MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Following her State of the State address Tuesday night, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey sat down with CBS 42 to discuss the issues that will likely dominate the legislative session this year.
Ivey hit hard on issues of prisons reform, education and, according to the governor, the need serious reform.
Ivey’s study group on criminal justice policy is in the process of sending recommendations on prison reform to the Legislature, recommendations that are already being met with division. She has talked about the need for new prisons in Alabama with one plan to build three mega prisons.
“I hope we have at least one new building coming up out of the group that will be a rehabilitation for inmates, not warehouses,” Ivey said.
Is it possible there could be a special session held this year to solve the state’s prison crisis once and for all?
“That’s not off the table yet,” she said. “We may have to have a special session to do that, but right now, we are making progress.”
It is the governor’s hope that by the time she delivers the next State of the State address in 2021, there will be significant updates to the prison crisis.
In her speech Tuesday, Ivey mentioned the lottery efforts by former Gov. Don Siegelman. It has been 20 years since the people of Alabama last voted on a lottery, which was rejected by 54% of the voters.
The governor said that since then, the state has heard promises of hundreds of millions of dollars that could be generated from a lottery.
“There’s just a lot of questions, just voting blindly on a lottery,” she said. “I think it will bring in this much, well thinking is not enough, we need some data.”
Ivey has signed an executive order to establish a small working group of some of Alabama’s most distinguished citizens, to begin gathering information on how much money the state could really gain if some form of gaming expansion occurred. She says the vetting is already underway and names would be released in the coming days.
In the latest educations rankings, Alabama is ranked dead last. Part of Ivey’s solution is an overhaul of the state’s education system through a constitutional amendment that would move the state from an elected state school board to one appointed by her and approved by the Legislature.
“We’ve done the best we know how to do to do research of what works and we are focused on making this work, and we’ve given the decision whether it will work or not to the people,” she said.
The legislative session began Tuesday.
House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels and Alabama Democrats responded to the governor’s address.
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