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Daily News Digest – February 17, 2022

Presented by the

Business Council of Alabama

Good morning!

In case you missed it, I had State Rep. Parker Moore and Mark Dixon from the A+ Education Partnership on Capitol Journal last night. You can watch HERE or listen HERE.

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, February 17.


1. There’s going to be weather

  • Large parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee will be at risk of powerful thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes as storms sweep into the South on Thursday, forecasters said.
  • Some of the storms could produce winds as strong as 70 mph and tornadoes, the Storm Prediction Center said. The threat of twisters will increase the hotter it gets.
  • Read more and see the forecast from James Spann HERE.



2. Concealed carry bill advances; Riot bill on hold

  • Alabama lawmakers on Wednesday advanced legislation that would do away with the requirement for a person to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public.
  • A divided House Public Safety Committee on Wednesday approved House Bill 272, which would do away with the current permit requirement for a person who carries a handgun under their clothes or in a purse or bag when they go in public. It would also do away with the current requirement for people without concealed carry permits to keep handguns unloaded and secured when driving.
  • The proposal now moves to the full Alabama House. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.
  • There was talk that the bill would be on the House floor today, but that’s not the case. The special order calendar is mostly sunset bills and other non-controversial legislation.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • The House delayed a vote on the riot bill that was on yesterday’s agenda.
  • During a late night in the chamber, Rep. Allen Treadaway moved to carry over his bill that would create a new definition of riot in state law and increase penalties for participating in one.
  • Democrats oppose the bill and will most certainly filibuster to prevent or delay its passage. In fact, they slowed down unrelated legislation yesterday to prevent the bill from coming up.
  • Kim has that story HERE.






A message from the

Business Council of Alabama

  • In the upcoming election cycle, it’s more important than ever to vote for candidates who will add Alabama jobs and help us keep the ones we have.
  • Click HERE to learn more about Alabama’s pro-jobs candidates.





3. Bill untaxing ARPA money awaits final passage

  • Lawmakers are now one vote away from ensuring Alabama families aren’t penalized on the state income taxes because of last year’s expanded tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act.
  • A change to state tax code was needed to ensure taxpayers received the full benefit of the federal COVID-19 relief. Under current law, the expanded child tax credit and other special tax credits extended by Congress last year are considered taxable income by the state. Similar legislation was needed previously to untax businesses’ CARES Act benefits.
  • House Bill 231 by Rep. Jim Carns, R-Vestavia Hills, was approved in the Senate education budget committee on Wednesday. It is expected to get a Senate vote today and head to the governor’s desk.
  • Full story from Mary Sell HERE.
In other committee action…
Committee advances online freedom of speech bill
  • The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that seeks to prohibit some large social media platforms from blocking a user in Alabama or deleting the opinions or information they share.
  • Senate Bill 10 by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, says if a “major interactive computer service” doing business in Alabama does discriminate against users based on what they share, it “shall forfeit to the affected user $100,000 for each offense, and an additional $100,000 for each day of the continuance of the offense.”
  • After a public hearing and about 20 minutes of discussion, the committee voted 5-3, with one abstention, to move the bill to the full Senate.
  • Full story HERE.
2-year Literacy Act delay bill approved in Senate committee
  • A bill that would postpone for two years the reading requirement benchmark for third grade students established by the Alabama Literacy Act was advanced Wednesday by the Senate Education Policy Committee.
  • Senate Bill 200 from Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, as amended would postpone until the 2023-2024 school year implementation of the requirement that third graders who aren’t proficient in reading be held back from moving on to fourth grade.
  • Some committee members raised concerns about advancing students who struggle to read to the fourth grade, saying that’s a disservice to them.
  • Full story.
Bill expands schools’ technology fund uses
  • A bill moving in the Senate would expand how schools can use their Advancement and Technology Fund money.
  • The fund was created in the Rolling Reserve Act that caps the annual education budget. In good years, some of the excess money goes back to schools in the form of Technology and Advancement Fund dollars. The fund is never guaranteed and amounts vary.
  • Proposed allocations later this year total $76.5 million for higher education and $205.7 million for K-12.
  • Full story HERE.


4. Transgender bathroom bill advances

  • Alabama lawmakers advanced legislation Wednesday that would ban transgender students from using school bathrooms and locker rooms that don’t match their biological sex assigned at birth.
  • Supporters of House Bill 322, including Rep. Scott Stadthgen of Hartselle, argue the bill is about safety and keeping males out of female bathrooms. Opponents, including the Human Rights Campaign, say it amounts to codifying discrimination against transgender youth and puts them at risk of being attacked or bullied.
  • The bill now moves to the full House of Representatives, where more than 45 Republicans in the 105-member House have signed on as co-sponsors.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



5. Retail sales surge 3.8% as consumers defy inflation

  • Fueled by pay gains, solid hiring and enhanced savings, Americans sharply ramped up their spending at retail stores last month in a sign that many consumers remain unfazed by rising inflation.
  • Retail sales jumped 3.8% from December to January, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, a much bigger increase than economists had expected. Though inflation helped boost that figure, most of January’s gain reflected more purchases, not higher prices.
  • Last month’s increase was the largest since last March, when most households received a final federal stimulus check of $1,400. The fact that consumer spending remains brisk even after government stimulus has faded — enhanced unemployment aid ended last summer — suggests that Americans’ pay is rising enough to drive a healthy pace of spending and economic growth.
  • Still, those trends could also further accelerate high inflation, which has become the biggest threat to the economy and the reason the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates several times this year beginning in March.
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Several southern states at risk for strong storms, tornadoes


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill advances to allow concealed handguns without permit


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama House delays vote on riot legislation


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill untaxing ARPA tax credits awaits final vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2-year Literacy Act delay bill approved in Senate committee


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Committee advances online freedom of speech bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill expands schools’ technology fund uses


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lawmakers advance transgender bathroom bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – January retail sales surge 3.8% as consumers defy inflation


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate passes military friendly bills


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill aims to smooth path for alternative teacher certification


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – School choice supporters rally for bill


AL.COM – State of Denial: How a Confederate daughter rewrote Alabama history for white supremacy


AL.COM – Alabama’s exports top $20.9 billion, back up above pre-pandemic levels


AL.COM – Alabama Senate passes new tax exemption on retirement income


AL.COM – Gulf Coast rail hearing: Amtrak, freight operators blast each other before federal panel


AL.COM – Alabama House rejects bill to ban holding cell phone while driving


AL.COM – Alabama ‘bathroom bill’ to limit trans student access moves out of committee


AL.COM – Alabama bill would allow motorcyclists 21 and older to ride without helmets


AL.COM – Conservative student group appeals University of Alabama in Huntsville free speech case


AL.COM – Auburn University purchases Huntsville research facility


Montgomery Advertiser – As Alabama COVID numbers fall, ICUs across the state remained slammed


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama doctors back event honoring enslaved ‘mothers of gynecology’ in Montgomery


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama House committee approves bill restricting school bathroom access to birth sex


Decatur Daily – Senate passes military-friendly bills


Decatur Daily – Bill would require child support in DUI fatalities


Decatur Daily – School choice supporters rally for bill



Times Daily – High winds, tornadoes possible today


Times Daily – Senate passes military friendly bills


Times Daily – Bill aims to smooth path for alternative teacher certification


Anniston Star – Anniston City Council learns of additional rebranding efforts


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH addresses trend of lower COVID-19 transmission rates


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – $3.2 million judgement against the City of Birmingham for officer-involved crash


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham Weather Radio Transmitter down as severe storms approach


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa city and county schools will dismiss early because of severe weather threat


Tuscaloosa News – As Alabama COVID numbers fall, ICUs across the state remained slammed


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama doctors back event honoring enslaved ‘mothers of gynecology’ in Montgomery


YellowHammer News – State Auditor hopeful Cooke pledges to use power of office to force Alabama, ABC Board out of the alcohol business


YellowHammer News – Ainsworth: Legislative package ensures Alabama remains ‘most attractive’ state for military families


YellowHammer News – Durant ad hammers Biden, channels Trump on illegal immigration — ‘They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime’


Gadsden Times – Olive Garden in bloom? Demolition of Logan’s building to begin next week


Gadsden Times – As Alabama COVID numbers fall, ICUs across the state remained slammed


Gadsden Times – Alabama doctors back event honoring enslaved ‘mothers of gynecology’ in Montgomery


Dothan Eagle – Tanker crashes into Long Island building, causing huge blaze


Dothan Eagle – NATO sees no sign Russia is pulling back troops near Ukraine


Dothan Eagle – Xi urges Hong Kong to get control as COVID-19 cases surge


Opelika-Auburn News – US investigators: Zinke misused his Interior secretary job


Opelika-Auburn News – Use of rape-kit DNA to probe other crimes shocks prosecutors


Opelika-Auburn News – Negligence conviction tossed for officer who shot caregiver


WSFA Montgomery – One killed, another injured in Houston County wreck


WSFA Montgomery – Local courts face backlog of cases as jury trials resume


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama’s Challenge kicks off statewide tour in Dothan


WAFF Huntsville – Madison County African American suffragists to be celebrated for Black History Month


WAFF Huntsville – Madison Police detective testifies Reese Jones admitted to shooting his wife on 911 call


WAFF Huntsville – Man sentenced to life after pleading guilty to murdering his girlfriend


WKRG Mobile – Fight over subpoena for Trump’s testimony heads to court


WKRG Mobile – Fear runs through Afghanistan’s ‘hazardous’ media landscape


WKRG Mobile – Brazil mudslides kill at least 94, with dozens still missing


WTVY Dothan – One killed, another injured in Houston County wreck


WTVY Dothan – TRAFFIC ALERT: Crash shuts down Houston County intersection


WTVY Dothan – Jeff Coleman sues to get on congressional ballot


WASHINGTON POST – Jim Clyburn saved Biden’s candidacy — and now has the president’s ear on Supreme Court picks


WASHINGTON POST – Racist slurs, violent messages: How Arbery’s killers talked about Black people


WASHINGTON POST – Canada’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters dig in amid Ottawa police warnings


NEW YORK TIMES – Ukraine Live Updates: Western Defense Officials to Meet Amid Disputes of Russia’s Drawdown Claims


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: South Korea, a Virus Success Story, Now Finds Its Model Unsustainable


NEW YORK TIMES – Vulnerable to the Virus, High-Risk Americans Feel Pain as the U.S. Moves On


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Ukraine, Pro-Russia Separatists Trade Allegations of Cease-Fire Violations


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures, Oil Fall as Russia Said to Continue Its Troop Buildup


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Amazon, Visa Resolve Monthslong Credit-Card Dispute


Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)





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