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Daily News Digest – July 2, 2021

Good morning and Happy Friday!

Most of the state’s top legislative leaders were in Montgomery for meetings yesterday, which is somewhat rare for an out-of-session July Thursday. One of those meetings was very public. One was not. We have the details on both.

Here’s your Daily News for Friday, July 2.

1. Committee to analyze state’s response to COVID-19

  • The very public meeting I referenced?
  • That was the first gathering of the Alabama Pandemic Response and Preparedness Committee, a joint legislative task force responsible for analyzing how the state responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Co-chairs Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, and Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan, said their main objectives will be for each branch or level of government to identify the principal actions taken in response to the pandemic, the cost and benefits of those actions and how they compared to actions taken in other states.
  • “This is a fact-finding, not a fault-finding committee,” Melson said.
  • This committee was formed after a joint resolution from Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road, passed the Legislature earlier this year. The panel is required to meet at least three times before the 2022 regular legislative session, one of those times being a public hearing where citizens can submit testimony about how they were impacted by COVID and the state’s reaction to it.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey is not a member of the panel but addressed the group at its first meeting. She told committee members that, while in hindsight she regrets some actions her administration took, she remains pleased overall with how she handled the pandemic.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.


2. State leaders continue prison talks

  • The not-so public meeting in Montgomery was a gathering of those involved in the state’s ongoing efforts to improve prisons.
  • Legislative and Alabama Department of Corrections leaders met Thursday for the third time in less than a month to discuss options. Another meeting is scheduled for next week, Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, told Alabama Daily News.
  • State leaders are now discussing building two new prisons and renovating others in an effort to fix the state’s dangerous and crowded correctional system.
  • Albritton, at the table because he’s chairman of the Senate General Fund Budget committee, said the meeting included ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn. Albritton said CoreCivic, the company whose plans to build two large prisons and lease them to the state fell apart in June when underwriters backed out, is still part of discussions.
  • Ivey last month said the lease-only route is no longer an option.
  • While lawmakers in previous sessions failed to come to agreement on a plan to borrow and build new prisons, some leaders see more consensus now, especially after many complained about Ivey’s lease plan that they say excluded them from decisions.
  • Others say a special session on prisons could be a big risk given the fractured nature of the House of Representatives.
  • Mary Sell sorts it all out for us in her story HERE.


3. Ivey raises $1.2 million for reelection

  • Gov. Kay Ivey has raised $1.2 million in her bid for reelection, her campaign announced Thursday.
  • The Republican incumbent’s fundraising could deter challengers from either side of the aisle in the 2022 election. In a bit of saber-rattling, her campaign made the sizable figure known ahead of mandatory election filings.
  • “The people of Alabama are energized and enthusiastic for 2022, and I could not be more grateful to them for their overwhelming support of my reelection campaign,” Ivey said in a statement.
  • Campaign finance records show that Ivey had a campaign balance of under $200,000 at the end of 2020. She has garnered a number of major contributions since announcing her bid for office.
  • Full story HERE.


4. US added a robust 850,000 jobs in June as hiring rebounded

  • In an encouraging burst of hiring, America’s employers added 850,000 jobs in June, well above the average of the previous three months and a sign that companies may be having an easier time finding enough workers to fill open jobs.
  • Today’s report from the Labor Department was the latest sign that the reopening of the economy is propelling a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession. Restaurant traffic across the country is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and more people are shopping, traveling and attending sports and entertainment events. The number of people flying each day has regained about 80% of its pre-COVID-19 levels. And Americans’ confidence in the economic outlook has nearly fully recovered.
  • The result is that many businesses are desperate to hire and have posted a record-high number of jobs. With competition for workers intensifying, especially at restaurants and tourist and entertainment venues, employers are offering higher pay, along with signing and retention bonuses and more flexible hours. The proportion of job advertisements that promise a bonus has more than doubled in the past year, the employment website Indeed has found.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Op-Ed: Funds could help ‘unsung heroes’

  • The state and many cities are right now trying to decide how to spend billions in federal funds from the latest round of COVID-19 relief from Congress.
  • In a new op-ed, Alabama AARP Director Candi Williams argues that some of those funds should go to help and reward direct care workers she says are the “unsung heroes” of the pandemic.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“…there are other healthcare heroes who also performed admirably during the pandemic and whose contributions were largely unsung. I’m talking about direct care workers who continued throughout the pandemic to care for our seniors and citizens with disabilities in private homes, group homes and other small residential settings. These workers also deserve our accolades – and more…
“While direct care workers in institutional settings often received hazard pay during the pandemic, most of those working in private homes and community settings did not. Alabama could fix that. Hero or hazard pay – which, depending on the formula, might be about $1,500 per worker – would be a small price to pay to acknowledge their services and their contributions during this time.”
  • Read Williams’ full piece HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inside Alabama Politics – June 29, 2021 Parts 1 & 2


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Committee to analyze state’s response to COVID-19


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State leaders continue new prison talks


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey raises $1.2 million for reelection


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US adds a solid 850,000 jobs as economy extends its gains


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Op-Ed: Alabama’s federal COVID relief funds could help unsung healthcare heroes


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Census on track for August data release after court ruling


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – NCAA clears way for athlete compensation as state laws loom


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 1, 2021


AL.COM – ‘Dozens’ of shots fired into home of Mobile Democratic state senator: Police


AL.COM – Correctional officer Stacy Lee George running for Alabama governor again


AL.COM – Lawsuit over Bellefonte Nuclear Plant sale now awaits judge’s ruling


AL.COM – Alabama high school graduation rate dips for class of 2020


AL.COM – Warrior Met Coal strike enters fourth month amidst reports of vandalism, violence


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery welcomes return of tourists at new downtown visitors center


Montgomery Advertiser – New Montgomery Visitors Center opens on Court Square


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery Visitors Center relaunches on Court Square


Decatur Daily – Suspect in Krispy Kreme robbery charged with previous armed robberies


Decatur Daily – Poole, Ledbetter announce runs for House Speaker


Decatur Daily – Committee to analyze state’s response to COVID-19


Times Daily – 3 charged after scuffle with deputies


Times Daily – UNA SGA president doesn’t resign, remains silent


Times Daily – 2 announce runs for House Speaker post


Anniston Star – Doses might go to waste as local COVID vaccinations far short of goal


Anniston Star – Grants’ benefits celebrated in Heflin, Borden Springs


Anniston Star – These tips will help you safely enjoy Alabama’s lakes and rivers


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Fireworks could be in short supply this Fourth of July weekend


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Concerns of COVID-19 spreading more among unvaccinated going into Fourth of July weekend


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham City officials offering free concert tickets for people who get vaccinated


Tuscaloosa News – Track the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, including forecasts and storm names list


Tuscaloosa News – Five things to do this Fourth of July weekend in Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – Reports of violence, vandalism surface as Warrior Met Coal miners’ strike enters fourth month


YellowHammer News – Ainsworth has greatest fundraising month ever for a lieutenant governor candidate


YellowHammer News – Blount County Sheriff Moon warns of consequences after ‘terroristic threats’ made against deputy


YellowHammer News – Trump to hold rally in Mobile late summer or early fall


Gadsden Times – Coosa Valley RC&D to host seed and fertilizer giveaway


Gadsden Times – ATF: How to use fireworks legally, safely during holiday weekend


Gadsden Times – Etowah County to host inaugural ‘Tomato Taste-Off’


Dothan Eagle – Registered sex workers in Germany drop sharply in pandemic


Dothan Eagle – Key voting rights decision expected from Supreme Court


Dothan Eagle – The ultimate garage & estate sale guide for this weekend


Opelika-Auburn News – Tropical Storm Elsa, 5th named storm, forms in Atlantic


Opelika-Auburn News – H&M says profit up by $1.2 billion as world opens up again


Opelika-Auburn News – 5 things to know for July 1: Trump Org, Bill Cosby, condo collapse, Covid-19, China


WSFA Montgomery – ALEA issues missing child alert for 2-year-old Mobile girl


WSFA Montgomery – Chief: Female fatally shot in Camden


WSFA Montgomery – Huge water main break closes road in Montgomery neighborhood


WAFF Huntsville – ADPH says some north Alabama counties at high risk for COVID-19


WAFF Huntsville – Christopher Henderson convicted of murder in Madison County; prosecution hopes for the death penalty


WAFF Huntsville – Closing arguments held in trial over sale of Bellefonte Nuclear Plant


WKRG Mobile – Fourth of July celebrations along the Gulf Coast


WKRG Mobile – Former Pine Forest star quarterback murdered in Pensacola


WKRG Mobile – MPD: Man shot on Cresthaven Road


WTVY Dothan – Troopers: Unnamed teen caused pileup that killed one


WTVY Dothan – Infant drowns in bathtub, mom charged


WTVY Dothan – ADPH: More than 550K positive COVID cases as fewer people get vaccines


WASHINGTON POST – Trump seeks to use indictments as a political rallying cry as he tries to survive latest legal threat


WASHINGTON POST – Trump, fighting to toss out subpoena, offered to give House Democrats peek at financial statements


WASHINGTON POST – U.S. military vacates main air base in Afghanistan, underscoring withdrawal expected within days


NEW YORK TIMES – Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Restrictions


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Was Not Indicted. But the Charges Still Threaten Him.


NEW YORK TIMES – Inspector Who Said Florida Tower Appeared in ‘Good Shape’ Is Now Under Scrutiny


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China, India Move Tens of Thousands of Troops to the Border in Largest Buildup in Decades


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Job Growth Likely Accelerated in June, Economists Say


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Shuts Down Bagram Air Base as Afghanistan Pullout Speeds Up

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