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Daily News Digest – July 24, 2020

Good morning and Happy Friday!

Here’s your Daily News for July 24.


1. COVID-19 update

  • Alabama reported more than 2,200 new coronavirus cases Thursday— the highest single-day increase in cases — as health officials cautioned it will take a few weeks to see the effect of a statewide mask order.
  • The spike came after several days of declining case numbers.
  • The state topped more than 2,000 daily cases for the third time and is now averaging about 1,700 new cases reported each day.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey last week announced an order requiring face masks in public places. State health officials have cautioned it will take a few weeks to see any effect on case numbers.
  • “For the effects of masking, at least two weeks would be necessary, but three would be best,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.
  • Since the pandemic began, more than 72,000 people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus with nearly one-third of cases being reported in the last two weeks. More than 1,300 people have died, according to numbers from the state health department.
  • Alabama on Wednesday reported more than 50 additional deaths from COVID-19 patients. However, Harris said that spike is partly related to the state being able to work through a backlog.
  • “That said, we have more inpatients than ever in hospitals and so deaths will be increasing,” Harris said,
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. Justice: Alabama inmates subjected to excessive force

  • The Department of Justice on Thursday released a report detailing a list of serious abuses against inmates in Alabama prisons and started the process of a state-federal consent decree to implement changes.
  • In findings sent to the state, federal investigators wrote that officers have beaten handcuffed or restrained prisoners, excessive force is sometimes used as retribution, the state prison system fails to investigate incidents and the violence is so common that some officers consider it normal.
  • “Our investigation found reasonable cause to believe that there is a pattern or practice of using excessive force against prisoners in Alabama’s prisons for men,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. Dreiband said the Justice Department hopes to work with Alabama to resolve the department’s concerns.
  • That work, according to DOJ, would involve a consent decree, wherein the state and federal agencies agree to certain remedies. That elicited a response from Attorney General Steve Marshall, who said his office had been “ambushed” by the DOJ report and that he would resist efforts to put the state into a consent decree, arguing such legal tools are a “bludgeon” to settle litigation.
  • “…Alabama will not be bullied into a perpetual consent decree to govern our prison system, nor will we be pressured to reach such an agreement with federal bureaucrats, conspicuously, fifty-three days before a presidential election. In short, a consent decree is unacceptable and nonnegotiable. The State of Alabama shall retain her sovereignty.”
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


3. Legislation would regulate plate scanners, data

  • Proposed legislation would allow state and local law enforcement to use license plate scanners to determine ownership of vehicles and routes traveled, but puts limits on the use and storage of collected data.
  • Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, pre-filed the bill for the legislative session that starts in February.
  • The bill comes as the Alabama Department of Transportation considers allowing law enforcement access to ALDOT rights-of-way and structures to install license plate readers and other surveillance equipment.
  • The agency’s proposed rules on the equipment are still under review, Tony Harris, government relations manager for ALDOT, told Alabama Daily News on Wednesday.
  • Orr said he wanted to make sure that in the future, no information collected by law enforcement could be used by other parties, including collection agencies.
  • “We don’t need the government tracking citizens’ movements without significant limitations,” Orr said. “I’m fully supportive of law enforcement using technology to catch criminals, but we certainly don’t need them spying on the movements of ordinary citizens.”
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


4. Latest w/ CARES II

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday reluctantly dropped his bid to cut Social Security payroll taxes as Republicans stumbled anew in efforts to unite around a $1 trillion COVID-19 rescue package to begin negotiations with Democrats who are seeking far more.
  • The long-delayed legislation comes amid an alarming rise new cases in the virus crisis. It was originally to be released Thursday morning by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But the Kentucky Republican instead hosted an unscheduled meeting with Mnuchin and White House acting chief of staff Mark Meadows and delayed the planned release of the proposal until next week.
  • The rocky developments coincide with a higher-profile role by Meadows, a former tea party lawmaker from North Carolina with a thin legislative resume. The delays increase the chances that efforts to pass the COVID rescue, the fifth coronavirus response bill this year, could drag well into August as both parties are formally nominating their presidential candidates.
  • The must-have centerpiece for McConnell is a liability shield to protect businesses, schools and others from coronavirus-related lawsuits.
  • The still-unreleased GOP measure does forge an immediate agreement with Democrats on another round of $1,200 checks to most adults.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Mark Dixon: Overcoming the Equity Challenges of COVID-19 as schools reopen

In case you haven’t noticed, the reopening of schools is bit of a mess at the moment. Many districts are delaying in-classroom teaching, many are pressing forward and all are hoping the state’s digital learning portal comes through.
A lot has been written about how reopening or not reopening might impact the health of students, teachers and staff or the work life of parents.
However, one thing that hasn’t been talked about enough is the impact these decisions have on the educational development of students.
Mark Dixon, President of the A+ Education Partnership, contributes an op-ed today laying out some of the unique challenges the pandemic has posed and how different paths to reopening can affect students’ progress.
Here’s an excerpt:
  • “The safety, health, and wellbeing of our students and teachers is of the utmost importance, and these decisions are not easy. Local districts have to balance factors like the rate of new COVID-19 cases, the needs of working parents, the academic and social-emotional needs of students, and many other factors to determine the most appropriate course. Additionally, there are serious concerns about the loss of high-quality instruction and its effect on our underserved students.
  • “Already, research suggests that a shift from in-person to fully remote schooling can negatively impact student learning. Research from McKinsey & Company shows that the average student in a full-time remote environment can fall 7 months behind academically, while black students and hispanic students experience a 10 and 9 month loss respectively. Poor students can experience a loss of over a year. Researchers estimate these losses would widen the achievement gap by 15-20%.” 
Read the full piece HERE .



Bonus: John Lewis memorial plans

  • Alabama will play a central role in the memorial plans for the Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights icon who died a week ago.
  • Lewis’ family announced that the funeral will be private, but the public is invited to pay tribute over the coming days during a series of events.
  • On Saturday, the “celebration of life” tour begins in Lewis’ hometown of Troy, then moves to Selma where Lewis’ body will once more cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and then on to Montgomery, where Lewis will lie in state at the Alabama State Capitol.
  • Read more and see the schedule of events HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama reports daily case record; more schools to go online


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislation would regulate use of license plate scanners, data collected


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House drops payroll tax cut after GOP allies object


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Dept. of Justice: Alabama inmates subjected to excessive force


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Memorial services for John Lewis come through Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Schools Reopen: Overcoming the Equity Challenges of COVID-19


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump calls off Florida segment of GOP National Convention


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – More schools announce delayed openings, virtual starts


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey declares ‘Sweet Grown Alabama Day,’ promotes local products


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump deploys more federal agents under ‘law and order’ push


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 23, 2020


AL.COM  – 2,283 coronavirus cases, new Alabama record high, reported today; Mobile County revising numbers


AL.COM  – More than 23,000 Alabamians filed first-time unemployment claims last week, data shows


AL.COM  – What’s the next step for troubled Alabama prisons?


AL.COM  – Alabama hospital seeking volunteers for COVID vaccine trial


AL.COM  – DOJ: ‘Reasonable cause’ that excessive force in Alabama prisons violates Constitution.


AL.COM  – ‘Wading into the unknown’: Alabama’s working parents find few solutions as school looms


AL.COM  – As more schools move online, access to internet presents roadblock in rural Alabama


Montgomery Advertiser – John Lewis’ procession to follow Selma to Montgomery route, to be honored at Alabama Capitol


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Cruel treatment’: Alabama prisons ignore guards’ excessive force, beatings, report finds


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery doctor accused of prescribing excess pain pills to frat brothers, friends


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – US Mint: ‘We need your help’ by using exact change when making purchases


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama positivity rate increases amid record high numbers


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UAB doctors say COVID-19 vaccine could create better immune response than actual infection


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa gets more leeway in denying liquor licenses


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa movie theater delays reopening


Tuscaloosa News – DOJ: Alabama inmates are subjected to excessive force


Decatur Daily – Suspect in July 4 homicide served sentence for 2010 shooting


Decatur Daily – Fire shuts down Spring Avenue Walmart, remains under investigation


Decatur Daily – 3 in Limestone fall victim to coronavirus


Times Daily – Murder victim was Russellville man


Times Daily – Commissioners: issue over unless law changes


Times Daily – Florence officials urge taking safety measures


Anniston Star – Piedmont shooting case going to grand jury


Anniston Star – More schools announce delayed openings, virtual starts


Anniston Star – Ivey declares ‘Sweet Grown Alabama Day,’ promotes local products


YellowHammer News – Merrill elected to another leadership position with National Association of Secretaries of State


YellowHammer News – Birmingham Airport Authority scores final win in court over Alabama’s ethics law


YellowHammer News – Alabama AG Commissioner Pate: Cattle, retail beef prices disconnect still plagues marketplace


Gadsden Times – Etowah sees 55 new cases, 1 new death


Gadsden Times – Arrests made in East Gadsden shooting


Gadsden Times – Teen, juvenile arrested in Southside


Dothan Eagle – Houston County drive-thru COVID testing event sees high turnout, again


Dothan Eagle – Dothan sets charges for landfill as reopening nears


Dothan Eagle – Ivey announces statewide online driver license renewal extension


Opelika-Auburn News – EAMC sets COVID-19 hospitalzation record again


Opelika-Auburn News – Human skeletal remains found east of Opelika


Opelika-Auburn News – State senator, commissioner continue difficult COVID-19 fight


WSFA Montgomery – Pedestrian hit, killed on MLK Pkwy. in Phenix City identified


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama hits new high of 2,283 COVID-19 cases Thursday


WSFA Montgomery – Police: Child suffers minor injuries in hit-and-run


WAFF Huntsville – Returning to the workforce after testing positive for COVID-19


WAFF Huntsville – UAB doctors say COVID-19 vaccine could create better immune response than actual infection


WAFF Huntsville – Charges revealed following DeKalb County manhunt


WKRG Mobile – North Alabama man charged with murder after deadly fight


WKRG Mobile – MCPSS: Middle school sports postponed until further notice


WKRG Mobile – Mobile County’s COVID-19 cases numbers and death tolls rising, leaving concerns


WTVY Dothan – Adult and three juveniles arrested for car burglaries and firearm thefts


WTVY Dothan – Charges dismissed against 2007 Coffee County cold case suspect


WTVY Dothan – Houston County tops 1,000 cases of COVID-19


WASHINGTON POST – Live updates: Trump cancels Republican national convention as U.S. surpasses 4 million coronavirus cases


WASHINGTON POST – Trump cancels Republican national convention, his latest reversal as coronavirus spreads


WASHINGTON POST – White House, GOP kill payroll tax cut but flounder on broader coronavirus bill


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Abruptly Cancels Republican Convention in Florida: ‘It’s Not the Right Time’


NEW YORK TIMES – China Orders U.S. to Shut Chengdu Consulate, Retaliating for Houston


NEW YORK TIMES – Republican Stimulus Talks Stall Over Differences on Unemployment


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Trump Cancels GOP Convention Events in Jacksonville, Fla.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Surpass 144,000


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Says Jet Fighter Came Close to Iranian Passenger Plane Over Syria



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