Aug. 2, 2019.

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The RFQ is intended to provide structure to protect the interests of the state of Alabama, ensuring that only qualified developer teams are permitted to participate in the proposal process.

Prior to the RFQ, a request for Expressions of Interest was released for response; however, EOI submissions are not mandatory nor obligatory for participation in the procurement process.

The ADOC, Department of Finance and Division of Construction Management, with support from third-party experts HPM and CGL, will evaluate the SOQs and notify those who are selected to receive the Request for Proposal. The RFP is expected to be released in the third quarter of this year. This qualification process is similar to the pre-qualification process used on many Alabama public works construction projects.

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“We are proud to work closely alongside Gov. Ivey to propel Alabama’s prison plan forward,” said ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn. “This process will inform who is selected to participate in the proposal process and bring us one step closer to breaking ground on new, sustainable facilities. In alignment with our strategic plan, the ADOC is encouraged by this continued momentum to positively impact corrections in Alabama.”

To view the RFQ, click here.

Ed Whatley is the contact person for firms interested in submitting an RFQ.

ADOC is building three prisons. Two will have 3,072 beds and will be 759,762 square feet. The third will be larger and will contain ADOC’s special services — medical, mental health, aged care and inmate reception. That larger facility will be located in the central part of the state and will have 3,960 beds and be 1,114,722 square feet.

ADOC is building these three new super prisons with an intended 50-year design life. The state is looking for qualified developers who can build the three prisons on land owned by the developer. It is not the intention of ADOC that just one firm do all three facilities. The state will then lease the facilities back from the developer for $78 million a year. According to the RFQ, this may be tax exempt income. These contracts will be for the developers to provide all of the land, buildings, furniture, fixtures and equipment.

It is not known at this time whether the Legislature will be given any input into any of this by the Governor’s Office. The Legislature has done nothing to advance a plan to pay for new prisons, despite requests to do so from both Ivey and her predecessor, former Gov. Robert Bentley. There is speculation that Ivey may prepare a plan and then call the Legislature back for a special session to ask for a bond issue to pay for it. It is also possible that Ivey will simply sign a contract with corporations to do this and cite her executive authority as governor and then ask the Legislature to pay for it going forward out of the state general fund.

Ivey says she has prioritized road improvements and replacing most of the state’s existing 27 prisons and work camps with new facilities.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Governor announces final report on campaign for grade-level reading

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Governor Kay Ivey on Friday announced the final report and recommendations of the Alabama Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The final report provides recommendations to enhance Birth to Age Eight Systems; Family Engagement; Health and Well-Being; Learning Outside the Classroom; and Special Education, English Language Learners and Struggling Readers.

Governor Ivey and campaign leaders have developed an introductory video with a call to action for the Alabama Children’s Policy Councils as they begin their work together of establishing a local, county-level Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to continue this important work in each of Alabama’s 67 counties. The local campaigns represent a grassroots effort organized around the common goal of supporting Alabama students in achieving reading proficiency.

“Today I am joined by officers and leaders of the campaign, and we are honored to address all Alabama Children Policy Councils,” said Governor Ivey. “Reaching this goal will require the collective effort of every individual in all 67 of Alabama’s counties. Your local grassroot efforts to reach our most challenged students in Alabama’s classrooms will directly, positively impact literacy proficiency. We are all made whole when the least among us are provided equitable educational opportunities allowing us to thrive academically.”

In February 2018, Governor Ivey appointed a diverse, 100-member Executive Team to form the Alabama Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (ACGLR) as a critical component of her Strong Start, Strong Finish education initiative and to assist in establishing local campaigns for grade-level reading. The Executive Team organized a collective framework for success to guide Alabama’s efforts in ensuring every single student reads proficiently by the fourth grade, entitled “Alabama Campaign for Grade Level Reading Recommendations to the Governor.” The Campaign integrates Alabama’s early learning and care, K-12 and higher education, and workforce development efforts into a seamless education continuum for all citizens. This vision becomes accessible for all when every Alabama student enters the fourth grade as a proficient reader.

The FY2021 Education Trust Fund budget approved by the Alabama Legislature provides an additional $26.9 million to improve early literacy and support the implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act, and will focus quality literacy initiatives on the early grades of pre-k through the 3rd grade, reinforcing the achievement gains produced by the nationally recognized high quality Alabama First Class Pre-K program. This includes funding for additional reading specialists and summer and after-school programs. The FY2021 budget also provides $9.8 million to continue supporting early educator training in the science of reading for pre-k through 3rd grade teachers, administrators, and coaches.

The “Alabama Campaign for Grade Level Reading Recommendations to the Governor” are designed to kickstart local campaigns for grade-level reading in each of Alabama’s 67 counties. Under the leadership of the Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation in partnership with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, the Campaign will morph into 67 local campaigns through the statewide network of Children’s Policy Councils. This approach will allow the Children’s Policy Councils to address external issues outside of the classroom, such as childhood health, access to nutritious food, and quality after-school and summer programs that directly affect a child’s ability to perform academically.

The Children’s Policy Council (designated as the state’s Early Childhood Advisory Council in 2015) is an effective organization to spread awareness, build upon community partnerships, and utilize the annual CPC needs assessment surveys to determine priorities, needs, gaps, and areas of strength at the county-level. Alabama’s county Children’s Policy Councils understand their local challenges and opportunities and will be instrumental in growing local campaigns to include best practices and strategies for supporting literacy efforts at the local level.

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 Attached is a copy of the final report.

The final report can also be found on the governor’s website:https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/07/Longleaf_GLR_Final_Web.pdf

 

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Alabama DHR announces grants providing temporary assistance for stabilizing child care

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The Alabama Department of Human Resources announced on Friday a new grant program to provide assistance to licensed child care providers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Temporary Assistance for Stabilizing Child Care, or TASCC, grant program’s purpose is to stabilize the number of child care providers that are open and providing services, as well as encourage providers to reopen.

DHR is now accepting applications for TASCC grants. The deadline to apply is August 7, 2020. The total grant amounts will be based on each provider’s daytime licensed capacity with a base rate of $300 per child.

To be eligible for a grant, licensed providers must be open or plan to reopen no later than August 17, 2020, and continue to remain open for a period of one year from the date of receiving the grant award. As of this week, 1,306 of Alabama’s 2,448 child care facilities were open in the state.

“We are proud to offer this program as a support and an incentive to an important sector of our economy. These grants will give the support many providers need to reopen and assist those already open,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “This program is going to be vital for our child care numbers to reach the level required to provide adequate services as parents return to work. We have already made significant strides in reopening facilities over the past several months; in April only 14 percent were open while now 53 percent are open.”

These grants will provide support for paying employees, purchasing classroom materials, providing meals, purchasing cleaning supplies, providing tuition relief for families, as well as other facility expenses.

DHR recommends child care providers read all guidance prior to submitting a TASCC application. Child care providers need to complete the application to determine the estimated grant amount. Grant applications will be processed as they are received and grants awarded once approved.

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An online fillable application is available for the TASCC grant at www.dhr.alabama.gov/child-care/. The application must include an Alabama STAARS Vendor Code in order to be processed. For questions regarding the application, please email DHR at [email protected].

 

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Gov. Ivey awards grant for new system to aid child abuse victims

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Gov. Kay Ivey delivers the 2019 state of the state address. (CHIP BROWNLEE/APR)

Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded a $375,000 grant to establish a statewide network that will ensure that victims of child abuse receive immediate and professional medical care and other assistance.

The grant will enable the Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pediatrics to collaborate with the Alabama Network of Children Advocacy Centers in creating the Child Abuse Medical System.

 “Child abuse is a horrendous crime that robs children of their youth and can negatively affect their future if victims do not receive the proper professional assistance,” Ivey said. “I am thankful for this network that will ensure children get the professional attention they need and deserve.”

The medical system will be a coordinated statewide resource that includes pediatric physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and other medical professionals along with specialized sexual assault nurse examiners.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant.

“ADECA is pleased to join with Gov. Ivey and those dedicated people who are part of the Child Abuse Medical System to support these children at a time they need it most,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell.

Ivey notified Tom Shufflebarger, CEO of Children’s of Alabama, that the grant had been approved.

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ADECA manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.

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Governor announces “Revive Alabama” $100 million small business grant program

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Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at a press conference. (via Governor's Office)

Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced the Revive Alabama grant program to support small businesses in Alabama that have been impacted by COVID-19. Revive Alabama will reimburse small businesses up to a combined $100 million for expenses they have incurred due to operational interruptions caused by the pandemic and related business closures.

“In many ways, our small businesses were hit the hardest from the coronavirus pandemic,” Governor Ivey said. “Ensuring these owners have every opportunity to recoup expenses incurred due the disruption of business is essential to getting our economy roaring once again.”

Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of CARES Act funding to respond to and mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Act 2020-199 designated up to $300 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund for individuals, businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Qualifying businesses may receive up to $15,000 to reimburse these expenses if they have not received federal assistance for the corresponding item they are claiming with the state of Alabama. There is no set cap on the number of businesses that may be awarded a Revive Alabama Small Business Grant. Grants will be awarded to qualifying applicants on a first-come-first-served basis until the funds are exhausted.

Business owners may access the grant application through the Alabama Department of Revenue’s (ALDOR)Revive Alabama website. The application period for the Revive Alabama Small Business Grant Program will open at noon on July 16, 2020 and run through midnight on July 25, 2020.

All applicants must first establish a secure My Alabama Taxes (MAT) account to protect their personal and business information on submitted applications. Small businesses are encouraged to start this process as soon as possible in advance of the application period opening. Each applying business must have its own MAT account to apply for a Revive Alabama Small Business Grant. Tax preparers may not apply for grants on behalf of their clients but may be able to assist potential applicants with information needed to establish their own MAT accounts.

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