Set a reminder: tomorrow at 10:30, WBRC Fox 6 and the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project are hosting a live Q&A panel discussion on vaccine hesitancy. Alabama Daily News has been proud to partner with these organizations to develop the event, which you can read more about and participate in HERE.
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, June 8.
1. Doctor: Alabama’s lagging vaccination rates a concern
- An infectious disease expert said Monday that he is concerned about lagging vaccination rates in Alabama as well as the number of unvaccinated people who appear to have abandoned wearing masks.
- Alabama has the second-lowest percentage of people vaccinated, ranking only above Mississippi, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Alabama, about 36% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine and 29% are fully vaccinated.
- “All of us want to get back to normal, every single one of us. The vaccine is our sure ticket to get there,” said Dr. Mike Saag, professor with the University of Alabama’s Division of Infectious Diseases.
- The CDC has said fully vaccinated people are safe to go without masks, but Saag said that message appears to have gotten misconstrued.
- Read more HERE.
2. Katie Britt announces run for U.S. Senate
- Katie Britt has made it official: the Wiregrass native and former head of the state’s largest business organization is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.
- In a campaign announcement video released today, Britt said she would “put Alabama first and never apologize for it, championing pro-jobs policies that increase opportunity for hardworking families in every corner of our state. Because we don’t just need a senator from Alabama, we need a Senator for Alabama.”
- During the late 2010s, Britt served as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who is retiring after the end of this term. After her work in Washington, Britt was named president of the Business Council of Alabama, which advocates for pro-business policies on the state and federal level on behalf of member companies. She referenced both recent job experiences in her campaign announcement.
- With a little less than a year to go before primary elections, the race for U.S. Senate is starting to take shape. Two Republicans were already in the race: Congressman Mo Brooks and Lynda Blanchard, a businesswoman who was recently ambassador to Slovenia under former President Donald Trump. Brandaun Dean, mayor of Brighton, Alabama, is the only announced candidate on the Democratic side.
- For those curious about the staffing side, Britt has Paul Shashy managing and Sean Ross running comms. Shashy most recently managed the Tuberville Senate campaign and Ross recently stepped down as editor of YellowHammer News. (All of which I suppose you already knew if you read between the lines in the latest Inside Alabama Politics.)
- Full story from me plus the video announcement HERE.
A message from the
Energy Institute of Alabama
- The Energy Institute of Alabama (EIA) is proud to continue the annual celebration honoring Alabama’s selfless utility workers.
- Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day is meant to recognize the more than 2,000 hardworking linemen and linewomen represented by EIA member companies who ensure Alabama enjoys safe and reliable power.
- To further thank, honor and recognize Alabama’s linemen and women, EIA released a video tribute with personal messages from a variety of in-state leaders.
- Additionally, EIA previously created a foundation–funded by the sale of specialty license plates and donations–to assist the families of linemen when a tragedy or accident occurs on the job.
3. New testing, ‘implied consent’ law changes target drugged drivers
- The number of drugged drivers on Alabama roadways has steadily increased in recent years and in 2019, more impaired drivers were found to have marijuana in their systems than alcohol.
- Meth, alprazolam (Xanax) and cocaine rounded out the top five substances found in impaired drivers.
- “It’s very common for us to see on average three different drugs in DUI cases in the same person, they don’t do just one,” Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Director Angelo Della Manna told Alabama Daily News. His department performs all of the forensic laboratory testing in DUI cases across Alabama.
- Now, Della Manna and law enforcement expect the ability to collect saliva at the roadside and more accurately detect the substances and quantities in a person’s system will get more drugged drivers off the streets.
- Senate Bill 258, which passed the Legislature this session and was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey, adds the collection of a roadside saliva sample to the state’s implied consent law, allowing for oral fluid collection at the time of a wreck or traffic stop.
- Rep. Rex Reynolds, R-Huntsville, a former chief of police for that city, handled the bill in the House. He said the post-arrest saliva collection will give law enforcement “another layer of evidence to take to court and get a conviction.”
- Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
4. Harris to Guatemalans: ‘Do not come. Do not come’
- Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a direct warning to Guatemalan migrants considering making the trek to the U.S. border: “Do not come. Do not come.”
- Her comments, during a press conference after she met privately with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday, underscored the challenge that remains even as Harris engages in substantive talks with the Guatemalan and Mexican presidents during a three-day visit to the region this week, her first foreign trip as vice president.
- “I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home,” Harris said. “At the same time, I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come, do not come.”
- While in Latin America, Harris is also navigating the politics of immigration. Congressional Republicans have criticized both President Joe Biden and Harris for not visiting the U.S.-Mexico border and contend the administration is ignoring what they say is a crisis there. April was the second-busiest month on record for unaccompanied children encountered at the border, following March’s all-time high. The Border Patrol’s total encounters in April were up 3% from March, marking the highest level since April 2000.
- On Monday, Harris defended her decision not to visit the border, telling reporters she was focused on addressing the root causes of migration in a way that delivers “tangible” results “as opposed to grand gestures.”
- Read more from Alexandra Jaffe HERE.
5. Saban inks new 8-year deal through 2028 season
- Alabama coach Nick Saban, who has won a record seven national championships, has agreed to a three-year contract extension running through the 2028 season.
- Alabama announced the extension on Monday, including $8.425 million in base salary and a talent fee for the current contract year with annual raises of unspecified amounts.
- The 69-year-old Saban, who has led the Crimson Tide to six national championships since taking over in 2007, will receive an $800,000 “contract completion benefit” after each contract year from 2022-25.
- Saban said in a statement that he and his wife, Terry, “are pleased and happy to sign another contract extension that will keep us in Tuscaloosa through the end of our career. Our family calls Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama home, it’s a place where our roots now run deep.”
- Read more HERE.
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – May 28, 2021
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Doctor: Alabama’s lagging vaccination rates a concern
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Katie Britt announces run for U.S. Senate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New testing, ‘implied consent’ law changes target drugged drivers
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Harris to Guatemalans: ‘Do not come. Do not come’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama, Saban agree to new 8-year deal through 2028 season
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As Congress returns, Dems’ agenda faces tough test
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pendergrass challenging Dismukes for House seat
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Air National Guard gets first female general
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Testimony: Man led police to son’s body after public plea
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Selma-to-Montgomery march camps top list of endangered sites
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – June 7, 2021
AL.COM – Katie Boyd Britt files statement saying she’s running for Richard Shelby’s U.S. Senate seat
AL.COM – Katie Britt candidacy could set up battle between business, grassroots wings of Alabama GOP
AL.COM – Mo Brooks files police report over ‘unlawful’ serving of lawsuit on his wife
AL.COM – What parents need to know about Alabama’s third grade reading retention law
AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: Birmingham council president’s $13 million vaccination ‘sweepstakes’ shot should poke Gov. Ivey
AL.COM – Supreme Court declines case of Eugene Clemons, man on Alabama death row for DEA agent murder
AL.COM – Navy contract could clear way for steel work at Austal USA
AL.COM – Alabama giving 29 babies $529 to start college savings accounts
AL.COM – Mohawk Industries increasing production, to hire 130 in Randolph County.
AL.COM – Striking Alabama coal miners endure arrests, see little progress: ‘We’re just standing together’
Montgomery Advertiser – Auburn’s Draketown neighborhood memorialized with lost photos
Montgomery Advertiser – Historical marker dedicated to Montgomery’s Bricklayers Hall
Montgomery Advertiser – Life in Draketown: Newly published photos reveal lost Black community in Auburn
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Cullman Count Schools to start summer feeding program
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Local housing market: where to get the most value for your dollar
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – House explodes near Coosa County line
Tuscaloosa News – Three suspects charged in connection with shooting death at apartment complex
Tuscaloosa News – Earth Wind and Fire to play Tuscaloosa Amphitheater Oct. 19
Tuscaloosa News – Historical marker dedicated to Montgomery’s Bricklayers Hall
Decatur Daily – Rental cars scarce, expensive this summer
Decatur Daily – In the community: Two years and counting
Decatur Daily – Tell us about your Fourth of July event
Times Daily – Chamber seeks participation in Talent Pipeline Management Initiative
Times Daily – Man receives multiple 99-year sentences
Anniston Star – Health care workers honored at Farm Fest event
Anniston Star – Mo Brooks claims he was served insurrection lawsuit a second time in Saks Monday
Anniston Star – New testing, ‘implied consent’ law changes target drugged drivers
YellowHammer News – Calhoun County Circuit Judge Debra Jones seeking seat on Alabama Supreme Court
YellowHammer News – Saban contract extended through 2028 season
YellowHammer News – Birmingham-based Big announces full agency strategy team to support robust state and growing national client base
Gadsden Times – Historical marker dedicated to Montgomery’s Bricklayers Hall
Gadsden Times – Katie Boyd Britt files to run for U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, sets up 3-way battle for GOP nomination
Gadsden Times – Preliminary injunction granted against rendering plant project; trial on tap in July
Dothan Eagle – UK’s Johnson spared vote on foreign aid cut ahead of G7
Dothan Eagle – China hosts Southeast Asian ministers as it competes with US
Dothan Eagle – The Latest: Hawaii’s eviction moratorium extended 60 days
Opelika-Auburn News – ‘Get used to me’: Postmaster evokes Trump style in Biden era
Opelika-Auburn News – 5 things to know for June 7: White House, coronavirus, voting, Mexico, Chicago
Opelika-Auburn News – France opens graft probe into Lebanon’s central bank chief
WSFA Montgomery – Wetumpka attracting new visitors, residents following ‘Home Town Takeover’
WSFA Montgomery – Police: 2 injured in shooting at Prattville party
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery County sheriff reflects on Baldwin County deputy’s death
WAFF Huntsville – Controversy continues over Confederate monument in Marshall County
WAFF Huntsville – Bicyclist hit by car, killed on University Drive
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville mayor responds to officer leg stomping video
WKRG Mobile – Two children drown within a week in Northwest Florida
WKRG Mobile – Second Perdido Beach Resort employee killed by alleged drunk driver
WKRG Mobile – George County sees damage after Sunday morning storms
WTVY Dothan – UAB doctor discusses latest vaccine rates
WTVY Dothan – Elba police makes arrest in Sunday shooting
WTVY Dothan – Tri-State Expo announces 2021 Juneteenth Queens
WASHINGTON POST – Capitol Police had intelligence indicating an armed invasion weeks before Jan. 6 riot, Senate probe finds
WASHINGTON POST – Democrats grapple with way forward on Biden agenda after Manchin throws up roadblocks
WASHINGTON POST – FBI-controlled AN0M app ensnares scores of alleged criminals in global police sting
NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Seizes Share of Ransom From Hackers in Colonial Pipeline Attack
NEW YORK TIMES – F.D.A. Approves Alzheimer’s Drug Despite Fierce Debate Over Whether It Works
NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: Texas Hospital’s Vaccine Mandate Prompts Worker Protest
WALL STREET JOURNAL – AMC, Other Meme Stocks Turn Options Market Upside Down
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Senate Probe Faults Intelligence, Security Failures Over Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Stock Futures Waver Ahead of Data