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Daily News Digest – January 5, 2022

Presented by

Workers Drive Alabama

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, January 5.


1. Harris: Omicron ‘is spreading like wildfire’

  • Alabama’s state health officer on Tuesday said the highly infectious omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly as the state sets record numbers for cases.
  • “It is just spreading like wildfire,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said in a briefing with reporters, adding that, “omicron will infect a very large number of people in Alabama before it finally subsides.”
  • Alabama set new records for daily cases, hitting more than 8,000 a day Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, according to numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the average percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back as positive hit a new high of 38.5% Tuesday.
  • While early research suggests omicron causes less severe disease than earlier variants — such as the delta variant which he said had an estimated 2% fatality rate — he cautioned that some people will still get severely ill and the high infection rates means significant numbers could end up in state hospitals.
  • “We had 41 people die yesterday. We don’t have that with the flu. We don’t have that with common colds. It’s just not the same thing,” Harris said.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



2. New legislative site offers better bill tracking, search options

  • The Legislature has a new website that officials hope will make tracking bills and monitoring legislative action easier for the public.
  • Improvements include better search features, including the ability to search bills by topic across multiple sessions, and allowing users to create lists of priority bills they want to track throughout the session.
  • “You’ll be able to get so much more information off of this new website than you’ve ever been able to get before,” Secretary of the Senate Pat Harris said Tuesday at a State House tutorial.
  • The site went live on Monday.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.




A message from

Workers Drive Alabama

  • Alabama is facing a labor shortage, and businesses are starting to notice.
  • 95% of suspended licenses in Alabama stem from unpaid traffic tickets, not dangerous driving. Research shows it’s hard to get or keep a job without a valid driver’s license.
  • Smart public policy keeps up with changing times. That’s why lawmakers from both parties have introduced a bill to end these pointless debt-based driver’s licenses suspensions.
  • Support the bipartisan driver’s license bill and get these folks back on the road. When we’re free to drive, we’re free to work.






3. Taylor drops out of Senate race, endorses Durant

  • Businesswoman Jessica Taylor dropped out of Alabama’s U.S. Senate race Tuesday and threw her support behind Mike Durant in the Republican primary.
  • Durant is the founder and president of an aerospace company in Huntsville but might be best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and held prisoner in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia. He is vying with U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and former Business Council of Alabama President Katie Britt for the Republican nomination in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.
  • “After meeting Mike, I quickly realized he is an outsider with an inspiring life story and has the best shot at beating the establishment careerists. We don’t need another career politician in Washington. We need a pro-Trump conservative with the guts to take on the establishment,” Taylor wrote in a tweet.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



4. Mike Kemp named chairman of BCA

  • The Business Council of Alabama has named Birmingham KMS CEO Mike Kemp as its new chairman of the board.
  • Kemp becomes the first African American to lead BCA, Alabama’s largest business association. He previously served as the organization’s first vice chairman and oversaw Progress PAC, BCA’s political arm, during the 2018 election cycle.
  • “Mike has a deep background of BCA leadership experience and knows our issues and our members extremely well,” said interim CEO Robin Stone. “Mike brings people together and is always looking for innovative solutions and new opportunities for positive change. He will have an immediate impact on BCA, the members we serve, and the state.”
  • Kemp’s chairmanship was part of a larger announcement of BCA’s new leadership team, which includes Angus Cooper III of Cooper/T. Smith Corporation as first vice chairman and John Turner of Regions Bank as second vice chairman.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Jan. 6 panel seeks interview with Sean Hannity

  • The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection on Tuesday requested an interview with Fox News personality Sean Hannity, one of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies in the media, as the committee continues to widen its scope.
  • In a letter to Hannity, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, said the panel wants to question him regarding his communications with former President Donald Trump, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others in Trump’s orbit in the days surrounding the insurrection.
  • One specific December 2020 text from Hannity to Meadows highlighted in the letter reads: “We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6 th. (sic) He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.”
  • The letter to Hannity also highlights texts from the night before the insurrection, including one in which Hannity said he was “very worried about the next 48 hours” and another to Meadows in which he wrote, “Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.” The letter says it appears from other text messages that Hannity may have spoken directly with Trump on Jan. 5 regarding planning for the following day.
  • A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment on the request. Jay Sekulow, Hannity’s lawyer, said they are reviewing the committee’s letter and “will respond as appropriate.”
  • Read more 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 – 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


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jan. 6 panel seeks interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity


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 – Inside Alabama Politics – December 22, 2021


AL.COM – Lew Burdette, head of King’s Home program for abused women and youth, running for governor


AL.COM – Donald Trump cancels Jan. 6 attack anniversary press conference


AL.COM – ‘Alabama-USA Corridor:’ Rail work to improve supply-chain infrastructure


AL.COM – Senate candidate Katie Britt speaks on Jan. 6 Capitol rioters, Mo Brooks’ role


AL.COM – Toyota was US auto sales leader in 2021; GM had been top since 1931


AL.COM – The World Games seeks 3,300 volunteers for 2022 competition in Birmingham


AL.COM – Mo Brooks claims he’s only Alabama Republican senate candidate ‘to vote against Doug Jones’ in 2017


AL.COM – Alabama sets record for daily COVID cases, but doctors say omicron appears less severe.


AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Alabama prisons are part of the problem


AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: The irony of Twitter silencing Marjorie Taylor Greene.


AL.COM – Where Alabama’s Capitol riot suspects cases stand a year after Jan. 6 insurrection


Montgomery Advertiser – Unbroken: Montgomery author shares message of healing in self-help devotional book series


Montgomery Advertiser – Juvenile charged with terrorist threats after post made on Instagram


Montgomery Advertiser – Pedestrian killed along West Fairview Avenue identified as 74-year-old Montgomery man


Decatur Daily – Police: Man barricaded nephew in house before setting fire


Decatur Daily – Bill would keep foreign buyers from Alabama farmland, forests


Decatur Daily – 400 households in Greenbrier area remain without electricity


Times Daily – Mother, 2 children die in house fire in Haleyville


Times Daily – Qualifying deadline is Jan. 28 for GOP races


Times Daily – Republican Club breakfast features Congressional candidates


Anniston Star – Jacksonville City Council, school board plan scholarships


Anniston Star – Blanchard begins ad blitz in bid to unseat Ivey


Anniston Star – Bill would keep foreign buyers from Alabama farm land, forests


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Haleyville School System rallies behind father and community upon loss of mother and two children in house fire


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Talladega County Schools making changes due to COVID surge


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Shooting investigation underway in Walker County


Tuscaloosa News – Federal judges hear testimony in Alabama redistricting lawsuit


Tuscaloosa News – ‘Spreading like wildfire’: Alabama hits record number of daily COVID cases as omicron surges


Tuscaloosa News – Etowah County industrial site could be connected to Port of Mobile rail project


YellowHammer News – Jessica Taylor exits U.S. Senate race, endorses candidacy of ‘political outsider’ Mike Durant


YellowHammer News – Gov. Kay Ivey officially qualifies for reelection — ‘We have accomplished a lot, but there is a lot more that needs to be done’


YellowHammer News – Eastern Shore MPO chair Jack Burrell: ‘Haven’t had any pushback from ALDOT’ on new I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway proposal


Gadsden Times – Etowah County industrial site could be connected to Port of Mobile rail project


Gadsden Times – Federal judges hear testimony in Alabama redistricting lawsuit


Gadsden Times – ‘Spreading like wildfire’: Alabama hits record number of daily COVID cases as omicron surges


Dothan Eagle – Media preview of WVa legislative session to be held remotely


Dothan Eagle – German health minister advocates tougher curbs on contacts


Dothan Eagle – ‘We were trapped’: Trauma of Jan. 6 lingers for lawmakers


Opelika-Auburn News – Shrill protests in France as Macron targets unvaccinated


Opelika-Auburn News – NFL teams providing female fans with clubs of their own


Opelika-Auburn News – Virginia officials defend response to snowy gridlock on I-95


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery cracking down on apartments without licenses


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery City Council overrides mayor’s veto on new district map


WSFA Montgomery – Arrest made in Montgomery’s final homicide of 2021


WAFF Huntsville – Albertville City, Fayetteville City Schools return Wednesday with masks optional


WAFF Huntsville – No overnight warming centers in Decatur; Salvation Army can’t find people to work


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur’s newest municipal judge officially sworn into office


WKRG Mobile – Virginia officials defend response to snowy gridlock on I-95


WKRG Mobile – Biden urges concern but not alarm in US as omicron rises


WKRG Mobile – Israel reports all-time high for new COVID-19 infections


WTVY Dothan – Visit Dothan CEO indicted on bank fraud charge


WTVY Dothan – Online to store during the pandemic; one stores triumph


WTVY Dothan – Headland Fire and Rescue member facing tragedy over holiday weekend


WASHINGTON POST – Some GOP leaders are scornful or silent about booster shots seen as key to fighting omicron


WASHINGTON POST – Tales of anguish emerge from China’s locked-down Xi’an as hospitals demand patients are covid-free


WASHINGTON POST – Smuggled Iranian fuel and secret nighttime transfers: Seafarers recount how it’s done


NEW YORK TIMES – In Omicron Hot Spots, Hospitals Fill Up, but I.C.U.s May Not


NEW YORK TIMES – Chicago Cancels Public School Classes in Clash With Teachers


NEW YORK TIMES – Election Falsehoods Surged on Podcasts Before Capitol Riots, Researchers Find


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Toyota Overtakes GM as Bestselling Auto Maker in U.S.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Covid-19 Infections Top One Million After Holiday Backlog


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Workers Quit Jobs at a Record Level in November



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