More than $1 billion in spending is being considered by the Alabama Legislature as it heads into the third day of a special session called by Gov. Kay Ivey last week to deal with the remainder of funds allotted to the state by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The prevailing sentiment on Goat Hill was the proposed legislation, which grants deference to the executive branch on spending authority, would sail through both chambers during the special session in the five days.

Not so fast, says State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Joesphine).

During his weekly appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," the Baldwin County legislator still had issues to work out before he would vote for it.

"I think that might be a little presumptuous," Elliott said of passage by Thursday. "That's certainly what the plan is. I do believe that there are a number of folks, especially in the Senate, that, I don't know, want to have some input on this piece of legislation — what a shocker — and aren't simply going to rubber stamp and do what the people sent us to do, which is engage, debate, amend, deliberate."

"If that process can work by Thursday, then all the better," he continued. "If not, that's fine, too. We have that additional time. We can work Friday. We can work Saturday. A lot of people say they don't want to have to stay. It's a billion dollars. It is worth staying for. Where we spend it is important. How we spend it is important. I don't have a problem staying and continuing to work on it. I don't like the idea of passing it as is. There are certainly some issues that need to be addressed before it gets my vote, anyway."

Elliott dismissed difficulties with the federal guidelines on ARPA spending as a reason for using broad language to give executive branch agencies spending authority.

He also questioned the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's ability to properly spend the funds given its difficulties with handling the first round of ARPA funding and waiving the matching requirement imposed by the legislature on local governments for some projects.

Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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