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Daily News Digest – April 12, 2021

Presented by

The Business Council of Alabama


Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, April 12.


1. Bill would change state’s grand jury secrecy laws


  • A lawmaker from north Alabama wants grand jury witnesses to be allowed to discuss their testimony and experiences with prosecutors, something now prohibited under state law.
  • Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, says current law takes away witnesses’ First Amendment rights. His bill would repeal an oath of secrecy for grand jury witnesses.
  • Ball said his original bill is modeled after federal grand jury laws, but he will bring a substitute to committee that makes the “bare minimum” changes he thinks are needed in state law.
  • “They could talk about whatever they knew before, the questions they were asked and how they were asked,” Ball told Alabama Daily News.
  • The bill addresses several of the issues that former state Rep. Ed Henry outlined in his 2017 federal lawsuit against the attorney general’s office over the grand jury secrecy laws.
  • Late last month, a U.S. district judge ruled that Henry could discuss what he knew prior to his 2014 Lee County grand jury testimony in the case against former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, but not what he learned during it.
  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall opposes Ball’s bill, his office said.
  • “The Attorney General’s Office opposes weakening the statutory grand jury secrecy provisions,” a statement to ADN said. “Doing so would frustrate criminal investigations by putting sensitive information into the public domain, expose the identity of persons who are discussed during grand jury proceedings which could lead to outside pressure or influence, and provide those persons who have committed criminal acts an opportunity to potentially flee from justice.”
  • House Bill 202 will be in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Biden releases budget

  • President Joe Biden released a $1.5 trillion wish list for his first federal budget, asking for substantial gains for Democratic priorities including education, health care, housing and environmental protection.
  • The request by the White House budget office Friday for an 8.4% increase in agency operating budgets spells out Biden’s top priorities as Congress weighs its spending plans for next year. It’s the first financial outline of the Democrats’ broader ambitions since the expiration of a 2011 law that capped congressional spending.
  • At stake is “discretionary spending,” roughly one-third of the huge federal budget that is passed by Congress each year, funding the military, domestic Cabinet department operations, foreign policy and homeland security. The rest of the budget involves so-called mandatory programs with locked-in spending, chiefly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The Biden request provides a significantly smaller 1.6% increase for the $700 billion-plus Pentagon budget than for domestic accounts. Homeland security accounts would basically be frozen, reflecting opposition among Democratic progressives to immigration security forces.
  • Read more HERE.






A message from

The Business Council of Alabama

  • The Business Council of Alabama is hosting a free ProTip Webinar on Wednesday, April 14 at 10:00 a.m.


  • Join Natalie Fox of USA Health for “The Importance of COVID-19 Vaccinations for Your Company,” where she will lead a discussion on how the vaccine works, why vaccination is important for small businesses, and how USA Health can help you and your employees get vaccinated.







3. Trump goes after Pence, McConnell in speech to party donors

  • It was supposed to be a unifying weekend for a Republican Party at war with itself over former President Donald Trump’s divisive leadership. But Trump himself shattered two days of relative peace in his closing remarks to the GOP’s top donors when he insulted the party’s Senate leader and his wife.
  • Ahead of the invitation-only speech at Trump’s new home inside his Mar-a-Lago resort, the former president’s advisers said he would emphasize his commitment to his party and Republican unity.
  • Trump veered sharply from prepared remarks Saturday night and instead slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as a “stone-cold loser” and mocked McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, who was Trump’s transportation secretary.
  • Trump also said he was “disappointed” in his vice president, Mike Pence, and used a profanity in assessing McConnell, according to multiple people in attendance. He said McConnell had not thanked him properly for putting Chao, who was labor secretary under President George W. Bush, in his Cabinet.
  • Trump’s words left some attendees feeling uncomfortable.
  • “We are much better off if we keep focusing on the Democrats. Period,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said leaving Mar-a-lago.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Unusual treatment shows promise for kids with brain tumors

  • For decades, a deadly type of childhood cancer has eluded science’s best tools. Now doctors in Alabama have made progress with an unusual treatment: Dripping millions of copies of a virus directly into kids’ brains to infect their tumors and spur an immune system attack.
  • A dozen children treated this way lived more than twice as long as similar patients have in the past, doctors reported Saturday at an American Association for Cancer Research conference and in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Although most of them eventually died of their disease, a few are alive and well several years after treatment — something virtually unheard of in this situation.
  • “This is the first step, a critical step,” said the study’s leader, Dr. Gregory Friedman, a childhood cancer specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • “Our goal is to improve on this,” possibly by trying it when patients are first diagnosed or by combining it with other therapies to boost the immune system, he said. The patients in the study were given the experimental approach after they failed other treatments.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Matsuyama wins Masters

  • The pressure was even more than Hideki Matsuyama could have imagined when he stood on the first tee Sunday at Augusta National. So was the emotion when he walked off the 18th green as the first Masters champion from golf-mad Japan.
  • His arms securely inside the sleeves of the green jacket, he thrust them in the air.
  • Ten years after he made a sterling debut as the best amateur at the Masters, the 29-year-old Matsuyama claimed the ultimate prize and took his place in history.
  • Whether he’s Japan’s greatest player is not his concern.
  • “However, I’m the first to win a major,” he said through his interpreter. “And if that’s the bar, then I’ve set it.”
  • Read more and see more photos HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would change state’s grand jury secrecy laws, free witnesses to talk about testimony


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Unusual treatment shows promise for kids with brain tumors


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden releases $1.5T budget


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump goes after Pence, McConnell in speech to party donors


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matsuyama becomes first Japanese in Masters green jacket


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama mask order ends, but some cities, schools continue


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Affair derails Alabama secretary of state’s political hopes


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Speaker: Representatives divided over trans treatment bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Virus recovery funds to promote tourism on Alabama coast


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After Amazon: Labor tries to regroup in wake of Alabama loss


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – April 11, 2021


AL.COM – Mobile sewer overflows release almost 500K gallons


AL.COM – Alabama town faces fine for landfill fire that burned for weeks


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: John Merrill can’t help himself


AL.COM – Ramsey Clark, LBJ’s Attorney General who protected Selma marchers, dead at 93


AL.COM – Jefferson County Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Hicks: ‘We’ve got to keep momentum going’


AL.COM – Michael Donald’s 1981 Mobile, Alabama murder to be featured on CNN’s ‘The People vs. The Klan’


AL.COM – What Amazon can learn from its victory over union in Alabama


Montgomery Advertiser – Lucille Times 100th birthday celebration at garden with her namesake


Montgomery Advertiser – The sights and sounds of the Mighty Marching Hornets


Decatur Daily – Fighting City Hall — Shady Grove Lane residents unhappy with condemnation


Decatur Daily – Hartselle to be fined $1,500 for landfill fire that burned for weeks


Decatur Daily – Students taking new standardized test that will provide ‘valuable data,’ superintendent says


Times Daily – Muscle Shoals, Colbert County Commission oppose proposed MSA change


Times Daily – Shoals law enforcement: Training should be a part of permit process


Times Daily – Colbert Commission ready to move forward on river rescue center


Anniston Star – Motorcyclist killed in Snow Street accident


Anniston Star – ‘Best Warrior’ competition returns to Pelham Range


Anniston Star – Two weeks on, Wellington still digging out of storm debris


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Health experts say we won’t reach heard immunity until younger age groups get vaccinated


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: Current hospitalizations lowest since April 2020 as COVID-19 vaccination distribution expands


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham Public Library kicks off Money Smart Week


Tuscaloosa News – Combo Family Dollar/Dollar Tree coming to Brookwood in 2022


Tuscaloosa News – Bama Blitz aims to raise money for University of Alabama passion projects


Tuscaloosa News – Capitol riot: New Pentagon document provides detailed timeline of response, lack thereof on Jan. 6


YellowHammer News – University of Alabama’s champion spirit not limited to athletics


YellowHammer News – New accelerator programs launching for North Alabama tech startups


YellowHammer News – Alabama vehicles lift Hyundai to record sales month


Gadsden Times – Killingsworth officially named JSU’s 13th president; Ivey receives honorary doctorate


Gadsden Times – Economic development in the dark? Rendering plant opposition raises larger issues about access to information | Analysis


Dothan Eagle – The Latest: Shops, gyms, outdoor dining restart in Britain


Dothan Eagle – White House issuing reports on states’ infrastructure needs


Dothan Eagle – Man shot, killed during Minnesota traffic stop sparks unrest


Opelika-Auburn News – Chilly weather doesn’t dampen UK joy at lockdown easing


Opelika-Auburn News – Former UK leader breaks silence on lobbying scandal


Opelika-Auburn News – Video shows pilgrims flock to Ganges River despite surge in cases


WSFA Montgomery – ADPH: Current hospitalizations lowest since April 2020 as COVID-19 vaccination distribution expands


WSFA Montgomery – 91-year-old Sylacauga woman found safe


WSFA Montgomery – Virus recovery funds to promote tourism on Alabama coast


WAFF Huntsville – Neighbors react after wife arrested for shooting, killing husband in Huntsville


WAFF Huntsville – Armed barricade, lockdown of guests and staff at Kahala resort ends after nearly 10 hours


WAFF Huntsville – Auto manufacturing to hold virtual job fair this week


WKRG Mobile – Fatal crash, lane blocked on Muldoon Rd. in Pensacola


WKRG Mobile – Crime map: Shooting reported in west Mobile


WKRG Mobile – Minnesota police shoot, kill man after traffic stop incident


WTVY Dothan – Health officials say COVID-19 vaccine is the solution to variant strains


WTVY Dothan – Retiring Air National Guard sergeant celebrates 40 years in service


WTVY Dothan – Updated: Body found buried likely that of missing man


WASHINGTON POST – Fed’s Powell says reopening economy too quickly could cause new coronavirus spike


WASHINGTON POST – Police fatally shoot man, 20, in suburban Minneapolis, sparking protests


WASHINGTON POST – As Derek Chauvin’s former bosses line up to condemn him, ‘policing in America is on trial’


NEW YORK TIMES – Blackout Hits Iran Nuclear Site in What Appears to Be Israeli Sabotage


NEW YORK TIMES – Protesters Clash With Police After Minnesota Officer Shoots Black Man


NEW YORK TIMES – 5 Takeaways From the Second Week of the Derek Chauvin Trial


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Alibaba, Hit by Antitrust Fine, Vows to Help Vendors With Fee Cuts


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Credit Suisse, After Archegos, Faces Tough Choices on Investment Bank


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Covid-19 Drug Prevents Symptomatic Disease in Study, Regeneron Says



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