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Daily News Digest – April 5, 2021

Good morning!

Don’t forget: all Alabamians over the age of 16 become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines TODAY.

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, April 5.


1. Marsh makes open enrollment push

  • When Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, stepped down from the Pro Tem position at the beginning of this session, he said he wanted to focus on a few select issues: fixing the gambling policy situation and education reform.
  • His gambling bill dominated State House news last month and is likely to come back at some point.
  • On the education front, his new open enrollment bill filed late last week could generate a whole new conversation about the future of schools.
  • Senate Bill 365 would allow K-12 students enroll in any school in the state — for a fee. It says that starting in the 2022-2023 school year, students from outside a system can enroll in its schools. A student enrolling in a school outside of his or her district of residence “shall pay the enrolling school district an amount that is equal to the per student share of the net local tax revenue” as determined by the State Department of Education.
  • Local school boards would be required to adopt application processes and “shall consider” giving low-performing students from failing schools, as determined by the Alabama Accountability Act, enrollment priority.
  • Marsh filed the bill, called the Open Schools Act, on Thursday. It’s been assigned to the Senate Education Policy Committee and a public hearing is set for 10:45 a.m.Tuesday.
  • Marsh has been hinting at an open enrollment push for the better part of ten years and this looks like the big one.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Bill increases tax credits for Accountability Act donors

  • Legislation in the Alabama State House would increase the allowable tax credit for individuals and corporations that donate to private school scholarships through the Alabama Accountability Act.
  • The 2013 law allows for tax credit-funded scholarships for families leaving the state’s lowest-performing public schools. There also is a separate $30 million-per-year scholarship fund for private school tuition. Businesses and individuals who donate to the fund receive income tax credits — money that would otherwise go to the state education budget. Scholarship granting organizations, or SGOs, collect and distribute the money to low-income families. Those students are not required to come from failing schools.
  • House Bill 559 by Rep. Charlotte Meadows, R-Montgomery, does not change that $30 million cap but expands the allowable credit from 50% of an individual’s tax burden to 75%, capped at $75,000.
  • Corporations also could pledge up to 75% of their income tax liability to scholarships, up from 50% now.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



3. Amtrak plan would link Alabama cities

  • Amtrak says new routes in its long-range plans would connect cities in the south, including Alabama.
  • Amtrak’s proposed new routes include ones that would connect Montgomery to Atlanta and Birmingham to Charlotte.
  • The routes are among several nationwide proposed by Amtrak after President Joe Biden announced his sweeping plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.
  • Nationwide, Amtrak’s 2035 vision plan would add at least 30 new routes and add more trips to at least 20 existing routes.
  • Amtrak officials are hoping Congress will provide the $80 billion designated for rail in Biden’s American Jobs Plan announced Wednesday.
  • Read more and see the map HERE.



4. Latest on the Capitol attack

  • The man who rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol, killing one of them before he was shot to death by police, had been suffering from delusions, paranoia and suicidal thoughts, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Saturday. Investigators believe it was an isolated incident from a disturbed young man.
  • Video of the Friday afternoon attack shows the driver emerging from the crashed car with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. Police shot the suspect, 25-year-old Noah Green, who died at a hospital.
  • In online posts since removed, Green described being under government thought control and said he was being watched. He described himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam and its longtime leader, Louis Farrakhan, and spoke of going through a difficult time when he leaned on his faith.
  • It was the second line-of-duty death this year for the U.S. Capitol Police, still struggling to heal from the Jan. 6 insurrection. The attack underscored that the building and campus — and the officers charged with protecting them — remain potential targets for violence.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Georgia governor vows to fight back

  • News of Major League Baseball’s decision to pull this summer’s All-Star Game from Georgia over its sweeping new voting law reverberated among fans over the weekend, while Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to defend the measure, saying “free and fair elections” are worth any threats, boycotts or lawsuits.
  • The Republican governor said at a news conference that MLB “caved to fear and lies from liberal activists” when it yanked the July 13 game from Atlanta’s Truist Park. He added the decision will hurt working people in the state and have long-term consequences on the economy.
  • “I want to be clear: I will not be backing down from this fight. We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced,” Kemp said.
  • “Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not,” he said, referring to companies that have also criticized the new law.
  • Critics say the law will disproportionately affect communities of color. Georgia Republicans say the changes were needed to maintain voter confidence in the election system, and the governor insists opponents have mischaracterized what the law does.
  • Read more HERE.







A message from

Cover Alabama

  • Medicaid expansion would create jobs, save rural hospitals and support families.
  • Cover Alabama is a non-partisan alliance of 109 organizations advocating for Alabama leaders to provide quality, affordable health coverage for Alabamians.









ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama expanding vaccine eligibility to 16 and up on Monday
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Open Schools Act’ would allow enrollment in any Alabama system; Public hearing Tuesday
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill increases tax credits for Accountability Act donors
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Amtrak’s long-range plan would add new routes across South
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Latest: Suspect in Capitol attack followed Farrakhan, suffered delusions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Georgia governor vows a fight after MLB yanks All-Star Game
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officials urging masks, caution over Easter holiday
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Deadly breach could delay decisions about Capitol fencing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Many still hesitate to get vaccine, but reluctance is easing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – April 4, 2021
AL.COM – Dramatic drop in common viruses raises question: Masks forever?
AL.COM – Decatur businesses to proceed with caution with masks
AL.COM – Birmingham City Council to consider citywide mask ordinance through May 24
AL.COM – Capitol security review more imperative following latest deadly attack, congressman says
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Alabama lawmakers’ transparency promises you can see right through
AL.COM – Alabama’s Gulf State Park Pier partially reopens
Montgomery Advertiser – Man killed in early Saturday shooting in east Montgomery
Montgomery Advertiser – Madison Park Community hosts Easter Bash with $500 egg hunt
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man killed in Saturday night shooting
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Health officials predict a vaccine booster could be needed after one year
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – 1 person killed, multiple teens and a child shot on Easter Sunday at Patton Park
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Man and woman shot and killed in Bessemer
Tuscaloosa News – Automotive supplier to open third Tuscaloosa County facility
Tuscaloosa News – Update: Two men charged in shooting that injured five outside downtown Tuscaloosa bar
Tuscaloosa News – Two adults, one child, killed in Saturday morning head-on crash in Tuscaloosa County
Decatur Daily – A majority of Decatur’s city employees still live outside of city
Decatur Daily – Bill increases tax credit limit for Accountability Act donors
Decatur Daily – Decatur businesses to proceed with caution with masks
Times Daily – Free children’s event slated for April 17 at Joe Wheeler State Park
Times Daily – Bill increases tax credit limit for Accountability Act donors
Times Daily – Local entities split after the state mask mandate expires
Anniston Star – Bill increases tax credit limit for Accountability Act donors
Anniston Star – Ohatchee mourns family killed in March tornado
YellowHammer News – Don’t fall for the latest con in Alabama
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Elliott on $1.5M ADOC PR contract: ‘How about this public relations strategy: Be open and honest with the Alabama Legislature?’
YellowHammer News – Alabama Power lake level conditions improving after heavy rainfall
Gadsden Times – Food Entrepreneur Conference features Beautiful Rainbow’s Rowan
Gadsden Times – GPL’s LaShunda Williams selected as ‘Library Outfielder’
Gadsden Times – Old Coca-Cola bottling plant to be demolished as partnership efforts fail
Dothan Eagle – Amtrak’s long-range plan would add new routes across South
Dothan Eagle – India’s daily virus cases soar past 100,000 for first time
Dothan Eagle – Israel PM back in court as parties weigh in on his fate
Opelika-Auburn News – The Latest: Britain eyes twice weekly virus tests for all
Opelika-Auburn News – India’s daily virus cases soar past 100,000 for first time
Opelika-Auburn News – Bangladesh enforcing weeklong lockdown amid virus surge
WSFA Montgomery – Local churches adapt to pandemic for Easter Sunday
WSFA Montgomery – MPS to resume face-to-face learning this week
WSFA Montgomery – Crash on I-65 NB near Montgomery cleared
WAFF Huntsville – Lindsay Lane Baptist Church hold Easter Sunday service in person
WAFF Huntsville – Intersection in Athens to close due to construction
WAFF Huntsville – Shoals Earth Day Fest cancelled second year in a row due to pandemic
WKRG Mobile – 1 killed, more injured in Patton Park shooting in Birmingham on Easter Sunday
WKRG Mobile – This high tech sticker tells you when it’s time to reapply sunscreen
WKRG Mobile – ECSO K9 unit says Happy Easter
WTVY Dothan – Motorcycle wreck claims life of Daleville man
WTVY Dothan – ADPH soon launching program to vaccinate homebound people
WTVY Dothan – Annual Crawdad and Music Festival draws hundreds to downtown Ozark
WASHINGTON POST – Time back home with voters only emboldens Republicans to oppose Biden’s agenda
WASHINGTON POST – With stimulus cash and jobs spike, U.S. emerges as main engine for global economic recovery
WASHINGTON POST – How Wisconsin turned around its lagging vaccination program — and buoyed a Biden health pick
NEW YORK TIMES – A Car Crash in the California Desert: How 13 Died Riding in One S.U.V.
NEW YORK TIMES – Inside Corporate America’s Frantic Response to the Georgia Voting Law
NEW YORK TIMES – Researchers Are Hatching a Low-Cost Coronavirus Vaccine
WALL STREET JOURNAL – As Texas Freeze Gas Bills Come Due, Cue Up the Lawsuits
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Covid-19 Has All but Killed a Lifeline in Poor Economies—Hustling for Work
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Rise After Strong Jobs Report



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