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Daily News Digest – April 1, 2021

Good morning!

No gags from me on this April Fool’s Day, but we can always remember this gem from a few years ago.

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, April 1.


1. What happened at the State House

It was a busy committee day in the State House Wednesday as several House and Senate panels met to consider proposals moving through the legislative process. Let’s do a quick run through…
  • A bill that would require K-12 student athletes to participate in sports according to the sex assigned to them at birth passed the Senate Education Policy Committee.
  • The same committee approved a bill that would require a child to complete kindergarten or otherwise demonstrate readiness before moving onto the first grade.
  • A bill that would repeal the Habitual Felony Offender Act and allow for re-sentencing of those now in prison under the law passed the House Judiciary Committee. There was heated debate.
  • The same committee didn’t consider Sen. Tim Melson’s, R-Florence, medical marijuana bill after multiple members came forward with amendments. Committee Chairman Jim Hill, R-Moody, said after hearing about the amendments he wanted to allow more time for work to the bill. He said the bill will be considered next week.
  • A bill that would create a centralized database of background checks and disciplinary records of law enforcement officers passed the House Judiciary Committee. The bill was substituted to match the bill that passed out of the House on Tuesday from Rep. AJ McCampbell, D-Demopolis.
  • The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee amended and approved a bill making it a crime to vote twice in the same election in or outside of Alabama.
  • Read about all these from Caroline Beck HERE.
  • Legislation to strengthen Alabama’s open records law and create penalties for government agencies that don’t comply in a timely manner cleared a Senate committee on Wednesday. But Republicans, Democrats and bill sponsor Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said more work is needed before the legislation gets a full Senate vote. Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
  • Finally, the Senate Judiciary Committee did not advance the bill ending decades-old ban on yoga in public schools after a public hearing in which representatives from two conservative groups objected, saying they were worried it could lead to the promotion of Hinduism or guided meditation practices. Read more about that from Kim Chandler HERE.
Today is the 18th legislative day of the 2021 session. The Senate convenes at 9:00 and the House convenes at 10:00.



2. Attorneys general sue Biden admin over stimulus tax rule

  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and attorneys general from 12 other states sued President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday over a rule in the federal stimulus that bars states from using relief money to offset tax cuts.
  • The filing in U.S. District Court in Alabama asks judges to strike down the provision in the wide-ranging relief act signed by Biden that prohibits states from using $195 billion of federal aid “to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction” in net tax revenue. The restriction could apply through 2024.
  • The coalition, which includes one Democratic attorney general, is concerned the provision can construe any tax cut as taking advantage of the pandemic relief funds.
  • Marshall said the “federal tax mandate is an unprecedented and unconstitutional assault on state sovereignty by the federal government, which would commandeer the State of Alabama’s sovereign power to tax and spend and determine her own fiscal policies.”
  • Several state legislatures are weighing tax reform this year, which is partly driving the lawsuit. Alabama isn’t one of them, at least not at the moment, but lawmakers have expressed concern about how state and local governments are going to spend the more than $6 billion in federal dollars coming into the state from the various COVID relief packages.
  • Read more HERE.



3. Strike set for Alabama coal mines barring late agreement

  • More than 1,100 workers at two Alabama coal mines and related facilities owned by Warrior Met Coal Inc. will go on strike barring a last-minute labor agreement, the United Mine Workers of America said Wednesday.
  • Negotiators have not been able to reach a deal on a new contract, and workers will walk off the job tonight unless continuing negotiations succeed, said union spokesman Phil Smith.
  • “We hope that an agreement can be reached, but the company will need to move substantially from where it is now for the union to have reason to take something back to our members for potential ratification,” he said. The union did not release details on a potential contract.
  • Brookwood-based Warrior Met issued a statement through a publicist late Wednesday saying the company has been working in good faith to reach an agreement as the existing contract was set to expire.
  • “Throughout negotiations, our sight has remained on the future -– to provide our employees with a competitive package while protecting jobs and the longevity of the Company and its workforce,” said the statement emailed by publicist Erin Vogt on behalf of Warrior Met Coal.
  • Union officials said a strike would include the company’s No. 4 and No. 7 mines, a preparation plant and a central shop, all located in Tuscaloosa County.
  • Full story HERE.


4. High court sympathetic to college athletes in NCAA dispute

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed sympathetic to college athletes in a dispute with the NCAA over rules limiting their education-related compensation.
  • With the March Madness basketball tournament in its final stages, the high court heard arguments in a case about how colleges can reward athletes who play Division I basketball and football. Under current NCAA rules, students cannot be paid, and the scholarship money colleges can offer is capped at the cost of attending the school. The NCAA defends its rules as necessary to preserve the amateur nature of college sports.
  • But the former athletes who brought the case, including former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston, say the NCAA’s rules are unfair and violate federal antitrust law designed to promote competition.
  • The case is not about whether students can be paid salaries. Instead, the outcome will help determine whether schools can offer athletes tens of thousands of dollars in education benefits for things such as computers, graduate scholarships, tutoring, study abroad and internships.
  • During an hour and a half of arguments conducted by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic, there were both liberal and conservative justices who sounded supportive to the athletes’ case.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Bradley lands Martha Roby

  • Former U.S. Representative Martha Roby is joining the law firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings as a senior advisor for governmental affairs and economic development.
  • After five terms, Roby opted not to run for reelection in 2020.
  • Roby has a law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and was in private practice prior to her elected service. She will provide governmental affairs but not legal services to Bradley clients.
  • “I have had the pleasure of working with Martha since her election to Congress in 2010,” said David Stewart, Bradley’s Governmental Affairs Practice Group leader. “During her service in Congress, she distinguished herself for her ability to solve problems for her constituents and to work well with all members of Congress. Martha has a wide breadth of experience from her time in Washington and on the Montgomery City Council. We are very excited to have Martha join us.”
  • Read more HERE.




A message from

Connect Alabama

  • It’s time to do something big for broadband & Connect Alabama for good.
  • Senate Bill 215 creates the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority which will develop and implement a statewide connectivity plan.
  • This effort is a long-term investment with direct impacts on education at all levels, healthcare, and economic development.







ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Busy day of committee work in State House


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Open records bill clears committee, lawmakers want more work on it


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama yoga bill stalls after conservative groups object


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marshall, other attorneys general sue Biden admin over stimulus tax rule


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Strike set for Alabama coal mines barring late agreement


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – High court sympathetic to college athletes in NCAA dispute


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Roby joining Bradley law firm as government affairs advisor


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House and Senate take it slow in resuming legislative session


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weaver wins Senate GOP primary; runoff in House GOP contest


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Keith Kelley announces bid to replace Del Marsh in State Senate


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Lighting a fuse’: Amazon vote may spark more union pushes


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – A closer look at Biden’s infrastructure and tax proposals


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 30, 2021


AL.COM – Alabama House passes bill banning sales of e-cigarettes, vapes to people under 21


AL.COM – Bill to repeal Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender law advances


AL.COM – Alabama hospitals and nursing homes will require masks after mandate expires


AL.COM – Trans Alabama teens to lawmakers: Just let us be ourselves


AL.COM – Vote on plan to allow medical marijuana in Alabama delayed a week


AL.COM – Sen. Tommy Tuberville: ‘We don’t have control of the border’


AL.COM – 3 Alabama airports could see new flight services if awarded $2.8 million in federal grants


AL.COM – Alabama COVID mask order ending: ADPH urges people to wear face masks after April 9


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Lawmakers fussed over Ivey prison plan. They’ve done nothing about it


AL.COM – Contributor State Sen. Kirk Hatcher: Opening the door for college athletes to profit from their success


Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville building products plant expands as production starts


Montgomery Advertiser – Crestview Heights offers prime location in Prattville


Montgomery Advertiser – House Judiciary Committee approves repeal of Alabama Habitual Felony Offender Act


Decatur Daily – Open records bill clears committee, lawmakers want more work on it


Decatur Daily – Saturday walking tours return this month


Decatur Daily – $750,000 grant to help with sewer expansion to serve I-65 interchange area


Times Daily – Open records bill clears committee, lawmakers want more work on it


Times Daily – Ag center clearing work bids set for April 8


Anniston Star – Judge sends Wedowee attempted murder, domestic violence case to grand jury


Anniston Star – Busy day of committee work in State House


Anniston Star – Cleanup now top task in tornado zone; donations of goods no longer needed


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Know the warning signs of domestic violence


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State health officials say vaccine will soon be easier to find


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Variants could cause hospitalizations to spike, but officials say it won’t be as bad as before


Tuscaloosa News – Fundraiser proceeds will benefit Arts ‘n Autism’s summer camps


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama begins vaccinating prisoners with surplus from rural clinics


Tuscaloosa News – Walker County woman convicted of murder in 2016 fatal shooting


YellowHammer News – House committee advances bill to repeal Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act


YellowHammer News – Alabama Senate committee advances bill to ban voting in multiple states in the same election


YellowHammer News – Marshall suing Biden admin to protect Alabama’s ability to cut taxes


Gadsden Times – Five things you should know about Gadsden’s new fire chief


Gadsden Times – Alabama begins vaccinating prisoners with surplus from rural clinics


Gadsden Times – Flooding issues reported across Etowah County; Coosa expected to crest over flood stage


Dothan Eagle – BBC correspondent leaves China amid safety concerns


Dothan Eagle – NYPD: Suspect in brutal attack on Asian American woman arrested and charged with felony assault as a hate crime


Dothan Eagle – A closer look at Biden’s infrastructure and tax proposals


Opelika-Auburn News – Myanmar remains mired in violence 2 months after coup


Opelika-Auburn News – Global stocks follow Wall St up on strong Japan, Korea data


Opelika-Auburn News – The Latest: German health chief says he’d take AstraZeneca


WSFA Montgomery – Answers sought in yearslong Elmore County missing persons case


WSFA Montgomery – 2 shot in separate incidents in Montgomery Wednesday night


WSFA Montgomery – Committee advanced repeal of habitual offender law


WAFF Huntsville – Many North Alabama school districts will continue requiring masks after mandate expires


WAFF Huntsville – Crime of the Week: The bolting bandit


WAFF Huntsville – Guntersville Lake HydroFest is back, tickets on sale Thursday


WKRG Mobile – High school opts for gender-neutral prom royalty


WKRG Mobile – 15 million J&J vaccine doses lost due to factory error, report says


WKRG Mobile – Alabama ranks among last in nation for population vaccinated against COVID-19


WTVY Dothan – The Great Health Divide: Southeast Health’s efforts in bridging the gap


WTVY Dothan – ATV safety with warm weather months starting


WTVY Dothan – Alabama Power Foundation awards ‘Power to Play’ grants for public schools


WASHINGTON POST – Biden’s infrastructure plan faces controversy over price tag and design


WASHINGTON POST – Biden’s infrastructure plan aims to turbocharge U.S. shift from fossil fuels


WASHINGTON POST – Gaetz investigation complicated by overture to his father about ex-FBI agent who went missing


NEW YORK TIMES – Biden’s Big Bet: Tackling Climate Change Will Create Jobs, Not Kill Them


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: Hope Competes With Concern in Virus Strongholds


NEW YORK TIMES – ‘It Takes Time’: I.C.U. Workers Help Their Former Covid Patients Mend


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Micron, Western Digital Looking at Possible Deals for Chip Maker Kioxia


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Approves Merger of Chemical Giants, Creating $150 Billion Company


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Point to Tech Extending Gains


WASHINGTON POST – White House unveils $2 trillion infrastructure and climate plan, setting up giant battle over size and cost of government


WASHINGTON POST – Biden’s border ‘crisis’ has little to do with the border


WASHINGTON POST – Young witnesses to George Floyd’s death testify they felt helpless as they watched him die and feared Derek Chauvin


NEW YORK TIMES – Biden Details $2 Trillion Plan to Rebuild Infrastructure and Reshape the Economy


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Is Highly Effective in Adolescents, Study Suggests


NEW YORK TIMES – ‘Mom Is Really Different’: Nursing Homes Reopen to Joy and Grief


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Says Covid-19 Origin Probe Should Shift Focus to Other Countries


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden Set to Unveil $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Wobble Ahead of Biden’s Spending Plan



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