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Daily News Digest – March 17, 2022

Presented by the

Alabama Podiatric Medical Association

Good morning and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

May all the snakes be driven from your proverbial island today.

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, March 17.


1. Gambling stalls in Senate, House bills in committee

  • Welcome to the 23rd legislative day. Let’s talk about gambling.
  • Action starts this morning in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee at 9 a.m. where Rep. Chip Brown, R-Hollinger’s Island, has two lottery bills.
  • House Bill 501 is a constitutional amendment to allow for lottery ticket sales. Revenue from the sales would support education efforts, including scholarships and student loan repayment grants. The fiscal note estimates a lottery would generate $198 million to $285 million per year. House Bill 502 is the enabling legislation. There are public hearings this morning on both bills.
  • Brown’s proposal does not include casinos or sports betting. While some have called for a “straight lottery” bill, even those have previously failed in the Legislature in recent years.
  • Meanwhile, Sen. Greg Albritton’s expansive lottery and gambling bill is NOT on today’s Senate special order calendar, he told Alabama Daily News. That’s in part because of Brown’s recently filed bills.
  • “They’ve been telling us it’s too late (to pass a lottery bill), not this year,” Albritton said about his House counterparts. “Then they drop this. It was a surprise to everyone.”
  • Now, he said, the Senate will wait to see if Brown’s legislation has a chance in the House. Albritton also said he’s been playing “whack-a-mole” with issues on his bill, including concerns about its scope. His constitutional amendment authorizes a state lottery, sports betting, eight full casinos with slots and table games and two smaller gambling sites that could have up to 300 slot machines each.
  • “The biggest problem is fear,” he said.
  •  Lawmakers are taking a spring break next week. When they return to Montgomery March 29 they will have seven possible legislative days remaining to pass bills in this session. While that is enough time to pass bills, it presents a challenge.
  • “Anytime you get down this close to the end of session, you get into a bottleneck,” Albritton said. “…We’re going into the crazy time.”
  • The Senate convenes at 9:30 and the House at 10:00. See you at the State House!


2. Trump calls Mo Brooks ‘disappointing,’ threatens to pull endorsement

  • Former President Donald Trump told a news outlet that he is displeased with the performance of Rep. Mo Brooks, the candidate he endorsed for Alabama’s U.S. Senate race, and suggested he is open to backing another candidate,
  • “Mo Brooks is disappointing,” Trump told the Washington Examiner Tuesday, according to a report published Wednesday.
  • Trump has backed Brooks since last April, more than a year ahead of the upcoming May 24 primary, rewarding the conservative firebrand and ally who whipped up a crowd of Trump supporters at the Jan. 6, 2021, rally that preceded the Capitol riot.
  • Brooks has since found himself in a primary battle with two formidable opponents: Katie Britt, the former Business Council of Alabama president, and Mike Durant, a businessman best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and held prisoner in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident.
  • The Alabama Senate race will decide who replaces retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. Britt previously served as Shelby’s chief of staff.
  • “It’s a very tight race between the three of them right now, and I’m not particularly happy,” Trump told the Examiner, leaving the door open to backing another candidate.
  • Brooks has leaned heavily on the Trump connection. His campaign signs refer to him as “MAGA Mo” in reference to the former president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. He appeared with a life-size poster of Trump at one recent campaign stop.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
**Reminder: we are in the field RIGHT NOW with Cygnal for a new survey on this race and others. ADN Insiders will get a first look at those results, so make sure your subscription is up to date.

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. Senate committee advances COVID-19 treatment bill without quorum

  • A sparsely attended Alabama Senate committee on Wednesday advanced a bill that says doctors can’t have their licenses revoked for giving people with COVID-19 medications not approved by the FDA for treating the virus.
  • Senate Bill 312 was approved on a 4-0 vote in the Senate Health Care Committee. There are 13 members on the committee, which means there weren’t enough present to consider legislation. Senate rules say “a majority of the membership of each standing committee shall constitute a quorum to conduct business, and all standing committees shall meet formally to consider bills before it.”
  • But deciding if he or she has a quorum is up to each committee chair based on what he sees, Secretary of the Senate Pat Harris later told Alabama Daily News.
  • “If the committee chairman says there’s a quorum, we don’t go behind the committee chairman,” Harris said.
  • As long as the chairman certifies the vote, it moves along in the legislative process, Harris said.
  • Committee Chairman Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, is a co-sponsor on SB312 and questioned whether there was a quorum rule when contacted by Alabama Daily News.
  • He then said that time is running out in this legislative session expected to end in early April.
  • “Every committee member there agreed this bill is very important,” McClendon said. “My concern was that if we delayed this, that (the bill) could very well die, just like people are dying from COVID.”
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



4. Heavy rains swamp downtown Birmingham, prompting rescues

  • Heavy rains swamped streets in downtown Birmingham on Wednesday, flooding streets and parking lots and prompting rescues of motorists who got trapped in the deluge.
  • Water was up to the headlights on some vehicles on streets that resembled rushing streams of muddy water, and the National Weather Service warned of life-threatening flash flooding in the area.
  • Video and images shared on social media showed water flowing across sidewalks and into some businesses.
  • Multiple vehicles were stranded on streets covered with water, and emergency management officials urged drivers to avoid the area, including parts of the UAB campus.
  • See footage from WBRC Fox 6 HERE.



5. Fed begins inflation fight with key rate hike, more to come

  • The Federal Reserve launched a high-risk effort Wednesday to tame the worst inflation since the early 1980s, raising its benchmark short-term interest rate and signaling up to six additional rate hikes this year.
  • The Fed’s quarter-point hike in its key rate, which it had pinned near zero since the pandemic recession struck two years ago, marks the start of its effort to curb the high inflation that followed the recovery from the recession. The rate hikes will eventually mean higher loan rates for many consumers and businesses.
  • The central bank, in a policy statement, along with quarterly projections and remarks by Chair Jerome Powell at a news conference, pointed to a somewhat more aggressive approach to rate hikes than many analysts had expected.
  • The projections showed that seven of the central bank’s 16 policymakers favor at least one half-point rate hike this year, suggesting that such a large increase “is a live possibility,” said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase.
  • At his news conference, Powell stressed his confidence that the economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates. But he also made clear that the Fed is focused on doing whatever it takes to reduce inflation, over time, to its 2% annual target. Otherwise, Powell warned, the economy might not sustain its recovery from the pandemic recession.
  • “We’re acutely aware of the need to restore price stability,” the Fed chair said. “In fact, it’s a precondition for achieving the kind of labor market that we want. You can’t have maximum employment for any sustained period without price stability.”
  • Read more HERE.
*By the way, there was an excellent historical explanation of what causes inflation on yesterday’s The Daily podcast from the New York Times. I recommend giving it a listen HERE.




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 – Trump calls Mo Brooks ‘disappointing’, threatens endorsement


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Without quorum, Senate committee advances COVID-19 treatment bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fed begins inflation fight with key rate hike, more to come


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 – 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


AL.COM – Committee approves bill saying Alabama would not enforce presidential orders on guns


AL.COM – Alabama’s first Black federal judge won’t testify against Ketanji Brown Jackson, Biden’s Supreme Court nominee


AL.COM – Alabama GOP claims school counselors ‘indoctrinate’ students, lawmakers file bill to ban standards


AL.COM – What logjam? February a boom month for Port of Mobile


AL.COM – How Alabama is helping Mercedes-Benz move toward an all-electric future


AL.COM – Niagara Bottling to build $112 million Opelika production plant, to hire 50


AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: Mo Brooks’s once substantial Alabama Senate primary lead is gone


AL.COM – Brookside, 23 officers and towing company sued for conspiracy over traffic stops, high fines


AL.COM – Mobile County to decide on $30 million investment for new airport


Montgomery Advertiser – Kimble Forrister is March 2022 Community Hero


Montgomery Advertiser – Kimble Forrister spent 27 years as executive director of Alabama Arise to help low-income people


Montgomery Advertiser – Alexander City’s Keith Lankford named superintendent of Pike Road Schools


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tips on saving money while we deal with inflation


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Mother mourns daughter and seeks justice after murder


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama lawmakers react to Ukraine plea for help


Tuscaloosa News – Book donation, reading planned for Sister Cities celebration with Ghana


Tuscaloosa News – Kimble Forrister spent 27 years as executive director of Alabama Arise to help low-income people


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa’s inaugural ‘Puppy Palooza’ on tap; vendors, food trucks and more needed


Decatur Daily – $1.26 million price proposed for softball complex land


Decatur Daily – Moulton Water Department supervisor’s job status in limbo


Decatur Daily – Senior center in Athens remains closed as city disputes severity of problems


Times Daily – Sheffield Housing Authority grant close to approval


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


Times Daily – Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board renews marketing contract


Anniston Star – Sentencing trial continues in case of Wellborn teacher’s murderer


Anniston Star – Capital projects announced for downtown Anniston and beyond


Anniston Star – Hobson City council veteran Deneva Barnes resigns


YellowHammer News – Club for Growth TV ad hits ‘registered lobbyist’ Katie Britt over state gas tax hike


YellowHammer News – Report: Trump calls Brooks ‘disappointing,’ says he is unhappy with U.S. Senate race


YellowHammer News – Jerry Carl supports sending fighter jets to Ukraine — ‘What’s the difference between a MiG and a Javelin?’


Gadsden Times – Council approves agreements for Summer Concert Series acts; genres, eras in spotlight


Gadsden Times – Kimble Forrister spent 27 years as executive director of Alabama Arise to help low-income people


Gadsden Times – Geraldine man says wrong legal advice led to guilty plea; his lawyer agrees


Dothan Eagle – Biden COVID coordinators leaving in April, Jha to take over


Dothan Eagle – St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are back; March Madness tips off today; plus more top news


Dothan Eagle – Russia-Ukraine war: Key things to know about the conflict


Opelika-Auburn News – Live updates: ‘No death reports’ yet from Mariupol theater


Opelika-Auburn News – 9 dead in crash involving U. of the Southwest golf teams


WSFA Montgomery – Council on Substance Abuse partners with law enforcement to fight opioid epidemic


WSFA Montgomery – 16-year-old killed in Elmore County wreck


WSFA Montgomery – SLE Miracle Rodeo benefits Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch


WAFF Huntsville – New downtown Huntsville hotel opens as VBC books more events


WAFF Huntsville – $25k in grants for Madison County volunteer fire departments


WAFF Huntsville – WBRC FOX6 News photographer helps woman get out of her flooded car


WKRG Mobile – Russia-Ukraine war: Key things to know about the conflict


WKRG Mobile – Palestinians with Ukraine ties empathize with victims of war


WKRG Mobile – Hundreds feared trapped in Ukraine theater hit by airstrike


WTVY Dothan – Mayor believes lab crises, center center is a win for more than Dothan


WTVY Dothan – C-Hope Ministries celebrates 4 years of giving back to Early County


WTVY Dothan – Medley resigns as Daleville Director of Public Safety


WASHINGTON POST – Slaughter in Chernihiv and devastation in Mariupol, as U.S. vows Russia will be held accountable


WASHINGTON POST – As diplomats hint of progress in talks, Ukraine accuses Russia of bombing Mariupol theater


WASHINGTON POST – Fate of hundreds inside theater bombed by Russia still unknown, Ukrainian officials say


NEW YORK TIMES – Ukraine Live Updates: Russia Pounds Civilian Targets as War Enters 4th Week


NEW YORK TIMES – Invoking America’s Darkest Days, Zelensky Pleads for More U.S. Aid


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: Europe’s New Omicron Rise Could Be a Sign for the U.S.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Putin Acknowledges Impact of Sanctions on Russian Economy


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Slip After Rally on Fed Rate Rise


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Bank of England Raises Key Rate for Third Time, Cites New Price Pressures From Russian Invasion



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