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Daily News Digest – December 20, 2021

Presented by the

Alabama League of Municipalities

Good morning!

Counting today, there are only five days until Christmas, 12 days until the new year and 22 days until the 2022 legislative session.

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, December 20.


1. Financial abuse prevention law goes into effect Jan. 1

  • Starting Jan. 1, banks in Alabama will be able to delay transactions on elderly and vulnerable customers’ accounts if fraud is suspected.
  • The new law, approved by the Legislature earlier this year, was proposed by the Alabama Bankers Association and supported by AARP Alabama.
  • According to AARP, more than 334,000 incidents of elder financial exploitation are reported to authorities in the U.S. each year, causing an estimated $6.3 billion in losses. And those figures are likely lower than the true problem because abuse is underreported.
  • Scott Latham, president of the Alabama Banking Association, said bank employees can establish years-long relationships with customers, allowing them to realize changes in banking behavior that isn’t right.
  • “This bill gives us an opportunity to pause the transaction, if the banker feels that’s justified, and make sure that transaction is on the up and up,” Latham said.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Alabama sees decline in infant mortality

  • Alabama has tied its lowest infant mortality rate, matching a mark set in 2018, but remained significantly above the national rate for babies dying before their first birthday.
  • Alabama’s infant mortality rate was 7.0 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020, compared to a provisional national rate of 5.5 per 1,000, the Alabama Department of Public Health said in a news release.
  • The infant mortality rate in 2020 remained twice as high for Black infants, at 10.9, compared to 5.2 for white infants.
  • State health officials said the top three causes of infant death were: disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight; congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities; and sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Read more HERE.




A message from the

Alabama League of Municipalities







3. Fallout: Dems furious after Manchin upends Biden bill

  • Leading Democrats, from the White House to Congress and beyond, expressed outrage Sunday at Sen. Joe Manchin for announcing that he won’t support President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion domestic tax and spending package known as the “Build Back Better Act.”
  • The West Virginia Democrat’s decision all but delivered a death blow to the bill, which needed the support of every Democrat in the 50-50 Senate for Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie and put it over the top.
  • Republicans heralded Manchin for a maverick move in joining all GOP senators now halting Biden’s big social services and climate change package. But progressive Democrats mercilessly portrayed Manchin as a deal-breaker who failed to keep his word, and even moderates heaped on criticism after months of talks. Whether the senator, a lifelong Democrat, is making a definitive break from his party also became part of the discussion.
  • “We knew he would do this,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, a leader of House progressives, said Manchin can no longer say “he is a man of his word.”
  • “If he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont who chairs the Budget Committee, said on CNN.
  • Read more from Lisa Mascaro and Alan Fram HERE.



4. Appeals court allows Biden OSHA vaccine mandate to take effect

  • A federal appeals court panel on Friday allowed President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for larger private employers to move ahead, reversing a previous decision on a requirement that could affect some 84 million U.S workers.
  • The 2-1 decision by a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overrules a decision by a federal judge in a separate court that had paused the mandate nationwide.
  • The mandate from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was to take effect Jan. 4 but will now be delayed by a week until Jan. 11.
  • That is, unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes as the case is further appealed.
  • Republican state attorneys general and conservative groups said they would do just that.
  • Twenty-seven Republican-led states joined with conservative groups, business associations and some individual businesses to push back against the requirement as soon as OSHA published the rules in early November. They argued the agency was not authorized to make the emergency rule, in part because the coronavirus is a general health risk and not one faced only by employees at work.
  • The panel’s majority disagreed.
  • “Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace,” Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, who was nominated to the court by former President George W. Bush wrote in her majority opinion.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Don Dailey signs off Capitol Journal after remarkable run as host

  • Alabama Public Television’s Don Dailey aired his final show as host of Capitol Journal Friday, ending a remarkable 10-year run leading the state’s premier program for government and political news.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey was in studio for Dailey’s final show, thanking him for his years of service and presenting him with a proclamation. Attorney General Steve Marshall also appeared and mentioned Dailey’s reputation as a fair and balanced interviewer.
  • Other guests included State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, House Rules Committee Chairman Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, and State Rep. Andrew Sorrell.
  • “May I say that I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring from so many since my retirement was recently announced,” Dailey said signing off from his final broadcast. “It has been a privilege to be with you each week and, during the legislative session each night, to bring you the news about your state government. It has also been an honor to talk to the full spectrum of state leaders who make decisions on your behalf.”
  • Watch the full episode 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 – Financial abuse prevention law goes into effect Jan. 1


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama sees decline in infant mortality


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fallout: Dems furious after Manchin upends $2T Biden bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Court allows Biden employer vaccine mandate to take effect


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Don Dailey signs off Capitol Journal after remarkable run as host


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sen. Joe Manchin says no to $2T bill: ‘I can’t vote for it’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gambling legislation again before lawmakers in ’22 session


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Omicron may sideline two leading drugs against COVID-19


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hopkins, UAB beat No. 12 BYU 31-28 in Independence Bowl


AL.COM – Catherine Coleman Flowers on ‘60 Minutes’: Alabama sewage crisis ‘America’s dirty secret’


AL.COM – After Britney Spears battle and local scandals, Alabama advocates push alternatives to guardianship


AL.COM – Alabama schools report slight COVID case increase before winter break


AL.COM – U.S. military has granted 0 religious exemptions for COVID vaccines


AL.COM – Birmingham turns 150 years old


Montgomery Advertiser – One day in Alabama: How the COVID-19 pandemic changed lives across the state


Montgomery Advertiser – One and 100: Lauren Martin, sheriff’s office worker


Montgomery Advertiser – One and 100: Bruce Pearl, Auburn University basketball coach


TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Contributor Finis St. John: Purchase of Bryce property is transformative


Decatur Daily – New rules set requirements for ambulance service operations


Decatur Daily – Decatur man sentenced to life without parole for murder of his cousin


Decatur Daily – Commission approves purchase of land for Morgan County Rescue Squad


Times Daily – Council president’s son takes over parks and rec


Times Daily – 1 dead following Wednesday afternoon shooting in Rogersville


Times Daily – SEDA pledges $400K to Remote Shoals


Anniston Star – Hobson City hears of solid funding plan to restore old school


Anniston Star – Police mingle with public over coffee and doughnuts


Anniston Star – City and county leaders on board for ecotourism


YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – NOAA, federal and state agencies continue Gulf restoration efforts 11 years after oil spill.


YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Leader of Women’s Foundation of Alabama chosen for prestigious Aspen Institute fellowship.


YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – State Sen. Elliott: New I-10 Mobile River Bridge ‘could get better’ — ‘I am still arguing for increased state investment in it’.


Dothan Eagle – Tennessee names deputy director as new court system leader


Dothan Eagle – EU hopes to avoid Ukraine war with talks, sanctions threat


Dothan Eagle – Asian stocks higher after Fed accelerates stimulus pullback


GADSDEN TIMES – Gadsden Airport Authority commended for vote against Pilgrim’s Pride rendering plant proposal


OPELIKA AUBURN NEWS – Auburn Council to consider rezoning land for the largest housing community they’ve ever seen


WASHINGTON POST – From charm offensive to scorched earth: How Biden’s fragile alliance with Manchin unraveled


WASHINGTON POST – Large parts of rural America are becoming drugstore deserts. These small towns found an escape


WASHINGTON POST – Amid huge shortage, new truck drivers train for some of supply chain’s toughest jobs


NEW YORK TIMES – Billions in Amtrak Funding Could Modernize Aging Rail System


NEW YORK TIMES – ‘A Lot of Uncertainty’: Covid Surge Puts Many Americans on Edge About Traveling



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