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Daily News Digest – February 21, 2022

Presented by the

Alabama League of Municipalities

Good morning! Happy Presidents Day to all who celebrate.

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, February 21.


1. Alabama’s COVID situation continues to improve

  • The number of new cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations are declining, but still not where they were pre-omicron.
  • “There’s no question, things are moving in the right direction,” Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, told Capitol Journal.
  • As of Sunday, there were 1,113 people statewide hospitalized with COVID-19. In late January, an omicron spike led to 2,961 daily hospitalizations. That’s a decline of more than 62% in less than a month.
  • The statewide positivity rate of COVID-19 tests remains at 10.6%, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Under 5% is the target.
  • “At that level, we would say we have pretty good community control,” Williamson said. “We’re not there yet.”
  • In January, the positivity rate was nearly 50%.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.


2. Bill would legalize fentanyl testing strips

  • Some Alabama lawmakers are trying to take an unconventional approach to combating the opioid crisis: making it legal for people to test their drugs for fentanyl.
  • Senate Bill 168, sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, and House Bill 187 by Rep. Allen Treadaway, R-Morris, allow people to possess fentanyl testing strips. Current state law considers the strips drug paraphernalia and illegal.
  • “The No. 1 reason for deaths due to overdoses is the presence of fentanyl and most of the time the drug user doesn’t know they’re using fentanyl,” McClendon said Wednesday in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security committee meeting.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration describes fentanyl as an opioid that’s often added to illegally sold drugs, especially heroin, in order to increase their potency. Fentanyl is extremely deadly even in small quantities.
  • According to Alabama Department of Public Health statistics provided to Alabama Daily News, 1,027 Alabamians died from overdoses in 2020, and 614 of those involved the use of opioids.
  • Read more from ADN’s Maddison Booth HERE.






A message from the

Alabama League of Municipalities

The League commends Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature for their diligence in allocating funds from the American Rescue Plan Act towards quality of life endeavors for Alabama’s citizens.






3. Supporters face uphill battle to decriminalize marijuana

  • Supporters are continuing to push for Alabama to join states that have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, but the state senator behind the bill acknowledged the measure has a bleak outlook in an election-year session.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved Democratic Sen. Bobby Singleton’s bill, which would make possession of less than two ounces of marijuana punishable only by a civil fine.
  • “What we’re doing is basically trying to just make sure that we are not locking people up on marijuana charges,” Singleton said. An offense would be classified as a violation, a step below a misdemeanor, and carry a fine of up to $250.
  • However, he acknowledged the outlook for the bill is, “not bright considering it is an election year.”
  • Read more HERE.




4. Alabama plan for fighting invasive river species approved

  • Alabama will be now eligible for as much as $100,000 annually in federal money to fight invasive aquatic species like carp and plants, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently approved the state’s plan for managing nuisance species, a decision that opened the door to the money, the agency said in a statement. The state will seek money during the 2022 funding cycle.
  • The state pushed to finish the plan because of the presence of invasive carp in the Tennessee River system of north Alabama, according to Steve Rider, program supervisor with the state Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.
  • Read more HERE.



5. US says Russia closer to invading Ukraine, agrees to meeting

  • Russia on Sunday rescinded earlier pledges to pull tens of thousands of its troops back from Ukraine’s northern border, a move that U.S. leaders said put Russia another step closer to what they said was the planned invasion of Ukraine. Residents of Ukraine’s capital filled a gold-domed cathedral to pray for peace.
  • Russia’s action extends what it said were military exercises, originally set to end Sunday, that brought an estimated 30,000 Russian forces to Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor to the north. They are among at least 150,000 Russian troops now deployed outside Ukraine’s borders, along with tanks, warplanes, artillery and other war materiel.
  • The continued deployment of the Russian forces in Belarus raised concern that Russia could send those troops to sweep down on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, a city of about 3 million people less than a three-hour drive away.
  • In what appeared to be a last-ditch diplomatic gambit brokered with the aid of French President Emmanuel Macron, the White House said U.S. President Joe Biden has agreed “in principle” to a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as long as he holds off on launching an assault that U.S. officials warn appears increasingly more likely.
  • Read more HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Williamson: COVID-19 numbers moving in the right direction


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would legalize fentanyl testing strips


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supporters face uphill battle to decriminalize marijuana


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama plan for fighting invasive river species approved


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US says Russia closer to invading Ukraine, agrees to meeting


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House to vote on allowing concealed handguns without permit


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – School choice proposal goes to study group


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Amazon workers in NYC set to vote on whether to unionize


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gonzaga, Auburn lead NCAA men’s committee’s initial rankings


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature passes tax bill, Alabamians may want to wait to file 2021 returns


AL.COM – William Kuenzel, sentenced to Alabama Death Row in 1988, dead of cancer


AL.COM – Permitless concealed handguns could get Alabama legislature vote this week


AL.COM – Decriminalizing marijuana unlikely to happen in Alabama


AL.COM – Liver transplant fight heats up with pressure from Southern senators, release of embarrassing emails


AL.COM – COVID can cause hearing loss, ringing in ears, research finds


AL.COM – ‘Just passing through’ Brookside left scars, fear of Alabama


Montgomery Advertiser – Multiple-vehicle accident slows I-65 traffic in Lowndes County


Montgomery Advertiser – Controversial permitless carry, riot bills close to Alabama House floor votes


Montgomery Advertiser – Benefits of a Montgomery Advertiser subscription


Decatur Daily – Luxury apartments coming to Athens


Decatur Daily – Meals on Wheels volunteers enjoy making connections with clients they serve


Times Daily – Ag authority could handle TVA in-lieu of tax funds


Times Daily – Council president to stress meeting decorum


Times Daily – Residents upset about Baker Lane RV park


Anniston Star – Party committee allows Wendy Draper to stay on Republican primary ballot


Anniston Star – Heritage Festival holds ‘beautiful program’ at museum


Anniston Star – Sacred Heart school to close at end of term


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Better Business Bureau warns against tax schemes this season


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham Police investigating double homicide in Ensley area


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Woman killed after car crash in St. Clair County


Tuscaloosa News – Benefits of a Tuscaloosa News subscription


Tuscaloosa News – Tales from the Trail: Markers document key moments in Tuscaloosa’s civil rights history


Tuscaloosa News – Controversial permitless carry, riot bills close to Alabama House floor votes


YellowHammer News – State Sens. Gerald Allen, Andrew Jones primary opponents removed from May 24 Republican ballot by ALGOP


YellowHammer News – State Sen. Smitherman: Literacy Act third-grade retention without delay ‘cruel and unusual’


Gadsden Times – Controversial permitless carry, riot bills close to Alabama House floor votes


Gadsden Times – State GOP committee ousts Teresa Rhea from District 10 ballot; Sen. Andrew Jones left unopposed


Gadsden Times – PET OF THE WEEK: Sweet Regis would be lovely addition to family


Dothan Eagle – California tribe confronts crisis of missing, murdered women


Dothan Eagle – Analysis: A rough Sunday for Norman as rival tour rejected


Dothan Eagle – 5 found dead in Colorado apartment; baby, adult hospitalized


Opelika-Auburn News – State senator scrutinized after photos of female aide found


Opelika-Auburn News – US claims Russia has ordered final preparations for invasion


Opelika-Auburn News – Cindric wins Daytona 500 to celebrate Penske’s 85th birthday


WSFA Montgomery – Crash on I-65 NB near Fort Deposit cleared


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery area Mary Kay consultant presented pink Cadillac


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery woman celebrates 100th birthday


WAFF Huntsville – Police searching for alleged Morgan County truck thief


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur man charged with first-degree rape


WAFF Huntsville – Area YMCA launches Esports program


WKRG Mobile – Biden-Putin meeting discussed as Ukraine war fears loom


WKRG Mobile – Fire breaks out at German residential complex, 3 injured


WKRG Mobile – Was Arbery killing a hate crime? Jury to hear dueling views


WTVY Dothan – Will COVID treatments work against newest variants?


WTVY Dothan – Lawson State baseball team signs 5-year-old battling brain tumor


WTVY Dothan – Good times rolling on in Mobile, second weekend of Mardi Gras


WASHINGTON POST – Biden agrees ‘in principle’ to meet Putin as invasion threat looms


WASHINGTON POST – Putin may go to war to capture Ukraine. With Belarus, he did it without firing a shot.


WASHINGTON POST – U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation


NEW YORK TIMES – Ukraine Live Updates: Putin Summons Russia’s National Security Officials


NEW YORK TIMES – Blitzkrieg or Minor Incursion? Putin’s Choice Could Determine World Reaction.


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: Australia Reopens to Tourists for First Time in 2 Years


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden Agrees to Putin Summit Provided Russia Pulls Back From Ukraine Attack


WALL STREET JOURNAL – For White-Collar Workers, It’s Prime Time to Get a Big Raise


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Exodus From Bond Funds Is Mitigating the Stock Market’s Swoon




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