Ala. House Republicans have ‘Plan B’ for new prisons

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Republican House leadership said they have a backup plan to pay for new prisons if Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan falls through.

“You’ve only got a few days left. If something is not worked out through the governor’s office, then the governor will work with the Legislature to try to come up with a new plan,” said Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia.

The governor’s office says the idea of calling a special session is hypothetical right now.

In January, the governor signed two lease agreements for the state to rent prisons from private companies. The governor’s office is working on a third lease agreement to build another prison. The overall project is expected to cost about $3 billion.

There is a June 1 deadline for the companies to secure financing for that project.

McCutcheon said some House Republicans’ “Plan B” is a bond issue proposal that lawmakers can vote on. It would allow the state to own the prisons.

“So the Senate and the House is both supporting her,” McCutcheon said “And we will be with her all the way through June the first and then let’s just see what comes out.”

But several Republicans want whichever plan to be as cost effective as possible.

“And so I think that we would take a long, hard look at at a plan,” Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, said. “Obviously work with the governor’s office to make sure we solve this problem that is ours to fix.”

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said, “Governor Ivey remains focused on moving the Alabama Prison Program forward. As she has done throughout, she remains engaged with the Legislature on this issue.”

State lawmakers have attempted many times prior to approve a bond issue to build new prisons. They were not successful then.

The Department of Justice is currently suing Alabama for the violence and conditions inside of its prisons. The governor believes building new prisons will help solve many of these issues. Critics to the plan believe building new prisons will not solve the issues inside prison walls.

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