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Daily News Digest – March 9, 2021

Presented by Alabama’s Locally-Owned

Health Mart Community Pharmacies


Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, March 9.


1. Session resumes

The General Fund budget and bills to expand gambling in the state, create harsher penalties for those who participate in destructive riots and curtail state spending without legislative approval — welcome to the fifth week of the Alabama Legislature.
Here’s what’s on tap…
  • Today’s business starts in the House Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. Rep. Allen Treadaway’s House Bill 455 to increase penalties for those who participate in riots will have a public hearing. A vote is also expected today. Treadaway, a retired Birmingham assistant police chief, began drafting the bill after a summer protest in that city turned destructive and led to multiple businesses being damaged. The bill has 50 GOP co-sponsors. Democrats have spoken against it, saying it’s an attempt to silence and intimidate people.
  • The Senate Government Affairs Committee meets at 1 p.m. and its agenda includes a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit Alabama governors from entering contracts larger than $5 million without the Legislature’s approval. Senate Bill 290 from Sen. Greg Albritton would not impact Gov. Kay Ivey’s deals to lease three mega prisons, but could stop or at least slow future deals that large “without some means of paying for it or a means of oversight in how it’s done and when it’s done,” he said.
  • The House convenes at 1 p.m. today and its agenda includes the record-setting $2.4 billion 2022 General Fund budget. The proposal approved in committee would increase the fiscal year 2022 budget by $78.9 million from the fiscal year 2021 budget, putting the budget at a record-setting $2.4 billion. It’s also about $15 million more than what Gov. Kay Ivey proposed in February, an increase that is spread out in increments to various state agencies. Here’s the budget spreadsheet.
  • The Senate meets at 2 p.m. and Sen. Del Marsh’s lottery and expanded gambling bill is expected to be debated and voted upon. However, that could all be delayed again if changes to the bill in the form of a substitute are not quite ready to go by game time. His bill would allow for a lottery, expanded casino gambling and legalized sports betting.
  • If approved in the Senate and then the House, which in the past has been more likely to kill gambling bills, the measure will go before voters for final approval. Alabamians voted down a state lottery proposal in 1999.
  • Read more details about what’s on tap from Mary Sell HERE.
  • Read more specifically about the gambling bill from Kin Chandler HERE.



2. CDC: ‘We are starting to turn a corner’

  • Fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to long-awaited guidance from federal health officials.
  • The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can come together in the same way — in a single household — with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the guidance Monday.
  • The guidance is designed to address a growing demand, as more adults have been getting vaccinated and wondering if it gives them greater freedom to visit family members, travel, or do other things like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world last year.
  • “With more and more people vaccinated each day, we are starting to turn a corner,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
  • Read more HERE.







A message from Alabama’s Locally-Owned

Health Mart Community Pharmacies

  • Alabama’s community pharmacists are more than just the friendly faces that fill your prescriptions every month; they are an essential link in the healthcare chain.
  • In rural areas, community pharmacists are often the first – and sometimes the only – healthcare contact for residents in a community.
  • In addition to keeping Alabama communities healthy by filling prescriptions, most of the APCI network of community pharmacies provide vital healthcare services such as immunizations, clinical testing, and medication counseling.
  • We appreciate the pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy staff members – your friends and neighbors – in our locally-owned pharmacies who go above and beyond to safely meet the healthcare needs of Alabamians.
  • Find your locally-owned community Health Mart pharmacy HERE.








3. Biden’s bet: Can government be the cure?

  • President Joe Biden wants America to know that he’s from the government and he’s here to help.
  • That sentiment became a well-worn punchline under Ronald Reagan and shaped the politics of both parties for four decades. Democrat Bill Clinton declared the era of big government over in the 1990s, Barack Obama largely kept his party in the same lane and Republican Donald Trump campaigned on the premise that Washington was full of morons, outplayed by the Chinese and others.
  • But Biden is now staking his presidency on the idea that the government can use his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan not only to stop a pandemic and jobs crisis but also to catapult the country forward to tackle deep issues of poverty, inequality and more. The massive bill could be approved by Congress as early as today.
  • “When I was elected, I said we were going to get the government out of the business of battling on Twitter and back in the business of delivering for the American people,” Biden said after the huge bill passed the Senate on Saturday. “Of showing the American people that their government can work for them.”
  • Taken together, provisions in the 628-page bill add up to one of the largest enhancements to the social safety net in decades, pushing the country into uncharted territory.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Spring Break cancelled?

  • Goodbye, sunshine. Hello, study sessions.
  • Colleges around the U.S. are scaling back spring break or canceling it entirely to discourage partying that could spread the virus and raise infection rates back on campus.
  • Texas A&M University opted for a three-day weekend instead of a whole week off. The University of Alabama also did away with spring break but is giving students a day off later in the semester. At Auburn, spring break is being replaced with three wellness days spread throughout the semester.
  • Last year spring break was one of the first big casualties of the pandemic as the U.S. went into strict lockdowns, shutting down beaches just as alarming scenes of college students heedlessly drinking, dancing and getting up close without masks were plastered across social media.
  • Now, beach towns are hoping to make up for some of those losses, even as they take precautions to discourage reckless behavior and curb the spread of the virus.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Inside Alabama Politics

A new edition of Inside Alabama Politics is out today.
In this issue:
  • Ivey threads the needle;
  • Senate 2022 update;
  • Musical chairs for undercard races;
  • Tuberville minds the political shop;
  • How goes the session: Budgets, Broadband push, Club for Growth, Push back on trans bills, Permanent reminder of a temporary feeling;
  • Potpourri.
Read these stories and more HERE.
Not an ADN Insider? It’s our premium service in which paid subscribers get access to scoops, exclusives and the ever-popular editions of Inside Alabama Politics. And remember, subscribing counts as a campaign expense. See rates HERE.



News Briefs

Teen accused of killing sheriff denied youth-offender status

  • HAYNEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A 19-year-old charged with capital murder in the slaying of an Alabama sheriff was denied youthful-offender status Monday, which would have limited any prison time if convicted to a maximum of three years.
  • William Chase Johnson appeared before retired Circuit Judge Bert Rice Monday where he also pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. Rice was given the case when local judges recused themselves.
  • Details on the mental disease or defect weren’t immediately released.
  • Youthful-offender status is available to suspects who were 18 to 21 years old when charged with a crime. Usually it is reserved for non-violent offenders. With the status denial, Johnson faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.
  • Johnson’s the son of a sheriff’s deputy in a county next to where the slaying took place. He was 18 when he was accused of fatally shooting Lowndes County Sheriff “Big John” Williams Sr. in the face as the sheriff was attempting to disperse loiterers at a Hayneville gas station in November 2019. An arrest warrant alleged Johnson was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the shooting.

Forestry: 24 wildfires burning across Alabama

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Wildfires have burned more than 2,300 acres of land across Alabama in recent days, forestry officials said Monday as firefighters battled two dozen blazes statewide.
  • Fire charred 560 acres in St. Clair County, and two 400-acre fires burned in Cullman and Cherokee counties, according to a statement by the Alabama Forestry Commission. Another fire burned 200 acres in Escambia County.
  • No significant rain is forecast for the rest of the week, so anyone burning debris or starting any outdoor fire needs to be careful, the agency said.
  • “Although no burn restrictions have been issued, the Forestry Commission encourages everyone to be very cautious until conditions improve,” State Forester Rick Oates said.

Councilman asked to resign over racially insensitive post

  • DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama councilman apologized for making a racially charged social media post two years ago but a fellow council member believes the apology isn’t enough.
  • On Saturday, Decatur Councilman Hunter Pepper said he was “extremely sorry” for a 2018 Facebook post where he implied that protesters marching against the death of Black man at the Galleria Mall in Hoover should be run over.
  • The mall in the suburban Birmingham area was the site of a 2018 police shooting where an officer fatally shot an armed Black man after mistaking him for the gunman in an earlier shooting at the mall. The shooting of 21-year-old Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. prompted a series of protests.
  • Pepper’s post was to an article on the protests in which he commented, “See I have to go shopping there next week and we gone play a game called red rover red rover you fools gone get ran over!”
  • Pepper, who is the youngest person to be elected to the Decatur City Council, was 16 years old when he created the post.
  • He said the post was “very ignorant” and that he didn’t “remember being that aggressive as a juvenile.” Pepper also said that the post makes no mention of race but “unfortunately it took a turn in that direction to involve race.
  • “There is nothing in that post that mentions race whatsoever,” Pepper said. “I’m not a racist individual, and don’t like racism and am extremely sorry how that turned out.”






A message from the

Alabama Wholesale Beer Association

  • The past few years have seen an unprecedented rise in e-commerce, including the delivery of alcoholic beverages.
  • But one proposal in the Alabama Legislature – HB437 or the “direct wine bill” – threatens local Alabama small and family-owned businesses and erodes needed regulation in the alcohol industry.
  • Read more about why HERE.







ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What’s on tap at the State House – Tuesday, March 9


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lottery, casino bill heads to Alabama Senate vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden’s bet: Can government be the cure?


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – CDC: ‘We are starting to turn a corner’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Spring break partying falls victim to COVID-19


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmaker: During pandemic ‘compassionate care’ needed in health facility visitor policies


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State budgets, legislative authority, gambling bills in State House next week


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Highlights of the $1.9T COVID bill nearing final passage


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will Whatley: What Would Lincoln Do?


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 8, 2021


AL.COM – COVID in Alabama: For health care workers, battling coronavirus took a toll


AL.COM – COVID vaccines while pregnant, breastfeeding? UAB doctor says it’s safe


AL.COM – Senator says ‘moving parts’ could delay Alabama lottery, casino bill


AL.COM – Alabama had some of nation’s strongest retail sales during COVID pandemic


AL.COM – Struggling Alabama colleges hope for more state funding for COVID recovery


AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: In unraveling a ‘conspiracy of silence,’ I find room for hope. Maybe even redemption.


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: What will you carry with you from the pandemic?


AL.COM – Inside the Alabama stop on Blue Origin’s journey to the moon


AL.COM – Broadband access big problem in Alabama; funding solutions a bigger problem


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery airport will require masks after state order expires


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama House to vote on General Fund; will state employees see a pay raise?


Montgomery Advertiser – Special election for House District 78 in north and west Montgomery set


Decatur Daily – Scientists concerned about impact of ‘forever chemicals’ on COVID


Decatur Daily – 3rd Friday to return May 21 after in-person activities canceled last year


Decatur Daily – City to close portion of Spring Avenue on Tuesday


Times Daily – Shoals officials concerned about potential change in Metro designation


Times Daily – How the MSA loss would affect you in the Shoals


Times Daily – Lawmaker: Compassion needed in visitor policies


Anniston Star – Amendments to food truck ordinance on City Council’s plate


Anniston Star – Piedmont man gives insanity plea in sex abuse case


Anniston Star – Vaccinated locals react to new CDC guidelines


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Some retailers require masks despite relaxed mask mandates


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Companies offer incentives to employees who get COVID-19 shots


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Language program for parents and babies offered by Birmingham Talks


Tuscaloosa News – Brookwood High Singers will perform national anthem at Talladega


Tuscaloosa News – Sonya McKinstry asks court to overturn District 7 election results


Tuscaloosa News – McFarland Mall Demolition Begins


YellowHammer News – Google providing $1.15M to Trufund with aim to help small businesses recover from COVID-19 in Alabama and elsewhere


YellowHammer News – Birmingham-based Buffalo Rock marks a first by naming Matthew Dent CEO


YellowHammer News – Marshall wins federal court ruling in legal fight over post-deadline attempt to ratify ERA


Gadsden Times – Cherokee County fire contained; expected to burn 550 acres


Gadsden Times – Alabama House to vote on General Fund; will state employees see a pay raise?


Gadsden Times – Texas man killed Sunday in Blount County crash


Dothan Eagle – The Latest: New Zealand opens 1st big vaccination clinic


Dothan Eagle – Habitat for Humanity begins work on new Georgia community


Dothan Eagle – Deep freeze just latest disaster to befall Houston’s needy


Opelika-Auburn News – Teen accused of killing sheriff denied youth-offender status


Opelika-Auburn News – EU lawmakers lift the immunity of 3 Catalan separatists


Opelika-Auburn News – ‘Bad news’: Wave of GOP retirements signals battles ahead


WSFA Montgomery – Companies offer incentives to employees who get COVID-19 shots


WSFA Montgomery – TroyFest Art & Craft Festival returns to downtown Troy in April


WSFA Montgomery – Auburn-Opelika could soon lose metropolitan status


WAFF Huntsville – New CDC guidelines means fully vaccinated people can visit grandchildren, friends and more


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Hospital Health System allowing more visitors for non-COVID-19 patients


WAFF Huntsville – Jackson County Commission eligible to receive federal Coronavirus funding


WKRG Mobile – 8 expecting mothers take over Kansas elementary school


WKRG Mobile – School employee arrested by Auburn Police, charged with sex act with student


WKRG Mobile – Crestview man killed on Interstate 10 in Santa Rosa County


WTVY Dothan – Level Plains, ALDOT officials meet for roadway solutions


WTVY Dothan – Coffee County Commission endorses bill to raise base pay for some county positions


WTVY Dothan – Free Speech rally to be held at Coffee County Farm Center


WASHINGTON POST – Relief bill is most significant legislation for Black farmers since Civil Rights Act, experts say


WASHINGTON POST – Airlines, public transit agencies say $1.9 trillion relief plan would prevent deep cuts, job losses


WASHINGTON POST – Murderers, undocumented immigrants: Hyped-up claims about who’s getting stimulus checks


NEW YORK TIMES – Pandemic Forces F.D.A. to Sharply Curtail Drug Company Inspections


NEW YORK TIMES – Pandemic Relief Bill Fulfills Biden’s Promise to Expand Obamacare, for Two Years


NEW YORK TIMES – Vaccinated Americans, Let the Unmasked Gatherings Begin (but Start Small)


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Rise, Pointing to Tech’s Rebound


WALL STREET JOURNAL – House Progressives Back Revised Covid-19 Aid Bill as Vote Nears


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Growth Surge Could Unbalance Fragile Global Economy




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