The Alabama Community College System
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Bud Skinner, longtime Montgomery restauranteur who owned both Jubilee Seafood and Bud’s Bar. Nearly every Alabama politico in the last 25 years has darkened the doors of these establishments (something we wrote about last year), to be greeted by Bud, who was a good friend, a fun personality and a hell of a great cook. Rest in peace, Bud, and thanks for the memories.
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, April 20.
1. Underwriter withdraws from Alabama prison lease project
- The underwriter for a project to build two prisons in Alabama announced that it is pulling out following criticism that it was breaking a promise not to get involved in for-profit prisons.
- Barclays confirmed that it would no longer be involved with CoreCivic’s construction of two prisons in Alabama that would be owned by the company but rented and operated by the Alabama Department of Corrections.
- The decision dealt a blow to the plan to lease the behemoth prisons, housing about 3,500 inmates each, though Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said the state is “moving forward” with the project.
- “We have advised our client that we are no longer participating in the transaction intended to provide financing for correctional facilities in the State of Alabama,” Barclays said in a statement. “While our objective was to enable the State to improve its facilities, we recognize that this is a complex and important issue. In light of the feedback that we have heard, we will continue to review our policies.”
- Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
- Also significant as we begin another legislative week is the House and Senate General Fund budget chairmen coming out to say the state should nix the project and start over with a bond issue.
- Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, has been a frequent critic of the contract plan, but now Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, says in his gentlemanly way that, while Ivey was justified in pursuing the lease plan, it’s time to float a bond and build state-owned prisons.
- Mike Cason has that scoop, which you can read HERE.
2. What’s on tap
- The Senate Government Affairs Committee meets at 1 p.m. and its agenda includes a bill to require mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse to contact both the Alabama Department of Human Resources and local law enforcement. Right now state law says many medical professionals, public and private K-12 and higher education employees, law enforcement and peace officers, day care employees and members of the clergy “when the child is known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse or neglect, shall be required to report orally, either by telephone or direct communication immediately, and shall be followed by a written report, to a duly constituted authority.” Sen. Clyde Chambliss’ Senate Bill 393 would require mandatory reporters to contact both DHR and local law enforcement.
- Also on the topic of child welfare, the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and The University of Alabama will release a report, “The Cost of Child Maltreatment to the Alabama Economy,” during a State House press conference this morning. The report breaks down the economic impact of child abuse and neglect on the state.
- The House’s agenda includes House Bill 284 from Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy. It would allow law enforcement officers from designated agencies around the state to take people into protective custody if there is “reasonable cause to believe that the individual has a mental illness and is an immediate danger to himself or herself or others.” The individual doesn’t have to be charged with a crime and the detainment is not an arrest. The hold can last up to 72 hours if not extended by a probate judge. Allen, a former probate judge, said the bill would help get treatment to those in need.
- The House could also vote on Rep. Danny Garrett’s House Bill 473 to create the Alabama Rural, Agribusiness and Opportunity Zone Jobs Act to incentivize development in rural counties.
- The House convenes at 1 p.m., the Senate at 2 p.m.
- See you, even if virtually, at the State House!
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: accs.edu/rtc.
3. Union files challenge to failed Amazon vote
- The retail union that failed to organize Amazon workers at a Alabama warehouse wants the results of a recent vote to be thrown out, saying that the company illegally interfered with the process.
- The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said in a filing that Amazon threatened workers with layoffs and even the closing of the warehouse if they unionized. It also said Amazon fired a pro-union employee, but declined to name the person.
- Many of the other allegations by the union revolve around a mailbox that Amazon installed in the parking lot of the Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. It said the mailbox created the false appearance that Amazon was conducting the election, intimidating workers into voting against the union. Security cameras in the parking lot could have recorded workers going to the mailbox, giving the impression that workers were being watched by the company and that their votes weren’t private, according to the retail union.
- Amazon spokeswoman Heather Knox said that the company did not threaten layoffs and that she couldn’t verify if an employee was fired without a name. She said the mailbox was installed to make it easier for employees to vote and that only the U.S. Postal Service had access to it.
- “Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda,” Knox said in a statement. “We look forward to the next steps in the legal process.”
- Workers overwhelmingly voted against forming a union, with 1,798 rejecting it and 738 voting in favor of it. A total of 3,117 votes were cast, about 53% of the nearly 6,000 workers at the warehouse.
- Read more HERE.
4. Civilian board formed to review Birmingham police actions
- A five-member board of civilians is being established to review complaints of police misconduct in Alabama’s largest city, Mayor Randall Woodfin said Monday.
- The Civilian Review Board, which was recommended by a task force that reviewed public safety following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and nationwide protests last year, will have subpoena power as it investigates matters not otherwise referred to prosecutors or the Birmingham Police Department’s internal affairs office.
- Members will include former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance; former Birmingham Police Chief Annetta Nunn; attorney Victor Revill; the Rev. Lawrence Conoway; and activist and speaker T. Marie King, said Woodfin, who created the board with an executive order.
- “This is an opportunity to build bridges, to cultivate trust, to create more checks and balances and for ensuring justice,” Woodfin said during a news briefing. “We’re putting reform in the hands of the people.”
- Read more HERE.
5. ICYMI: COVID’s impact on business
- There are many economic measures out there, from unemployment to consumer or business confidence.
- One perhaps less thought about, maybe because it’s hard to ascertain, is the simple number of companies that are applying for or renewing business licenses.
- Theses are done at the city level, so there is no statewide indicator, much less a national one. But ADN’s Mary Sell dug into some of Alabama’s larger cities to see how many businesses are starting anew or continuing their operations a year into the pandemic.
- In case you missed it, her story is worth your time and available HERE.
- Meanwhile, a new report shows Alabama ranks No. 8 for economic momentum so far in 2021.
- An index from DC-based State Policy Reports ranks states based on their most recent performance in three important measures of economic vitality: personal income growth, employment growth and population growth.
- Alabama was among 28 states whose Economic Momentum Index score in the First Quarter report exceeded the national average, and its ranking was higher than South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi.
- Read more HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Underwriter withdraws from Alabama prison lease project
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What’s on tap – April 20, 2021
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Union accuses Amazon of illegally interfering with vote
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Civilian board formed to review Birmingham police actions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama ranked No. 8 for economic momentum
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – City leaders watch business license renewals for COVID-19 impact
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Proposal changing charter school funding has potential bipartisan support
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot
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 – Daily News Digest – April 19, 2021
AL.COM – Budget chairmen say it’s time for Ivey to pull plug on Alabama’s prison lease plans
AL.COM – Alabama Pre-K enrollment down during pandemic, still highly-ranked by national group
AL.COM – Alabama marks Crime Victims Week in shadow of upcoming Derek Chauvin verdict in George Floyd trial
AL.COM – Jeffco sheriff’s office partners with clergy, groups on ‘Jobs not Jail’ program
AL.COM – Older brother of Rick Bragg dies; a working man with a touch of poetry
AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey disappointed as underwriters pull out of Alabama prison deal
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama prison construction project loses 2 financiers, but Ivey plans to move forward
Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville City Council changes meeting venue in anticipation of large crowd
Montgomery Advertiser – Two people killed, 11 others shot in violent weekend
Decatur Daily – Decatur’s recreation facilities resume pre-pandemic hours
Decatur Daily – Somerville man facing sexual torture, abuse charges
Decatur Daily – Frost likely Tuesday and Wednesday nights
Times Daily – Charter school funding bill gets unexpected ally
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 – Proposal changing charter school funding has potential bipartisan support
Anniston Star – Council to consider selling former Calhoun Theater in downtown Anniston
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Health officials say you don’t need another vaccine if you got Johnson & Johnson
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State health officials giving Pfizer vaccine to J&J providers during vaccine pause, but it could lead to vaccine waste
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Health experts talk about potential booster shot
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa police respond to 271 calls for service on A-Day
Tuscaloosa News – Tracking device company opens home office, production plant in Tallassee
Tuscaloosa News – Gambling, medical marijuana votes in Alabama House could be weeks away
YellowHammer News – Boeing expects to be mission-ready in May for second uncrewed Starliner test flight
YellowHammer News – Alabama ranked No. 8 in nation for economic momentum — ‘On the right path for the future’
YellowHammer News – State Rep. Blackshear to carry comprehensive gaming proposal in House; Says expect clarity on path ahead ‘by the end of the week’
Gadsden Times – Quality of Life sets COVID-19 vaccine clinics; first one is Thursday
Gadsden Times – Rainsville man struck by train, killed Saturday
Gadsden Times – Shots fired into back of vehicle lead to chase on U.S. 431
Dothan Eagle – UK job figures show young hardest hit by COVID restrictions
Dothan Eagle – Many global stocks lower after Wall St. decline
Dothan Eagle – Biden’s virtual climate summit: Diplomacy sans human touch
Opelika-Auburn News – Johnson scraps Delhi trip; UK puts India on virus ‘red list’
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 – Health officials say you don’t need another vaccine if you got Johnson & Johnson
WSFA Montgomery – Newly hired Covington County corrections officer arrested
WSFA Montgomery – Longtime Montgomery restaurant owner dies
WAFF Huntsville – Multiple people report receiving fake unemployment claims across Tennessee Valley
WAFF Huntsville – 248 acres of new trails added to Green Mountain Nature Preserve
WAFF Huntsville – New evidence claims north Alabama man involved in Capitol protest assaulted police officers
WKRG Mobile – Pensacola mayor sued over portable toilet construction at veteran’s park
WKRG Mobile – Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at 93
WKRG Mobile – EXCLUSIVE: Mobile man fights off suspect trying to rob O’Charley’s
WTVY Dothan – Search for Coffee County Schools next superintendent soon underway
WTVY Dothan – Kiwanis Club of Dothan holds annual golf tournament for charity
WTVY Dothan – ALEA urging boating caution as peak time for accidents nears
WASHINGTON POST – Prosecutor argues Chauvin’s ‘ego’ led to Floyd’s death; jury deliberations begin
WASHINGTON POST – Biden will hold a big climate summit this week to reestablish U.S. leadership. Not everyone may follow.
WASHINGTON POST – White House closes in on ‘families plan’ spending proposal centered on child care, pre-K, paid leave
NEW YORK TIMES – A Global Tipping Point for Reining In Tech Has Arrived
NEW YORK TIMES – With Closing Arguments Finished, Chauvin’s Fate Is Now in Jury’s Hands
NEW YORK TIMES – Walter Mondale, Ex-Vice President and Champion of Liberal Politics, Dies at 93
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Fall Ahead of Earnings Flurry
WALL STREET JOURNAL – New Carbon Market Pays Southern Pine-Growers Not to Cut
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Peloton Faces Mounting Pressure to Recall Treadmills After One Death, Dozens of Injuries