Presented by the
Alabama League of Municipalities
Hide ya kids and hide ya wife, we are ONE DAY away from the start of the 2022 legislative session. I have a feeling this one is going to be a real slog.
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, January 10.
1. Budgets, federal money are early session priorities
- Passing state budgets and distributing a mountain of federal relief money appear to be first priorities as lawmakers ready for their third pandemic-ridden session, this one during an election year in which many want to promote their own priority bills.
- “When you’re anticipating an abbreviated session because of an election year, the budget gets even more priority,” said Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, the House General Fund budget committee chairman. “But we have the added pressure of dealing with the American Rescue Plan funds and I think we’re going to move pretty quickly on that.”
- Meanwhile, with the omicron variant of COVID-19 sending positivity rates to about 42% statewide and a full 50% in the capital city, House Speaker House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said leadership will have to take the session “one week at a time.”
- He also said masks would be required for members and staff of and visitors to the House of Representatives and its common areas on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the State House.
- Read the full feature story on what to expect in the session from Mary Sell HERE.
2. Armed with map and money, Legislature looks at broadband expansion
- Expanding broadband internet access has been a highly discussed but financially daunting topic in the Alabama Legislature for years.
- Now, armed with more information, including a map that shows underserved areas down to street addresses, and hundreds of millions of federal dollars, advocates say real action is imminent.
- “Because of the funding and the work that’s been done, we’re well positioned to get out to a lot of people,” said Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Cullman, who has worked on broadband expansion efforts for several years.
- Last year, lawmakers created a new state authority to oversee the expansion of high-speed broadband internet services throughout the state, but no specific revenue stream was attached to the effort.
- That Digital Expansion Authority meets today to approve the plan required by the law. It includes an expanded grant program for broadband infrastructure. The authority also recently released a map of the state’s underserved and unserved areas.
- It shows that about 13% of Alabama’s 1.65 million addresses are unserved by broadband of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
- Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
A message from the
Alabama League of Municipalities
3. Supreme Court skeptical of Biden’s workplace vaccine rule
- Fully vaccinated and mostly masked, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared skeptical Friday of the Biden administration’s authority to impose a vaccine-or-testing requirement on the nation’s large employers. The court seemed more open to a separate vaccine mandate for most health care workers.
- “This is something the federal government has never done before,” Chief Justice John Roberts said, casting doubt on the administration’s argument that a half-century-established law, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, confers such broad authority.
- Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett probably hold the key to the outcome in both cases, as they have been more receptive to state-level vaccine requirements than the other three conservative justices. Barrett and Kavanaugh also had tough questions for Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, the administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer.
- The court’s three liberal justices suggested support for the employer rule. Justice Elena Kagan said officials have shown “quite clearly that no other policy will prevent sickness and death to anywhere like the degree that this one will.” And Justice Stephen Breyer said he found it “unbelievable” that it could be in the “public interest” to put that rule on hold. He said that on Thursday there were some 750,000 new cases in the country and that hospitals are full.
- Beginning today, unvaccinated employees in big companies are supposed to wear masks at work, unless the court blocks enforcement. But testing requirements and potential fines for employers don’t kick in until February.
- Full story HERE.
4. Biden shied away from news conferences, interviews in Year 1
- In what’s become a familiar scene, President Joe Biden lingered after delivering a recent speech on the pandemic as reporters fired a barrage of questions.
- He bristled at a query about the shortage of COVID-19 rapid tests, answered another about omicron-spurred travel restrictions and sidestepped a third about whether Sen. Joe Manchin failed to keep his word when he torpedoed Biden’s social services and climate spending plan.
- “I’m not supposed to be having this press conference right now,” Biden said at the end of a meandering response that didn’t directly answer the question about Manchin.
- Seconds later, Biden turned and walked out of the State Dining Room, abruptly ending what’s become his preferred method for his limited engagements with the press.
- As Biden wraps up his first year in the White House, he has held fewer news conferences than any of his five immediate predecessors at the same point in their presidencies, and has participated in fewer media interviews than any of his recent predecessors.
- Read more from Aamer Madhani HERE.
5. With title on the line, Georgia gets another crack at Bama
- No. 3 Georgia gets another shot to take down the king tonight. The Bulldogs face the top-ranked and defending national champion Tide in all-Southeastern Conference College Football Playoff title game played in the heart of Big Ten country.
- Five weeks after Alabama once again asserted its dominance over Georgia in the SEC title game, the Bulldogs drag the weight of a seven-game losing streak against the Tide and a 41-year national title drought into a rematch at Lucas Oil Stadium.
- “I mean, it’s definitely motivation,” Georgia tackle Jamaree Salyer said of the losing streak to Alabama. “It’s the truth. You can’t really run away from the truth.”
- The last meeting was especially painful for Georgia. The Bulldogs entered the SEC championship favored and undefeated, the unanimous No. 1 team in the country.
- Georgia had stomped everything in its path behind a defense that was smothering opponents at an historically stingy pace before Bryce Young and the Tide picked the Bulldogs apart 41-24 in Atlanta.
- How much of an outlier was the Alabama game for Georgia? The Bulldogs have allowed only 15 touchdowns this season. Five came against Alabama.
- “I think no game’s going to be the same,” said Tide All-America linebacker Will Anderson, who had two sacks in Alabama’s 27-6 semifinal victory against No. 4 Cincinnati. “What happened last game is what happened last game. We have to worry about what happens this game.”
- Read more HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Budgets, federal relief funds are top priorities as Legislature convenes
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Armed with map and money, Legislature looks at broadband expansion
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Blanchard begins ad blitz in bid to unseat Ivey
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden shied away from news conferences, interviews in Year 1
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – With CFP title on line, Georgia gets another crack at ‘Bama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court skeptical of Biden’s workplace vaccine rule
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Special session likely on federal ARPA funds
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rep. Steve McMillan to undergo treatment for brain tumors
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rep. Greer, first elected in ’74, not seeking reelection
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State says prison construction allowed with relief cash
AL.COM – COVID-19 omicron variant causes low-income workers to choose: stay home or work sick
AL.COM – Alabama Democratic governor candidate wants to decriminalize marijuana, pass lottery
AL.COM – A-USA rail corridor: Alabama’s supply-chain fix has been a long time coming
AL.COM – Alabama has rules to preempt attempts to pass laws similar to NYC’s new noncitizen voting law
Montgomery Advertiser – Ordinary people doing the extraordinary: Chief Harris applauds citizens after bowling alley shooting
Montgomery Advertiser – Man charged after early morning shooting at Montgomery bowling alley leaves 1 dead, 6 wounded
Montgomery Advertiser – AUM taking MLK Reflections breakfast online only
Decatur Daily – Authorities seeing uptick in COVID-related FTAs
Decatur Daily – Love Wins is theme for Unity Breakfast on MLK Day
Decatur Daily – Rape-for-hire plot leads to one arrest
Times Daily – Veterans treatment court in the works for Colbert County
Times Daily – COVID cases on rise; experts say peak is imminent
Times Daily – Veterans Drive public meeting is Tuesday
Anniston Star – Main Street brings people, promise to downtown Anniston
Anniston Star – K-9 killed in traffic; Heflin police mourn a valued partner
Anniston Star – Sheriff’s firearms course teaches valuable basics
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Southeast nursing turnover rates among highest in the U.S.
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Choosing a mask with the most protection
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Family offering money for information about a deadly hit-and-run
Tuscaloosa News – Keeping students safe: Autauga school buses flagged in state inspection fixed, back on the road
Tuscaloosa News – Authorities investigated 22 homicide cases in Tuscaloosa County in 2021
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa prepares for large crowd on the Strip during national championship game
YellowHammer News – Senate Pro-Tem Reed: Senators will have opportunity to offer bills important in their districts after abbreviated 2020 session in 2022
YellowHammer News – U.S. Reps. Sewell, Carl place friendly wagers with Georgia counterparts on CFP national championship
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Sessions: Majority of new I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway should be paid for with federal dollars
Gadsden Times – Southside man displays historic Legion Field bench in his man cave
Gadsden Times – New Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater impacts local economy to tune of $14.2 million
Gadsden Times – Keeping students safe: Autauga school buses flagged in state inspection fixed, back on the road
Dothan Eagle – François Carrard, legal doyen of Olympic sports, dies at 83
Dothan Eagle – EXPLAINER: Main issues at Russia-US security talks
Dothan Eagle – Dutch king to swear in new ruling coalition, Rutte’s 4th
Opelika-Auburn News – ‘Reliable royal’ Kate Middleton turns 40 today. Here’s a look at her life
Opelika-Auburn News – Sudan protest group rejects UN offer for talks with military
Opelika-Auburn News – Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson will seek reelection
WSFA Montgomery – 16-year-old among victims in double homicide in Birmingham
WSFA Montgomery – 1 killed, 6 injured in Montgomery bowling alley shooting
WSFA Montgomery – Man sought after escaping Crenshaw County Jail
WAFF Huntsville – Long COVID becomes growing concern
WAFF Huntsville – Lack of data in CDC’s five day quarantine policy
WAFF Huntsville – One year later: a history professor looks back at the Jan. 6 insurrection
WKRG Mobile – Chicago fight with teachers union stretches into 2nd week
WKRG Mobile – Australian judge reinstates tennis star Djokovic’s visa
WKRG Mobile – Harrowing tales of escape after fire hits NYC building
WTVY Dothan – State says prison construction allowed with relief cash
WTVY Dothan – Alabama doctors expect more COVID-19 variants to evolve
WTVY Dothan – Visit Dothan President strikes deal, will plead guilty this month
WASHINGTON POST – New York fire that killed 19 likely began with space heater, fire chief says
WASHINGTON POST – U.S. sends states monoclonal antibodies that may not work against omicron
WASHINGTON POST – Threat of omicron keeps China walled off, as scientists search for more-effective vaccines
NEW YORK TIMES – 19 Killed in New York City’s Deadliest Fire in Decades
NEW YORK TIMES – ‘We Were Just Trying to Breathe’: Frantic Rush to Escape the Smoke
NEW YORK TIMES – Disruption, Dismay, Dissent: Americans Grapple With Omicron’s Rise
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Earnings Reports This Week Will Help Investors Prep Their 2022 Playbooks
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Yields Rise, Stock Futures Waver Ahead of Inflation Data, Earnings
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Russia’s Putin Seizes on Crises to Assert Control Over Former Soviet Republics
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