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Daily News Digest – January 14, 2021

Good morning!

Thank you for all the feedback on yesterday’s column. Very heartening. Most of all, I’m glad to hear it proved useful for some folks.

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, January 14.



1. House impeaches Trump

  • President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for a second time, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the U.S. Capitol.
  • With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 on Wednesday to impeach Trump.
  • The Alabama delegation voted along party lines, with Republican Reps. Jerry Carl, Barry Moore, Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks and Gary Palmer voting against the impeachment resolution and Democratic Rep. Terry Sewell voting for it.
  • Just 10 Republicans voted for impeachment. However, that number is actually relatively high, considering no Republicans supported Trump’s 2019 impeachment and just five Democrats voted to impeach President Bill Clinton back in 1998.
  • The soonest Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell would start an impeachment trial is next Tuesday, the day before Trump is already set to leave the White House, McConnell’s office said.
  • In a note to colleagues Wednesday, McConnell said he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote” in a Senate impeachment trial. It would take 17 Republican senators voting with Democrats to convict Trump. That’s a pretty high bar, especially after the president has already left office.
  • Read more HERE.
  • The Advertiser’s Brian Lyman has more reaction from the delegation HERE.



2. Space Command to locate at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal

  • We broke some big news yesterday.
  • The permanent headquarters of the U.S. Space Command will be at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal, the Air Force announced.
  • President Donald Trump established the U.S. Space Command in December 2018. It is designed to conduct “operations in, from, and to space to deter conflict
  • In its announcement, the Air Force said Huntsville “compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs.”
  • “Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed,” the statement said.
  • This has been a long time project for leaders in Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey, Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Mike Rogers in particular.
  • Read more and see reaction from state leaders HERE



3. Orr files COVID liability bill

  • Legislation to give businesses and other groups liability protection from civil lawsuits related to COVID-19 is expected to be a priority when Alabama lawmakers convene their 2021 session next month.
  • Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, this week pre-filed the bill he said is intended to provide protection from frivolous lawsuits to entities that followed COVID-19-related safety guidelines. Orr said it is not an “immunity bill” for businesses.
  • “It provides a safe harbor for those entities that acted pursuant to (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines and guidance,” Orr said.
  • It does not protect businesses that did not make efforts to keep employees six feet apart or provide for other precautions, Orr said.
  • “That could rise to the level of being reckless, or willful, and is not protected activity,” Orr said.
  • Entities covered by the legislation include businesses and nonprofit groups, health care providers, educational institutions, churches, governmental bodies and cultural institutions.
  • Full story from Mary Sell HERE.



4. State working to fix overwhelmed vaccination hotline

  • A state vaccination hotline was quickly overwhelmed by thousands of callers seeking immunizations during the coronavirus pandemic, many calling before their time.
  • Officials are trying to fix the problem, a top Alabama health leader said Wednesday.
  • Dr. Karen Landers, the assistant state health officer, told a news conference the hotline, run by a contractor, was not able to handle the initial demand when it began operating, despite having 100 lines and 165 workers trained to answer calls. The phone number received 1.1 million calls in its first day.
  • Besides adding additional capacity to the hotline, Landers said workers are trying to get an online system in place so people can make reservations for vaccinations without calling.
  • But even if the problems are resolved, she said, all the vaccine doses the state has received so far have been spoken for.
  • “What vaccine we have in Alabama we will give,” Landers said during a briefing with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
  • Landers said more than 87,000 people had been vaccinated as of Monday in Alabama, which has a population of 4.9 million. The first doses went to health care workers, and the hotline was flooded after the state opened up appointments for people 75 and older.
  • Full story HERE.



5. Capitol investigators try to sort real tips from noise

  • Potential threats and leads are pouring in to law enforcement agencies nationwide after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The challenge is now figuring out what’s real and what’s just noise.
  • Investigators are combing through a mountain of online posts, street surveillance and other intelligence, including information that suggests mobs could try to storm the Capitol again and threats to kill some members of Congress.
  • Security is being tightened from coast to coast. Thousands of National Guard troops are guarding the Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Governors and lawmakers are stepping up protections at state houses after an FBI bulletin this week warned of threats to legislative sessions and other inaugural ceremonies.
  • A day before the deadly attack on the Capitol, the FBI sent an intelligence bulletin warning of potential violence to other agencies, including the Capitol Police. But officials either did not receive it or ignored it — and instead prepared for a free-speech protest, not a riot. It took nearly two hours for reinforcements to arrive to help disperse the mob. Five people died, including a Capitol officer.
  • Full story HERE.





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Alabama Daily News


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ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump impeached after Capitol riot
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Breaking: U.S. Space Command to locate at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19 liability protection bill filed in Legislature
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama working to fix overwhelmed vaccination hotline
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Capitol investigators try to sort real tips from noise
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Despite fund transfers, unemployment tax to increase
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey urges patience with Alabama’s vaccine rollout
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – January 13, 2021
AL.COM – 3,147 new COVID-19 cases in Alabama; death toll numbers up after review
AL.COM – US Space Command headquarters coming to Huntsville, Alabama
AL.COM – Mo Brooks says Biden, Dems could move Space Command out of Alabama
AL.COM – Trump ‘made a mistake’ in raucous rally speech, Tuberville says
AL.COM – Birmingham Water Works gets $147 million EPA loan to fix aging infrastructure
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Mo Brooks knows he’s lying. Just ask Mo Brooks.
AL.COM – Auburn faculty senate rejects no-confidence vote for provost over COVID handling
Montgomery Advertiser – Sandra Smith was set to be a first-time grandma. She was shot days before the child’s birth
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘My son needs justice’: Mother of Keshon Gardner wants her son’s killing solved
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘My love’: Mother of Kobe Reed mourns the killing of her only daughter
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UAB Spring semester starts next week with COVID-19 precautions, testing in place
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Apple announces launch of innovation hub for HBCUs
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UAB Chief of Hospital Medicine talks long term COVID-19 side effects
Tuscaloosa News – 6 Alabama Republicans vote against Trump impeachment; Terri Sewell votes for it
Tuscaloosa News – ALDOT: Arch removal to close McFarland Boulevard, part of I-20/59 this weekend
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama county health department COVID-19 vaccine appointments filled for now
Decatur Daily – Decatur Utilities: Industries would pay their share of sewer rate increases
Decatur Daily – Alabama fans hustle to display their team’s success
Decatur Daily – US 31 project in Hartselle receives state funding
Times Daily – Slight chances of snow Friday night and Saturday morning
Times Daily – Judge dismisses lawsuit against ag center authority
Times Daily – Authority, plaintiffs await decision on ag center lawsuit
Anniston Star – Ed Whatley, retired educator in local school systems, dies of COVID at 73
Anniston Star – Ranburne Town Council appoints new member
Anniston Star – U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers doesn’t speak in impeachment debate
YellowHammer News – Air Force: Huntsville chosen for Space Command HQ because it was objectively ‘best suited’ for mission
YellowHammer News – USDA Rural Development announces three Alabama projects have received a combined $65.7 million in funding
YellowHammer News – President Donald Trump impeached again, despite opposition of Alabama House Republicans
Gadsden Times – 6 Alabama Republicans vote against Trump impeachment; Terri Sewell votes for it
Gadsden Times – Local Habitat for Humanity chapter adds new board members
Gadsden Times – Proposed rendering plant continues to be controversial topic for Gadsden mayor, council
Dothan Eagle – Not only goalies wear masks: NHL coaches must cover faces
Dothan Eagle – Asian shares mixed after lackluster day on Wall Street
Dothan Eagle – US carries out its 1st execution of female inmate since 1953
Opelika-Auburn News – EAMC COVID-19 hospitalizations slightly fall
Opelika-Auburn News – Lee County’s COVID-19 death toll significantly rises overnight
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University faculty punt on no confidence vote for Hardgrave
WSFA Montgomery – State considering making COVID vaccine more accessible to seniors and low-income neighborhoods
WSFA Montgomery – Alabama truckers fight back against human trafficking
WSFA Montgomery – Ala. universities join Apple’s new learning center for HBCUs
WAFF Huntsville – Victim’s daughter in Scottsboro Zaxby’s shooting speaks out
WAFF Huntsville – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville talks about U.S. Space Command, impeachment and more
WAFF Huntsville – America’s Thrift Stores hiring event in Huntsville
WKRG Mobile – Johnson & Johnson one-dose COVID-19 vaccine may be on horizon
WKRG Mobile – Are $2,000 stimulus checks coming? Biden likely to unveil plan Thursday
WKRG Mobile – Alabama’s top doctor blames Operation Warp Speed for state’s slow vaccine rollout
WTVY Dothan – Continued support for Medical Center Enterprise in the community
WTVY Dothan – Cancer patient’s wallet stolen with $5,000 chemo payment inside
WTVY Dothan – Donations made on United Way Wednesday will be matched up to $150,000
WASHINGTON POST – House hands Trump a second impeachment, this time with GOP support
WASHINGTON POST – Trump is isolated and angry at aides for failing to defend him as he is impeached again
WASHINGTON POST – Emotional moments from the House debate on Trump’s second impeachment
NEW YORK TIMES – F.B.I. Urges Police Chiefs Across U.S. to Be on High Alert for Threats
NEW YORK TIMES – As His Predecessor Is Impeached, Biden Tries to Stay Above the Fray
NEW YORK TIMES – More Arrests Made Amid New Calls for Investigation of Capitol Attack
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Facebook Turned on Trump After Warnings That ‘Business as Usual Isn’t Working’
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Trump Impeachment at the Capitol: Raw Nerves, Sharp Words, Troops on Guard
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Trump Impeachment Deepens GOP Divide



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