Governor Kay Ivey has called the anticipated special session, and it appears there is a plan to build more prisons.
There is not going any way to soften this blow, but it is going to be expensive. However, the revenue sources are becoming clear.
That is over one billion dollars in spending to build new homes for Alabama’s worst citizens.
By all accounts, the power-players are all in.
Ivey is excited:
As I have stated before, this is our moment-this legislature and this administration-to lead our state in a bipartisan manner to solve a problem that has plagued us for decades and that if not properly addressed, will continue to set us back for decades to come.
Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) is happy to see it:
We’re in court right now over our prison conditions and the facilities that we have. We’re in court right now. And we’ve got to move forward on this because if the court made the decision to take over our system, then the price tag we’re talking about would be a lot more than what we’re dealing with right now.
Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) is loving it:
The Governor, along with House and Senate leadership, have worked together to develop a plan to finally tackle this problem once and for all, and to do so in a fiscally conservative manner.
But what about the rank and file Republicans and the fiscal conservatives running for reelection in 2022?
What about Alabama Democrats who have no incentive to play ball with Republicans on this or any other issue? They have made it clear that they are more interested in emptying prisons than building new ones.
Is there any real appetite to build new cages in Alabama for prisoners?
Or, as I have argued in the past, is this just theater to hold off the federal government?
There is a reason this is happening before we welcome in 2022 and the upcoming elections.
Let’s hope a deal can be made and this can get done. The state will have to address this. The sooner the better.