Alabama’s legislature gaveled in for its regular session Tuesday at noon.

Tuesday evening, members of the legislature, justices of the Alabama Supreme Court, and other guests gathered in the old state capitol building to hear Gov. Kay Ivey's State of the State address.

The address was one of the most lightly attended state speeches by an Alabama governor in recent years.

“This evening, I renew my commitment to you that we will not only continue tackling old problems,” Ivey said. “We will work together as Alabamians to find new solutions so that our state is the best place to live, work and raise a family for years to come."

Ivey opined on Alabama’s success and expressed hopefulness for the future. Ivey cited the planned improvements to Alabama’s prison system, improvements to roads and bridges and combatting the federal government’s overreach as marks of success from her office.

“When our prison system went unaddressed for decades and resulted in serious challenges, we found a way toward a solution,” Ivey said. “When our roads and bridges were in need of desperate improvements, we found a way to make significant progress all across the state. When our federal government overreached, we found a way to fight back.”

Ivey announced plans to engage in massive reconstruction to high-traffic highways to permit more accessible travel. She cited the Rebuild Alabama Act, a product of the controversial gas tax that went into effect in 2019, as the source of all roadway improvements.

“We are delivering on decades talked-about projects like The West Alabama Corridor, which will connect Mobile all the way to Tuscaloosa with a four-lane highway,” Ivey said. “We are tackling other needed projects to increase capacity like six-laning I-10 in West Mobile from Theodore to Irvington. And tonight, I am proud to announce that we will be widening I-59 from Chalkville Mountain Road to I-459, in east Jefferson County near Trussville, from four lanes to six lanes.” 

Ivey reconfirmed her administration’s position against Federal vaccine mandates and praised Attorney General Steve Marshall for not shying away from a fight and “standing tall for Alabamians.”

"Speaking of D.C. politics – and I use the word 'politics' intentionally here – from the moment the White House rolled out their scare tactic plans to try to force the COVID-19 vaccine on Americans, I assured the people of Alabama that we were standing firmly against it,” Ivey said. “I’ll call this nonsense what it is, and that is an un-American, outrageous breach of our federal law.”

Ivey commended the legislature’s economic policy, claiming the policy was one of not overspending and maintaining fiscal responsibility. 

"Thanks to the wise approach by the legislature over the years in saving dollars and putting these funds to good use, during my time as governor, we have not once used the word 'proration' or spent beyond our means,” Ivey said. “As we prepare our budgets for any possible events in our nation’s economy, today, Alabama’s economy is rock solid.”

The electric vehicle market will also see Alabama brought into the fold, with new battery plants operating in the state.

“In the current push for electric vehicles, so often, what is left out of the conversation is the fact that we are having to rely on other countries for an important ingredient in producing the EV batteries,” Ivey said. “Now, our country will turn to Westwater Resources in Coosa County for this critical resource in battery manufacturing. ‘Made in Alabama’ is committed to bringing back Made in America.”

Ivey spoke on planned improvements and expansion in law enforcement and boasted in Alabama’s troopers receiving novel training in sensory awareness.

“Here in Alabama, we are funding our law enforcement officers and looking to make positive changes that benefit both officers and our communities,” Ivey said. “Last year, I was proud to announce a partnership between the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and KultureCity. Thanks to this first-of-its-kind partnership, every ALEA trooper is now trained to be sensory-inclusive.”

Ivey announced a 4% increase in wages for all state employees and teachers. She also proposed a bonus for all retired state employees. The amount for retired state workers was not disclosed but will be in Ivey’s proposed budget.

Ivey also stressed the necessity of having in-person learning and increased after-school programs. She also stressed the need for third-grade proficiency in reading and mathematics.

“Tonight, I am pleased to lend my support to legislation that will create a Math Task Force to provide timely and actionable recommendations for recruiting and retaining math teachers, increasing support for struggling students, as well as for evaluating the quality of our assessments, learning materials, and standards,” Ivey said.

Ivey continued to stress the need for successful elementary schools and the unacceptability of failing schools, to which she received a standing ovation.

“I say that we cannot continue letting our students and teachers struggle and rob them of a chance to achieve their dreams,” Ivey said. “…I am proposing resources to support grants for failing elementary schools that are not one-size-fits-all, but rather, are customized to the particular needs of each of those struggling schools.”

Ivey concluded her state of the state with a recap of the historical success of Alabama in innovation, discovery, and industry that laid the bedrock for Alabama’s economy, and made it what it is today. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, if innovation and discovery are in our DNA – and they are – just imagine what lies ahead for us if we work together to lay the groundwork for tomorrow,” Ivey said. “If we do that, and if we continue to make strategic improvements and investments where they count, then I assure you that decades from now, people from all across the country – and around the world – will be talking about the Alabama transformation we helped lead.”

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-HD 53) issued the Democrat response to Ivey’s State of the State address. He said that while Ivey’s speech charts a course in the right direction, he also believes more can be done to address issues across the state, particularly with even more investments in education funding and supporting teachers.

The full text of Ivey’s speech can be read here.