MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Senate on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 1, which would make a generational investment of $772 million in communities across the state.
Sponsored by Senate General Fund Chairman Greg Albritton (R-Range), the bipartisan bill proposes supplemental appropriations from three separate funds made possible by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA): the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Revenue Replacement Fund, and the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund.
Money cannot be intermingled between the three funds, and federal law and regulations restrict how the money can be spent by the State of Alabama.
“This process has been one full of collaboration – from the governor to legislators on both sides of the aisle, and to the agencies that are involved – each group has contributed considerably,” said Albritton. “It took months of work, transparency, and candid conversations to reach a final consensus, and we completed the task in an efficient and effective manner. You can never satisfy everyone, but we certainly created a solid plan to benefit Alabamians in the best way possible. These one-time funds can and will impact our state for generations to come.”
Of the total $772 million allocated, $443.34 million comes from the Fiscal Recovery Fund, $136.8 million comes from the Revenue Replacement Fund; and $191.9 million comes from the Capital Projects Fund.
Out of the Fiscal Recovery Fund, SB1 includes funding for health care, broadband, infrastructure, and the unemployment insurance trust fund. The bill allocates Revenue Replacement Fund monies for broadband, health care, telemedicine, rural hospitals, county reimbursements, and volunteer fire departments/EMS. The Capital Projects Fund allocation goes toward broadband.
Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said that the smooth floor process and resounding vote by the Senate on Tuesday is a result of months of meticulous, cooperative work between the executive branch and both chambers of the legislature.
“The members of the Senate stepped up today to make a significant investment in Alabama’s future,” stated Reed. “We were able to take one-time monies and, through continued commonsense fiscal management, fund key priorities that will benefit our children and our children’s children. Communities in every corner of Alabama will feel the positive impacts of today for years and years to come. Thank you to Chairman Albritton, Leaders Scofield and Singleton, the members of the Senate, Governor Ivey, and Finance Director Poole for their hard work throughout this process. I am proud of how my colleagues collaborated to find the best possible consensus that gets these funds out to the people of Alabama as quickly as possible.”
The funds allocated by SB1 are in addition to the $1.54 billion in Alabama ARPA funds already appropriated last year. An additional $1.06 billion in federal funds will be made available to the State of Alabama in June and will be allocated at a later date.
Both Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) and Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) praised their colleagues for working collaboratively to reach a constructive consensus on SB 1.
“I’m thoroughly pleased with the collective effort made by the members of our caucus and the entire Senate on this issue. It is an extremely rare occasion that we receive a substantial amount of one-time federal funding and for the legislature to be in charge of investing it how we best see fit,” Scofield remarked. “I say invest because investing this money, not spending, is exactly what we are doing. These dollars will go toward expanding our broadband infrastructure to every rural and unserved community in the state, providing for water and sewer infrastructure improvements, supplying aid to rural hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, mental health and rehabilitative services, telemedicine and so much more. This is something Alabamians can be extremely proud of.”
“These funds will move Alabama forward by allowing us to make a significant investment in our water and sewage systems throughout the state,” said Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro). “I have spoken with colleagues from other states who have been shut out of the process of allocating these funds, and I am proud to work alongside statesmen, such as Sen. Albritton, Sen. Reed, and Sen. Scofield who included minority members in every step of the process of deciding how we spend these funds.”
SB 1 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.