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Daily News Digest – December 31, 2020

Presented by the

Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition

Good morning!

Are your new year’s resolutions in order yet? I’ve got several, a few of which I might actually stick to.

As crazy as this year has been, I am honored and grateful to have gone through it all with you, dear reader. Thank you for subscribing.

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, December 31, 2020

1. Senate rejects vote on Trump’s push for $2K checks

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all but shut the door on President Donald Trump’s push for $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks, declaring Congress has provided enough pandemic aid as he blocked another attempt by Democrats to force a vote.
  • The GOP leader made clear Wednesday he is unwilling to budge, despite political pressure from Trump and even some fellow Republican senators demanding action. Trump wants the recent $600 in aid increased threefold. But McConnell dismissed the idea of bigger “survival checks” approved by the House, saying the money would go to plenty of American households that just don’t need it.
  • McConnell’s refusal to act means the additional relief Trump wanted is all but dead.
  • “We just approved almost a trillion dollars in aid a few days ago,” McConnell said, referring to the year-end package Trump signed into law.
  • McConnell added, “if specific, struggling households still need more help,” the Senate will consider “smart targeted aid. Not another firehose of borrowed money.”
  • Read more HERE.



2. Mo finds his huckleberry: Hawley will join election challenge

  • Congressman Mo Brooks has been looking for a senator to join his election challenge and it looks like he’s found one.
  • Under House rules, Brooks’ objection to certifying state election results wouldn’t amount to more than a momentary ruling of the chair unless a senator also filed a written objection alongside him.
  • U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, stepped up to the plate Wednesday saying he will join Brooks in challenging certain states’ election results in a formal objection as Congress certifies the vote.
  • Hawley said he would object because “some states, including notably Pennsylvania” did not follow their own election laws. Lawsuits challenging Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania have been unsuccessful.
  • When Congress convenes to certify the Electoral College results, any lawmaker can object to a state’s votes on any grounds. But the objection is not taken up unless it is in writing and signed by both a member of the House and a member of the Senate.
  • When there is such a request, then the joint session suspends and the House and Senate go into separate sessions to consider it. For the objection to be sustained, both chambers must agree to it by a simple majority vote. If they disagree, the original electoral votes are counted.
  • The last time such an objection was considered was 2005, when Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected to Ohio’s electoral votes by claiming there were voting irregularities. Both chambers debated the objection and rejected it. It was only the second time such a vote had occurred.
  • Just like in 2005, this effort will almost certainly fail. However, it will force Republicans to take uncomfortable votes on the veracity of election results from certain states with Trump looking on, his Twitter at the ready.
  • Read more HERE.






A message from the

Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted Alabama’s digital divide and the significant need for the expansion of rural broadband all across our state.
  • High-speed broadband is a basic personal necessity in today’s society and will bring an array of benefits related to education, telemedicine, economic development and agriculture.
  • Currently, Alabama ranks 38th in the nation in terms of broadband access, but for Alabama to thrive in a 21st century economy every Alabamian should have access to a reliable internet connection.






3. Jones in quarantine after wife tests positive for COVID-19

  • U.S. Sen. Doug Jones will spend the final days of his term in quarantine after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Jones made the announcement Wednesday night on Twitter. Jones said he is disappointed that he will be unable to be on the Senate floor to vote to overridePresident Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, also known as NDAA.
  • “I worked really hard on the NDAA & I was hoping that my last vote in the Senate would be to override Trump’s veto. But my wonderful running mate Louise tested positive so I am quarantining & taking care of her. She’s not feeling too good but is ok,” Jones wrote in a tweet.
  • Jones said he hopes the Senate would override the veto of the bill that he said is crucially important for the nation’s defense.
  • Read more HERE.




4. The stories that defined 2020

  • A biological threat that once seemed far removed from Alabama dominated both state news and everyday life like nothing else in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic was the state’s top news story of the year, and its effects will linger into the New Year and beyond.
  • But there were plenty of other big stories in the state. We had two major hurricanes and several tornadoes. Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville won election to the U.S. Senate. The national social justice movement swept into Alabama and toppled statues. The Trump Justice Department sued the state for its dangerous prison conditions.
  • Read more about those and other top news stories of the year from Jay Reeves HERE.



5. Will Whatley: To better days ahead

  • Will Whatley contributes a column today focused on this year that is coming to a close.
  • Reflecting on the good and bad of a very memorable year, he talks about what makes him hopeful for for the future.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“Long story short, I’ve seen how the pandemic and its results have been wearing on my fellow Alabamians from all walks of life and I know it’s been rough for all of us. Some folks have been quick to lose their temper and use the opportunity to unload their grievances on someone they feel is beneath them. Some folks just enjoy the social interaction from a safe distance. And it reminds me of the ups and downs we’re all experiencing right now. 
“Things are tough, no doubt, which is why I’m ready to burn down 2020 before I start celebrating 2021. Some Native Americans burn sage as part of a ritual to cleanse a space, so let’s fire one up and use it to light the fuse on the past year.” 
  • Read Will’s full column HERE.




A message from

Alabama Daily News

  • Don’t get left out!
  • The legislative session is only 34 days away and, while we don’t yet know what exactly the schedule will look like, it’s a good bet that access to the State House will be limited due to the ongoing pandemic.
  • Not to worry. You can still reach lawmakers by advertising with Alabama Daily News! In fact, there is no better way to put your company or organization’s message directly in front of the Legislature, constitutional officers, congressional delegation and associated staff than through a promotion in the Daily News Digest.
  • Reserve your space today!







ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump push on $2K checks flops as GOP-led Senate won’t vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Missouri senator to join Brooks in contesting Biden’s Electoral College win


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jones in quarantine after wife tests positive for COVID-19


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pandemic, economic fallout, elections: the stories that defined 2020 in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will Whatley: To Better Days Ahead


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Like a bathtub filling up’: Alabama is slammed by the virus


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s $2,000 checks stall in Senate as GOP blocks vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump lashes out at GOP after override vote on defense bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Nashville man’s girlfriend warned he was building bombs


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: Exit interview with Bradley Byrne


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – December 30, 2020


AL.COM – 5,000 new COVID cases in Alabama since yesterday


AL.COM – North Alabama hospitals brace for staffing shortages ahead of holiday COVID surge


AL.COM – New arrivals keep Alabama’s largest county from shrinking


AL.COM  – 44 inmates at Bullock County prison test positive for COVID-19


AL.COM – Mo Brooks says fight ‘IS ON!’ after senator pledges election challenge


AL.COM – Mayor Woodfin faced critical decisions in 2020


AL.COM – Flood of donations may keep Alabama’s only all-women’s college open


AL.COM – New Alabama parole system head is a reformer: Q&A with Cam Ward


AL.COM – What will Alabama’s economy look like in 2021?


Montgomery Advertiser – 4-year-old Wetumpka child dies in car accident


Montgomery Advertiser – Memorial for fallen Sheriffs unveiled in Montgomery


Montgomery Advertiser – Legal Services Alabama plans Montgomery headquarters to offer free help as need surges


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Community activists react to Birmingham crime news conference


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Driving on New Year’s Eve could be extra dangerous this year


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – New COVID-19 strain reported in the U.S.


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa woman faces murder, child abuse charges


Tuscaloosa News – Bond set at $1 million for Pickens County man in child porn case


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa officials cancel Holidays on the River for rest of season


Decatur Daily – Limestone property tax deadline extended to Jan. 8; Morgan, Lawrence deadline is Thursday


Decatur Daily – ‘Like a bathtub filling up’: Alabama is slammed by the virus


Decatur Daily – ALDOT: Expect delays on I-565 eastbound on Wednesday


Times Daily – Counties continuing purge of voter rolls


Times Daily – Some garbage collection routes to run a day late


Times Daily – Demand has driven land prices up 10%


Anniston Star – RMC halts non-emergency surgeries to make space for COVID surge


Anniston Star – Anniston City Hall closes early for deep cleaning


Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: A pastor’s final Christmas message


YellowHammer News – Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin tests positive for COVID-19, reports ‘mild’ symptoms


YellowHammer News – Sen. Doug Jones quarantining, has taken final vote as Alabama’s junior senator


YellowHammer News – Alabama groups launching month-long film festival focused on early childhood education


Gadsden Times – Doorbell camera assists in DeKalb arrest


Gadsden Times – Risk of thunderstorms predicted in Alabama on New Year’s Eve. See the latest forecast


Gadsden Times – Gadsden Fire Chief Carroll to retire after more than 21 years in role


Dothan Eagle – Gov. Ivey awards House of Ruth $90K grant to assist victims


Dothan Eagle – Dothan man arrested for assaulting ex with handgun


Dothan Eagle – UPDATE: Record high COVID-19 hospitalizations forces SE Health to implement immediate operational changes


Opelika-Auburn News – CNN correspondent: Here’s why the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is exciting


Opelika-Auburn News – After a year like this, expect a strange New Year’s Eve


Opelika-Auburn News – British lawmakers approve post-Brexit trade deal with EU


WSFA Montgomery – Alabamians encouraged to stay home on New Year’s Eve as hospitalizations reach record high


WSFA Montgomery – Suspect arrested, charged with murder in shooting of Montgomery man


WSFA Montgomery – $500 rewards offered to combat celebratory gunfire in Montgomery


WAFF Huntsville – Madison City Schools superintendent says he has plans for student population growth


WAFF Huntsville – Nurse in quarantine says her online grocery order never came


WAFF Huntsville – Business owner says stimulus check, PPP loan can help local business


WKRG Mobile – Pensacola man killed on I-10 near Pine Forest Road


WKRG Mobile – Summerdale police locate missing man


WKRG Mobile – Mobile police need help finding missing man


WTVY Dothan – Holmes County Health Dept. administers vaccine to those 65 years and older, along with health care workers


WTVY Dothan – Which Alabamians are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during phase one?


WTVY Dothan – Legal Services Alabama offers help to low income Alabamians with tax audits


POLITICO – The big worry hanging over vaccination: Getting people to the clinics



WASHINGTON POST – McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate’


WASHINGTON POST – Shots are slow to reach arms as Trump administration leaves final steps of mass vaccination to beleaguered states


WASHINGTON POST – California, Colorado confirm infections with U.K. coronavirus variant


NEW YORK TIMES – Discovery of Virus Variant in Colorado and California Alarms Scientists


NEW YORK TIMES – As U.S. Vaccine Drive Lags, Fast-Moving Coronavirus Variant Is Making Inroads


NEW YORK TIMES – ‘No Realistic Path’ for Quick Vote on $2,000 Stimulus Checks, McConnell Says


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Push for Bigger Stimulus Checks Is Running Out of Time


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Alden Global Seeks to Buy Tribune Publishing


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Global Digital-Tax Detente Ends, as U.S. and France Exchange Blows




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