Lawmakers detail ARPA allocations

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 6:41 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Thursday is the second day of the special legislative session called by Governor Kay Ivey. Lawmakers are deciding how to spend $1 billion in leftover American Rescue Plan Act funds.

A House committee passed a bill on how to spend American rescue plan dollars with just one objection.

“Why just domestic violence or not all violent crimes? The violent crime situations have been on the rise since 2020, and the victims of domestic violence have not had their needs met,” said Rep. Arnold Mooney.

But the money will meet other needs. $660 million is earmarked for broadband, water, and sewer infrastructure.

The Black Belt will get $5 million to meet its septic tank needs.

“The price of those, I’m just guessing, is probably three or $4,000 each. So that’ll put a lot of systems in the ground,” said Rep. Rex Reynolds.

$339 million will be divided among nursing homes, mental health facilities, and hospitals.

“Our hospitals do great work,” said Reynolds. “I’m so proud that we give them 100 million.”

Up to $55 million will be used to backfill programs that took a financial hit responding to COVID-19, like food assistance, housing, and summer learning.

“We didn’t want to exclude anybody,” said Reynolds. “So, we had to make that language very broad. So, we could be inclusive of all those who deliver those types of services.”

The Alabama Department of Labor’s getting $5 million to defend the state in COVID unemployment lawsuits.

Lawmakers will return to the state house on Tuesday for more debate.

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