Goat Hill Report- Week ending March 17, 2023
| Special Session Wraps Up |
The Alabama Legislature spent the second week of the special session finalizing expenditures of the federal ARPA funds.
On Thursday, Alabama lawmakers gave approval to spend $1.06 billion in federal ARPA funds on broadband, water and sewer projects and healthcare reimbursements. In the legislature’s final step in the process, the Alabama Senate passed HB1 by Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville) on a vote of 30-3. Earlier in the week, the House of Representatives passed HB1 on a vote 102-3. The approved ARPA spending plan allocates: $260 million for investment in broadband network access and cybersecurity services; $400 million on water and sewer projects; $339 million for health care providers, including hospitals, nursing homes and mental health services; and $55 million for community programs such as food bank assistance, housing assistance and child welfare programs. Keeping with the same approach of the federal CARES Act funding and the first tranche of ARPA funding, Governor Ivey and legislative leaders established the general categories for allocation of the funds, and the Governor and executive branch will be tasked with disbursement of the funds to specific entities via memoranda of agreement, applications and grants.
Just a few hours after the conclusion of the Special Session on Thursday, Governor Kay Ivey signed HB1 into law. “I commend the Alabama Legislature for, once again, answering the call to invest these one-time funds wisely to make improvements in Alabamians’ quality of life, including water, sewer and broadband expansion projects, as well as health care,” said Ivey. “Alabama can now look to a future of greater promise thanks to the steps we have taken this week to invest these funds wisely.”
Bills of the Interest to the Concrete Industry
Senate Bill 24 by Senator Greg Albritton would prohibit the use of broad based indemnification language commonly seen in construction contracts. Broad based indemnification clauses require ready mix producers to indemnify another party even in instances of sole negligence, wantonness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.
The legislation will still allow indemnification clauses in contracts but only when the contract establishes indemnification limits based on the scope of the work and limits coverage to the insurance secured by the subcontractor or supplier. This language would preclude companies from having to pay for indemnification requirements out of pocket as most insurance policies exclude coverage in cases of sole negligence, wantonness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.
The legislation is the end result of a study commission formed during the 2022 session. Interested parties including representatives from ABC, AGC, Subcontractors Association, ACIA and insurance companies met multiple times to develop the legislation. Alabama is one of only 5 states that still allows broad based indemnification language in construction contracts.
With the special session now complete, the Alabama Legislature will reconvene on Tuesday, March 21st to begin the regular session.