Special session(s) ahead in Alabama? How Arise is preparing

Alabama Arise’s work for equity, justice and opportunity persisted after the Legislature’s regular session ended. We’ll renew our commitment to those principles when Arise members choose 2022 issue priorities after the Sept. 25 annual meeting. And we’ll keep up the drumbeat when lawmakers return later this year for one or more expected special sessions.

Alabama’s overcrowded and antiquated corrections system – a decades-long humanitarian crisis – may prompt a special session this fall. Gov. Kay Ivey and many legislators hope to build and renovate multiple prisons. Alabama may seek federal permission to use COVID-19 relief money for those purposes.

Arise believes meaningful sentencing reforms should accompany any plan for new prisons. Repeal of the outdated Habitual Felony Offender Act would be one long-term step to reduce overcrowding. Parole reform and stronger investments in community corrections and reentry supports would help as well. Arise will advocate for these policy changes and others during any prison-related special session.

Redistricting is another likely focus of a special session. Legislators will use new Census data to draw new districts for the Legislature, state school board and U.S. House. Arise urges members to participate in public hearings that the Joint Reapportionment Committee will hold across Alabama this month. Click here for more information and a full hearing schedule.

Arise will continue advocacy on federal funds, too. We’ll support efforts to make recent Child Tax Credit improvements permanent. We’ll urge legislators to use federal relief money for Medicaid expansion, public transportation and other long-term investments. And we’ll seek to build on an August federal rule change that permanently boosted Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.