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Daily News Digest – May 11, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, May 11.


1. Ivey: state will end extra federal jobless benefits

  • Alabama will end participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs on June 19, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday.
  • Ivey in a press release cited the state’s recent low unemployment numbers and some businesses’ struggles to find workers as reasons for ending the extra benefits.
  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, extended under the March-enacted American Rescue Plan Act, provides for an additional $300 weekly payment to recipients of unemployment compensation on top of what the state already provides.
  • Job postings on the Alabama Department of Labor’s online help wanted site are up 38% over last year, department spokeswoman Tara Hutchison said recently. Food preparation and server job postings are up 73%, she said.
  • A shortage of willing workers seems to have hit the hospitality industry especially hard. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently said one in four receiving unemployment brings in more than they once earned working.
  • In all, there were 73,570 job ads statewide in March, up more than 20,000 from March 2020, when the pandemic hit Alabama. The 65,392 ads in February were about 12,600 more than pre-pandemic February 2020.
  • Republican officials applauded Ivey’s move, saying it would encourage people to work instead of relying on benefits while progressive groups criticized it as cruel toward a population that is underpaid and lacks proper health care.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.



2. Lawmakers want another shot at state-owned prison plan

  • As the state’s plan to lease new mega-prisons hit another apparent roadblock Monday, more lawmakers appear ready for the state to instead borrow money to construct its own new facilities.
  • Bloomberg News reported Monday that Stifel Financial Corp. is no longer involved in the financing of prisons that would be owned by Tennessee-based CoreCivic. It’s the third underwriter to walk away from the proposal.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey in February signed lease agreements with prison company CoreCivic for men’s facilities in Elmore and Escambia counties. Her office Monday evening referred questions about the future of the deal to the Alabama Department of Corrections.
  • Some legislative leaders on Monday said lawmakers are ready to approve a state-owned prison plan. At least one said support would be there as early as next Monday, the Legislature’s final day of the regular session.
  • Previous efforts for state-built prisons crashed and burned multiple times before Ivey opted for the private route in 2019.
  • Multiple sources told Alabama Daily News that lawmakers have discussed taking current legislation that is awaiting final passage and substituting it with language initiating a state prison bond process similar to one former Gov. Robert Bentley pursued in 2015.
  • Can you imagine? Substituting a bill for a giant prison bond issue on the last day of session?
  • Read all about it from Mary Sell and me HERE (ADN Insider subscription required).
  • Not an ADN Insider? Subscribe today HERE.



3. Pipeline officials hope most service will be back by weekend

  • Hit by a cyberattack, the operator of a major U.S. fuel pipeline said it hopes to have services mostly restored by the end of the week as the FBI and administration officials identified the culprits as a gang of criminal hackers.
  • U.S. officials sought to soothe concerns about price spikes or damage to the economy by stressing that the fuel supply had so far not experienced widespread disruptions, and the company said Monday that it was working toward “substantially restoring operational service” by the weekend.
  • The White House said in a statement late Monday that it was monitoring supply shortages in parts of the Southeast and that President Joe Biden had directed federal agencies to bring their resources to bear.
  • Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, halted operations last week after revealing a ransomware attack that it said had affected some of its systems.
  • Nonetheless, the attack underscored the vulnerabilities of the nation’s energy sector and other critical industries whose infrastructure is largely privately owned. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out by criminal hackers who scramble data, paralyzing victim networks, and demand large payments to decrypt it.
  • Read more HERE.



4. McConnell readies blitz against Democrats’ elections bill

  • Republicans are preparing to launch an all-out assault on sweeping voting rights legislation, forcing Democrats to take dozens of politically difficult votes during a committee hearing that will spotlight the increasingly charged national debate over access to the ballot.
  • The bill, as written, would bring about the largest overhaul of U.S. elections in a generation, touching on almost every aspect of the electoral process. Democrats say the changes are even more important now as Republican-controlled states impose new voting restrictions after the divisive 2020 election.
  • Yet it’s a motivating issue for Republicans, too, with GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell so determined to stop Democrats that he will personally argue against the measure, a rare role for a party leader that shows the extent to which Republicans are prepared to fight as a hearing for the bill begins Tuesday.
  • That’s on top of scores of amendments Republicans will propose to highlight aspects of the bill they believe are unpopular, including public financing for congressional campaigns and an overhaul of the federal agency that polices elections.
  • What’s typically an hourslong legislative slog could drag into a dayslong showdown in the Senate Rules Committee, as Democrats look to advance one of their key priorities to a vote in the full Senate.
  • “It’s a vast federal takeover of all American elections. It’s a horrible bill,” McConnell said during an interview that aired last weekend on KET, a PBS affiliate in his native Kentucky. “I’m going to do everything I can and my colleagues are going to do everything we can to prevent it.”
  • Read more HERE.



5. Pfizer COVID-19 shot expanded to US children as young as 12

  • U.S. regulators on Monday expanded the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12, offering a way to protect the nation’s adolescents before they head back to school in the fall and paving the way for them to return to more normal activities.
  • Shots could begin as soon as Thursday, after a federal vaccine advisory committee issues recommendations for using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds. An announcement is expected Wednesday.
  • Most COVID-19 vaccines worldwide have been authorized for adults. Pfizer’s vaccine is being used in multiple countries for teens as young as 16, and Canada recently became the first to expand use to 12 and up.
  • “This is a watershed moment in our ability to fight back the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president who’s also a pediatrician.
  • The Food and Drug Administration declared that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and offers strong protection for younger teens based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15. The agency noted there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 16 among kids given dummy shots. More intriguing, researchers found the kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies measured in young adults.
  • Read more HERE.



News Briefs


Montgomery mask mandate expires

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s Capital City has allowed its mask mandate to quietly expire.
  • News outlets report that Montgomery’s mask mandate expired Sunday. The expiration came without any action by the mayor or city council to extend it.
  • Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed previously told the Montgomery Advertiser that he had mulled extending the mask mandate by executive order.
  • A statewide mask mandate expired last month, but some local governments have kept local mask requirements in place.

Guilty plea, 50-year-sentence in fatal shooting at factory

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A woman was sentenced to 50 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to fatally shooting a fellow assembly line worker at an Alabama automobile parts plant in 2019.
  • State news outlets report that Angela Mayo, 30, pleaded guilty to a murder charge in state court in Tuscaloosa in the death of Shanina Smith, 27. The shooting happened at Lear Corporation in Tuscaloosa County, a supplier for Mercedes-Benz.
  • Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for Mayo. Her attorney asked for a 20-year sentence, claiming she was on medication for post traumatic stress disorder for rape and sexual assault earlier in her life.
  • Smith was shot multiple times and died at the scene of the shooting. Mayo left the factory but later turned herself in to police. News outlets reported that she claimed Smith had harassed and bullied her at work.
  • “I just want to ask her why, why, why, why did she killed my daughter? I just want to know because I know she wasn’t no bully to her,” Smith’s mother Regina Smith told reporters outside the courtroom, according to WBRC-TV.
  • reported that Mayo was sent to a psychiatric hospital in November after a judge deemed her incompetent to assist in her defense. She was released from the hospital in March. Her guilty plea came after she was deemed competent to stand trial.

Former Alabama officer faces charges in alleged assault

  • CREOLA, Ala. (AP) — A former south Alabama police officer faces charges after authorities say he assaulted a man being held in jail, tying a rope around his neck and hitting and kicking him.
  • A grand jury on Friday indicted Gary Davis, who was a Creola police officer, according to WKRG-TV. Mobile Assistant District Attorney Keith Blackwood told the television station that the alleged assault happened at the Creola jail on April 21.
  • After he was notified of the alleged assault, Police Chief Frank Hammond notified the State Bureau of Investigation. Once the investigation was complete, a disciplinary hearing was held last Monday and Davis was fired.
  • “We don’t tolerate officers that don’t do the right thing. They have to treat people like they like to be treated. We are here to protect and serve,” Hammond said, according to WPMI-TV.
  • Davis is expected to have a bond hearing this week.
  • Hammond said the alleged victim was released on bond.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama to end federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers want another shot at state-owned prison plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pipeline officials hope most service will be back by weekend


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP readies blitz against Democrats’ elections bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pfizer COVID-19 shot expanded to US children as young as 12


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislation to untax Rescue Plan relief may have to wait


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House GOP leader says he backs ousting Cheney from No. 3 job


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Cyberattack on US pipeline is linked to criminal gang


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weak jobs report spurs new arguments over big fed spending


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest– May 10, 2021


AL.COM – Alabama to end pandemic-related unemployment programs


AL.COM – Third investment bank backs out of underwriting financing for new Alabama prisons


AL.COM – Huntsville police officer convicted of murder placed on paid leave


AL.COM – Alabama Democratic Party calls for firings of Huntsville police chief, officer convicted of murder


AL.COM – What’s in Alabama’s medical marijuana bill?


AL.COM – $22 million grant to bolster causeway ‘lifeline’ to Dauphin Island, adding salt marsh habitat


AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: Liz Cheney: Liar or inconveniently honest?


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama to withdraw from federal pandemic unemployment programs


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery nonprofit Alabama Appleseed receives NFL Inspire Change grant


Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville police investigate homicide


Times Daily – Broadband grants to help local rural areas


Times Daily – Ivey ends pandemic unemployment programs


Times Daily – Bill to untax Rescue Plan relief may have to wait


Anniston Star – Profile Mill gets two-week reprieve from Jacksonville City Council


Anniston Star – Legislation to untax Rescue Plan relief may have to wait


Anniston Star – Alabama to end federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Secretary of Labor explains Alabama pandemic unemployment benefit cessation


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Police searching for missing infant boy from Montgomery


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State offering incentives for COVID vaccines, how they keep track of those who try to get vaccinated again


Tuscaloosa News – Grief and celebrations mingle at COVID-19 memorial in Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – State troopers identify person killed in Sunday’s five-vehicle crash


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama to withdraw from federal pandemic unemployment programs


YellowHammer News – Historic Alabama-launched NASA spacecraft begins two-year return to Earth, could bring back knowledge about origin of life


YellowHammer News – Ivey awards almost $17 million in broadband expansion grants


YellowHammer News – Alabama to opt-out of all federal pandemic unemployment relief effective June 19 — ‘Our 30-day notice that it’s time to get back to work’


Gadsden Times – Alabama to withdraw from federal pandemic unemployment programs


Gadsden Times – Hearing in rendering plant case postponed; judge rejects efforts to quash subpoenas


Gadsden Times – Touch-A-Truck event to be held at The Venue at Coosa Landing on May 16


Dothan Eagle – What we know about the mass school shooting in Russia


Dothan Eagle – 100 days in power, Myanmar junta holds pretense of control


Dothan Eagle – US Navy releases video of altercation with Iran in Strait of Hormuz


Opelika-Auburn News – China adds few babies, loses workers as its 1.4B people age


Opelika-Auburn News – World shares skid after tech sell-off on Wall Street


Opelika-Auburn News – Israeli army chief orders troop reinforcements, defense minister calls up reserves as Gaza hostilities ramp up


WSFA Montgomery – 7 injured in Monday night Montgomery shooting, police say


WSFA Montgomery – FBI names pipeline cyberattackers as company promises return


WSFA Montgomery – Homicide under investigation in Prattville


WAFF Huntsville – Deadly shooting at Huntsville apartment complex


WAFF Huntsville – Business owners relieved as Gov. Ivey announces end to extra unemployment benefits


WAFF Huntsville – Marshall Medical Centers celebrate staff for National Hospital Week


WKRG Mobile – Two people shot and killed in Pensacola


WKRG Mobile – Drivers frustrated by gasoline shortage, long lines at pumps


WKRG Mobile – DPD: Missing and endangered elderly Daphne man


WTVY Dothan – Nurses week: Medical Center Enterprise nurses share their purpose


WTVY Dothan – Celebrating National Salvation Army Week


WTVY Dothan – Dothan non-profit celebrates ten year anniversary during fundraiser


WASHINGTON POST – FDA authorizes Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for adolescents 12 to 15 years old


WASHINGTON POST – Recovery’s stumbles leave Americans confronting unfamiliar inflation risk


WASHINGTON POST – After Jerusalem erupts, deadly strikes and clashes spread across Israel and the Palestinian territories


NEW YORK TIMES – To Vaccinate Younger Teens, States and Cities Look to Schools, Camps, Even Beaches


NEW YORK TIMES – I.P.A. Signing Bonuses and Free Subs: Luring Labor as a Beach Economy Booms


NEW YORK TIMES – After Raid on Aqsa Mosque, Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Airstrikes


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Surge in China’s Factory-Gate Prices Adds to Inflation Worries


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stocks Poised to Extend Decline, Led by Tech


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Job Openings Rise Despite Hiring Slowdown



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