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Daily News Digest – December 13, 2021

Presented by the

Alabama League of Municipalities

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, December 13.


1. Labor: More than 389,000 cases of potential unemployment fraud pending investigation

  • Alabama currently has more than 389,000 cases of potential unemployment fraud pending investigation, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.
  • The department has previously said it has blocked more than $5 billion in unemployment benefits from being sent out since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
  • ADOL has said most of the concerns of unemployment fraud were surrounding the federal programs like the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fund, or PUA, that were approved under the 2020 CARES Act because many of the normal checks and balances were not required for those programs.
  • During a recent meeting of the Legislature’s Joint Contract Review Committee, Sen. Bill Beasley, D-Clayton, said he had experienced calls about unemployment fraud and asked for an update on how the state was handling that problem.
  • A representative from ADOL at the meeting said that those problems had stopped significantly after the pandemic relief programs were cut off in June.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.


2. Higher Ed requesting $2.01B for 2023

  • The 2022 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature is just 29 days away! (Take a moment to catch your breath if you must.)
  • That means proposed budgets are coming together.
  • Expecting more revenue in the state’s Education Trust Fund in fiscal year 2023, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education is requesting $2.01 billion for two- and four-year institutions.
  • The ACHE board approved the 17.53% funding increase on Friday while acknowledging that recent growth in the EFT likely can’t be maintained.
  • The state’s General Fund and Education Trust Fund saw double-digit growth in fiscal 2021, at least in part to billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 aid. State budget experts have warned lawmakers not to assume that rate will continue indefinitely. This fiscal year’s ETF is a record $7.6 billion.
  • Besides the regular crafting of the state’s education and General Fund budgets, lawmakers could also distribute in the upcoming session hundreds of millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funding.
  • Jim Hood, ACHE’s deputy director of financial and information systems, said leaders realize recent significant revenue increases are not sustainable moving forward and at least some of it should be considered one-time money, including for capital expenses.
  • Read more about higher ed funding from Mary Sell HERE.




A message from the

Alabama League of Municipalities

  • Over the years, the Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) has created several essential programs to aid Alabama’s municipalities.
  • The Municipal Workers Compensation Fund, Inc. (MWCF) provides workers compensation insurance.
  • The Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation (AMIC) writes many lines of insurance and is owned by its member municipalities.
  • The Alabama Municipal Funding Corporation (AMFund) assists Alabama’s municipalities with refinancing existing debt and funding local projects and purchases.
  • The Municipal Intercept Services (MIS) allows local governments to recover a portion of monies owed from an individual’s state tax refund through the Alabama Department of Revenue.





3. Inflation is painfully high, but some relief may be coming

  • Inflation is painfully high, but this hopefully is close to as bad as it gets.
  • Consumer prices rose 6.8% for the 12 months ending in November, a 39-year high. Many economists expect inflation to remain near this level a few more months but to then moderate through 2022 for a variety of reasons. And they don’t see a repeat of the 1970s or early 1980s, when inflation ran above 10% for frighteningly long stretches.
  • Households could even see relief in some areas within weeks. Prices have dropped on global markets for crude oil and natural gas, which is filtering into lower prices at the pump and for home heating. That should keep inflation somewhat in check, even if prices keep rising elsewhere in the economy.
  • To be sure, economists say inflation will likely stay higher than it was before the pandemic, even after it eases through 2022. More often than not in the last 10 years, inflation was below 2%, and it even scraped below zero during parts of 2015.
  • “This is not going to be an easy fix,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, a payroll services company. “Just because inflation will eventually moderate doesn’t mean that prices are going to go down. They’re up. We’re just lowering the rate of change, not the level of prices.”
  • Read more HERE.



4. Will Senate deliver on Biden spending plan?

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, has said he wants the Senate to vote on President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion social and environmental legislation known as Build Back Better by Christmas.
  • But on Friday, two reports surfaced that complicated that goal.
  • First, the Labor Department said consumer prices grew last month at an annual rate of 6.8%, the highest inflation in 39 years.
  • Then, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that if many of the bill’s temporary spending boosts and tax cuts were made permanent, it would add $3 trillion to the price tag. That would more than double its 10-year cost to around $5 trillion.
  • Schumer can’t pass the bill without all 50 Democrats in the chamber, meaning it matters how moderate Sen. Joe Manchin feels about those numbers.
  • Manchin aides did not respond to requests for comment. Manchin said in a brief interview Thursday that he wanted to know “where we are in inflation and where we are on the true price” of the bill, adding he was “very concerned.”
  • With Manchin still seeking cuts in a measure that originally cost $3.5 trillion, the day’s reports at least increased his leverage in a tortuous process that’s already seen several near-death moments caused by Democratic infighting. At worst, the numbers fueled worries that Manchin might abandon the package, sinking it.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Bo Nix enters transfer portal

  • For Auburn fans, the unthinkable is happening. Three-year starting quarterback Bo Nix, an Auburn legacy, is in search of a new school.
  • Nix said in a video posted to Instagram on Sunday that he plans to leave Auburn as a graduate transfer. Nix didn’t name any potential destinations.
  • The former five-star recruit started the first 34 games of his career before a season-ending ankle injury against Mississippi State. LSU transfer T.J. Finley started the final two games for the Tigers, who finished 6-6 and are set to face Houston in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 28.
  • The son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix called the decision to leave “the toughest I have ever made.”
  • “I have loved Auburn from the moment I knew Auburn,” Bo Nix said. “All I ever wanted to do was win a championship for Auburn. I can truthfully say that I’ve given everything that I have for that goal, and I have played in so many amazing games because of it.”
  • Read more HERE.





A message from the

Stacy Financial Group

  • Investment opportunities abound in today’s market, but finding the right financial partner can be a challenge.
  • Our job is to listen to our clients’ needs and goals, and to provide solutions that complement both risk tolerance and expectations.
  • Learn more from Chad Stacy and the Stacy Financial Group HERE.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Labor: More than 389,000 cases of potential unemployment fraud pending investigation


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Higher ed requesting $2.01B in 2023


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inflation is painfully high, but some relief may be coming


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New inflation number, CBO score feed angst about Democrats’ $2T bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn quarterback Bo Nix announces plans to transfer


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Crews search for the missing after devastating tornadoes


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Texas-like abortion bill filed in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – South African doctors see signs omicron is milder than delta


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – EXPLAINER: Why US inflation is so high, and when it may ease


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Back-to-back: Young gives Alabama consecutive Heisman wins


AL.COM – Alabama’s Texas-like abortion bill: What the law would do


AL.COM – Small earthquake detected in northeast Alabama


AL.COM – Emmett Till’s murder shrouded in mystery nearly 70 years later


AL.COM – In coastal Alabama, kerfuffle surfaces over naming of airport


Montgomery Advertiser – Two Christmas Eve candlelight services planned in east Montgomery


Montgomery Advertiser – Saturday night shooting claims a life in Montgomery


Montgomery Advertiser – Three people hurt at gate to Air Force base in Montgomery


Decatur Daily – After a difficult past, TVO employee makes a difference in lives


Decatur Daily – There are ways to combat holiday stress


Times Daily – Harrison spreads cheer with each ring of the bell


Times Daily – Songwriter’s story shows God’s peace can heal wounded soul


Anniston Star – Choccolocco residents enjoy Christmas gathering


Anniston Star – Festival in White Plains great until rains came


Anniston Star – Habitat home dedicated for Coldwater family


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham man on a mission to cleanup South Eastlake


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Doctors encouraging booster shots before holidays and potential winter COVID surge


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Juvenile injured in shooting in St. Clair County


Tuscaloosa News – Shooting outside Tuscaloosa nightclub leaves 30-year-old man dead, police say


Tuscaloosa News – The class of 2021: University of Alabama holds fall graduation ceremonies


YellowHammer News – Mike Durant: American hero, Alabama conservative


YellowHammer News – Fmr U.S. Attorney Jay Town: Allow retired law enforcement to work in Alabama prisons to overcome staffing crunch


Gadsden Times – Gadsden Police Department using social media as a positive tool


Gadsden Times – Grant helps Gadsden State launch Standardized Patient Program


Gadsden Times – UPDATE: Carver Christmas Parade postponed until 4 p.m. Sunday


Dothan Eagle – EU ministers debate ways to shield Ukraine from Russia


Dothan Eagle – Tornado toll in dozens, yet not as high as initially feared


Dothan Eagle – In UAE, Israeli Premier Bennet meets Abu Dhabi crown prince


Opelika-Auburn News – Florida Democrats aim to rebound as GOP voting numbers grow


Opelika-Auburn News – Spielberg ‘West Side Story’ debuts weakly with $10.5M


Opelika-Auburn News – Crews search rubble after 6 die at Illinois Amazon facility


WSFA Montgomery – Woman says she was attacked at Maxwell AFB Gunter Annex gate and attacker was fatally shot


WSFA Montgomery – Funeral held for slain Wilcox County lawman


WSFA Montgomery – Man killed in Saturday night Montgomery shooting


WAFF Huntsville – Monette community bands together during tornado


WAFF Huntsville – North Alabama tornado relief initiatives for Kentucky


WAFF Huntsville – Tornado outbreak kills Tallahassee father and son, another father still missing


WKRG Mobile – The AP Interview: Taliban seek ties with US, other ex-foes


WKRG Mobile – A local rescue organization in Kentucky to help tornado victims


WKRG Mobile – Kentucky tornado toll now in dozens; lower than feared at candle factory


WTVY Dothan – Wiregrass Steel Wheels presents annual train show and trade


WTVY Dothan – Severe weather threat low, but possible today


WTVY Dothan – Pike County man arrested on child pornography, human trafficking charges


WASHINGTON POST – Omicron in D.C., 30 U.S. states as variant poised to dominate in Europe


WASHINGTON POST – ‘It’s just devastating’: Communities smashed by historic storms take stock of mass destruction


WASHINGTON POST – Prom photo, baby pic: Strangers find family mementos miles away from tornado wreckage


NEW YORK TIMES – As U.S. Nears 800,000 Virus Deaths, 1 of Every 100 Older Americans Has Perished


NEW YORK TIMES – Across the World, Covid Anxiety and Depression Take Hold


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: Countering ‘Tidal Wave’ of Omicron, Britain Speeds Up Booster Rollout


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Edge Up After S&P 500 Hits Record


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Lithium Prices Soar, Turbocharged By Electric-Vehicle Demand and Scant Supply


WALL STREET JOURNAL – SEC Lures Top Enforcer Who Says Tougher Punishment Is Coming



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