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Governor

McCutcheon: Brick and mortar will be part of state’s prison reform

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) spoke to the Alabama Association of County Commissioners about the prison crisis and told them that “Construction is going to be on the table.”

“When you look at the facilities, some of them are so old that it is not cost productive to put money in to them,” McCutcheon said.

McCutcheon said that there are line of sight issues, security issues, and design issues with the old prisons that make it difficult to implement the changes that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) needs, “Construction is going to be on the table.

McCutcheon suggested that the new prisons won’t need as many guards as the old prisons do, thus producing some cost savings on manpower needs.

McCutcheon said that he is looking forward to the release of the Governor’s plan.

“We need to know where the facilities will be and we need to know the size and the cost,” McCutcheon said.

“Corrections comes with a price tag,” the Speaker warned. “It is going to cost us some money.”

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“We need to work on this like we did the Rebuild Alabama Act,” McCutcheon said.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) reportedly is going to ask the state legislature to build three new megaprisons, housing ten to twelve thousand inmates, at a cost of $900 million.

The state also has been told by a federal judge that the Alabama Department of Corrections needs 2.200 more prison guards. A federal court has ordered the state to improve the mental healthcare services offered to inmates and there is pending litigation accusing the state of not providing sufficient healthcare services to its incarcerated population. That is not expected to go well for the state or taxpayers. The Trump Administration has told the state that our prisons are the most dangerous in the country and has ordered the state to do something about it. The state is also still dealing with prison overcrowding issues.

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“We have an executive task force working on this,” McCutcheon said.

“We need to go back and look at 2015,” McCutcheon promised the county commissioners.

In 2015, the state legislature passed sentencing reform in order to deal with the prison overcrowding issue. It reduced prison overcrowding, but according to a report by the Alabama Association of County Commissioners dramatically increased the number of prisoners being sent to county jails shifting much of the costs to the local level adversely affecting county budgets across the state.

“I guarantee you that you will have a voice in this process,” McCutcheon told the county commissioners. “We are focusing on the dips and the dunks as well as recidivism.”

In 2015, the legislature changed the punishment for most parole violations, such as failure to find work or a failed drug test from revocation of parole to a 48 hour stay in the county jail. This is called a “dip” in the Alabama justice system vernacular. A parolee who continues to violate the terms of his parole can get up to six dips before he or she gets sent back to prison; but not for the remainder of his or her sentence. Instead they go to prison for just 45 days. This is called a “dunk.” There was already a backlog of prisoners who have already had a trial, have been convicted and were sitting in the county jail waiting for ADOC to come pick them up. The creation of the dunk system means that now there are all those repeat parole violators who are also waiting in the county jail for ADOC to free up prison beds so they can serve their 45 days.

Bennett Wright is the executive director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission.

Wright told the Commissioners that Tennessee is in the same situation. They have a backlog of 5,300 prisoners that are in county jails waiting to go to the state prison.

“The state of Tennessee writes them (the Tennessee County Commissions) a $180 million check for that overflow,” Wright said.

Alabama does not reimburse the counties for their costs, which have soared after the passage of the sentencing reforms that were passed in 2015.

“The state is in a bind and the counties are in a bind,” Wright said.

Wright said that the state of Alabama spent $545 million for ADOC and the Pardons and Paroles Board last year. This is an all time high, but ever cutting that is not a viable option.

“If we want to be in federal court for the rest of our lives cut the ADOC budget,” Wright said.

“We have 23,000 in our prisons, and they have 23,000 prisoners,” Wright said again comparing Alabama to Tennessee. “The cost is $1.03 billion for Tennessee with the same prison population and just ten percent more parolees” and they increase their budget $20 or $30 million a year.

Wright said that after the 2015 sentencing reform, 30 percent of all prisons admissions are the 45 day dunks. There were 9,400 custodial admits; but eliminating the dunks does not really help the prison overcrowding.

“They stay such a short time it saves it saves only 300 beds,” Wright explained.

Sonny Brasfield is the executive director of the Alabama Association of County Commissioners.

Brasfield pointed out that the 2015 sentencing reform also created the class D felony, which is designed to avoid sentencing offenders to prison. The combination of the Class D felonies with the dips and the dunks means that there are many more repeat offenders out on the streets that the sheriffs and local police are having to police and deal with, dramatically raising the costs for law enforcement.

Brasfield said that the County Commissioners Association pointed all of this out to Governor Robert Bentley’s 30 member task force, but their concerns were ignored and the legislature passed that bill anyway.

McCutcheon said that many of the released prisoners are, “Going back into the same environment that got them in trouble in the first place. We need to look at probation and parole officers.

“I was in probation and parole during my career in law enforcement and we don’t have the manpower to take care of the inmates that are expected to be released,” McCutcheon said.

“People don’t understand the gravity of the situation,” Wright said. “No state has been in federal court and have been notified by the Justice Department that they are in violation of the Constitution in two areas.” Gov. Ivey has received a memorandum from DOJ that the state is in violation in three more areas.

“There is no easy fix. There is no cheap fix,” Wright said.

“Our staffing is one issue,” Wright said. “We are almost 2,000 correctional officers short,” so the legislature had to raise correctional officer pay. That costs money on the front end with salaries and the back end with pension benefits. Complying with the federal court order on inmates’ mental health will cost $40 to $45 million a year. The healthcare trial has not gone to court yet, but that is likely to cost even more.

“The Governor has proposed $900 million in new prison construction, but that only replaces half of the beds,” Wright said. The state will still have to renovate the existing prisons that will remain in use. “We will still have to put up $200 million into renovating those old facilities.

Wright said that not building new prisons would also be expensive.

“It would cost $800 million to renovate our existing prisons and that does not get us the space that we need,” Wright explained.

“It is going to cost us some dollars,” McCutcheon said.

“We have had a monumental session,” McCutcheon said of 2019. “The educational budget was $7.1 billion. We were able to give teachers a pay raise. The general fund budget was up and at $2,2 billion. We were able to give some pay raises for our state employees as well.”

“As we look at the new session there are many issues to address,” McCutcheon said. One of these is corrections. The state also is going to have to spend $100 million to pick up the cost of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. McCutcheon said that the state also wants to expand broadband, improve rural healthcare, and address the mental health services situation.

McCutcheon told the commissioners that he was open to looking at gambling for more revenues.

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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Gov. Kay Ivey announces creation of “Innovate Alabama”

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday announced the creation of a first-of-its kind statewide commission on entrepreneurship and innovation, meant to promote innovation across the state and cut red tape for those seeking to start new businesses.

The 15-member Alabama Innovation Commission, to be known as Innovate Alabama, will allow innovators to “engage policymakers, exchange ideas and identify policies that promote innovation in the state,” according to a press release from Ivey’s office Thursday.

Ivey’s executive order also creates a six-member advisory council made up of innovators with Alabama ties.

“Through the establishment of the Alabama Innovation Commission, I look forward to collaborating with our state’s leading innovators to develop a long-term strategy to create a more resilient, inclusive and robust economy,” Ivey said in a statement. “Alabama has always had a rich tradition of developing technologies to move our state forward. Now more than ever, we must capitalize on future opportunities by engaging our state’s trailblazers to discuss new ideas and policies that support entrepreneurship, economic development and jobs.”

Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, will serve as chair of the commission and Senator Greg Reed, R-Jasper, will serve as vice-chair.

“I’m inspired by the potential for future growth in our state’s innovation community and look forward to continued momentum and growth in this sector. The Alabama Incentives Modernization Act set into motion a new set of incentives that will help grow, attract and retain startups and technology companies in the state,” Poole said in a statement. “Forming the Alabama Innovation Commission is a critical step to further create policies that will ensure Alabama’s competitiveness in the technology and startup sector.”

“Through this commission, we hope to tap into the potential for the state to become a hub for startups and technology-based companies,” Reed said in the release. “I look forward to working with the Alabama Innovation Commission to encourage collaboration, public-private partnerships and smart policies that promote access to opportunity and create a pipeline for success in all corners of the state.”

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According to Ivey’s office, the commission will look at policies to increase entrepreneurship, spur innovation and address the challenges and red tape startups often face. Commissioner members are also tasked with crafting and presenting a “comprehensive innovation policy agenda” for Ivey’s office and the state Legislature.

Alabama Power Executive Vice President  Zeke Smith will serve as president of the advisory council, and former U.S. Secretary of State and incoming director of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, will also serve on the advisory council.

“Alabama is home to me, and I am honored to serve on the advisory council for the Alabama Innovation Commission,” Dr. Rice said in a statement. “While our country currently faces many challenges, this is an opportunity to create forward-thinking ideas and policies that will inspire the next generation of innovators. By focusing on knowledge-based skills and education, technology growth and entrepreneurship, we unlock the potential for future success across the state.”

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“The Alabama Innovation Commission will provide a tremendous opportunity to partner with leaders from the public and private sectors to grow our great state,” said Greg Barker, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, in a statement. “The focus on innovation to deliver sustainable growth will benefit our entire state through new solutions and more job opportunities. I am excited to play an important role in building Alabama’s future.”

The commission will virtually convene for the first time on August 13.

Commission Members:

  • Rep. Bill Poole – State Representative (Chair) Representative Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, serves in the Alabama House of Representatives. A native of Marengo County, Poole was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Budget Committee and the Tuscaloosa County Legislation Committee. Poole was the sponsor of the Alabama Incentives Modernization Act, a critical law focused upon making the state more attractive to tech-based companies and entrepreneurs.
  • Sen. Greg Reed – State Senator (Vice Chair) Senator Greg Reed, R-Jasper, was first elected to the Alabama State Senate in 2010 and serves as the Senate Majority Leader. Reed is a native of Jasper and is a member of the Rules, Jefferson County Legislation, Confirmations, Transportation and Energy, Healthcare and Local Legislation committees. Reed served as the senate sponsor of the Alabama Incentives Modernization Act.
  • Scott Adams – Executive Vice President and Chief Digital & Innovation Officer, Protective Life Corporation Scott Adams leads Protective’s community engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility activities as well as oversees several corporate functions, including the Protective Life Foundation, brand and social engagement and corporate communications. In addition, he works with executive leadership on the development of strategy and innovation in support of our growth initiatives.
  • Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier – Senator Sanders-Fortier is a Selma, Ala. native and has served in the Alabama State Senate since 2018. She is a member of the Finance and Taxation Education, Judiciary, Governmental Affairs, Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development, Children Youth and Human Services and Veterans and Military Affairs committees.
  • Rep. Jeremy Gray — State Representative Jeremy Gray has served in the Alabama House of Representatives since 2018 representing District 83. A native of Opelika, Ala., Gray serves on the Commerce and Small Business, Health, Lee County, and Public Safety and Homeland Security committees.
  • Greg Barker – President, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. In his role at EDPA, Barker supports business recruitment and expansion efforts in Alabama and promotes innovative and emerging startup companies through its Alabama Launchpad program. A veteran in economic development, he has more than 35 years of experience leading recruitment, expansion and innovation efforts in the Southeast. Prior to joining EDPA, served in various leadership roles at Alabama Power in economic development, most recently serving as executive vice president of customer services. Barker serves on the board of directors for numerous business and economic development organizations, including the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Opportunity Alabama and Innovation Depot.
  • Lindsay Rane Carter – Associate General Counsel, Great Southern Wood Preserving Lindsay Rane Carter is an associate general counsel at Great Southern Wood Preserving, makers of YellaWood®. An alumna of Auburn University and Jones School of Law, Carter now represents one of the most profitable businesses to come out of Alabama.
  • Rick Clementz – General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc. Trained as an engineer, Clementz manages employment, liability defense, patent defense, all contracts and international law for Mercedes-Benz International in Vance, Alabama. MBUSI exports more than $1 billion in finished product. Located in Tuscaloosa County, MBUSI employees 3,800 Alabamians and is the sole distribution site for the GLE, GLS, GLE Coupe models, sold in 135 countries.
  • Miller Girvin – CEO, Alabama Capital Network Miller Girvin is the CEO of the Alabama Capital Network (ACN), a community economic development organization whose mission is to facilitate the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Alabama. Girvin connects Alabama-based companies with valuable resources and connections and facilitates relationships with venture capital to continue upward trajectory.
  • Abe Harper – CEO, Harper Technologies Abe Harper is the president and CEO of Harper Technologies, a comprehensive IT support and consulting firm based in Mobile. Harper has been working in the IT industry since he was a teenager and has expanded his business from serving residential clients to now serving small-to medium-sized businesses, nonprofits and local government entities throughout Mobile and Baldwin counties, as well as surrounding counties in neighboring states.
  • Shegun Otulana – Founder, TheraNest Shegun Otulana is the Founder of TheraNest and its parent company Therapy Brands, the leading provider of software technology solutions for mental, behavioral, and rehab health providers and organizations. In 2020, he stepped down as CEO and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the board. Prior to Therapy Brands, Shegun founded Zertis Technologies, a computer software consultancy company. He currently serves as Founder/CEO of HVL, an idea and growth studio that owns and operates a family of technology companies.
  • Peggy Sammon – CEO, GeneCapture, Inc. Peggy Sammon is an experienced entrepreneur with a background in multiple high-tech start-ups in environmental monitoring, wireless, and biotech. Sammon serves as CEO of GeneCapture, a start-up medical device company at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.
  • Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier –Senator Sanders-Fortier is a Selma, Ala. native and has served in the Alabama State Senate since 2018. She is a member of the Finance and Taxation Education, Judiciary, Governmental Affairs, Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development, Children Youth and Human Services and Veterans and Military Affairs committees.
  • Arndt Siepmann – Deputy Director of Economic Development, City of Auburn Arndt Siepmann is the Deputy Director of Economic Development at the City of Auburn. In his career, has worked in various economic development corporations, including on a regional and state level. He started the Entrepreneurship and Technology Program for the City of Auburn and leads the Auburn Regional Launchpad competition. Siepmmann also works with the Auburn University Harbert College of Business to support student entrepreneurship efforts.
  • Charisse Stokes – Executive Director, TechMGM Charisse Stokes serves as Executive Director of TechMGM, the collaboration of local, industry, educational and governmental entities working to leverage Montgomery’s technology assets to focus on economic, workforce and community development. Over the past 20 years, Stokes has held numerous IT and programming positions across the Department of Defense, industry and nonprofit organizations.
  • Neill Wright – President, Bronze Valley Neill Wright is a co-founder and executive director of Bronze Valley, a non-profit, early stage venture investment platform that supports high growth, innovation and technology-enabled companies created by diverse, underrepresented and underestimated founders. He has more than 25 years of experience as an investor, entrepreneur and operating executive.

Advisory Council Members:

  • Zeke Smith – Executive Vice President, Alabama Power (President) With more than 35 years of service with the utility, Zeke Smith is responsible for the company’s Environmental Affairs, Charitable Giving, Corporate Affairs, Governmental Relations, Public Relations and Regulatory Affairs functions. Smith also serves as chairman of the Alabama Power Foundation’s Board of Directors, in addition to serving on the boards of numerous external organizations.
  • Greg Canfield – Secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce As Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, Greg Canfield works closely with the governor’s office to organize economic development efforts that shape sustainable growth strategies and drive dynamic job creation across the state. His primary responsibilities include increasing business recruitment and expansion activity, expanding export opportunities for Alabama companies, improving workforce development initiatives, enhancing small business growth, and providing avenues for job creation in the film and entertainment industry.
  • Chris Moody – Partner, Foundry Group  Chris Moody is a partner at the venture capital firm, Foundry Group, focusing on investments in technology companies. He has worked closely with some of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing technology companies to help them formulate and execute their platform strategies. Prior to joining Foundry Group, Moody was GM & VP of Twitter’s Data & Enterprise Solutions business.
  • Dr. Condoleezza Rice – Incoming Director of the Hoover Institution Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has vast experience in the technology sector and is the incoming Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution. The Hoover Institution at Stanford University is the nation’s preeminent research center dedicated to generating policy ideas that promote economic prosperity, national security and democratic governance. Dr. Rice is also a founding partner at Rice|Hadley|Gates, LLC, an international strategic consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.
  • Bill Smith – Founder, Smith Ventures Bill Smith is CEO of Smith Ventures and the founder and former CEO of Shipt, a membership-based marketplace, enabling same-day delivery of fresh foods and household essentials across the US. Shipt was acquired by Target in December 2017 for $550 million and operates as an independent subsidiary serving multiple retailers. He recently launched Landing, a startup offering flexible leasing memberships for long-term living
  • Jared Weinstein – General Partner, Thrive Capital Jared Weinstein is a native of Birmingham and is currently a partner at Thrive Capital, a New Yorkbased venture capital firm. In 2013, he founded the Overton Project, a social investment platform that has focused on scaling national best-in-class impact organizations to Birmingham – specifically Breakthrough Collaborative, Venture for America, and Microsoft’s TEALS computer science program. Prior to Thrive, Weinstein spent seven years at the White House in various roles.

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State Rep. Will Dismukes says mask order is “a ridiculous crock”

Brandon Moseley

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State Rep. Will Dismukes.

Several Republican lawmakers have not taken kindly to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s decision to issue a statewide mask order. This is being done to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which is ravaging the state, but State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, dismissed the idea as “the dumbest thing that could be done.”

“The statewide mask implementation is the dumbest thing that could be done besides shutting the state down,” Dismukes claimed. “Here is just a couple reasons why,” Dismukes wrote on social media. “As I have been watching people wear their mask, a vast majority do not wear them correctly. So that makes it pointless.”

“One of the main things we are told is, wash your hands and don’t touch your face,” Dismukes continued. “The majority of people who wear a mask are touching their face far more than if they didn’t wear one at all.”

Dismukes said the mask requirement is a “ridiculous crock.”

Former State Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City, also questioned whether the governor has the legal authority to even issue the order.

“While it may be a smart move, in my opinion anything not passed by the legislature is only a suggestion and does not have the weight of law,” Butler said. “You can not force healthy people to wear a mask, and in my opinion if this were passed by the legislature, they can really only control state property and not private property.”

“Also the government cannot decide what goods, services, venues etc. are essential,” Butler added. “Only we the people can do such and we have had that right since 1776.”

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“I’m always against overreach of any kind even when it’s a good idea,” Butler said. “Government is supposed to protect your rights. Private property owners (businesses) are well within their rights to require you to wear a mask while on their property. I would have no issue had she stood up there and strongly requested everyone to wear a mask but to invent a law is never right. I predict a judge would quickly drop any charges. We have 3 branches of government for a reason.”

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth similarly expressed reservations with the statewide mask order.

“Issuing a statewide face mask mandate, however, is an overstep that infringes upon the property rights of business owners and the ability of individuals to make their own health decisions,” Ainsworth said. “In addition, it imposes a one-size-fits-all, big government requirement on counties that currently have low to moderate infection rates and little need for such a mandate.”

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“Masks should be worn to combat further outbreaks, and while I admire Gov. Ivey’s leadership and her on-going efforts, I also believe a statewide order is the wrong way to go about encouraging their use,” Ainsworth said.

In March, the Governor shut down the Alabama economy to slow the spread of the coronavirus. By April 30, a growing number of people were panicked about the economic impact of the shutdowns, so the governor ordered the gradual reopening of the economy.

Since Memorial Day weekend, the number of coronavirus cases has grown tremendously. From March 20 to May 10, the state of Alabama had diagnosed a total of 9,889 COVID-19 cases (52 days). The next ten thousand cases were diagnosed between May 9 and June 7 (28 days).

The state broke 30,000 cases on June 22 (15 days), 40,000 cases on July 1 (9 days) and 50,000 cases on July 11 (10 days). On Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced that the state had reached 58,225 cases. 32,073 of those cases are still active.

ADPH reports that 1,183 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 already and the department is investigating another 28 probable COVID-19 deaths. More than half of Alabama’s COVID-19 deaths have come since that Memorial Day weekend and the reopening of the Alabama economy.

Despite the risk, the state plans on reopening schools next month.

The state remains under a statewide “safer-at-home” order. Citizens are advised to please stay home whenever possible, wash hands frequently, wear a mask or a cloth face covering when out in public, avoid situations where you might be in crowds or within six feet of other people not in your immediate household, and to be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19.

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Governor announces final report on campaign for grade-level reading

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(STOCK PHOTO)

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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