Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning. Sign Up

Daily News Digest – January 4, 2022

Presented by


Good morning!
Don’t forget today’s preview / tutorial session of the Alabama Legislature’s new website and bill tracking portal. It begins at 10:00 a.m. in State House Room 200 and can be streamed online.
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, January 4.



1. Some schools adjust as omicron variant spreads

  • With Alabama hospitals treating more COVID-19 patients daily and the positivity rate for coronavirus tests exceeding 35% statewide, some state school systems are returning to online learning or implementing mask restrictions to avoid classroom outbreaks.
  • In Sylacauga, students will attend classes remotely for three days when the new semester begins on Wednesday, Superintendent Michele Eller said in a statement.
  • Shelby County schools in metro Birmingham started the post-holiday grading period online Monday for its nearly 21,000 students as part of a plan implemented before the latest surge.
  • Pike County’s public schools will hold classes in person but require masks for all workers and students through Jan. 28.
  • More than 1,100 people were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 on Monday, or more than 3.5 times as many as in mid-December.
  • About 36% of COVID-19 tests came back positive statewide over the last week — a high for the pandemic — and the positivity rate exceeds 40% in 10 of the state’s 67 counties, according to statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • Less than 48% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, giving Alabama one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates despite months of work by health officials to promote the shots. With more than 16,450 dead of the illness, Alabama has the nation’s third-highest death rate from COVID-19, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Read more HERE.



2. Bill would keep foreign buyers from Alabama farm land, forests

  • Alabama has the third-highest amount of foreign-held agricultural land in the U.S. at nearly 1.8 million acres.
  • Nationwide, foreign investors held an interest in nearly 35.2 million acres of U.S. forest land and farm land, according to a 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
  • That’s a concern to Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, who has pre-filed a bill to restrict purchases of agriculture and forest land in Alabama.
  • “I think that we’re having a problem with foreign countries coming up on our farmland,” Melson told Alabama Daily News. “… We feed the world and we don’t need the world coming in and buying up all our farm land. It’s just to protect US citizens.”
  • His Senate Bill 14 says “a nonresident alien, foreign business, or foreign government, or an agent, trustee, or fiduciary thereof, may not purchase or otherwise acquire agricultural land in this state.”
  • The Alabama Farmers Federation supports Melson’s bill.
  • “The pandemic has exposed our country’s dependence on foreign nations for essential supplies,” Preston Roberts, ALFA’s agricultural legislation director, told ADN.  “It is more critical than ever to secure our ability to produce our nation’s food supply. Sen. Melson’s bill promotes national security and protects hard working Alabamians.”
  • Read more from Mary Sell and read the bill HERE.





A message from


  • Workforce will be a hot topic in 2022 with no shortage of discussions about labor force participation rates, employee retention and labor shortages.
  • Data on these topics is in high demand, and the Alabama Workforce Council is pleased to release a set of workforce profiles that give a snapshot of key data points on Alabama’s workforce ecosystem.
  • Reaching our goals requires understanding the differences across Alabama’s seven workforce regions.
  • Creating opportunities and empowering students for success begins with a thorough knowledge of the current workforce landscape as well as factors that impact access to education and employment.
  • See the Regional Workforce Profiles HERE.




3. Britt begins ad TV, radio campaign

  • Katie Britt’s Senate campaign is up on the airwaves starting today with an ad campaign introducing the first time candidate to Alabama voters.
  • While an unaffiliated Super PAC had run a flight of ads back in November, this represents the first radio and television ads on behalf of the campaign. It also purchased a host of billboard ads across the state.
  • According to those familiar with the buy, the campaign plans to ramp up gradually starting with statewide radio and targeted cable and digital buys.
  • Read more and see the first TV ad HERE.



4. Schumer to push for vote on filibuster change

  • Days before the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate will vote soon on easing filibuster rules in an effort to advance stalled voting legislation that Democrats say is needed to protect America’s democracy.
  • In a letter Monday to colleagues, Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate “must evolve” and will “debate and consider” the rule changes by Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as the Democrats seek to overcome Republican opposition to their elections law package.
  • Republicans say the bill is an egregious federal overreach into state-run election processes intended to tip the scales of elections in Democrats’ favor. Moreover, they viscerally oppose changing the Senate’s filibuster rules to push it through.
  • Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, argued on Monday that ending the filibuster would turn the Senate into a “Lord of the Flies”-style institution where majority rules, no matter what.
  • “It is absurd and dangerous to the institution itself,” said Lee in a statement. He said Schumer and his “disastrous plan” must be stopped.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Auburn, Alabama are top ranked SEC hoop teams

  • We got a taste of conference basketball before the new year. This week the SEC slate continues in earnest and the state’s flagship schools are the class of the conference at the moment.
  • Auburn is ranked 9th and Alabama 15th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Monday. The teams are coming off home wins against LSU and Tennessee, respectively.
  • Auburn (11-1) suits back up tonight facing South Carolina on the road and Alabama (10-3) travels to Florida tomorrow.
  • No. 16 Kentucky, No. 18 Tennessee, and No. 21 LSU round out the other SEC teams ranked this week.
  • Don’t get too excited. It’s a long season and we’ve only seen the first of the omicron variant’s impact.
  • The No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (11-1) haven’t played since Dec. 22 after having to postpone last week’s games due to COVID-19 protocols. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said it “hit our program extremely hard” while impacting both players and staff, though the retiring Hall of Famer said he hasn’t had the virus himself.
  • “It went through just about our whole team,” he said. “We’re not in the shape that we have been in before, so it’s going to take time to ramp up.”
  • Read more and see the full Top 25 HERE.




A message from


  • Your bill tracker needs to be compatible with Alabama’s new website, or you could miss out on important legislative updates.
  • FastDemocracy provides the most accurate and up-to-date bill tracking software so you’re always well-informed and on top of everything happening in Montgomery.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Some schools teaching online, requiring masks as cases surge


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Katie Britt begins TV, radio ad campaign


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would keep foreign buyers from Alabama farm land, forests


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Schumer: Senate to vote on filibuster change on voting bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25: Auburn, Alabama lead SEC


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Snow falls on Alabama as winter returns


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers face decisions on $1.5 billion in relief funds


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Blanchard begins ad blitz in bid to unseat Ivey


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden vows US to act decisively if Russia invades Ukraine


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jan. 6 committee prepares to go public as findings mount


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inside Alabama Politics – December 22, 2021


AL.COM – ADPH sticks with 10-day school COVID quarantines as Alabama school officials worry about staffing


AL.COM – Will the COVID pandemic ever end? Omicron clouds forecasts


AL.COM – Trump, Ivanka, Don Jr. subpoenaed by NY Attorney General Letitia James


AL.COM – FDA expands Pfizer COVID booster shots to kids as young as 12


AL.COM – Stimulus update: Important update from IRS on stimulus, child tax credit


Montgomery Advertiser – Maxine McNair, last parent of a child killed in 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, dies


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Legislature considers safety measures amid surge in omicron cases


Montgomery Advertiser – More than 3,600 babies born at Baptist East in 2021


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Hospitalizations not rising as quickly as Covid cases


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – FDA authorizes boosters for kids 12 to 15 years old


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UAB discusses breakthrough COVID cases


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa city, county students set to return to classrooms Wednesday


Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama reinstates mask mandate for spring semester


Tuscaloosa News – Sunday night snow brought beauty, little threat to drivers in West Alabama


YellowHammer News – U.S. Senate hopeful Mike Durant to launch ‘Alabama First’ tour targeting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, ‘career politicians’


YellowHammer News – State Rep. Stringer: Sheriffs pressuring ALEA to slow prohibited firearm database creation; Permitless carry opponents using ‘straight-up Democrat tactics’


YellowHammer News – Alabama wins injunction against Biden administration’s Head Start COVID-19 vaccine, mask mandates


Gadsden Times – Fort Payne police investigate altercation, identify man killed Sunday


Gadsden Times – Maxine McNair, last parent of a child killed in 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, dies


Gadsden Times – School systems have no current plans to change operations because of Omicron


Dothan Eagle – New maps, new building, new bills greet California lawmakers


Dothan Eagle – How will pandemic end? Omicron clouds forecasts for endgame


Dothan Eagle – School, work, travel can wait as snow blankets U.S. capital


Opelika-Auburn News – Hong Kong news site to shut; pro-Beijing lawmakers sworn in


Opelika-Auburn News – Little time to rule as N. Carolina remapping trial begins


Opelika-Auburn News – Biden: More competition in meat industry can ease food costs


WSFA Montgomery – Beloved social justice matriarch Maxine McNair passes away


WSFA Montgomery – University of Alabama, UAB to require masks at start of spring semester


WSFA Montgomery – CrimeStoppers, Montgomery city leaders react to ongoing violence


WAFF Huntsville – Madison County winter weather damage and accident reports


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Fire and Rescue to host recruitment event


WAFF Huntsville – University of Alabama, UAB to require masks at start of spring semester


WKRG Mobile – What will Silicon Valley learn from Holmes’ conviction?


WKRG Mobile – A surge of evangelicals in Spain, fueled by Latin Americans


WKRG Mobile – Schumer: Senate to vote on filibuster change on voting bill


WTVY Dothan – Alabama surpasses 1,000 COVID hospitalizations, again


WTVY Dothan – Dothan officers handcuff man not suspected of crimes


WTVY Dothan – Ozark man confesses to shooting into occupied vehicle


WASHINGTON POST – Southeast U.S. poised for a firestorm of omicron cases, with few safeguards in place


WASHINGTON POST – Judge grants relief to Navy SEALs who refused coronavirus vaccine, sued Biden administration


WASHINGTON POST – More than 103,000 Americans hospitalized with covid, matching worst of summer surge


NEW YORK TIMES – Elizabeth Holmes is found guilty of four counts of fraud.


NEW YORK TIMES – Another Far-Right Group Is Scrutinized About Its Efforts to Aid Trump


NEW YORK TIMES – Lack of Quick Covid Test to Diagnose Omicron or Delta Complicates Treatments


WALL STREET JOURNAL – The Elizabeth Holmes Verdict: Theranos Founder Is Guilty on Four of 11 Charges in Fraud Trial


WALL STREET JOURNAL – AT&T and Verizon Agree to New Delay of 5G Rollout


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Covid-19 Cases Soar to New Records in U.S.



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








Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Web Development By Infomedia