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Daily News Digest – May 24, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, May 24.


1. Morgan County online sales tax split could be duplicated in other areas

  • A recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling will mean millions of dollars in online sales tax revenue for Morgan County schools and is a win for schools statewide, supporters say.
  • Some expect more local legislation similar to the north Alabama county’s in the next legislative session.
  • The court earlier this month upheld the constitutionality of a 2019 local law by Sen. Arthur Orr that directed the bulk of revenue from online sales tax, referred to as SSUT, received by the county commission to the county’s public schools.
  • Orr said the local bill mirrored that of the county’s existing bricks-and-mortar sales tax distribution — revenue that has dipped as more people shop online.
  • “In Morgan County, the internet sales tax money was really coming at the expense of the school children’s money,” Orr said recently.
  • He said he expects to see other lawmakers file similar bills, if their counties have similar sales tax distributions.
  • Ryan Hollingsworth, executive director of School Superintendents of Alabama, agreed.
  • “The SSUT collected in April of 2021 was up 71.77% compared to April of 2020,” Hollingsworth said. “The SSUT continues to grow at a much faster pace than regular sales tax collected at brick and mortar stores. It is obvious that people are making more and more online purchases and this will negatively impact the collection of sales tax at the local level that are being used to fund local schools.”
  • Traditional sales tax revenue was up 38.16% in April.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Work begins on $365M project to improve Mobile ship channel

  • Work has begun on a $365 million project to improve the ship channel for Alabama’s seaport, work which officials said would keep the docks competitive in the global economy.
  • The two-phase project includes both deepening and widening the channel, which large ships use to enter and exit the state docks at the northern end of Mobile Bay. Work that began Friday includes dredging along a 12-mile stretch, officials said.
  • All the work is supposed to be completed by 2025 through contracts awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the port authority said in a news release. Executive officer John Driscoll said the project was crucial for the port.
  • Last year, Alabama Daily News reported that the Corps had allocated $274 million toward the channel dredging, a project long sought by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who is serving his final term in the Senate.
  • The state agreed to match those funds with a $150 million bond issue going toward the project.
  • Read more HERE.



3. Biden betting on wage growth, while GOP warns of inflation

  • The Biden administration recently gave a bit of simple advice to businesses that are unable to find workers: Offer them more money.
  • This recommendation, included in a White House memo about the state of the economy, gets at a fundamental tension in an economy that is returning to full health after the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses are coping with spiking prices for goods such as steel, plywood, plastics and asphalt. Yet workers, after enduring a year of job losses, business closures and social distancing, are no longer interested in accepting low wages.
  • Boosting wages gets at the central promise of the Biden presidency to improve the lives of everyday Americans and restore the country’s competitive edge in the world. Republicans say that Biden’s policies have already let loose a torrent of inflation that will hurt the economy. The outcome of these competing forces could decide the trajectory of the U.S. economy as well as the factors weighing on voters in next year’s elections.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Blinken to Mideast to push peace talks after Gaza truce

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to the Middle East to press the Israelis, Palestinians and regional players to build on last week’s Gaza cease-fire by laying the groundwork for an eventual resumption in long-stalled peace talks.
  • President Joe Biden announced Blinken would depart today for a short visit to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Egypt for what will be the Biden administration’s highest-level in-person meetings on the crisis that erupted earlier this month.
  • In a statement, Biden said Blinken will also work with regional partners to ensure “the coordinated international effort to ensure immediate assistance reaches Gaza.”
  • The administration has defended its response by saying it engaged in intense, but quiet, high-level diplomacy to support a cease-fire, which was ultimately arranged last week after Egyptian mediation.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Phil does it

  • The pandemonium closed in around Phil Mickelson as he walked toward the 18th green at Kiawah Island, where thousands upon thousands of euphoric fans wanted a piece of the history he delivered Sunday in the PGA Championship.
  • For all the thrills and spills that have defined his 30 years of pure theater, his latest act gave Mickelson his own place in the game.
  • A major champion at age 50, the oldest in the 161 years of major championship golf.
  • That final walk toward a two-shot victory was as much stress as he faced over the final hour, and it was a bit scary until Mickelson emerged out of the masses and flashed a thumbs-up.
  • “Slightly unnerving,” Mickelson said, “but exceptionally awesome.”
  • Just like his game.
  • Read more and see more photos HERE.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Morgan County online sales tax split could be duplicated in other areas


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Work begins on $365M project to improve Mobile ship channel


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden betting on wage growth, while GOP warns of inflation


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Blinken off to Mideast to push peace talks after Gaza truce


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ageless wonder Mickelson wins PGA to be oldest major champ


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New COVID-19 cases plummet to lowest levels since last June


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As pandemic ebbs, Mobile throws ‘Tardy Gras’ parade


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Second mass vaccination closes in Birmingham in a week


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama officer convicted of murder set for sentencing


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The mob made me do it: Rioters claim Jan. 6 crowd at fault


AL.COM – What Alabama’s COVID vaccine passport ban means for cruise industry


AL.COM – COVID came at the worst time for this coastal Alabama zoo, but now it’s ready to roar


AL.COM – ‘I’ve never seen anything like this’: Prices for used cars soaring in Alabama


AL.COM – Hundreds gather in Birmingham to protest violence in Israel


AL.COM – Airline scuttles proposed Alabama beach service a month after announcement


AL.COM – Settlement reached in case of man who died in Alabama jail


AL.COM – Pandemic has fueled eating disorder surge in teens, adults


AL.COM – Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, who spent 6 years in prison, gets law license back


Montgomery Advertiser – Subtropical Storm Ana develops, marks 7th year in a row with early hurricane season start


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery tech business expands under MPS couple


Decatur Daily – Economists: Rebounding economy, not unemployment benefits, causing staff shortages


Decatur Daily – Experienced boaters advise safety on the water


Decatur Daily – Area school district, private schools gain new pre-K classrooms


Times Daily – Tuscumbia asks the public to “chuck the junk” on June 19


Times Daily – Colbert Commission gives sheriff $15K for fleet maintenance


Times Daily – Multiple special sessions are likely


Anniston Star – Anniston’s Memorial Day public observance to resume


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – COVID-19 is one of the top 10 causes of death in children in 2020


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Multiple arrests in Chilton County on drug, gun charges


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Homicide investigation underway after man shot Friday evening in Ensley


Tuscaloosa News – PHOTOS: Landfill fire in south Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa firefighters battle landfill blaze


YellowHammer News – Alabama Freedom Riders recall their fight for equal treatment in Birmingham


YellowHammer News – Benefits of electric vehicles on full display at Birmingham event


YellowHammer News – Andalusia airport gives lift to Southeast Alabama aerospace hub


Gadsden Times – Man dead, child injured in Saturday boating accident; woman injured in crash


Gadsden Times – Gadsden man receives France’s Legion of Honor for service in WWII


Gadsden Times – Broken pipe leads to water outage in Rainbow City; functionality ‘hopefully’ back Saturday night


Dothan Eagle – Italy probes cable car crash as lone child survivor recovers


Dothan Eagle – The Latest: WHO considers ways to strengthen urgent response


Dothan Eagle – US restricting visas, taking other action over Tigray crisis


Opelika-Auburn News – As Congress returns to funding earmarks, who will benefit?


Opelika-Auburn News – Global stocks mixed in muted trading, echoing Wall St close


Opelika-Auburn News – Actor Gerard Butler visits police while filming in Georgia


WSFA Montgomery – Recovery efforts continue at Jackson Lake Island after tornado devastates property


WSFA Montgomery – ‘I have natural immunity’: Ky. Sen. Rand Paul will not get COVID vaccine


WSFA Montgomery – One killed, child injured in boat crash in Etowah County


WAFF Huntsville – Police chief on SC mass shooting that killed 1, injured 14: ‘This should have never happened’


WAFF Huntsville – Madison City Schools to drop mask requirement on June 1st


WAFF Huntsville – Parents weigh in on Alabama’s Literacy Act potential delay


WKRG Mobile – Fla. company official posted conspiracy theories before being picked to conduct Arizona election audit


WKRG Mobile – ‘This won’t go away’: Why one doctor thinks COVID-19 will never disappear


WKRG Mobile – Volunteers of America help build a ramp for Wilmer couple in need


WTVY Dothan – Dante’s calls it quits, others to follow at Dothan mall


WTVY Dothan – 1 child, 2 adults shot Saturday night in Birmingham


WTVY Dothan – Doctor says we won’t reach herd immunity unless vaccination rates improve


WASHINGTON POST – Lawmakers worry the toxic atmosphere on Capitol Hill will follow them home, raising safety concerns


WASHINGTON POST – Republicans struggle to define a new governing coalition as Trump closes grip on party


WASHINGTON POST – ‘Who’s out protecting us?’: Spate of anti-Jewish attacks in the U.S. draws calls for more forceful response


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. Cases and Deaths Drop to Levels From Summer


NEW YORK TIMES – Why Arkansas Is a Test Case for a Post-Trump Republican Party


NEW YORK TIMES – These Sisters With Sickle Cell Had Devastating, and Preventable, Strokes


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China’s Latest Crackdown on Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies Shakes Market


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Are Vaccinated Americans Powering the Economy? Not Yet, Data Show


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Upstart Peer-to-Peer Crypto Exchanges Take Aim at Coinbase



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