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Daily News Digest – March 16, 2022

Presented by the

Alabama Podiatric Medical Association

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, March 16.


1. General Fund passes House

  • The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the largest General Fund Budget in the state’s history, totaling $2.7 billion.
  • Because of changes made in the House, the bill returned Tuesday to the Alabama Senate which voted to go to conference committee to work out differences between the two versions passed by each chamber.
  • The budget includes a 4% pay raise for state employees and a one-time bonus for retired state employees. It provides extra funds for the Alabama Department of Mental Health for construction of community mental health centers and the implementation of crisis intervention training programs.
  • It also extends Medicaid maternity coverage from the current 60 days to a full year after birth.
  • Read more from Maddison Booth HERE.


2. Bill would expand tax credit available under Accountability Act

  • The Alabama Senate on Tuesday approved legislation to increase the allowable tax credit for individuals who donate to private school scholarships through the Alabama Accountability Act.
  • The 2013 law allows for tax credit-funded scholarships for families leaving the state’s lowest-performing public schools. There also is a separate $30 million-per-year scholarship fund for private school tuition. Businesses and individuals who donate to the fund receive income tax credits. Seven scholarship granting organizations, or SGOs, collect and distribute the money to low-income families.
  • Senate Bill 261 by Sen. Dan Roberts, R-Mountain Brook, does not change that $30 million cap but expands the allowable credit from 50% of an individual’s tax burden to 100%, capped at $100,000. The bill does not change corporations’ possible tax credits.
  • Read more HERE.





A message from the

Alabama Podiatric Medical Association

  • Alabama’s scope of practice law for licensed podiatrists hasn’t been amended since it was originally enacted in 1973.
  • In fact, Alabama is one of only three states in the country that does not allow DPMs to treat the foot and ankle in some form.
  • Training for DPMs has evolved significantly over the last 25 years, but younger professionals are bypassing practice opportunities in Alabama because state law significantly limits their advanced training.
  • SB101 by Senator Linda Coleman-Madison would update the state’s podiatry law and seeks to address an emerging access issue for foot and ankle care, particularly in rural and underserved Alabama.






3. What’s on tap

  • Today is not a legislative day — for a change — but there is a busy day of committee meetings and public hearings at the State House.
  • The House education budget committee meets at 9 a.m. and has a public hearing on House Bill 459 to allow county level tax revenue to support charter schools. A Senate version of the bill was approved in committee last week.
  • The Senate Health Care Committee meets at 9:30 a.m. and has a public hearing on Senate Bill 312 to prohibit an occupational licensing board from taking adverse action against a physician who recommends a COVID-19 treatment that is not FDA-approved.
  • The bill says “a licensing board shall not revoke, suspend, fail to renew, or take action against a physician’s license based solely on a physician’s recommended or prescribed treatment for COVID-19 if the physician exercised independent medical judgment, believes that the medical treatment is in the best interest of the patient, and the patient provided written, informed consent before receiving the treatment.”
  • The House Health Committee meets at 10 a.m. and has a public hearing on a bill to expand the scope of practice for midwives. Current law says midwives are not allowed to assist in births if a woman has previously had a cesarean section.  House Bill 164 removes that restriction.
  • See you at the State House (but not on the floor)!



4. Mercedes opens Alabama battery plant, adding up to 600 jobs

  • Mercedes-Benz has opened a new electric vehicle battery factory near Tuscaloosa that will create up to 600 new jobs.
  • The German automaker said Tuesday that the plant in Bibb County opened a few months before Mercedes plans to start making two all-electric SUVs at its large assembly plant in Vance.
  • The new plant will supply batteries for the EQS and EQE SUVs, which will be built for sale in the U.S. and for exports, the company said in a statement. Mercedes said it spent about $1 billion on the battery plant and to upgrade the assembly line in Tuscaloosa to make electric vehicles.
  • The Alabama battery plant will make lithium-ion batteries with an advanced chemistry that contains nickel, cobalt and manganese, Mercedes said.
  • It is one of six battery factories that the company plans including two in Germany, one each in China and Thailand and one in Poland. Mercedes plans to build EVs at seven plants on three continents.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Zelenskyy center stage: Facing Congress, pleading for help

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the U.S. Congress today, the wartime leader’s latest video speech as he uses the West’s great legislative bodies as a global stage to orchestrate support against Russia’s crushing invasion.
  • Zelenskyy’s livestreamed address this morning into the U.S. Capitol will be among the most important in a very public strategy in which he has invoked Winston Churchill, Hamlet and the power of world opinion in his fight to stop Russia.
  • Nearing the three-week mark in an ever-escalating war, Zelenskyy has used his campaign to implore allied leaders to “close the sky” to prevent the Russian airstrikes that are devastating his country. It has also put Zelenskyy at odds with President Joe Biden, whose administration has stopped short of providing a no-fly zone or the transfer of military jets from neighboring Poland as the U.S. seeks to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia.
  • Instead, Biden will deliver his own address following Zelenskyy’s speech, in which he is expected to announce an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, according to a White House official. That would bring the total announced in the last week alone to $1 billion. It includes money for anti-armor and air-defense weapons, according to the official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.





A message from the 

Safe Surgery Coalition

Would you allow someone who is not a highly trained surgeon to operate on your brain, heart, kidneys or lungs? Of course not.
Yet some legislators are trying to change the law in Alabama to allow people who are not trained surgeons – in fact they are not even medical doctors – to operate on your eyes.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – $2.7B General Fund budget moves close to final approval


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would expand tax credit available under Accountability Act


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mercedes opens Alabama battery plant, adding up to 600 jobs


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Football-crazed Alabama sends 4 teams to NCAA hoops tourney


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Zelenskyy center stage: Facing Congress, pleading for help


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Forestry poll shows Durant, Britt pulling away from Brooks


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poll shows Ivey in a commanding lead


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bills to regulate telehealth pending in Senate, House


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ukraine war may lead to rethinking of US defense of Europe


AL.COM – Advocates for low-income families call for Alabama to stop collecting sales tax on groceries


AL.COM – Alabama committee denies debate from Black lawmakers, OKs ‘divisive concepts’ bill


AL.COM – Federal agency says it will work to ensure access to care for transgender minors


AL.COM – Orange Beach votes to create city school system


AL.COM – Controversial conservative commentator Candace Owens to give keynote speech at Faulkner University


AL.COM – Doug Jones: Ketanji Brown Jackson’s 15 minutes with Lindsey Graham ‘a good meeting’


AL.COM – Mercedes-Benz opens Alabama battery plant as it plans to go all-electric by 2030


AL.COM – Coin flips: Alabama bill would let ties in city elections to be decided by random


AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: ‘Birthing people’ is a distortion of reality


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Dream’ come true: Park Crossing student becomes first in family to go to college in a big way


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery Public Schools releases names of 5 superintendent finalists


Montgomery Advertiser – Pike Road custodian is a finalist for Custodian of the Year competition


Decatur Daily – Construction to begin in June on downtown parking deck


Decatur Daily – 1 officer returns to work after January fatal shooting in Priceville


Decatur Daily – Limestone farmer’s market to shift to only locally grown or made items on Tuesday


Times Daily – Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board renews marketing contract


Times Daily – Colbert Commission office reorganization would save about $35K


Times Daily – Sheffield city officials say flea market is operating illegally


Anniston Star – Chamber’s small business promotion involves public competition


Anniston Star – Sentencing trial verdict will determine whether teacher’s killer stays on death row


Anniston Star – City Hall will return to Anniston’s downtown


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – 19-year-old charged in death of 2-year-old was on probation for 2020 shooting


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Lawsuit: Woman claims Brookside Police stole $5,000 and prescription pills during traffic stop


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Major developments in double shooting murder in Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – 2nd & Charles, a ‘nerd’s paradise,’ set to open first Tuscaloosa store


Tuscaloosa News – Mercedes-Benz expects to create 600 jobs at new Bibb County battery plant


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama House approves largest-ever General Fund budget with state employee pay raise


YellowHammer News – Radio, TV ad spending tops $14M in Alabama U.S. Senate race


YellowHammer News – Mike Rogers not optimistic about Ukraine peace talks with Russia — ‘Putin is just playing games’


YellowHammer News – Rep. Barry Moore defends veterans, declares war on VA GI bill fraud


Gadsden Times – GCHS students take hands-on approach to STEM with the Teen Science Café


Gadsden Times – Hokes Bluff’s White to headline Spirit of the South concert at Sand Mountain Amphitheater


Gadsden Times – Alabama House approves largest-ever General Fund budget with state employee pay raise


Dothan Eagle – Multiple dead in crash involving U. of Southwest golf teams in Texas


Dothan Eagle – UK lawmaker: Zaghari-Ratcliffe at airport to leave Iran


Dothan Eagle – Russia says Ukraine talks progressing as onslaught continues


Opelika-Auburn News – Trump pick in Georgia governor race not drawing donor flock


Opelika-Auburn News – Georgia Republicans seek further changes to election laws


Opelika-Auburn News – Zelenskyy center stage: Facing Congress, pleading for help


WSFA Montgomery – 19-year-old charged in death of 2-year-old was on probation for 2020 shooting


WSFA Montgomery – Macon County Commissioner Robert ‘Mike’ Berry dies


WSFA Montgomery – Lowndes County residents to get help with wastewater problems


WAFF Huntsville – First Response Ambulance done taking ambulance calls in Decatur


WAFF Huntsville – Limitations on permitless concealed firearm carry


WAFF Huntsville – High gas prices impacting county budgets


WKRG Mobile – State authorities investigating after Scottsboro Police officer shot wife, died by suicide


WKRG Mobile – Priest, nun named in new Hope Haven sexual abuse lawsuit


WTVY Dothan – $12 million drug lab, mental heath center coming to Dothan


WTVY Dothan – Marianna man arrested after forcing woman into vehicle


WTVY Dothan – Dothan couple works to renovate shopping center


WASHINGTON POST – Biden to announce extra $800 million in military aid; Zelensky to address Congress


WASHINGTON POST – Zelensky speech to Congress could add pressure on Biden


WASHINGTON POST – Ukraine’s Zelensky meets the moment as he prepares to speak to Congress


NEW YORK TIMES – Ukraine Live Updates: Zelensky Will Address Congress as Russia Pummels Kyiv


NEW YORK TIMES – Refugee Crisis Will Test a European Economy Under Pressure


NEW YORK TIMES – Biden to Withdraw Nomination for Fed’s Top Bank Cop


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Ukraine Mounts Counteroffensive to Drive Russians Back From Kyiv, Key Cities


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Russia’s War on Ukraine Transforms Europe, but Hard Decisions Lie Ahead


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Gain Ahead of Anticipated Fed Rate Rise



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