Gov. Kay Ivey touched on a number of areas during her annual State of the State address Tuesday night, identifying the school voucher program as a top priority.
But the announcement of the CHOOSE Act was just one part of Ivey's speech, which also touched on gambling, labor force participation, broadband, artificial intelligence, voter suppression and more.
The governor's remarks are as follows:
Gambling legislation has been a persistent challenge for the Legislature, but there are strong signs that this is the year to move forward on legislation that would give Alabamians a vote on the matter.
Although the exact proposal has not been made public, Ivey said he believes it would be good for the state.
“It will crack down on illegal gambling and responsibly regulate limited forms of legal gambling.
Including the statewide lottery,” Ivey said. “Now is the time for Alabama voters to have another say on this issue.”
Ivey touted the recent announcement of $188 million in federal grants to expand broadband in rural Alabama through the “Middle Mile Program,” bringing the total investment in broadband expansion in Alabama to 20. He said it would be worth $1 billion.
Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth recently announced plans to transform the state's workforce development pipeline, and Ivey touched on the state's labor force participation rate in his speech.
“While our unemployment rate remains at historically low levels, our labor force participation rate remains high.
At just 57.2 percent, it's among the lowest in the nation,” Ivey said. “With nearly half of our population sitting on the sidelines, our state is not reaching its full potential. Alabama can do better, but to do that we need to make Alabama's workforce programs more effective.” And we need to be efficient.”
“Folks, I'm not going to stand here and preach like I know anything about AI,” Ivey said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
To stay ahead of the growing opportunities and challenges that come with the boom in AI applications in industry and daily life, Ivey is creating a task force to ensure the technology is used “safely and efficiently.” Announced.