MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey delivered her annual State of the State address Tuesday night.
Although the address has previously been held in the Capitol with a large audience of legislators in attendance, this year’s speech was virtual due to the pandemic.
Watch her full speech here:
The pandemic dominated many of the governor’s topics, as it has impacted almost all parts of both daily life and legislation.
Ivey said Alabama has prospered despite the challenges of 2020, including weather disasters in addition to economic challenges, COVID-19, and the protests that were of nationwide impact.
Ivey addressed some bills she wants to see in this year’s legislative session. She said one of the first bills she wants the Legislature to pass is a measure to ensure everyone who received CARES Act money will not pay state income taxes on that relief.
She said another top priority bill she wants to see is one to renew economic development incentives to attract businesses to the state.
Ivey also wants the Legislature to pass a bill protecting businesses from “frivolous lawsuits” related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the economic developments for the state, Ivey is proposing a $46 million investment to expand 96 beds at the Taylor Hardin facility in Tuscaloosa and another $6 million for an additional crisis diversion center.
The governor had a big road infrastructure announcement as well. She said the state is moving forward on a long-discussed four-lane Highway 43 from Thomasville to Tuscaloosa. She also said there are plans to connect two more rural counties with four-lane access in Geneva and Fayette counties, and plans for others are in development.
Senate minority leader Bobby Singleton gave the Democrats’ response to Ivey’s speech.
Singleton praised several of the items Ivey mentioned but said Alabama Democrats do take issue with some of the things on the governor’s agenda.
He said they disagree with a bill protecting businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits, saying it is a right for a family to sue if someone gets sick or dies because they have to work in certain conditions or if an employer is negligent.
He also said CARES Act money has been spent more on businesses than people in the state.
Singleton also said the state needs to address issues with opening schools safely and improve access to rural health care.