Legislators pass ARPA bills through committee

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 7:14 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Day two of the special session to allocate American Rescue Plan funds wrapped up with legislators approving bills in committee which will send them back to the floor for debate.

Legislators say they are proud of the work that went into choosing where this money will go.

“From the governor on down, including the agencies that were involved, I don’t know of anyone that was left out of the discussions,” said Sen. Greg Albritton.

“We’re moving through it with the kind of attitude based on those priorities that you would expect. I’m proud of the process,” echoed Sen. Greg Reed.

The bills that passed through the committees allocated:

  • $276,887,857 for broadband
  • $225 million for water and sewer projects
  • $116,796,346 for health care involving hospitals, assisted living, mental health and veteran homes
    • $5 million for telemedicine
    • $30 million for rural hospital assistance grants
  • $20 million for volunteer fire and emergency management services
  • $11 million for county jail reimbursement.

“When you’re spending $772 million usually there’s some excitement,” said Albritton.

As legislators work across the aisle, they say this round of money, has laid the foundation for how they plan to handle round two.

“We’re getting another billion dollars in June, I guess, May or June,” said Albritton. “And the point I made to somebody was that billion dollars is not the same we got last year that we just completed spending. It’s gonna be worth less than that.”

When chambers reconvene next week, they don’t expect to hear much debate, possibly some questions about how the money will be used once it gets to the agencies. Lawmakers expect to end the special session almost as quickly as it began.

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