Week Two of the 2023 Legislative Session

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

House Speaker Ledbetter Promotes Economic Incentives Reauthorization at BCA's Government Affairs Briefing

On Tuesday, March 14, Alabama House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) joined BCA’s Government Affairs Briefing as guest speaker. Jason Isbell, Vice Chair of BCA’s Government Affairs Committee, introduced Speaker Ledbetter, kicking off week two of the 2023 Legislative Session. Speaker Ledbetter discussed the vital role economic development plays in Alabama’s success and stressed the importance of the renewal and modernization of the Alabama Jobs Act and Growing Alabama Act – two critical economic incentive programs for the state. The Speaker also discussed workforce development and solutions needed to fill the workforce gap in Alabama.

Next week’s briefing will feature Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth. As a reminder, Government Affairs Briefings are held each Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. at the BCA offices during the Legislative Session. The briefings will also be available via Facebook Live.

2023 Special Session Concludes; 2023 Regular Session Resumes on Tuesday, March 21

ARPA funding cleared both chambers of the State Legislature on Thursday. Senator Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) offered an amendment to HB1 in committee to include stormwater investments in the funding allocated for water and sewer infrastructure, and Senator Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) offered a technical amendment on the Senate floor to provide clarity regarding assistance with grant applications. The House concurred upon the Senate’s amendments to HB1, and Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill into law. This legislation will make a generational investment in communities across Alabama, including the expansion of broadband, critical infrastructure improvements, and much-needed support for healthcare. 

SB1 – debt repayment to the Alabama Trust Fund (ATF) – passed the House with bipartisan support on Thursday morning. This bill pays off the remaining debt of nearly $60 million owed to the ATF in full and ahead of time. Governor Ivey signed this bill into law on Thursday afternoon.

BCA sat down with Senator Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), Chairman of the Senate Finance & Taxation General Fund Committee, to discuss how both the ARPA and ATF investments will impact the state of Alabama and the business community. You can watch that interview below.

The Alabama Legislature will return to Regular Session on Tuesday, March 21. Spring Break will be observed by the Legislature the last week in March.

BCA Announces Renew Alabama at Capital Summit

BCA held the inaugural Capital Summit Policy Forum on Tuesday, March 14, where legislators and top state officials gathered for a luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery. BCA President and CEO, Helena Duncan, delivered the State of Alabama Business Address and announced BCA’s legislative agenda for the next four years. Attendees also heard from three different panels on innovation, workforce development, and healthcare solutions.

In her address, Duncan spoke about the work BCA is doing on behalf of the Alabama business community and introduced BCA’s legislative priorities for the quadrennium, which are packaged in a program called Renew Alabama. The program was created and developed by BCA with direction from the BCA policy committees and their guiding principles.

Duncan concluded the address with BCA’s number one legislative priority for the 2023 Legislative Session, and stressed the critical role economic development incentives play in Alabama’s current and future economic success.

The first panel, Attracting the Best Through Innovation, presented by Alabama Power, commenced the series of three discussion panels. Houston Smith, Vice President of Governmental Affairs; Blair King, Director of Economic Development; and Arnab Ghosal, General Grid Information and Connectivity, discussed the import role innovation plays in growing Alabama’s economy.

Boeing’s Chrystal Morgan, Director of Government Relations, and Debbie Barnett, Vice President and Programs Director, Ground-based Midcourse Defense and Huntsville Site Lead, facilitated the second panel. Their presentation, Developing our Workforce to Protect the Warfighter, covered retention and recruitment of highly skilled workers to fill jobs in Alabama.

BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama led the third panel, Healthcare’s Role in Economic Development, covering the role healthcare plays in attracting businesses to Alabama. Panelist included BlueCross BlueShield’s Ted Hosp, Vice President of Government Relations and Sofi Martin, Director of Corporate Communications; Josh Carpenter, President and CEO of Southern Research; and Stacy Rakestraw, City Counselor for Ward 3 for the City of Alabaster.

BCA’s annual Legislative Reception was held Tuesday afternoon, honoring leaders of state government and their many contributions to the business community in Alabama. Governor Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall, Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, and legislators were among over 500 guests who attended the reception

BCA Bills of Interest

HB1: Supplemental Appropriations from the American Rescue Plan Act – Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023. 
Sponsors: Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-21)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Signed into law

Introduced by Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-21), HB1 allocates $1.1 billion in federal funding made available to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress in 2021. HB1 includes funding for broadband expansion, water and sewer infrastructure improvements, and support for our healthcare system for communities across the state.

The monetary breakdown for each category in HB1 is as follows:

  • Up to $339,175,000 to support the delivery of healthcare programs and services.
  • Up to $660,000,000 for water, sewer, stormwater, and broadband infrastructure investments.
  • Up to $55,000,000 for eligible programs and services in response to the negative economic impacts of the public health emergency.
  • Up to $5,000,000 for response and mitigation expenses related to the pandemic.
  • Up to $1,006,797.72 to reimburse costs for the administration, auditing, and reporting requirements of the state fiscal recovery funds.

 

SB1: Supplemental Appropriation from the State General Fund to the Alabama Trust Fund 
Sponsors: Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Signed into law

Senator Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), chairman of the Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee, introduced SB1 to approve a nearly $60 million final payment to the Alabama Trust Fund (ATF) – a state fund established by voters. Totaling $59,997,772, this legislation pays off all remaining debts ahead of time to the ATF, which is required by the People’s Trust Act to be repaid in full by 2033. These funds will be made available through state dollars, not federal ARPA funding.

Week Ten of the 2024 Legislative Session

Capitol Briefing Tuesday Morning Issues Briefing BCA hosted Senator Greg Albritton, the Senate General Fund Budget Committee chairman, this week to provide an overview of Alabama’s fiscal position and offer

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