The Alabama Legislature on Monday approved Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to spend $1.8 billion in federal CARES Act coronavirus relief funds.
Ivey’s executive amendment passed the Senate in a 30-1 vote and the House by a vote of 73-1. The vote brought an end to a dispute between Ivey and Republican leadership in the Senate over how the money would be spent.
“I commend the Alabama Legislature for their cooperation by supporting my Executive Amendment to SB161. This friendly amendment ensures the CARES Act money will be immediately available to the people of Alabama and put to use under the intent of the U.S. Congress and President Trump,” Ivey said in a statement. “Our cities, counties and state, as well as places like our nursing homes, hospitals, schools and colleges have incurred many legitimate expenses because of COVID-19.”
Ivey thanked the members of the Legislature for supporting her amendment and for ensuring that the money will help the people of Alabama impacted by the virus.
“While no one could have predicted COVID-19, it is easy to conclude this pandemic has touched every aspect of our daily lives. I assure the people of Alabama that we will be with them at every step moving forward. Together, we will recover, and we will get Alabama back on her feet,” Ivey said.
Once signed into law, Ivey’s amendment would appropriate nearly all of the CARES Act funds the state received immediately. It could be used for the following purposes, according to the text of the bill:
- Up to $300 million to reimburse state agencies for COVID-19 expenditures
- Up to $250 million to reimburse local governments for COVID-19 expenditures
- Up to $250 million to “support the delivery of healthcare and related services to citizens of Alabama related to” COVID-19
- Up to $300 million to support citizens, businesses and non-profit and faith-based organizations impacted by COVID-19
- Up to $53 million for reimbursement of equipment and infrastructure necessary for remote work and public access to functions of state government impacted by COVID-19
- Up to $300 million for technology and infrastructure for remote instruction and learning
- Up to $200 million for the Department of Corrections to address COVID-19
- Up to $10 million for courts to ensure access during COVID-19
- Up to $5 million to reimburse the State General Fund for previous appropriations to the Alabama Department of Public Health
- The remaining $118 million could be used for any lawful purpose in line with federal guidance
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper, in a joint statement said, “Ultimately, we gave our support to the Governor’s Executive Amendment as it is the best deal for the people of Alabama,” the senators said. “We understand that it is imperative to start getting CARES Act money as soon as possible to those who are most in need and sending this money back to the Federal government would not be in the best interest of Alabama. At the end of the day, this is a win for the Legislature, a win for the Constitution and a win for transparency when it comes to the distribution of funds.”