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Daily News Digest – December 15, 2021

Presented by the

Alabama Municipal Electric Authority


Good morning!

Happy college football National Signing Day to those who celebrate, though you have to wonder what it all means in the age of the transfer portal.

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, December 15.


1. Lawmakers bringing bills to change early release law

  • There are 27 days until the Alabama Legislature convenes for the 2022 Regular Session.
  • While the election year session may not last long, the issues at play will likely make it fast and furious.
  • Continuing our pre-session coverage, Mary Sell today writes of a trio of bills being brought by Shoals area lawmakers toughening sentences for convicted criminals in response to the killing of Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner.
  • Risner was fatally shot while on duty in October, allegedly by Brian Lansing Martin. Martin was convicted of manslaughter for killing his father in 2013 and sentenced to 10 years in prison after taking a plea deal. He was released after three years and two months in prison under the state law that allows early release for inmates who behave well in prison.
  • Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, has pre-filed for the upcoming session House Bill 45 to make those convicted of manslaughter ineligible for good time sentence deductions.
  • Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Green Hill, is a co-sponsor on Greer’s bill, but also plans to file one of his own legislation. And Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, said he plans to sponsor a bill that would disallow good time release for anyone who accepts a plea deal and is sentenced for a lesser crime than they were originally charged.
  • Read the full story and see the legislation HERE.


2. Innovation Commission releases recommendations

  • A group of state leaders tasked with finding ways Alabama can boost innovation and entrepreneurship across the state on Tuesday released its policy recommendations to Gov. Kay Ivey.
  • The Alabama Innovation Commission’s detailed recommendations included ways to attract talent to the state, increase commercialization of research and development, develop the knowledge economy and ensure entrepreneurs have access to capital to foster growth.
  • Ivey, who formed the commission in 2020, thanked members for their work and vowed to see the recommendations through.
  • Adding intellectual gravitas and star power to the commission has been Condoleeza Rice, the 66th U.S. Secretary of State and current director of the Hoover Institution based at Stanford University. Rice was on hand in Birmingham for the release of the commission’s recommendations and said her organization will partner with the state to help in their execution.
  • Read more HERE.





A message from the

Alabama Municipal Electric Authority

  • One million Alabamians depend on reliable, affordable, innovative public power.
  • Public utilities employ 93,000 people in local jobs across the United States. Revenues from public power utilities go back into the community.
  • 2,000 communities large and small across the U.S. trust public power.
  • To learn more about AMEA and public power, visit





3. Hubbard asks to address court about apology, calls

  • Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard is asking to address the judge about his disputed apology for his ethics conviction as he seeks early release from prison, according to a Tuesday court filing.
  • Hubbard in September signed a letter apologizing for his 2016 ethics conviction as he seeks early release from a state prison. But state attorneys used transcripts of his prison phone calls to argue he was not truthful.
  • Hubbard’s lawyer on Tuesday filed a motion for a hearing on the request so Hubbard can address the court about his apology and the transcripts.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Congress sends Biden $2.5T debt limit hike, avoiding default

  • Congress averted a catastrophic debt default early Wednesday morning after Democratic majorities in both chambers voted to send a $2.5 trillion increase in the nation’s borrowing authority to President Joe Biden over lockstep Republican opposition.
  • Capping a marathon day, the House gave final approval to the legislation early Wednesday morning on a near-party-line 221-209 vote, defusing a volatile issue until after the 2022 midterm elections. The action came just hours shy of a deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who warned last month that she was running out of maneuvering room to avoid the nation’s first-ever default.
  • Despite a seemingly straightforward name, the nation’s debt limit does little to curtail future debt. Established in 1917, it instead serves as a brake on spending decisions already endorsed by Republicans and Democrats alike — in some cases decades ago — that if left unpaid could cripple markets, send the economy into a tailspin and shake global confidence in the U.S.
  • Alabama’s delegation voted along party lines on the measure, with lone Democrat Rep. Terri Sewell voting in favor and all six Republican House members and two senators voting against.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Pfizer confirms COVID pill’s results, potency versus omicron

  • The omicron variant is offering more hints about what it may have in store as it spreads around the globe: A highly transmissible virus that may cause less severe disease, and one that can be slowed — but not stopped — by today’s vaccines.
  • An analysis Tuesday of data from South Africa, where the new variant is driving a surge in infections, suggests the Pfizer vaccine offers less defense against infection from omicron and reduced, but still good, protection from hospitalization.
  • Read more about what scientists are saying about omicron HERE.
  • Meanwhile, Pfizer said Tuesday that its experimental pill to treat COVID-19 appears effective against the omicron variant.
  • The company also said full results of its 2,250-person study confirmed the pill’s promising early results against the virus: The drug reduced combined hospitalizations and deaths by about 89% among high-risk adults when taken shortly after initial COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Separate laboratory testing shows the drug retains its potency against the omicron variant, the company announced, as many experts had predicted. Pfizer tested the antiviral drug against a man-made version of a key protein that omicron uses to reproduce itself.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon rule on whether to authorize Pfizer’s pill and a competing pill from Merck, which was submitted to regulators several weeks earlier. If granted, the pills would be the first COVID-19 treatments that Americans could pick up at a pharmacy and take at home.
  • Read more about the COVID pills HERE.




A message from AARP Alabama

  • To make sure that Alabama’s people and communities reap the benefits of high- speed internet expansion, more work needs to be done to ensure that all residents have the tools and skills they need to take maximum advantage of these services.
  • Read AARP Alabama’s full op-ed HERE.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Shoals lawmakers bringing bills to change prison early release law


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Innovation Commission shares recommendations


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hubbard asks to address court about apology, calls


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congress sends Biden $2.5T debt limit hike, avoiding default


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Data indicate omicron is milder, better at evading vaccines


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pfizer confirms COVID pill’s results, potency versus omicron


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What does the 452 ‘cut score’ mean for 3rd grade readers?


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poll: Competition tightening between Brooks, Britt


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Appleseed featured in new NFL commercial


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama prison staffing numbers fell over 12 months


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Air Force discharges 27 for refusal to get COVID vaccine


AL.COM – Congress approves debt limit increase, avoiding default.


AL.COM – Elizabeth Warren blasts equity firms, supports striking Alabama miners: ‘We can make change’.


AL.COM – Mayor sets aside $2 million to recruit groceries to ‘food deserts’.


AL.COM – ‘Constitutional carry’ measure riles up Mobile officials ahead of Alabama legislative session.


AL.COM – Officials to reconsider $2.1 billion I-10 project with lower tolls.


AL.COM – Mike Hubbard wants to explain to judge his apology was ‘entirely truthful’.


AL.COM – Omicron COVID variant in 33 states, including every state around Alabama.


AL.COM – Gov. Ivey, Condoleezza Rice, tout vision for innovation in Alabama.


AL.COM – Child tax credit latest update: Don’t plan on getting money Jan. 15.


AL.COM – Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade texted Meadows: Trump ‘destroying his legacy’.


AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Big tech doesn’t care about your kids.


AL.COM – Regions Bank two-year racial equity program surpasses $12 million goal.


Montgomery Advertiser – Hyundai plant workers donate bikes, toys to local kids through Toys for Tots, housing agency


Montgomery Advertiser – Autauga County man facing child sex charges in case involving girl under age of 12


Decatur Daily – State higher education requesting $2.01 billion in 2023


Decatur Daily – No holiday pay in Decatur schools as Limestone and Morgan systems OK incentives


Decatur Daily – Ivey touts road projects during Decatur stop, but mayor wants money for US 31


Times Daily – Higher ed requesting $2.01B in 2023


Times Daily – What does the 452 ‘cut score’ mean for 3rd-grade readers?


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


Anniston Star – Weather perfect for a Piedmont parade


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Homicide investigation underway in Gate City neighborhood


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Divers with Calera PD help recover remains in Tennessee cold case


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Cullman Co. student charged with terrorist threats


Tuscaloosa News – No foul play suspected in fire that killed 92-year-old Cottondale man, police say


Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama study: Road fatalities, rural crashes increase during holiday season


YellowHammer News – State Rep. Ball: Memorial Preservation Act ‘went way, way too far’ — ‘We need to get back to the American Revolution as opposed to staying in the Civil War’


YellowHammer News – Alabama Forestry Association endorses State Sen. April Weaver’s reelection campaign


YellowHammer News – Poll: Brooks leads U.S. Senate field by slim margin, Britt holds slight head-to-head advantage


Gadsden Times – GAA member Robertson: Vote ‘no’ on Pilgrim’s Pride, ‘no’ to Citizens Business Park


Gadsden Times – Attalla Board of Education plans called meeting


Gadsden Times – Gallery: Alabama-JSU softball announcement press conference


Dothan Eagle – German court convicts Russian man of state-ordered killing


Dothan Eagle – Cinderella Castle evacuated after small fire at Disney World


Dothan Eagle – Norway fines dating app Grindr $7.16M over privacy breach


Opelika-Auburn News – Amid military atrocities, Myanmar public urges gas sanctions


Opelika-Auburn News – Fulfer beats Jim Bob Duggar in Arkansas state senate primary


Opelika-Auburn News – Congress sends Biden $2.5T debt limit hike, avoiding default


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery church gets $100K from Oklahoma church


WSFA Montgomery – Children’s of Alabama reports 60% increase in pediatric firearm injuries this year


WSFA Montgomery – Memorial created for girls ranch children killed in I-65 crash


WAFF Huntsville – Morgan County Deputy injured after responding to call with EMS


WAFF Huntsville – Utility crews working power outage


WAFF Huntsville – Marshall County organization collect donations for tornado victims in Kentucky


WKRG Mobile – Libya’s election faces uncertainty amid towering challenges


WKRG Mobile – Congress sends Biden $2.5T debt limit hike, avoiding default


WKRG Mobile – Colleges go back to drawing board — again — to fight virus


WTVY Dothan – Henry County makes new economic development gains


WTVY Dothan – Geneva honors three teens killed in Christmas day car accident, naming street “ACE Memorial Hill”


WTVY Dothan – Upgrades to Henry County Courthouse Annex coming soon


WASHINGTON POST – Congress approves measure that would raise debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion


WASHINGTON POST – House votes to hold Meadows in contempt for refusing to comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena


WASHINGTON POST – Text messages to Meadows renew focus on Trump’s inaction during Jan. 6 attack


NEW YORK TIMES – House Seeks Contempt Charge Against Meadows in Jan. 6 Inquiry


NEW YORK TIMES – Republicans Who Assailed Biden’s Stimulus Bill Are Embracing the Money


NEW YORK TIMES – Jobless for a Year? That Might Be Less of a Problem Now.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Holiday Spending Expected to Be Strong, Fueled by Solid Demand, Rising Inflation


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Hover, Oil Falls Ahead of Fed Decision


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China’s Economic Activity Slowed in November on Property Slump, Weak Consumption



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