Alabama lawmakers return to Montgomery to begin the 2018 legislative session. Legislators convene at noon today to begin a session under an election year backdrop. Lawmakers and state offices are up for election in 2018. The session will be dominated by two major budgetary issues: prisons and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Alabama is facing a court order to improve mental health care in prisons. The state will have to pick up some of the cost of the insurance program if Congress does not renew funding.
Daycare regulations, a teacher pay raise and ethics reform are other issues that could come before legislators. Gov. Kay Ivey will give her first State of the State address this evening at 6:30. Ivey became governor nine months ago after the resignation of then-Gov. Robert Bentley.