The Alabama Legislature hopes to meet April 28 to draft budgets and finalize other priority legislation, according to Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia.
The leaders provided at update on impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the legislative session Friday during a conference call with the Alabama Council of Association Executives.
McCutcheon returned to the House floor Thursday, as announced when the Legislature left for spring recess. He declared no quorum to be present. Both chambers are set to convene Tuesday, March 31, and adopt a resolution to resume legislative work April 28, provided it’s safe to do so.
“We are hopeful this virus will be contained, lives will be saved and the Legislature will be able to get back to work on April 28,” said Alabama Farmers Federation External Affairs Department Director Matthew Durdin. “In addition to completing the budgets, we encourage legislators to address challenges COVID-19 has exposed in rural Alabama, including access to healthcare and the lack of broadband access for students, businesses and telemedicine.”
Marsh and McCutcheon said the Legislature is taking precautions to protect members and the general public. On Tuesday, only the minimum number of senators and representatives needed for a quorum are expected to be in attendance. The State House will remain closed for visitors and guests. Furnishings in both chambers are being adjusted to achieve social distancing.
Under state law, the Legislature has until May 18 to complete its regular session. Questions remain about how the economic fallout from COVID-19 will impact projected revenues in the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets. Prior to the pandemic, both budgets were expected to have surpluses going into the 2021 Fiscal Year, which begins Oct. 1.