MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Latest on legislation to divide Alabama’s oil spill settlement funds (all times local):
A conference committee will try to break a legislative deadlock on how to spend the state’s oil spill settlement funds.
The committee will meet Wednesday morning to try to bridge a sizeable divide between the House of Representatives and Senate over the use of the money.
House members wanted to steer $191 million to road projects in south Alabama and use $450 million to repay money borrowed in past budget shortfalls.
Senators on Tuesday night stripped the road money, noting looming needs in Medicaid. Senators voted 21-9 for a plan to steer $300 million to the state’s Medicaid program over the next three years and $320 million to repay debts.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh urged lawmakers to be open to compromise.
The conference committee meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The Alabama Senate has stripped road projects from a bill preparing to spend the state’s oil spill settlement funds.
The bill is likely headed to a conference committee Tuesday evening where some lawmakers are expected to make a push to restore the road funds.
Lawmakers have been sharply divided over how to use the money meant to compensate the state for economic damages suffered during the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Senators on Tuesday voted 21-9 for a plan to steer $300 million to the state’s Medicaid program and $320 million to repay money borrowed during past budget shortfalls. The Senate-passed bill did away with $191 million for road projects that south Alabama lawmakers had wanted for the oil-battered coast.
The bill now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives where it is expected to be sent to a conference committee.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh urged senators to be open to compromise.
Lawmakers are nearing the end of a special session on Medicaid funding.
Senators will resume debate Tuesday on a bill to divide settlement money from the 2010 oil spill.
With lottery legislation dead for the special session, the settlement funds are being eyed as an indirect way to help fill an $85 million hole in next year’s Medicaid budget.
Senators have been deadlocked over the best use of the money, particularly how much to spend on roads and how much to use for debts. Other lawmakers have proposed sending more money directly to Medicaid.
There are three days remaining in the legislative session.