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Special Legislative Update from Fine Geddie & Associates

The Alabama Legislature has adjourned until May 18, after meeting on Saturday to give final passage to the $7.1 billion Education Trust Fund budget, a supplemental education funding bill, a revenue bill for nursing homes, and the remaining local bills pending. Those measures have been sent to the Governor for her consideration.

The Legislature is expected to exercise its right to convene on May 18 to respond to any possible action by Gov. Ivey on those bills.  At present, Governor Ivey is expected to veto or amend the General Fund budget and the supplemental appropriation.  Legislators may attempt to override her actions, which can be accomplished by a simple majority vote of the Legislature (total members in both the House and Senate) in opposition to a veto or executive amendment.  The main point of contention between the executive and legislative branches has been control of the $1.9 billion in COVID-19-related federal funds, which issue is addressed in the General Fund budget and awaits Gov. Ivey’s action.  In its current form, Gov. Ivey would have authority over $200 million of those funds, leaving the Legislature $1.7 billion to allocate. Negotiations between the branches broke down publicly last week and the Governor has indicated she will amend or altogether veto that proposal in favor of shifting full responsibility to the Legislature, but discussions are ongoing. At the heart of the legislative and executive branches' debate is the intended use of the COVID-19 funds. The federal government has imposed strict guidelines and more clarification on the scope is expected. Misused funds would have to be returned.

Nursing homes would receive additional funding under HB401 by Rep. Steve Clouse (R—Ozark), which passed the Legislature Saturday. The bill would increase the nursing facility privilege assessment, set a method for calculating current asset value and authorize the Alabama Medicaid Agency to create a quality incentive program. HB 401 was handled in the Senate by Sen. Greg Albritton (R—Atmore).

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