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September 2021 Group Watch: Rep. Clouse Outlines Plan to Fund Prison Improvements

During an appearance on “Capital Journal,” State Rep. Steve Clouse, chair of the House Ways and Means-General Fund Committee, laid out how the state plans to finance the early stages of the much-deliberated state prison solution. Clouse said it would be a combination of federal rescue money, an unanticipated surplus of general fund cash-on-hand and up to $785 million in borrowed money. According to Clouse, about $400 million of federal rescue funds will be used as an offset against lost revenue to the General Fund as a result of the COVID pandemic; the rest will come from a one-time surplus of general fund dollars totaling approximately $150 million, plus $785 million in bond authority. Fund use priorities will include the construction of two 4,000-bed mega prisons, one each in Elmore and Escambia counties; re-building of the women’s prison in Elmore; and major repairs at other prisons in the state. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said he thought there may be a special session in late September to address prisons and another one likely in October to deal with reapportionment. Legislative special sessions are the sole province of the governor, but it is unlikely the Speaker would throw out a date without the benefit of conversation with the governor.

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