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Daily News Digest – April 19, 2021

Presented by

The Alabama Community College System


Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, April 19.


1. Charter school bill could move this week

  • As advocates for public charter schools push for more equal funding in the Alabama Legislature this year, an unlikely ally has emerged signaling potential bi-partisan support for the proposal.
  • Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, a prominent voice in the Legislature’s minority party, recently filed Senate Bill 387, similar to House Bill 487, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, earlier this session.
  • These bills would make changes to the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act and allow for some local tax dollars to follow students to charter schools similar to how they would to any other school. Currently, both state and federal dollars follow students who leave traditional schools and enroll in charter schools, but local dollars do not.
  • Alabama Democrats have historically been against expanding charter schools in the state and fought against the broad 2015 school choice legislation, arguing it would undermine traditional schools.
  • Smitherman said his bill deals solely with public charter schools and emphasized that such institutions are not private schools. He added that the goal of his bill, should it pass, would be to provide funds for students in the same manner as funds provided for students in traditional public schools and stressed that this would be at a community level. Smitherman’s bill has not yet received a Senate committee vote.
  • Collins said she hopes her bill will come back for consideration on the House floor this week. She also voiced support for Smitherman’s bill, which has been referred to the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee.
  • There is, of course, stiff opposition to the bills from groups representing education employees and superintendents.
  • Read more about all this from Will Whatley and Caroline Beck HERE.



2. Half of American adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

  • Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot, the government announced Sunday, marking another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign but leaving more work to do to convince skeptical Americans to roll up their sleeves.
  • Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4% of the total adult population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.
  • The U.S. cleared the 50% mark just a day after the reported global death toll from the coronavirus topped a staggering 3 million, according to totals compiled by Johns Hopkins University, though the actual number is believed to be significantly higher.
  • The country’s vaccination rate, at 61.6 doses administered per 100 people currently trails world leader Israel, but is in line with other leading countries like the United Arab Emirates, Chile and the United Kingdom.
  • In Alabama, 1.397 million people have received at least one vaccine dose and 914,644 people are fully vaccinated, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • I got my second Pfizer shot yesterday and can say the whole process is pretty easy. Check out the ADPH scheduling portal HERE.
  • Read the full story HERE.







A message from

The Alabama Community College System

  • At the Alabama Community College System, everything we do is workforce development, whether it’s providing high-quality courses to transfer to a four-year institution, entry-level workplace skills to get hired, or skills training that translates directly into a job.
  • ACCS colleges have already served 100s of Alabama companies with customized, non-credit training solutions but the demand continues to grow.
  • Funding for short-term, industry-specific training is vital to meet current and future needs of Alabama’s businesses and ACCS colleges are uniquely positioned to deliver this training across the state.
  • Learn more about ACCS solutions to industry needs at:







3. Sweet potato now Alabama’s official vegetable

  • Alabama now has an official state vegetable: the sweet potato.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation naming the sweet potato as the official state vegetable. The Alabama Legislature last week gave final approval to the bill. The Alabama Senate voted 29-0 for the bill. The House of Representatives voted 84-4 for it.
  • Alabama has a long list of official state emblems and honors, including an official state fruit, bird and amphibian. Like others, the bill to elevate the tuber started as a classroom idea. A Harvest homeschool class submitted the idea, according to the bill.
  • The official state fruit of Alabama is the blackberry. The official tree fruit is the peach. The official crustacean is the brown shrimp. The official amphibian is the Red Hills salamander.
  • Story link.



4. New migrant facilities crop up to ease crowding, again

  • For the third time in seven years, U.S. officials are scrambling to handle a dramatic spike in children and teens crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone, leading to a massive expansion in emergency facilities to house them as more kids arrive than are being released to close relatives in the United States.
  • More than 22,000 migrant minors were in government custody as of Thursday, with 10,500 sleeping on cots at convention centers, military bases and other large venues likened to hurricane evacuation shelters with little space to play and no privacy. More than 2,500 are being held by border authorities in substandard facilities.
  • The government failed to prepare for a big increase in children traveling alone as President Joe Biden ended some of his predecessor’s hardline immigration policies and decided he wouldn’t quickly expel unaccompanied kids from the country like the Trump administration did for eight months.
  • So many children are coming that there’s little room in long-term care facilities, where capacity shrank significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, minors are packed into Border Patrol facilities not meant to hold them longer than three days or they’re staying for weeks in the mass housing sites that often lack the services they need. Lawyers say some have not seen social workers who can reunite them with family in the U.S.
  • “As it currently stands with a lot of these emergency intake sites, children are going in and there’s no way out,” said Leecia Welch, senior director of legal advocacy and child welfare at the National Center for Youth Law. “They’re complete dead ends.”
  • Full story HERE.



5. Treasury Department creates office to oversee virus relief

  • The Treasury Department has created a new office to supervise the disbursement of the billions of dollars in relief money authorized by Congress to combat the coronavirus-related recession.
  • Officials said the goal is to streamline the process and ensure all eligible groups have access to the aid.
  • The Office of Recovery Programs will oversee the release of $420 billion in support from the $1.9 trillion package that President Joe Biden pushed through Congress last month, the Treasury said. That package included payments of up to $1,400 for individuals, extended emergency unemployment benefits, rental assistance, support for small businesses and state and local governments.
  • The new office will also be responsible for supervising programs under the control of Treasury that were approved by Congress last year. In all, Congress has approved around $5 trillion in assistance to help millions of people who lost their jobs, and also businesses that were forced to close due to the pandemic.
  • Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the goal of the new office was to “get relief distributed quickly and into the hands of those who need it most.”
  • Full story HERE.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Proposal changing charter school funding has potential bipartisan support


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – City leaders watch business license renewals for COVID-19 impact


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Aniah’s Law’ denying bail in more cases heads to voters


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – With Ivey’s signature, bill naming sweet potato official vegetable now law


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New migrant facilities crop up to ease crowding, again


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Treasury Department creates office to oversee virus relief


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Treatment ban creates uncertainty for trans youth, families


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fauci says he expects J&J vaccine to resume later this week


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – April 18, 2021


AL.COM – After COVID lockdowns, growing calls for alternatives to nursing homes in Alabama.


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: The fuse John Merrill’s downfall lit


AL.COM – Alabama’s AAPI caucus calls on Tuberville to apologize for vote on hate crime bill


AL.COM – No sail, big worries: CDC halt to cruises creates unease in Alabama


AL.COM – Johnson & Johnson vaccine likely to ‘have a resumption in some form by Friday’: Fauci


AL.COM – Contributor Ruben Morris: How Birmingham can soar


Montgomery Advertiser – Time capsule buried at Prattville Junior High commemorates the schools history


Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville Junior High honors history with time capsule


Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville Junior High looks back on its 50-year history, buries time capsule for 2040


Decatur Daily – New taxi company hopes to succeed in Decatur where others failed


Decatur Daily – Barrels made at Jack Daniel Cooperage are ‘No. 1 ingredient’


Decatur Daily – Board votes to allow foreign exchange students to return to Decatur City Schools


Times Daily – NW-SCC hosting a drive-thru Shoals Scholar Dollars Student of the Year banquet


Times Daily – Colbert County EMA will attempt to renegotiate bid for office renovations


Times Daily – Cities, county considering rate increases to keep recycling program alive


Anniston Star – Police: Weaver woman killed, 4-year-old hospitalized, suspect dead by suicide


Anniston Star – Weaver homicide sparks police pursuit to Talladega


Anniston Star – Anniston interviews iconic members of Black community for short film


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Man shot and killed after argument in B’ham home


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa PD: Hundreds of machine guns rounds fired in apartment complex; 3 arrested


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Bessemer residents are happy COVID-19 vaccination site is launching in the area


Tuscaloosa News – BETTY SLOWE’S BLOG: April 19, 2021: Ralph hit by cyclone


Tuscaloosa News – Linden man killed in single-vehicle crash, troopers say


Tuscaloosa News – Police search for suspect in hatchet attack; murder suspect in shooting found dead


YellowHammer News – Bryant Bank scholarships ease path for UAH nurses to emergency room, ICU roles


YellowHammer News – Alabama’s Bevill State HVAC Fast Track Program graduates students


YellowHammer News – Bonnie Plants plans greenhouse projects, e-commerce upgrades in Alabama


Gadsden Times – WHEN HARRY MET: Bennie and Truman Guthrie


Gadsden Times – Pilot’s perspective: Rendering plant poses safety risk, threat to access and future growth


Dothan Eagle – Biden pressed on emissions goal as climate summit nears


Dothan Eagle – Global shares mixed amid cautious outlook for global economy


Dothan Eagle – UK’s Johnson cancels India trip as its virus cases surge


Opelika-Auburn News – Board finds mayor’s talk show doesn’t break ethics rules


Opelika-Auburn News – Jailed Navalny to be moved to a hospital in another prison


Opelika-Auburn News – Georgia’s Abrams navigates voting law fight with eye on 2022


WSFA Montgomery – Auburn women’s golf win SEC Championship


WSFA Montgomery – 100th birthday celebration held for Montgomery native


WSFA Montgomery – Breakthrough stroke treatment saves Troy man’s life


WAFF Huntsville – 10-year-old Athens girl recovering after live saving heart transplant surgery in Nashville


WAFF Huntsville – Tyler police rescue 13-year-old Alabama girl from residence on Woods Blvd.


WAFF Huntsville – W.C. Handy Music Festival returns to Florence for its 40th anniversary


WKRG Mobile – Inmate escapes from Alabama work center


WKRG Mobile – Texas man arrested for kidnapping, trafficking, assaulting a child after police rescue 13-year-old from Alabama


WKRG Mobile – Man murders girlfriend and shoots 4-year-old, kills self after police pursuit


WTVY Dothan – Motorcycle wreck claims life of Ozark man


WTVY Dothan – Luke Bryan wins top ACM Award, but female acts own the night


WTVY Dothan – Ivey OKs naming sweet potato as Alabama’s state vegetable


WASHINGTON POST – Minneapolis braces for unrest as Derek Chauvin trial enters final phase


WASHINGTON POST – ‘Ripe for fraud’: Coronavirus vaccination cards support burgeoning scams


WASHINGTON POST – ‘I’m still learning’: The journey of George Floyd’s brother Philonise


NEW YORK TIMES – ‘God Knows What’s Going to Happen’: Minneapolis Braces for Verdict in Floyd’s Death


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: All U.S. Adults Eligible for Vaccine, Meeting a Biden Goal


NEW YORK TIMES – Why Political Sectarianism Is a Growing Threat to American Democracy


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Why Covid-19 Vaccination in Poorer Nations Has Slowed, Posing Global Risks


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Stresses Family Values as More Women Put Off Marriage, Childbirth


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China’s Digital Yuan Poses No Threat to the Dollar’s Dominance




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