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State lawmakers weigh state agency, department requests for millions

Budget hearings
Budget hearings(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Jan. 29, 2021 at 8:43 PM EST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - State lawmakers are weighing requests from departments that asked for millions of more dollars for the upcoming legislative session.

Ten state agencies presented their requests at the budget hearings Tuesday through Thursday. Here is the link to view their presentations.

The Alabama State Department of Education asked for a $459 million increase for fiscal year 2022.

Here are some of the big ticket items in that request:

  • $18 million: Summer reading camps
  • $7.8 million: Before and after school tutoring
  • $2 million: English Learners Regional Specialists
  • $8.5 million: 55 coaches providing support to underperforming schools
  • $15.2 million: High needs special education grant
  • $27 million: More school nurses

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency asked for $19.1 million more for FY 2022. That brought their total request for the upcoming fiscal year to $82.6 million. A bulk of the increase would go toward hiring more state troopers. ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said they are close to reaching their goal of 650 troopers on the roads.

Here is where ALEA wants to appropriate some of the increases:

  • $7.7 million Driver License Modernization
  • $6.9 million: 50 New Sworn Personnel Training and Equipment
  • $1.2 million: Support Personnel Costs & Benefits
  • $2.9 million: Merit Raises & Other Cost Increases
  • $120,000 Governor’s Mansion/Capitol Security Equip Upgrades
  • $81,000: SBI Cost of Evidence Fund

The Alabama Department of Corrections requested a $27.2 million increase. That brings the total request $571.4 million.

Here are some of the big ticket items in that request:

  • $19 million: Inmate Healthcare Contract
  • $4.7 million: Leased beds - 250 additional beds (with programming)
  • $1.5 million: Court-ordered monitoring related to Braggs litigation
  • $2 million: 34 Support Staff

The Alabama Department of Public Health requested $5.2 million more for fiscal year 2022. That brings the total request to $114.6 million.

ADPH budget request increase
ADPH budget request increase(wsfa)

The Alabama Department of Mental Health requested a total of $33.7 million from the general fund budget and $2,3 million from the education trust fund.

  • $2.5 million: Five new rural crisis care programs
  • $2.5 million: Five existing programs
  • $2.2 million: Three new crisis homes
  • $1 million: Individuals with co-occurring disorders
  • $1.8 million: Stepping up initiative. It provides case management services to individuals in jails and hospital emergency departments.
  • $750,000: School-based mental health
  • $16.4 million: Staffing behavioral healthcare workers

Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program has been ranked first in the nation. Here are some of the Department of Early Childhood Education’s requests:

  • $24.4 million increase for the First Class Pre-K program. The department wants the money to serve the 3,000 students on the waiting list for the Pre-K program.
  • $1.8 million increase for HIPPY-First Teacher Home Visiting Program

The Alabama Medicaid Agency is asking for less money due to various reasons related to the pandemic. The general fund request is $769 million for fiscal year 2022. Fiscal year 2021′s appropriation for the agency was $820 million.

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