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Daily News Digest – January 11, 2022

Presented by the

University of South Alabama Health System

Good morning!

The legislative session starts TODAY. In case you had something better to watch on TV last night, you can check out our quick session preview show on Capitol Journal from Monday HERE.

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, January 11.

1. Here come the budgets

  • The Alabama Legislature begins meeting today for the last regular session of a term that has been largely dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The pomp and circumstance will crescendo tonight with Gov. Kay Ivey’s State of the State address. (We’ll have it live on Alabama Public Television starting at 6:00 p.m.)
  • But the true Alabama political nerds will be tuned in earlier in the day as budget hearings begin in the State House.
  • This will be an interesting year for the budgets as state leaders have indicated that the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund have record revenue increases.
  • State Finance Director Bill Poole has called that growth both historic and unsustainable, warning lawmakers not to make long term commitments with money that will eventually dry up when the federal COVID cash stops flowing.
  • House Speaker Mac McCutcheon has argued the same, saying as much money as possible needs to be put toward debt service and shoring up the state’s rainy day accounts.
  • Read more on the budgets from Mary Sell HERE.

2. Health officials let COVID-infected staff stay on the job

  • Health authorities around the U.S. are increasingly taking the extraordinary step of allowing nurses and other workers infected with the coronavirus to stay on the job if they have mild symptoms or none at all.
  • The move is a reaction to the severe hospital staffing shortages and crushing caseloads that the omicron variant is causing.
  • The highly contagious omicron variant has sent new cases of COVID-19 exploding to over 700,000 a day in the U.S. on average, obliterating the record set a year ago. The number of Americans in the hospital with the virus is running at about 110,000, just short of the peak of 124,000 last January.
  • Many hospitals are not only swamped with cases but severely shorthanded because of so many employees out with COVID-19.
  • At the same time, omicron appears to be causing milder illness than the delta variant.
  • Read more 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. Home COVID tests to be covered by insurers starting Saturday

  • Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations.
  • Under the new policy, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit. A family of four, for instance, could be reimbursed for up to 32 tests per month. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit.
  • President Joe Biden faced criticism over the holiday season for a shortage of at-home rapid tests as Americans traveled to see family amid the surge in cases from the more transmissible omicron variant. Now the administration is working to make COVID-19 home tests more accessible, both by increasing supply and bringing down costs.
  • Later this month, the federal government will launch a website to begin making 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests available via mail. The administration also is scaling up emergency rapid-testing sites in areas experiencing the greatest surges in cases.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Alabama to spend $1M on training students for tourism work

  • Its tourism workforce depleted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Alabama will spend $1 million to prepare as many as 2,000 students to work in its hospitality industry.
  • The funding was announced by Gov. Kay Ivey during a tourism conference on the Gulf Coast, where lodging companies, restaurants and attractions are seeing record numbers of visitors yet often struggle to find a sufficient number of employees.
  • An announcement by the state’s tourism agency said leaders requested the money because of a lack of new people entering the workforce since COVID-19 outbreaks began two years ago.
  • The money will allow students to train online through the state’s 24-campus two-year college system at more than 130 locations across Alabama, making the non-credit program accessible to virtually all citizens 16 and older, said Lee Sentell, the state tourism director.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Georgia snaps 41-year title drought with 33-18 win over Bama

  • Four decades of pent-up emotion were unleashed Monday night as the Georgia Bulldogs snapped a frustrating national championship drought by vanquishing their nemesis.
  • Stetson Bennett delivered the biggest throws of his storybook career and Georgia’s defense sealed the sweetest victory in program history, beating Alabama 33-18 in the College Football Playoff for its first title in 41 years.
  • Bennett connected with Adonai Mitchell on a 40-yard touchdown to give No. 3 Georgia a 19-18 lead with 8:09 left and then hooked up with Brock Bowers for a 15-yard TD on a screen to put the Bulldogs up eight with 3:33 left.
  • The final blow came from Georgia’s dominant defense. Kelee Ringo intercepted an underthrown deep ball down the sideline by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young.
  • Read more HERE.

A message from

Southern Research

Southern Research is Alabama’s nonprofit leader in researching and treating serious disease.
Its new biotech center will:
  • Double lab space to study infectious diseases like COVID-19
  • Expand capacity to research chronic diseases
  • Create 500+ jobs
  • Double Southern Research’s annual economic impact to $300 million
For more information, visit HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Session begins today with ‘historic’ revenue discussions


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officials let COVID-infected staff stay on the job


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Home COVID tests to be covered by insurers starting Saturday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama to spend $1M on training students for tourism work


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Georgia snaps 41-year title drought with 33-18 win over Bama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Harris: ‘Omicron spreading like wildfire’ in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New legislative site offers better bill tracking, search options


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Taylor drops out of U.S. Senate race, endorses Durant


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mike Kemp named chairman of Business Council of Alabama


AL.COM – Alabama lawmakers debate over concealed carry permits could include whether to allow guns at school sporting events


AL.COM – Tax filing start date announced by IRS; tax day changed this year


AL.COM – As some ports choked, business boomed in Mobile in 2021


AL.COM – ALDOT director supports new I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project framework


AL.COM – ‘American Idol’ star Clay Aiken aims to be South’s first openly gay Congressman with North Carolina run


AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Mo Brooks wants to talk about Roy Moore


Montgomery Advertiser – D.A. asks for bail increase after man bonds out hours after mass shooting


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery magnet schools application open now until Feb. 10


Montgomery Advertiser – ADPH recommends booster for those 12-15 years old, shortens time before booster


Decatur Daily – Developer buying city property on Second Avenue for mixed-use project


Decatur Daily – In the Community: A tight contest with a wild finish


Decatur Daily – Decatur man charged with murder after AK-47 shooting on Sunday


Times Daily – Lauderdale 16 bridge project set for March bid letting


Times Daily – Baschab-Haslacker seeking Republican nod for district judge


Times Daily – Veterans Drive public meeting is Tuesday


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UA business school works to diversify real estate industry


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Community remembers Birmingham teen killed by a stray bullet as a leader and mentor


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Optometrists see packs of patients as COVID-19 changes how we conduct business


Tuscaloosa News – D.A. asks for bail increase after man bonds out hours after mass shooting


Tuscaloosa News – ADPH recommends booster for those 12-15 years old, shortens time before booster


Tuscaloosa News – The Alabama Legislature is returning for its 2022 session. Here are 3 things to watch


YellowHammer News – Ivey places wager on Alabama-Georgia national championship game with Georgia Gov. Kemp


YellowHammer News – ALDOT indicates support of I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway framework proposed by Mobile and Eastern Shore MPOs


YellowHammer News – Tim James to make formal gubernatorial run announcement on Wednesday


Gadsden Times – No plans at present to redraw City of Gadsden council district lines


Gadsden Times – Shorter isolation periods for Alabama K-12 students worries parents, school officials


Gadsden Times – D.A. asks for bail increase after man bonds out hours after mass shooting


Dothan Eagle – Factory farming dispute vexes Spain’s coalition government


Dothan Eagle – EXPLAINER: Why Australia faces a tough call on Djokovic


Dothan Eagle – World Economic Forum warns cyber risks add to climate threat


Opelika-Auburn News – WHO: 7 million new omicron COVID cases in Europe last week


Opelika-Auburn News – US announces $308 million in aid for Afghans as crisis grows


Opelika-Auburn News – Bulgaria’s leaders self-isolate after speaker COVID-positive


WSFA Montgomery – DA seeks $2M bond for bowling alley shooting suspect released Sunday


WSFA Montgomery – Man awaiting trial in cop’s death sentenced on federal weapons charges


WSFA Montgomery – 16-year-old among victims in double homicide in Birmingham


WAFF Huntsville – Mother speaks out after pregnant daughter was shot and killed by Huntsville Police Officer


WAFF Huntsville – Senator Arthur Orr cosponsoring tax cut bill


WAFF Huntsville – Mother swept up in New Market tornado returns home, daughter seeks help rebuilding


WKRG Mobile – European Parliament President David Sassoli dies at age 65


WKRG Mobile – EXPLAINER: Why are Chicago schools, teachers union fighting?


WKRG Mobile – N Korea fires possible missile into sea amid stalled talks


WTVY Dothan – Watch this lawmaker’s advice about COVID legislation


WTVY Dothan – 90% gambling legislation support. Are lawmakers listening?


WTVY Dothan – Votes needed to renew a Dale County school tax


WASHINGTON POST – U.S. poised to break record 142,000 covid-19 hospitalizations


WASHINGTON POST – With a dominant late burst, Georgia dethrones Alabama for its first national title since 1980


WASHINGTON POST – CDC weighs recommending better masks against omicron variant


NEW YORK TIMES – Biden Will Endorse Changing Senate Rules to Pass Voting Rights Legislation


NEW YORK TIMES – Voting Rights Groups Skipping Biden’s Speech in Georgia Over Inaction


NEW YORK TIMES – For Retail Workers, Omicron Disruptions Aren’t Just About Health


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Powell Confirmation Hearing Could Shed More Light on Plans to Contain Inflation


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Bank Stocks Set for Big Gains Ahead of Potential Fed Rate Increases


WALL STREET JOURNAL – UBS Targets Lower-End Rich With Advice by Device

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