Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Tuesday signed a proclamation calling the Alabama Legislature into a special session to handle the task of appropriating the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

“While states like Alabama are making record economic comebacks, Congress and the Biden White House are wanting our country to spend more and more federal dollars, and now we are tasked with allocating the American Rescue Plan Act funds,” Ivey said in a statement. “I have made clear, that unlike Washington, D.C., Alabama will be wise with these one-time, federal dollars.

“I again urge the members of the Legislature to direct these funds to meet some of Alabama’s biggest challenges like statewide broadband connectivity, water and sewer infrastructure, as well as investing funds in our hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers,” Ivey said. “We must be smart with these one-time, federal dollars by wisely investing – not just casually spending them. This is not free money.”

The Alabama Legislature will convene for this special session on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 11 a.m.

Ivey instructs the legislature to appropriate up to $443,343,362.50 from the ARPA-Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund to deliver pandemic related healthcare and related services through the reimbursement of eligible expenses, to improve and expand broadband network access, to improve access to clean water through water and sewer infrastructure projects, to provide tax relief to employers by replenishing the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund and to reimburse a state agency or agencies for the costs of administering the allocations.

Ivey also instructs the legislature to appropriate funds from the "American Rescue Plan Act-Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Revenue Replacement Fund." Up to $136,796,346 is to be used to improve and expand broadband network access, to facilitate the expansion and use of telemedicine, to deliver pandemic-related healthcare and related services, to assist rural hospitals, to assist emergency response providers, and to reimburse the expenses of housing certain inmates in county jails during a specified portion of the calendar year 2021.

Ivey instructed the legislature to appropriate funds from the "American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund" up to $191,887,857 to be used to deliver broadband and related services related to the coronavirus pandemic and to enable investment in capital assets providing necessary technology infrastructure for work, education, and access to critical services.

Finally, Ivey authorized the legislature to include reasonable oversight and reporting requirements to ensure compliance with ARPA and to promote public accountability and transparency.

The legislature is suspending the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session with the special session. The bills appropriating the ARPA funds will be introduced Wednesday. The legislature then can be considered in committee on Thursday. The special session will resume on Tuesday and the bills can be considered in the House in which they were introduced. If the special session bills pass in the first House, they can be considered in committee in the second House next Wednesday and be considered on the floor of the second House on Thursday, Jan. 27, and then on to the Governor’s desk.

If the special session proceeds on schedule, Jan. 27 would be the last day of the special session and the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session will then resume on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

The state is expected to get another batch of ARPA dollars ($1,060,139,708) in May/June.

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