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Daily News Digest – February 15, 2022

Presented by the

University of South Alabama Health System

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, February 15.


1. What’s on tap

  • The Legislature returns today for the 10th legislative day of the 30-day session.
  • For those lucky enough not to be State House nerds, the Alabama Constitution gives the Legislature 105 calendar days to complete 30 legislative days. For the last few weeks, the House and Senate have convened for three days each trying to make up for time lost when the special session put the regular session on pause in January. Looks like they’ll make it up this week.
  • Today the House convenes at 1 p.m. and will take up its second special order calendar of the session. That agenda includes the Roberts/Carns untaxing working families tax credits bill, the county broadband constitutional amendment, Rep. Terri Collins’ workforce development information bill, legislation providing flexibility for local wastewater project loans and a bill authorizing the Alabama Port Authority’s intermodal project in Montgomery.
  • The Senate will convene at 2 p.m. and take up an agenda that includes bills proposed by the Military Stabilization Commission intended to make Alabama a more military friendly state.
  • Read more HERE.



2. School choice bill still being negotiated in State House

  • Today is “School Choice Day” at the State House, so expect to see lots of parents, students and advocates rallying outside and making their case in the hallways.
  • Meanwhile, the sponsor of a major school choice bill says work is still being done on the legislation in the hopes of getting something passed this session.
  • Rep. Charlotte Meadows, R-Montgomery, said she’s still working to get the “best bill possible” to provide education savings accounts to Alabamians. Under the bill she and Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, are sponsoring, parents could use the taxpayer funds to send their children to private schools or to alternate public schools that accept them.
  • “I would say it’s been slowed down, but not done, not dead yet.”
  • The Senate version cleared committee but hasn’t gotten a vote on the floor. Marsh last week said significant changes would be made to the legislation, including removing homeschooler from the state funding option and limiting availability next year to incoming kindergarten students. Each year, a new incoming class would be eligible.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.





A message from the

University of South Alabama Health System

  • Here, we combine knowledge, skill and technology with a patient-centered, team-based approach to care.
  • We’re committed to providing each patient with a personalized treatment plan in a nurturing environment, conducive to healing.
  • In partnership with the USA College of Medicine, we combine the latest in cancer therapies with comprehensive support for the emotional, social and physical challenges that a cancer diagnosis can bring.





3. Innovation Center seeks to rapidly train needed workers

  • The Alabama Community College System on Monday showed off its new Innovation Center, a statewide effort to rapidly train workers for in-demand jobs.
  • Classes can be started anywhere in the state and end with in-person labs at regional campuses. Those who complete the non-credit programs receive a job credential.
  • “The Innovation Center is where we house people to devote to the process of developing curriculum for training, no matter what it may be, so that residents can take those credentials and either get to work or get promoted with the right skills for their job,” said ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker.
  • The Innovation Center is a $10 million investment by the state. In its pilot year, the training is free to trainees and the companies who will hire them. Future costs will depend on allocations from the Legislature.
  • Other in-demand fields targeted for Innovation Center rapid training include butchery, commercial driver license, recreation, heavy equipment, plumbing and facilities maintenance.
  • “America’s commercial trucking industry is facing a critical shortage of about 80,000 professional drivers,” said Mark Colson, president and CEO of the Alabama Trucking Association. “…These are high-quality jobs offering great pay and endless career path opportunities. We are proud to partner with the Alabama Community College System to ramp up efforts to attract and connect job-seekers with the training they need to enter the trucking industry.”
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



4. Pre-K expansion advocates discuss next steps

  • To get Alabama’s award-winning pre-K program to at least 70 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds by 2025-26, a group of early education advocates on Monday released a list of recommendations for the 2022 legislative session.
  • These plans are dependent on the legislative approval of Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposal to increase state investments in First Class Pre-K by $22.5 million during the ongoing session. Such an increase would fund 125 new classrooms, bring enrollment from 42% to 45% of eligible children and support teacher recruiting efforts.
  • “This Pre-K program sets the bar for all other teachers in the building and gets everyone on the same page,” said Alice Nelson, a teacher in the Mobile County Public School System. “It ensures that these kids are ready and set up for success when they come into kindergarten and continue on.”
  • Read more from ADN’s Heather Gann HERE.


5. Pressure mounts on Congress to curb lawmaker stock trading

  • Amid a steady drip of damaging headlines, pressure is building for Congress to pass legislation that would curtail lawmakers’ ability to speculate on the stock market.
  • Trading in Congress has long been criticized by government watchdogs, who say the access to nonpublic information creates a temptation for lawmakers to prioritize their own finances over the public good.
  • But public anger has mounted since the first tremors of the pandemic, when some lawmakers were caught buying and selling millions of dollars worth of stock after being warned about the coming disruption from the virus. The pandemic’s arrival tanked markets and caught many Americans by surprise.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose husband is a prolific trader, has evolved her stance since last year, when she said lawmakers should be able to participate in a “free market.”
  • Now she is on board with the legislative push, though she has advocated a more targeted approach.
  • Pelosi supports strengthening an existing law, the Stock Act, which requires lawmakers to disclose their stock sales and purchases. She has also called for extending stock trading disclosure requirements to members of the judiciary, while stiffening penalties for members of Congress who flout the rules.
  • “It’s complicated,” Pelosi said last week. “What we’re trying to build is consensus.”
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What’s on tap – February 15, 2022


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – School choice bill still being negotiated in State House


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Innovation Center seeks to rapidly train needed workers


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pre-K expansion advocates discuss next steps


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pressure mounts on Congress to curb lawmaker stock trading


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New poll shows Brooks, Britt, Durant running close as Senate campaign heats up


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Coleman launches run for Congress, seeks rematch with Moore


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would require child support in DUI fatalities


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden weighs appeal of 3 top candidates for high court


AL.COM – Mountain Brook school reviewing social skills program amid conservative pushback


AL.COM – What is social emotional learning? Is it in Alabama schools?


AL.COM – Alabama’s pre-K program needs $22 million more, supporters say


AL.COM  – In fast-growing Baldwin, some voters to decide if they want zoning


AL.COM – Birmingham-based company awarded $89 million Air Force contract


AL.COM – Jefferson County DA creating new units to battle domestic violence, deaths


AL.COM – Alabama scraps plan to sell alcohol at games; AD cites city-imposed fee


Montgomery Advertiser – A-KEEP global interns graduate, recall memories from their time in Alabama


Montgomery Advertiser – 908th OSS aircrew flight equipment technicians keep aircrew safe


Montgomery Advertiser – Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic coming back to Montgomery Feb. 25-26


Decatur Daily – Dragon Boat Festival to return in May


Decatur Daily – Calhoun moves graduation to VBC arena to allow larger attendance


Decatur Daily – Cullman County crash kills Hartselle, Vinemont women


Times Daily – Muscle Shoals teen remains hospitalized after Saturday crash


Times Daily – Pre-K expansion advocates discuss next steps


Times Daily – Bill would require child support in DUI fatalities


Anniston Star – The officer with an ‘Edge’ – new Heflin K-9 hits the ground running


Anniston Star -New poll shows Brooks, Britt, Durant running close as Senate campaign heats up


Anniston Star – Pre-K expansion advocates discuss next steps


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Experts offer tips to protect yourself against porch pirates


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Oxford police chief calls for stricter laws against violent & repeat offenders after officer-involved shooting kills man


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Kemp’s Kitchen “hires” new robot server


Tuscaloosa News – Suspicious packages at Tuscaloosa’s federal courthouse turn out to be Taco Bell delivery order


Tuscaloosa News – Willie Nelson will return to Tuscaloosa Amphitheater in April with Drew Holcomb, Peytan Porter


Tuscaloosa News – ‘I’ve loved every minute of it’: Tuscaloosa Shirt Shop founder retires after nearly 43 years


YellowHammer News – Donald Trump joins Alabama’s photo voter ID, voter registration drive


YellowHammer News – Madison County unveils Weathernet to improve storm, tornado warnings


YellowHammer News – FarmPAC gubernatorial poll: Ivey 54%, James 11%, Blanchard 9%


Gadsden Times – Meet Alabama A&M’s newest president, Dr. Daniel Wims


Gadsden Times – Glencoe Elementary students hand out meals at the senior center on Valentine’s Day


Gadsden Times – Activist raises questions after he’s denied place on Gadsden Council agenda


Dothan Eagle – Russia says it’s ready to keep talking about Ukraine crisis


Dothan Eagle – Pentagon: Contractor mergers hurt national security, economy


Dothan Eagle – Russia says some forces pulling back, a potential sign of de-escalation in Ukraine


Opelika-Auburn News – Activist jailed by Egypt sees wider struggle for rights


Opelika-Auburn News – South Korean presidential hopefuls begin official campaigns


Opelika-Auburn News – New Mexico legislature seeks spending boost, tax cuts


WSFA Montgomery – Prosecutors seek increased bail for accused child sex abuser


WSFA Montgomery – Man arrested after shots fired into car on I-65 in Montgomery


WSFA Montgomery – Mother of boy, 3, shot to death in Montgomery grieves, demands justice


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama AD: UA Athletics not moving forward with alcohol sales at this time


WAFF Huntsville – Defective: Pair of websites provides consumers vital product recall and complaint information


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama senator proposing decriminalizing personal marijuana possession for minor offenses


WKRG Mobile – Eileen Gu: Navigating two cultures, judged by both of them


WKRG Mobile – Ukraine-Russia crisis: What to know on hopes of averting war


WKRG Mobile – Russians scoff at Western fears of Ukraine invasion


WTVY Dothan – Injured officer meets man who saved his life


WTVY Dothan – Man charged with 20 counts of child pornography


WTVY Dothan – Geneva County mayors give commission ultimatum for EMS


WASHINGTON POST – Russia says some troops withdrawing from Ukraine’s border, even as other major military exercises continue


WASHINGTON POST – Inside the White House preparations for a Russian invasion


WASHINGTON POST – ‘Freedom Convoy,’ police face off near U.S.-Canada border crossings as Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act


NEW YORK TIMES – Live Updates: Russia Says It Has Begun Pulling Back Some Troops From Around Ukraine


NEW YORK TIMES – Tone of Ukraine Crisis Shifts as Russia Signals Openness to Talk More


NEW YORK TIMES – Accounting Firm Cuts Ties With Trump and Retracts Financial Statements


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Russia Says Some Troops Pulling Back From Ukraine Border but Exercises Continue


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Rise as Investors Eye Ukraine and Russia


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Farmers Feel the Squeeze of Inflation



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