MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — The Alabama House and Senate approved Gov. Kay Ivey’s executive amendment on how the state needs to use its federal coronavirus relief funds Monday afternoon.
In a 30-1 vote, the Senate accepted Ivey’s condition that its CARES ACT funds, which total to more than $1.8 billion for specific purposes to help bring relief to Alabama’s agencies and citizens.
The House later gave its approval with a vote of 73-1, allowing the amended spending bill to become a law.
“I commend the Alabama Legislature for their cooperation by supporting my Executive Amendment to SB161,” Ivey said. “This friendly amendment ensures the CARES Act money will be immediately available to the people of Alabama and put to use under the intent of the U.S. Congress and President Trump. Our cities, counties and state, as well as places like our nursing homes, hospitals, schools and colleges have incurred many legitimate expenses because of COVID-19. I thank the members of the Alabama Legislature for supporting this amendment and for ensuring this money helps the people of Alabama who have been harmed by this disease.
Thank you to the Alabama Senate for supporting my amendment to SB161. I appreciate our senators for voting to move this process forward; we can quickly get this much-needed CARES Act funding into the hands of the good people of Alabama. #alpolitics @ALSenateRepubs @ALSenateDems— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) May 18, 2020
I commend the members of the Alabama House for concurring with my amendment to SB161. I’m grateful for their cooperation in working with my office to help our citizens & businesses affected by the #COVID19 crisis. @AlHouseInfo @ALHouseGOP @ALHouseDems #alpolitics— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) May 18, 2020
The governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature were previously in conflict over how the money should be spent, specifically with a wish list that proposed using some of the funds for a new statehouse. That proposal is no longer on the table.
While Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper, said that the amendment is not a perfect compromise, they said they did appreciate the governor’s acknowledgment of the Legislature’s control over the funds.
“We understand that it is imperative to start getting CARES Act money as soon as possible to those who are most in need and sending this money back to the Federal government would not be in the best interest of Alabama,” their statement reads. “At the end of the day this is a win for the Legislature, a win for the Constitution, and a win for transparency when it comes to the distribution of funds.
Ivey ended up signing the General Fund budget, the Education Trust Fund, and the PSCA bond bill Monday afternoon.
“I appreciate the hard work of the Legislature during an unprecedented Regular Session,” she said. “While we have yet to know the full impact of COVID-19 on our state, these budgets will ensure continuity of government, while being fiscally responsible. There is more work to be done, and I look forward to working with the Legislature in the days ahead.”