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Daily News Digest – March 22, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, March 22.


1. More eligible for vaccines today

  • Good news! Starting today, about 2 million more Alabamians are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Eligibility now includes people 55 and over, people 16 and older with high-risk medical conditions, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and more critical workers.
  • The qualifying medical conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, smoking, obesity, sickle cell disease and heart conditions.
  • Frontline workers now eligible include those employed transportation, waste and wastewater, food services and public safety. Media are also now eligible, so you better believe I’ve already been online this morning to schedule my vax.
  • Also, the Alabama National Guard begins rural vaccine clinics tomorrow in multiple rural counties throughout the state.
  • Read more about it all from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Gambling bill: What happened and what’s next

  • When a wide-ranging gambling bill failed to pass the State Senate earlier this month, it was a stunning defeat for the most high-profile legislation of the 2021 session so far.
  • But supporters of the plan say there is still hope to pass it or something like it in the two months that remain in the session, and the impending involvement of the governor as a vocal proponent could change the game completely.
  • Sometimes we do these deep dives that might take awhile to put together (and, frankly, to read), but they’re worth it.
  • We tried to get a lot of voices on the inside of the gambling issue: those who sponsored and supported the bill, those who voted against it, those who have perspective on how a House vote might go. Perhaps most notably, I spoke to Gov. Kay Ivey who appears eager to engage more in this debate during the second half of the legislative session.
  • Read more on what happened and what’s next with the gambling bill HERE.



3. Innovation bill filed

  • Last week, legislation was introduced that is intended to boost entrepreneurship in the state.
  • Sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, House Bill 540 would establish the Alabama Innovation Corporation. The Alabama Innovation Commission proposed the corporation as part of its interim recommendations on strategies that will help the state spur innovation and support talent attraction and retention.
  • “This is a crucial step forward for the state of Alabama,” said Poole, who also chairs the Alabama Innovation Commission.
  • Read more from Will Whatley HERE.



4. Austin visits Afghanistan

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, on his first visit to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief, said Sunday that the Biden administration wants to see “a responsible end” to America’s longest war, but the level of violence must decrease for “fruitful” diplomacy to have a chance.
  • With questions swirling about how long U.S. troops will remain in the country, Austin said that “in terms of an end date or setting a specific date for withdrawal, that’s the domain of my boss.” He said his stop in Kabul, the capital, where he met with military commanders and senior Afghan government officials, including President Ashraf Ghani, was intended to let him “listen and learn” and “inform my participation” in reviewing the future of the American force.
  • President Joe Biden said last week in an ABC News interview that it will be “tough” for the U.S. to meet a May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. But Biden said that if the deadline, which is laid out in an agreement between the Trump administration and the Taliban, is extended, it wouldn’t be by a “lot longer.”
  • Read more HERE.


5. 10 twisters confirmed in Alabama, Mississippi; More weather on the way

  • At least 10 tornadoes struck Alabama and Mississippi last week during a severe weather outbreak that could have been worse if temperatures hadn’t remained relatively low, forecasters said.
  • Teams from the National Weather Service in Mississippi found evidence of five less intense tornadoes in Simpson, Lincoln, Lamar, Copiah and Wayne counties, where an EF2 twister with winds of as much as 135 mph ripped apart chicken houses and damaged homes.
  • Five more twisters were confirmed in Alabama in Moundville, south of Tuscaloosa; Fairview in Cullman County; Cottondale and Kellerman in Tuscaloosa County; and Chilton County. There, an EF2 tornado with maximum winds of 130 mph damaged and destroyed homes near Pools Crossroads.
  • Storm surveys were continuing, and the weather service said additional tornadoes could be added to the tally.
  • While forecasters had predicted the possibility of larger tornadoes that stayed on the ground for miles, the weather service said the storms were less intense because heavy rains kept temperatures from rising and providing more energy to the atmosphere.
  • Meanwhile, storms gathering out west could mean another round of severe weather later this week.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gambling bill: what happened and what’s next


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Vaccine eligibility expands today; National Guard clinics start Tuesday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – NWS confirms at least 10 twisters in Alabama, Mississippi


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In Kabul, Pentagon chief speaks of ‘responsible end’ to war


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poole, Reed file legislation to set up Alabama Innovation Corporation


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama National Guard to begin vaccinations at rural sites


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Officials: Black Belt leads state in vaccination percentages


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama reviewing Medicaid expansion incentives


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden on his heels amid a migrant surge at Mexico border


AL.COM – Alabama historic tax credit program fuels growth, sparks debate


AL.COM – Are we not Alabamians too?’: More than 100 attend vigil against Asian American hate


AL.COM – Election intimidation at Alabama polls: Report cites loitering police, ‘Blue Lives Matter’ sign


AL.COM – Advocates protest Alabama bills to limit trans youths’ rights as other states consider similar laws


AL.COM – Contributor Cameron Smith: Like it or not, disconnecting gender from sex has real consequences


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Mo Brooks, Stephen Miller and the stunted legacy of Roy Moore


AL.COM – Contributor David Sher: The Birmingham story we never expected to tell


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery council candidate Davore Jones stabbed to death


Montgomery Advertiser – Fire damages downtown Montgomery church that helps the homeless


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery City Councilman Richard Bollinger dies


Decatur Daily – Workers difficult to find for all range of positions


Decatur Daily – State Senate approves record $7.6 billion education budget with teacher raises, incentives


Times Daily – Colbert Commission approves new vehicle policy


Times Daily – Stanley drafting fee schedule for products, services sold in Inspiration Landing resort


Times Daily – Colbert County park study provides roadmap for commissioners


Anniston Star – High school mountain bikers converge for ‘Melee At McClellan’ race


Anniston Star – Heflin runners, paraders celebrate unity in the cold


Anniston Star – COVID’S TOLL: How to memorialize 303 lives lost in a year?


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Hundreds gather at Linn Park for vigil, after violence against Asian-Americans


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: Current hospitalizations lowest since April 2020 as COVID-19 vaccination distribution continues to expand


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Crews working to clean up Tuscaloosa County after multiple tornados


Tuscaloosa News – LOOKING BACK | This week in West Alabama History: March 22, 2021


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa woman killed in two-vehicle crash involving teen driver


Tuscaloosa News – Two 15th Street restaurants plan to relocate in Tuscaloosa


YellowHammer News – State Sen. Marsh: Enabling legislation included in next attempt at comprehensive gaming; Says bill ‘does everything’ to prevent a monopoly


YellowHammer News – New X-ray instrument sets Auburn University apart, furthers renewal energy research


YellowHammer News – Ivey CoS Jo Bonner: ‘Governor is not a proponent of gaming’ — Supports giving voters ‘very best comprehensive gaming bill’ in the form of a constitutional amendment


Gadsden Times – Boaz’s Powell gets in on ground floor in Snead State’s new welding career track


Gadsden Times – City seeks dismissal of rendering plant suit; virtual hearing set for Friday


Gadsden Times – Two proposed Etowah County bills passed in the state Senate last week


Dothan Eagle – 5 things to know for March 22: Covid, immigration, spa killings, Afghanistan, China


Dothan Eagle – On federal death row, inmates talk about Biden, executions


Dothan Eagle – The Latest: India drugmaker to produce Sputnik V doses


Opelika-Auburn News – Late-stage US study finds AstraZeneca vaccine effective for all ages


Opelika-Auburn News – AstraZeneca: US data shows vaccine effective for all ages


WSFA Montgomery – UAB Doctors reflect on last year, fighting COVID-19


WSFA Montgomery – Man charged with murder in Montgomery stabbing


WSFA Montgomery – Greenville police officer in good condition after crash


WAFF Huntsville – DeKalb County School superintendent, parent respond to new CDC guidelines in schools


WAFF Huntsville – Singing River Trail to connect Scottsboro to the Shoals; director says bill could hinder the project


WAFF Huntsville – ‘He’s acting like a zombie’: Couple arrested high on K2 with child in car, police say


WKRG Mobile – US data shows AstraZeneca vaccine effective for all ages; 79% effective


WKRG Mobile – Miami partying ‘couldn’t go on any longer’, police chief says


WKRG Mobile – On federal death row, inmates talk about Biden, executions


WTVY Dothan – UPDATE: Three arrested in Seahaven Beach Hotel shooting


WTVY Dothan – Filing stimulus payments on your taxes


WTVY Dothan – NWS surveys the Wiregrass after Thursday’s storms


WASHINGTON POST – AstraZeneca’s U.S. trial shows coronavirus vaccine is 79 percent effective


WASHINGTON POST – As vaccinations increase, you may want to dine indoors again. Here’s what to consider.


WASHINGTON POST – State of emergency in Miami Beach extended to April 11 as spring breakers overwhelm the city


NEW YORK TIMES – Evidence in Capitol Attack Most Likely Supports Sedition Charges, Prosecutor Says


NEW YORK TIMES – Menthol Cigarettes Kill Many Black People. A Ban May Finally Be Near.


NEW YORK TIMES – Postal Service Struggles to Speed Up Delivery, Compounding Its Troubles


WALL STREET JOURNAL – AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Is Safe, 79% Effective in Late-Stage U.S. Trials


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Turkish Lira Plunges After Erdogan Fires Central Bank Chief


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Stock Futures Point to Gains for Tech



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