WATCH: Political Analyst Steve Flowers talks what’s next for COVID-19 relief money, relining of districts

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT/AP) — Former Alabama Rep. and CBS 42 Political Analyst Steve Flowers provided a look ahead as lawmakers return to Montgomery for the start of the special session on reapportionment on Thursday.

Flowers stopped by CBS 42 Morning News to chat with Anchor Jack Royer about the state’s plans moving forward with the remaining federal COVID-19 relief money.

At the end of September, Alabama lawmakers headed 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.

With a special session to redraw district lines in Alabama today, lawmakers are tasked with getting proposed new lines ready for debate are finally detailing their proposals.

A late population count by the U.S. Census pushed the redrawing of Congressional, state senate, house and school board lines back by several months. With the proposed new mapping, the 7th Congressional District would currently remain the only majority Black district. However, the state school board which also has seven districts will have two.

All four district maps passed out of the joint legislative committee along party lines and will now head for debate in the House and Senate.

The full interview can be watched in the video player above.

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