Alabama House approves prison plan using COVID-19 funds

Alabama News

FILE – In this July 29, 2020 file photo, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. Ivey announced plans Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 to move forward with state leasing of three privately built mega prisons that would begin construction next year, in what she described as a step toward overhauling an understaffed and violence-plagued prison system beset by years of federal criticism. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers are heading toward swift approval of a prison construction package that would tap $400 million of the state’s pandemic relief funds to help pay for building three new lockups.

The House of Representatives voted 74-26 for the $1.3 billion construction plan and 75-25 to use $400 million from the American Rescue Plan. The plan to use pandemic funds drew sharp criticism from some Democrats, including the state’s lone Democratic congresswoman.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey has argued that it’s an appropriate expenditure because the American Rescue Plan says states can use some of the money to replace revenue lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

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