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Daily News Digest – January 6, 2022

Presented by the

University of South Alabama Health System


Good morning!

Today marks one year since the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol as Congress was meeting to certify the 2020 presidential election. I wrote this column in the aftermath and I still stand behind every word. Of the many pieces out there today, I found Karl Rove’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal particularly poignant. What if, indeed.

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, January 6.


1. Alabama hospitals feeling effects of omicron

  • With most of Alabama’s population still not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, major hospitals are dealing with an influx of patients and asking people to limit emergency room visits as the highly contagious omicron variant takes hold.
  • Its emergency department overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and normal health problems including trauma injuries and heart attacks, UAB Health in Birmingham issued what it called an “urgent” request late Tuesday for people to go elsewhere for COVID-19 tests or minor symptoms, or to simply stay home for all but true emergencies.
  • Two other major medical centers in the state, USA Health in Mobile and Huntsville Hospital, issued similar requests, with the Huntsville facility citing a record number of COVID-19 patients in ER and long waits for treatment.
  • Dr. Bobby Lewis, vice chair for clinical operations with UAB’s emergency department, said part of the problem is Alabama’s relatively poor vaccination rate, which is the nation’s second-lowest behind Idaho. Less than 48% of Alabama’s population is fully vaccinated.
  • “It’s catching up. No doubt about it.”
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.


2. House GOP releases ‘Standing Tall’ agenda

  • Republicans in the Alabama House of Representatives announced their legislative agenda Wednesday, prioritizing proposals to allow concealed carry of firearms without a permit, ban critical race theory in schools and cut property taxes for small businesses and farmers.
  • Dubbed “Standing Tall for Alabama,” the agenda includes a long list of topical issues sure to be discussed on the campaign trail, such as election security and abortion. Every legislative seat is on the ballot this year, with the primaries scheduled for May 24.
  • The majority caucus is also promising pay raises for teachers and state employees and bonuses for retirees.
  • Read more about the House GOP agenda in my full write up 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. Former Books-A-Million CEO announces run for governor

  • Former Books-A-Million CEO Lew Burdette, who now heads a nonprofit that provides shelters and group homes for abused women and children, announced Tuesday that he is running for governor of Alabama against fellow Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.
  • Burdette joins a growing list of candidates challenging Ivey in the GOP primary in May. Burdette filed qualifying papers Wednesday after making his announcement Tuesday at the main campus of the King’s Home nonprofit in Chelsea, outside Birmingham.
  • Burdette, 62, spent 13 years with Books-A-Million — starting when it was a mall chain called Bookland — and served as executive vice president and chief operating officer.
  • Burdette is making his first run for political office. Like other challengers to Ivey, he positioned himself as a political outsider and said he would be a “disrupter” in Montgomery.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



4. 2-week campaign fundraising ‘blackout’ starts Tuesday

  • Tuesday is the start of the legislative session and a short “blackout” window in which candidates for state office can’t raise funds while lawmakers are meeting in Montgomery.
  • In theory, the window keeps sitting legislators from accepting money while they’re voting on bills. In practice, the window now only covers about two of the possible 15 weeks of session.
  • State law says legislators “may not accept, solicit, or receive contributions during the period when the Legislature is convened in session” except “within 120 days of any primary, runoff, or general election…”
  • While primaries for statewide office have previously been in early June, this year’s contest is May 24. That means the blackout will start Tuesday and end Jan. 24.
  • The legislative session can last up to 15 weeks, but during election years, incumbent lawmakers often like to get out of Montgomery and on the campaign trail earlier than that.
  • “Every time the blackout period comes up, someone says, ‘We need to change this,’” Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said. “But nothing ever happens.”
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



5. ‘I trusted the President’: Jan. 6 rioters in their own words

  • Facing prison time, many Jan. 6 rioters admit they were wrong to enter the U.S. Capitol and now disavow political violence.
  • Some directly blame former President Donald Trump for misleading them and warn supporters not to trust him. Others remain defiant and allege they are victims of cancel culture.
  • At least 170 rioters have pleaded guilty and more than 70 have been sentenced. One case was dismissed and two others closed after the people charged died.
  • “Why did I enter the Capitol building? I don’t have a good answer,” wrote retired Special Forces soldier Leonard Gruppo in a letter to the judge sentencing him. “I’ve gone over it a thousand times and I’m still not sure why I didn’t recognize what was happening and take alternative action… The entire experience was surreal. I trusted the President and that was a big mistake.”
  • Read more accounts from those who participated in the riot in their own words 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 – Alabama hospitals feeling effects of omicron


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House Republicans prioritize bills on guns, critical race theory in ‘Standing Tall’ agenda


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Former Books-A-Million CEO to run for governor


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2-week campaign fundraising ‘blackout’ starts Tuesday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘I trusted the President’: Jan. 6 rioters in their own words


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 sets new record for COVID cases reported in a day


AL.COM – CDC to update school quarantine guidance, Alabama officials ‘frustrated’ by changing recommendations


AL.COM – Alabama House GOP supports repeal of pistol permit requirement


AL.COM – Alabama chemical plant fined $232,000 after 2 workers exposed to toxins die


AL.COM – Birmingham CEO is first Black chairman of Business Council of Alabama


AL.COM – ‘I’m staying to help get the union done’: Bessemer Amazon workers waiting for second vote.


AL.COM – Birmingham area now seeing highest COVID case rate of the pandemic


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Department of Public Health backs CDC’s shorter isolation for grades K-12


Montgomery Advertiser – 22-year-old charged with felony murder after an alleged drug deal, robbery turns deadly


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama House GOP priorities: Permitless carry, critical race theory, pay raises


Decatur Daily – Schools make alternate plans with freezing rain, low temps expected


Decatur Daily – New legislative site offers better bill tracking, search options


Decatur Daily – ELECTION QUALIFYING: Morgan has newcomer running for top school post, contested commission race


Times Daily – Bill would restrict foreign purchases of farm, forest lands


Times Daily – House Republicans prioritize “Standing Tall” agenda


Times Daily – ‘Aniah’s Law’ should be part of constitution



Anniston Star – Britt gives fiery speech for Cheaha Republican Women


Anniston Star – House Republicans prioritize bills on guns, critical race theory in ‘Standing Tall’ agenda


Anniston Star – New legislative site offers better bill tracking, search options


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Where AL Capitol Riot suspect cases stand one year later


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – City of Birmingham to open warming station


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Sylacauga City Schools transitioning to E-Learning January 5-7


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama House GOP priorities: Permitless carry, critical race theory, pay raises


Tuscaloosa News – Aliceville man, Vernon man killed in separate road accidents, state troopers say


YellowHammer News – Alabama House GOP Caucus unveils policy agenda; Priorities include Critical Race Theory ban, passing constitutional carry


YellowHammer News – Gov. Kay Ivey announces $231M A-USA Corridor rail system proposal for central, southern Alabama


YellowHammer News – AL-5 candidates Paul Sanford, Dale Strong qualify congressional bids with ALGOP


Gadsden Times – Gadsden City High School to be virtual rest of the week; mask mandate back for system


Gadsden Times – Alabama Department of Public Health backs CDC’s shorter isolation for grades K-12


Gadsden Times – Alabama House GOP priorities: Permitless carry, critical race theory, pay raises


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


Dothan Eagle – With salty language, Macron berates France’s unvaccinated


Dothan Eagle – German health minister advocates tougher curbs on contacts


Opelika-Auburn News – ‘We were trapped’: Trauma of Jan. 6 lingers for lawmakers


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 – ADOL investigating 340,000 unemployment claims for potential fraud


WSFA Montgomery – 2nd suspect arrested in December Montgomery homicide


WSFA Montgomery – MPD: 26% fewer gunfire calls this New Year’s Eve


WAFF Huntsville – Where charges stand for North Alabama men at Capitol Riot


WAFF Huntsville – Mask requirements for Huntsville City Schools


WAFF Huntsville – ADECA unveils Alabama Broadband Map and Connectivity Plan


WKRG Mobile – Dozens of protesters killed in Kazakhstan; 12 police dead


WKRG Mobile – EXPLAINER: What’s behind unrest rocking oil-rich Kazakhstan


WKRG Mobile – A season of joy — and caution — kicks off in New Orleans


WTVY Dothan – Aaron McCreight’s attorney: Good man who made bad choice


WTVY Dothan – Man charged with killing former wife released


WTVY Dothan – Cottonwood, AL woman nabbed on embezzlement, other charges


WASHINGTON POST – How Republicans became the party of Trump’s election lie after Jan. 6


WASHINGTON POST – Garland: DOJ will hold those responsible for Jan. 6 riot accountable, whether they were present or committed other crimes


WASHINGTON POST – GOP officials in Arizona’s largest county affirm 2020 election was secure in rebuttal to Trump claims


NEW YORK TIMES – For C.D.C.’s Walensky, a Steep Learning Curve on Messaging


NEW YORK TIMES – Novak Djokovic Is Refused Entry Into Australia Over Vaccine Exemption


NEW YORK TIMES – A Long, Hard Year for Republicans Who Voted to Impeach After Jan. 6


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Fed Minutes Point to Possible Rate Increase in March


WALL STREET JOURNAL – CDC Recommends First Covid-19 Boosters for 12- to 15-Year-Olds


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Inside a Covid-19 School Closing: A Pennsylvania Superintendent Agonizes Over Going Remote




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