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Daily News Digest – August 7, 2020




Presented by

The Business Council of Alabama


Good morning and Happy Friday!
I feel like we’ve earned this weekend. Let’s celebrate with a few temporarily gratifying, yet ultimately unfulfilling GIFs.
Here’s your Daily News for August 7.



1. COVID-19 update

  • After two days of newly-reported cases below 1,000, the Alabama Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 1,626 new cases of COVID-19. That brings the total since March to 93,402. The ADPH reports 1,654 deaths from the virus since March.
  • The seven-day average for new cases is now 1,415, according to the independent website BamaTracker. The website also notes that reported testing also increased Thursday, in correlation with the increased cases.
  • The state also reports that the percent positive of tests for the week of Aug. 1 had decreased to 14.6%. That’s of 63,658 reported tests. In mid-July, the percentage of positive cases hit 16.7%.
  • In all, 736,594 Alabamians have been tested. Of those who were positive, 37,923 are presumed recovered, according to ADPH.
  • Story link.


2. Dismukes charged with felony theft

  • Yesterday was really quite something.
  • Around noon, Montgomery District Attorney Daryl Bailey called a press conference to announce an arrest warrant for a local public official. He didn’t say which one, so rumors ran wild (admit it, you had your ideas of who it might be).
  • At 2:00, Bailey ended the intrigue by saying he had been investigating State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, since May and was charging him with felony theft.
  • The state alleges the theft in excess of $2,500 took place at Weiss Commercial Flooring Inc., where Dismukes worked before starting his own flooring company.
  • Dismukes turned himself into the Montgomery County Jail Thursday evening and did not respond to questions from reporters. His attorney, Trey Norman, said the 30-year-old Prattville lawmaker maintains his innocence and questioned the timing of the arrest warrant given Dismukes’ recent political troubles.
  • Dismukes has been at the center of controversy for nearly two weeks. The freshman lawmaker has endured calls for his resignation since his participation late last month in an event honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and noted leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
  • Last week, Alabama Daily News reported that the Alabama Ethics Commission did not have a required annual statement of economic interests from Dismukes three months after it was due. He later filed it.
  • Read the full story from Mary Sell and me HERE.



A message from

The Business Council of Alabama

The Business Council of Alabama is proud to present Engage Alabama, a virtual business conference open to all Alabamians.
It is available at no cost to attendees, thanks to our incredible sponsors.
This two-day summit, taking place August 26-27, will bring together more than 40 elected officials, industry leaders, and subject matter experts to provide invaluable resources on hot-button issues in our state.
Register at no charge, and the first 750 to do so will receive a complimentary conference t-shirt.







3. Relief talks on brink of collapse

  • Washington talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money are teetering on the brink of collapse after a marathon meeting in the Capitol Thursday night generated a wave of recriminations but little progress on the top issues confronting negotiators.
  • “There’s a handful of very big issues that we are still very far apart” on, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who depicted a stalemate on aid to states and local governments and renewing supplemental unemployment benefits.
  • Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said they would return to the White House to brief President Donald Trump to consider next steps. Democratic negotiators pleaded for talks to continue.
  • Both sides said the future of the negotiations is uncertain. Trump is considering executive orders to address evictions and unemployment insurance in the coming days.
  • A breakdown in the talks would put at risk more than $100 billion to help reopen schools, a fresh round of $1,200 direct payments to most people, and hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments to help them avoid furloughing workers and cutting services as tax revenues shrivel.
  • Both sides have adopted a hard line in the talks, though the Trump team is more open in disclosing a handful of its proposed compromises. Republicans were late to agree to the negotiations and have become frustrated by the inflexible tactics of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who have been exuding confidence in a political and legislative landscape that’s tilted in their favor.
  • Alabama’s Sen. Richard Shelby, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, suggested Thursday that Democrats might prefer a stalemate to deny Trump a political victory with the election three months away.
  • “We might not get a deal,” Shelby said. “The Democrats might not want a deal, politically. Think about it.”
  • Full story HERE.


4. Contracts for prisons approved

  • The Joint Legislative Contract Review Committee on Thursday approved two contracts for the Alabama Department of Corrections involving its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over conditions at Julia Tutwiler Women’s Prison and mental health services.
  • An increase of $174,912 and a one-year extension was approved on an ADOC contract with Massachusetts-based Kathleen Dennehy to monitor staffing and operations at Tutwiler as part of the DOJ’s settlement in 2015.
  • A representative for ADOC said at the meeting on Thursday that they had reached 41 of the 44 provisions agreed upon in the settlement.
  • Two of the remaining provisions involve staffing issues and audio improvements to the prison’s video surveillance system.
  • A representative for ADOC said Tutwiler was at 68% staffing and would need to reach and hold at least 85% for the DOJ to be satisfied.
  • The addition to that contract now brings the total to $874,563. It runs through September 2021.
  • The second contract was a one-year extension with Citizens Baptist Medical Center in Talladega, which provides in-patient mental health care for ADOC’s inmate population.
  • The spokeswoman said while this extension didn’t require additional funds the contract with Citizens Baptist has a $20 million limit.
  • The contract enables ADOC to reserve 14 beds in the hospital’s psychiatric ward for ADOC inmates only. She said currently there are four inmates using their services and the most beds they’ve ever had occupied were nine.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



5. New legislative website coming

  • The website and database we all use to read proposed state laws, track bills’ progress and view how lawmakers vote is getting a major overhaul.
  • Yay!
  • But don’t kiss good old ALISON goodbye just yet. The new site likely won’t be ready until the 2022 legislative session.
  • Aw.
  • The Legislative Services Agency, the office responsible for much of the behind-the-scenes work including bill and budget drafting for the Legislature, has a proposed $280,000 contract with a Tennessee company for the development of a new and updated website.
  • “The price tag is more than you would spend on a regular website, but they’ll also be building a database that holds all the historical documents and those created in the future which can be pulled onto the website,” Othni Lathram, executive director of the Legislative Services Agency, said Tuesday.
  • The agency earlier this year entered into a separate, $7 million contract with International Roll-Call for a new bill-drafting system and legislative production system. Like the current public website, the drafting system dates back to the 1990s, Lathram said.
  • The contract was approved by the Joint Legislative Contract Review Committee on Thursday. Some lawmakers also brazenly and unjustly gave Othni a hard time for his pandemic beard. The nerve! We at ADN strongly support the scruff.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State reports 1,626 new COVID-19 cases Thursday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Dismukes charged with felony theft


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Virus talks on brink of collapse, sides still ‘far apart’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Contracts to improve Alabama prison’s mental health capacity, staffing issues approved


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature getting new website, bill-drafting system


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘We are their safe place.’ Child abuse reporting dropped when schools closed


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Census deadline moved up, Alabama officials urge response


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Save Space Camp’ drive reaches $1.5M goal; Boeing gave $500K


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – University of Alabama to remove slavery supporter’s name from hall




AL.COM – Sen. Doug Jones and Alabama economist, push for renewing $600 jobless benefit


AL.COM – Alabama revises campus reentry form after concerns it waived legal rights


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Tuberville was paid $5 million to quit. Now he says $600 is too much for you.


AL.COM – Alabama state Rep. Will Dismukes faces arrest for theft


AL.COM – Union: TVA will not outsource tech jobs; layoffs rescinded


AL.COM – PPP loans saved 672,000 Alabama jobs, survey says


AL.COM – Coronavirus numbers improving in north Alabama, but officials wary of Labor Day holiday


AL.COM – Defaced Confederate monument in Huntsville will stay in place for now, no plans to clean it


Montgomery Advertiser – Too young to die: King’s Canvas helps to create artwork inspired by community violence


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama state Rep. Will Dismukes faces felony theft charge


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man to spend nearly 6 years in federal prison on firearms charge


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Doctors finding more COVID-19 patients with kidney damage


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama Rep. Will Dismukes turns himself in on theft warrant


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Teenager dies in trail riding accident near Vestavia Hills


Tuscaloosa News – Confederate monument vandalized outside Alabama courthouse


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama state Rep. Will Dismukes faces felony theft charge


Tuscaloosa News – Court weighs if Alabama agency’s meetings are public


Decatur Daily – Power outage leaves several blocks in the dark in Manhattan


Decatur Daily – Morgan evictions soar after moratorium lifted


Decatur Daily – West Morgan High $16 million expansion to begin this month


Times Daily – Cherokee council meeting/officer hearing postponed for second time


Times Daily – TVA rescinds decision to lay off IT workers


Times Daily – State lawmaker charged with felony theft



Anniston Star – UPDATED: Apparent chemical exposure at traffic stop sends first responders to hospital


Anniston Star – Cleburne County Nursing Home records 32 COVID-19 cases


Anniston Star – State lawmaker charged with felony theft


YellowHammer News – Nick Saban named to board of National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches created by former Tide assistant


YellowHammer News – UAH receives grant to research how drones can aid disaster response


YellowHammer News – Warrant issued for State Rep. Will Dismukes


Gadsden Times – Two jailed in shooting at Broad Street locale


Gadsden Times – BLM Gadsden plans Saturday march


Gadsden Times – Body found in wooded area of Marshall County


Dothan Eagle – Local officials encourage taking census as deadline moves up


Dothan Eagle – Houston County Schools will likely delay reopening until after Labor Day with revised virtual program


Dothan Eagle – COVID testing opportunities added to Dothan, Enterprise; Ozark clinic moves location next week


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika council approves community block grant budget, recognizes OPD officer


Opelika-Auburn News – Community approaching pivotal time in fight against COVID as hospitalizations decline


Opelika-Auburn News – Tractor-trailer versus car accident claims life of Hatchechubbee man


WSFA Montgomery – Man dead in Montgomery shooting Thursday evening


WSFA Montgomery – Tallassee City Schools delays start date to after Labor Day


WSFA Montgomery – Motions filed seeking bond for Travis, Gregory McMichael in Arbery case


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville City School Board members discuss students’ return to campus


WAFF Huntsville – Albertville and Guntersville City Schools delay return date for school


WAFF Huntsville – Residents outraged after apartment geared towards disabled people has elevators out for over a week


WKRG Mobile – Power outage leaves several blocks in the dark in Manhattan


WKRG Mobile – Ala. Supreme Court to rule on public access to state agency


WKRG Mobile – Escambia Co. votes down mask mandate, passes resolution encouraging mask-wearing


WTVY Dothan – Man charged with killing two teens doesn’t want hearing


WTVY Dothan – Barry Moore believes GOP can attract disgruntled Democrats


WTVY Dothan – Commencement continues for Wallace Community College


WASHINGTON POST – Virus keeps spreading as schools begin to open, frightening parents and alarming public health officials


WASHINGTON POST – White House, Democrats fail to reach agreement on virus relief bill, and next steps are uncertain


WASHINGTON POST – Judge’s blistering opinion says courts have placed police beyond accountability


NEW YORK TIMES – With Old Allies Turning Against Her, Birx Presses On Against the Coronavirus


NEW YORK TIMES – Children Vulnerable to Abuse Are Imperiled as Caseworkers Stay Home


NEW YORK TIMES – Bill Hagerty Wins Tough Tennessee Primary With Trump’s Endorsement


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Trump Executive Orders Target TikTok, WeChat Apps


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Goldman Sachs Restates Earnings After $3.9 Billion Malaysia Settlement


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Becomes a Refuge for U.S. Companies After Overcoming Covid-19



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