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Daily News Digest – July 13, 2021

Good morning!

Shout out to all the state government folks who are up in Nashville for SLC. Y’all say hello to Lonnie’s for me.

Lately, I keep getting asked what happened to the fun GIFs that oftentimes accompany the Alabama Daily News headlines. I’ll admit, I’ve been remiss in my duties to offer a little levity to your morning. So, today’s news is GIF-centric. To the uninitiated, don’t take it too seriously.

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, July 13.


1. K-12 schools look to ‘fill the gap’ with incoming $2 billion COVID relief funds

  • Alabama’s K-12 schools have about $2.02 billion coming in from the American Rescue Plan Act that schools will be able to spend over the next three years, making it one of the largest single investments Alabama has ever seen for public education.
  • In three rounds of COVID-19 federal relief funding since last year, K-12 schools are getting more than $3.1 billion. That’s more than four years worth of annual federal Title I money targeted at helping low-income learners.
  • “We’ve never had an influx of money like this before and we’re excited about the possibilities,” State Superintendent Eric Mackey told Alabama Daily News.
  • Districts have already submitted their plans for spending the first two rounds of COVID stimulus funding totaling $1.08 billion, and as schools plan for the third round — nearly twice as much as the first two combined — they are hoping to lift Alabama up from being among the lowest ranked in the nation for educational achievement.
  • While some districts may use the funds to hire more personnel or to fund other long-awaited needs in their schools, Mackey is concerned about the short timeline in which they are to be spent.
  • Districts have until September 2024 to spend the latest round of funds and have to submit their spending plans to the state education department by the end of August.
  • While the first two rounds of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund money could be used to prepare for, prevent and respond to COVID-19, the third round of funding is to be more focused on recovering from any learning loss that occurred over the past year and a half of schooling.
  • Read the full feature story from Caroline Beck HERE.



2. It’s Election Day

  • It’s Election Day in north central Alabama.
  • Voters in Chilton, Bibb and Shelby counties will be casting votes in two special elections today that will send two new lawmakers to Montgomery.
  • In Senate District 14, former Republican State Rep. April Weaver is facing Democrat Virginia Applebaum to decide who fills the vacancy created when former Sen. Cam Ward was appointed to lead the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.
  • In House District 73, Republican Kenneth Paschal faces Democrat Sheridan Black to decide who fills the vacancy created when former Rep. Matt Fridy was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
  • HD 73 includes portions of Alabaster, Calera, Chelsea, Helena, Montevallo, Pelham and Brantleyville.
  • Both districts are deeply Republican.
  • If elected, Weaver would be the only Republican woman in the Alabama Senate and Paschal would become the only Black Republican in the Alabama Legislature.




3. Speaking of elections

The 2022 elections may seem far away but we are getting a clearer picture of who all is running for what, including in state legislative races.
  • House District 29 will be competitive in the 2022 election, but it will also be vacant for the 2022 legislative session. That’s because State Rep. Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden, will not vacate the seat to allow for a special election even though she’ll soon take office as Etowah County Revenue Commissioner.
  • In 2018, lawmakers and state voters approved a constitutional amendment that says if a state House or Senate seat is vacated on or after October 1 of the third year of a four-year term, the seat would remain empty until the next regular election.
  • Nordgren told Alabama Daily News she pledged to voters last year not to leave her House position until Oct. 1, the day she assumes her new position. That means the seat will remain vacant for any the 2022 regular session and any specials in the mean time.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
  • Longtime Rep. Harry Shiver is calling it a career after this, his fourth term in the House. “Coach” tells ADN he’s ready to get some rest after 16 years in the Legislature.
  • Donna Givens, a Republican from Loxley, is running for the House District 64 seat and she’s supported by Shiver.
  • Read more on that HERE.
  • And some sitting lawmakers are drawing primary challengers for 2022.
  • According to June campaign filings, at least three sitting House members have GOP primary challengers who plan to raise funds against them.
  • Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, Rep. Jim Carns, R-Birmingham, and Rep. Howard Sanderford, R-Huntsville, each have someone in their districts who is raising money to run for their seats.
  • Only Carns has confirmed that he’s running for reelection.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.




4. Infrastructure: Dem bill swells to $3.5 trillion

  • Emerging from a private meeting at the White House, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday that he and President Joe Biden are on the same page as Democrats draft a “transformative” infrastructure package unleashing more than $3.5 trillion in domestic investments on par with the New Deal of the 1930s.
  • Congress is racing to put together a sweeping proposal financing infrastructure, family assistance and other programs for initial votes later this month.
  • “What we’re trying to do is a multitrillion-dollar bill which is going to address long neglected problems of the working families in this country” and the problem of climate change, Sanders told reporters.
  • Infrastructure proposals are moving through Congress on various tracks — each potentially complementing or torpedoing the other.
  • A bipartisan group of 10 senators unveiled a nearly $1 trillion package of traditional infrastructure for roads, bridges, broadband and some climate change investments in electric vehicles and resiliency for extreme weather conditions.
  • The rest of Biden’s ideas are being collected into the much broader multitrillion-dollar package that could be approved by Democrats on their own under a special budget reconciliation process that allows passage with 51 votes in the Senate, rather than the typical 60-vote threshold that’s needed to overcome a Senate filibuster.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Cubans rise up against regime

  • Thousands of Cuban citizens have taken to the streets to protest poor living conditions, including lack of access to pandemic medical care.
  • For the first time in decades, many are calling for an end to the communist regime that has ruled the island nation for 62 years.
  • The protests have led the regime to crack down on protesters by deploying militants and “rapid-reaction brigades,” which have arrested dozens of protesters.
  • It’s hard to get straight news on this issue, but it’s an important one.
  • The most complete story I’ve read is from Anthony Harrup and Santiago Perez of the Wall Street Journal. Read their complete story HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – K-12 schools look to ‘fill the gap’ with incoming $2 billion COVID relief funds


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House seat will be unfilled in 2022 session


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Shiver not seeking reelection; Givens to seek House seat


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Several sitting House Republicans draw primary challengers


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sanders, Biden meet as infrastructure bill swells past $3.5T


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Stats: Drug overdose deaths increased significantly in 2020


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gas prices rise, could hold steady


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New state veterans home to be named for Bennie Adkins


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 12, 2021


AL.COM – ‘How do you make them pay?’: Locked up in Alabama for debt


AL.COM – No one was talking about critical race theory. Alabama officials targeted it anyways


AL.COM – Blue Origin announces ‘hiring blitz’ at Alabama rocket engine plant


AL.COM – National Merit Scholarship recipients: Nearly 70 Alabama students recognized


AL.COM – Alabama receiving $10.3 million to help small, rural hospitals battle COVID-19


AL.COM – Trump praises Jan. 6 rioters as ‘patriots,’ ‘peaceful people’


AL.COM – ADEM issues closure permit for Alabama Power’s Plant Barry ash pond


AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: We’d better not blow our shot, Alabama, at fixing, addressing our ills with ARP money


Montgomery Advertiser – 17-year-old killed in shooting, police launch homicide investigation


Montgomery Advertiser – I am the 908th: A look at the people of Alabama’s Air Force Reserve Unit


Montgomery Advertiser – District 1 voters to select a successor for Councilman Richard Bollinger’s vacant seat Tuesday


Decatur Daily – Pepper withdraws proposal to pave Wilson Morgan walking trail


Decatur Daily – Literacy specialists to help train teachers


Decatur Daily – Public barred as Blakely’s corruption trial begins in secret


Times Daily – Bo Jackson to headline Heritage Christian fundraiser event


Times Daily – Colbert seeks state help on use of federal funding


Times Daily – Muscle Shoals road projects will require more SIDC funding


Anniston Star – Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle now open in Oxford Exchange area


Anniston Star – Alabama won’t require masks, social distancing at K-12 schools


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Back-to-school tax-free weekend in Alabama


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Hoover parents debate masking for next school year


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Concerned Mountain Brook residents attend school board meeting


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa man indicted with attempted murder, assault in Hay Court apartment shooting


Tuscaloosa News – The Revivalists, Marcus King Band schedule Tuscaloosa Amphitheater concert


Tuscaloosa News – COVID-19 vaccination clinic to be held at Grace Presbyterian Church


YellowHammer News – Katie Britt renews opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns, touts support of small business


YellowHammer News – Marjorie Taylor Greene to headline Alabama Federation of Republican Women’s Dothan event


YellowHammer News – Merrill responds to VP Harris voter ID claims — ‘Entitled to her own opinion but not her own facts,’ Does not make it ‘almost impossible’ to vote


Gadsden Times – PET OF THE WEEK: Chuck a ‘real smooch’ who loves his people


Gadsden Times – Probate judge, commission to work on mental health crisis response team


Gadsden Times – Northbound bridge across Coosa on Alabama 77 closed for inspection


Dothan Eagle – Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstates dissolved lower house


Dothan Eagle – UK’s Johnson set to confirm England unlocking will go ahead


Dothan Eagle – Cunningham announcing plan to legalize marijuana in SC


Opelika-Auburn News – No clear winner in Bulgaria’s general elections


Opelika-Auburn News – Italy erupts as Europe’s soccer champions come home to Rome


Opelika-Auburn News – Listen up: Biden speaks volumes in a whisper to make a point


WSFA Montgomery – Schools prepare to return amid COVID-19 concerns


WSFA Montgomery – Lawmaker calls for speed reduction on dangerous part of Highway 231


WSFA Montgomery – Opelika’s Youth Incarceration Prevention Program celebrates first year of success


WAFF Huntsville – ‘Community Conversation’ event focuses on mental health in the workforce


WAFF Huntsville – Wayne Farms hiring for hundreds of open positions; offering $1500 sign-on bonus


WAFF Huntsville – Ardmore, Tennessee police searching for man who robbed TNT employee at gunpoint


WKRG Mobile – Searchers recover personal possessions from collapse rubble


WKRG Mobile – Auburn’s Tyler Miller, USA’s Michael Sandle drafted late Monday


WKRG Mobile – FDA adds warning about rare reaction to J&J COVID-19 vaccine


WTVY Dothan – Geneva County Spec building nears completion


WTVY Dothan – Henry County Sheriff shares plans for emergency dispatch center


WTVY Dothan – Suspect wanted in connection with murder investigation killed after shoot-out with Escambia County Sheriff’s Deputies


WASHINGTON POST – ‘This is really fantastical’: Federal judge in Michigan presses Trump-allied lawyers on 2020 election fraud claims in sanctions hearing


WASHINGTON POST – Texas Democrats arrive in D.C. after leaving their state to block restrictive voting legislation


WASHINGTON POST – Trump Organization removes indicted top finance officer Allen Weisselberg from leadership roles at dozens of subsidiaries


NEW YORK TIMES – Drought Hits the Southwest, and New Mexico’s Canals Run Dry


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: More Data Needed on Booster Shots, U.S. Officials Tell Pfizer


NEW YORK TIMES – Live Updates: U.S.-Based Suspect Said Haiti’s President ‘Would Be Resigning,’ a Contact Says


WALL STREET JOURNAL – June Consumer Prices Likely Rose Sharply Again as Economy Rebounded


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China’s Export Engine Accelerates, Defying Expectations


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Record Natural Gas Prices Give Power Markets a Jolt



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