The Alabama Legislature gaveled into a special session Wednesday called by Gov. Kay Ivey and introduced the state’s plan for distributing the second round of ARPA funds.
The $1.06 billion proposal continues the priorities established when the state distributed the first round of ARPA funds last year, with nearly two-thirds going to infrastructure needs and most of the rest going to public health.
The bill would send $400 million to water and sewer grants and $260 million toward broadband expansion.
A total of $339.1 million would go toward public health, including $100 million to reimburse hospitals for Covid-related expenses, $40 million each to reimburse the Public Education Employees’ Health Insurance Plan and State Employees’ Insurance Board, $20 million for a voluntary clinical trial and healthcare research program, $25 million for payments to mental health providers, and $9 million to facilitate and expand telemedicine.
The plan also designates about $55 million to other community services including provisions for long-term housing, senior services and food banks.
Ivey and legislative leaders have been working on the spending proposal behind the scenes for months and the full legislature will now begin to pick apart the proposal and make changes as the special session continues.
The Legislature has adjourned the regular session until March 21, giving lawmakers 11 more calendar days to determine how to distribute the funds.
With this being the last round of ARPA funding, agencies and departments have been working hard to get a slice of the funds to help reimburse and expand their causes.