Gov. Kay Ivey touched on many areas throughout her annual State of the State address Tuesday night, unveiling a school voucher program as her top priority.
But the unveiling of the CHOOSE Act was just a small part of Ivey’s address, which also touched on gambling, workforce participation, broadband, artificial intelligence, voter suppression and more.
Here’s a look at what the governor had to say:
While gambling legislation has been a persistent challenge for the Legislature, there have been strong indications that this is the year a bill will move forward to give Alabamians a vote on the subject.
While the exact proposal has not been publicly revealed, Ivey said she believes it will be good for the state.
“It will crack down on illegal gambling, and it will responsibly regulate limited forms of legal gaming,
including a statewide lottery …” Ivey said. “Now is the time for Alabama voters to have another say on this issue.”
Ivey touted her recent announcement of $188 million in federal grant funding to expand broadband in rural areas of Alabama via the “middle mile program” and said Alabama’s overall investment in broadband expansion would be $2 billion.
Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth recently unveiled his plans to transform the state’s workforce development pipeline, and Ivey touched on the state’s labor force participation rate during her address.
“While our unemployment rate remains historically low, our labor force participation rate stands only at 57.2 percent, one of the lowest in the nation,” Ivey said. “Our state will not reach its full potential with nearly half of its population sitting on the sidelines. Alabama can do better, and it will take making Alabama’s workforce programs more effective and efficient.”
“Look y’all, I am not going to stand here and preach like I know a lick about AI,” Ivey said to chuckles from the crowd.
In an attempt to get ahead of the growing opportunities and challenges involved with the boom of AI applications in industry and everyday life, Ivey announced the creation of a taskforce to ensure the technology is used “safely and efficiently.”