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Daily News Digest – May 6, 2020

Presented by

The Boeing Company

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, May 6.

1. Senate passes General Fund

  • The Alabama Senate on Tuesday passed a General Fund budget totaling $2.389 billion and including modest increases for mental health, public health and state prisons, but no state employee pay raises that were expected earlier this year.
  • The fiscal year 2021 budget, which pays for non-education state agencies and services, contains $167 million more than the current fiscal year, but less than the record levels projected before the coronavirus outbreak impacted the state’s economy.
  • “This one was a bit of a monster,” Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, said of a budget that required lawmakers to change from record-setting revenues to level funding.
  • It passed 31-0 and Democrats expressed appreciation for input in the process.
  • Senators didn’t pass a bill giving the Legislature jurisdiction over federal coronavirus funds. In fact, they removed such language from the budget itself. They say it isn’t needed because the state constitution gives them the prerogative to appropriate that money anyway.
  • Interesting stuff.
  • Read the full story from me HERE.



2. Education budget advances

  • A House committee on Tuesday approved a $7.2 billion 2021 education budget, a first critical step in funding the state’s public schools, community colleges and universities.
  • The proposed 2021 Education Trust Fund contains an about $91 million increase from the 2020 fiscal year budget, but less than the $411 million increase Gov. Kay Ivey proposed before the coronavirus pandemic altered state revenues.
  • Education budget committee chairman Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, explained that cuts to the current fiscal year’s budget won’t be necessary and increases to the FY 2021 budget are possible because of years of conservative spending by the Legislature.
  • “The state has been collecting in the education budget more than it has been appropriating,” Poole said during the committee meeting.
  • About $4.9 billion in the 2021 budget goes to K-12 schools and $1.8 billion goes to higher education.
  • The state’s nationally-recognized First Class Pre-K program receives an increase of only $3.4 million in this budget, compared to the governor’s pre-pandemic proposed $25 million increase. Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Jeana Ross told Alabama Daily News the department will continue to carefully and intentionally use whatever funds provided by the Legislature.
  • “This is the first step in the budget process, and we look forward to working closely with the Legislature to ensure as many students as possible will be served by Alabama First Class Pre-K,” Ross said.
  • Poole said giving any extra allocations found later to pre-K would be a top priority.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.









A message from

The Boeing Company

  • To support NASA’s Artemis missions that will carry the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, NASA recently awarded a contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne to manufacture 18 additional Space Launch System (SLS) RS-25 rocket engines.
  • This follows a commitment to support as many as 10 Artemis missions with more SLS rocket stages designed right here in Huntsville by Boeing.
  • Boeing is the prime contractor for the design, development, test and production of the launch vehicle core stage, as well as development of the flight avionics suite.
  • SLS will launch larger payloads farther in our solar system, faster than ever before possible and will be the most powerful rocket ever built.








3. Dem push for no-excuse absentee voting likely going nowhere

  • The Alabama Senate approved Tuesday a resolution that says it’s “imperative to the democratic process to propose and adopt” no-excuse absentee voting, but the passage of actual legislation to loosen restrictions on the ballots seems unlikely in the GOP-controlled body.
  • Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, filed a bill Monday that would authorize no-excuse absentee voting. Smitherman’s Senate Bill 335 strikes out the list of excuses that qualify a voter for an absentee ballot and deletes a section of state law that says they must have one of those excuses to apply for an absentee ballot.
  • Some cities have been pushing for no-excuse absentee voting in recent weeks. Alabamians go to the polls July 14 for primary runoffs. The election date was delayed in March because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Smitherman this week said he needs to rush the no excuse voting bill into committee during the shortened session, so he had no time to consult with his Republican colleagues. His bill was assigned to the Governmental Affairs Committee, which has no meetings scheduled this week.
  • “There is no support for no-excuse absentee voting within the Republican caucus,” said William Califf, spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, told Alabama Daily News Tuesday.
  • Some of the allowed excuses for voting absentee include expecting to be out of the country, having a job that requires working a 10-hour shift that coincides with polling hours or having a homebound family member. Voters must check a box next to the reason that applies to them. Falsifying the application is a Class C felony, according to state law.
  • Secretary of State John Merrill, the state’s top election official, sees no reason to change Alabama’s voting laws, his spokeswoman said.
  • “Considering we have shattered every record in the history of the state for voter registration and voter participation, Secretary Merrill does not consider our current voting laws to be an issue,” Merrill’s press secretary Grace Newcombe wrote in an email.
  • Full story from Sara MacNeil for ADN HERE.



4. Galleria reopens as lockdown protests continue

  • Alabama’s largest shopping mall reopened for the first time in weeks on Tuesday and demonstrators protested in favor of further accelerating the state’s economy, even as cases of the coronavirus continue to rise.
  • Shoppers returning to the Riverchase Galleria in suburban Birmingham found most of its roughly 150 stores still closed and many people wearing face masks.
  • Chairs were missing in the mostly empty food court because of state rules, but only a couple restaurants were open for lunch anyway. Some stores were empty save for an employee or two, but there were lines at a jewelry kiosk and an athletic shoe store where a worker raised and lowered a metal gate to let one customer enter at a time.
  • While some stores had posted signs saying they would remain closed to protect the health of employees and customers, others planned to open later in the day or week. New state rules enacted last week allowed retailers to open with precautions to guard against the spread of the virus.
  • Meanwhile, in Montgomery, about 60 people attended a rally outside the Capitol to express frustration with the continuing state-ordered closures of businesses that had previously been categorized as nonessential, such as hair salons and gyms. One woman carried a sign reading, “We don’t buy the lie,” and a man shouted “Freedom!” and “Read our Constitution.”
  • Read more from Jay Reeves and Kim Chandler HERE.



5. Where’s my check? Answers to common relief payment questions

  • The US government has distributed about 130 million economic impact payments to taxpayers in less than 30 days. The IRS anticipates sending more than 150 million payments as part of a massive coronavirus rescue package.
  • The distribution has had some hiccups, including an overwhelmed website, payments to deceased taxpayers and money sent to inactive accounts.
  • Still waiting on a payment? Having trouble with the online tool? Getting mixed messages?
  • For people with these other questions, we have some answers.
  • Read more HERE.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Senate passes General Fund budget, stakes domain over coronavirus funds


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – House committee approves $7.2 billion education budget


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Push for no-excuse absentee voting likely going nowhere


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Galleria reopens as lockdown protests continue


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Where’s my check? Answers to common relief payment questions


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Lawmakers return to very different legislative session


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Bill would change state of emergency, public health order rules


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State monitors virus numbers after stay-home order lifted


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill changes state funding for students in growing school systems


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate passes $1.25 billion bond issue for schools


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Trump’s China rhetoric aimed at boosting US leverage


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – May 5, 2020


AL.COM  – Mobile backs away from requiring masks in public: “I’m not for making it a law”


AL.COM  – Pandemic reduces proposed Alabama schools budget by $320 million


AL.COM  – Baldwin sheriff joins chorus, says he won’t enforce Alabama health order


AL.COM  – Almost 2,500 of Alabama’s coronavirus cases no longer show symptoms, officials say


AL.COM  – ‘We just want to work’: Rally calls for Alabama to ‘open it up’


AL.COM  – As cases rise at the jail, Mobile begins to test all guards and employees


AL.COM  – Alabama Senate approves increased state budget


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery expects $25M budget shortfall during shutdown


Montgomery Advertiser – With tourism on ‘pause,’ Montgomery cheers record year, national recognition


Montgomery Advertiser – Legislators advance education, General Fund budgets amid coronavirus outbreak


YellowHammer News – Alabama attorney general: Enforcing state health order ‘against churches would be ill-advised’


YellowHammer News – More small businesses report receiving relief funds; Feds say don’t expect flexibility for spending


YellowHammer News – State Sen. Butler: Senate Republicans will urge Ivey to do more reopenings by Friday; Maintains governor doing ‘a great job’


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – House committee approves $7.2 billion education budget


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Senate passes General Fund budget, stakes domain over coronavirus funds


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – New IHME model predicts 2,308 COVID-19 deaths in Alabama by August


WAFF Huntsville – Senate passes General Fund budget, stakes domain over coronavirus funds


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama COVID-19 cases rise to 8,437; ADPH confirms 315 deaths


WAFF Huntsville – About 60 protesters ‘demand’ reopening all businesses


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Council action from May 5, 2020


Tuscaloosa News – Council told time means money in delaying Restart Tuscaloosa projects


Tuscaloosa News – Two killed in Greene County crash, state troopers say


Decatur Daily – House committee approves $7.2 billion education budget


Decatur Daily – Senate OKs General Fund budget with no pay raises, modest increase for prisons


Decatur Daily – $1.25 billion bond issue would pay for education construction, technology upgrades


Times Daily – Grant will help Muscle Shoals enlarge retention pond


Times Daily – Senate passes $2.489B budget


Times Daily – House committee approves $7.2B education budget



Anniston Star – Alabama Senate passes General Fund budget, stakes domain over coronavirus funds


Anniston Star – Advisory council strives for safe reopening of Calhoun County


Anniston Star – Warrant: Anniston man helped with armed robbery


Gadsden Times – Gadsden’s revenue dropped $750,000 in March


Gadsden Times – Reopening busy, but smooth at courthouse


Gadsden Times – Library disinfecting returned items, one by one


Dothan Eagle – ADOC confirms additional case of COVID-19


Dothan Eagle – Law enforcement continues to investigate suspicious death in Geneva County


Dothan Eagle – Man faces multiple charges after choking his pregnant girlfriend


Troy Messenger – Troy Rotary marks 100th anniversary


Troy Messenger – Restoration uncovers facade of downtown Brundidge building


Troy Messenger – State tops 8,280 cases


Opelika-Auburn News – Police reports from May 5


Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 latest: Show support for Downtown Opelika on your chest; Auburn changes Memorial Day plans


Opelika-Auburn News – City police, FEMA grant applications top Opelika council agenda


Daily Mountain Eagle – Lawmakers return for shortened session


Daily Mountain Eagle – Search conducted for missing Cullman woman


Daily Mountain Eagle – Jail garden growing for a second year


Trussville Tribune – VIDEO: First Baptist Church Trussville members parade around parking lot in support of church staff


Trussville Tribune – PHOTO GALLERY: Funeral procession and graveside service for former Trussville Police Chief Irving ‘Goose’ Nash


Trussville Tribune – Man charged in connection to shooting death of 11-year-old from Trussville


Athens News Courier – Vehicle shot, no one hurt at Athens store


Athens News Courier – NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER: ALMA to host virtual event


Athens News Courier – New subdivision approved in East Limestone


Sand Mountain Reporter – Marshall County to pick up white goods May 18


Sand Mountain Reporter – Kindness reaches from Taiwan to Guntersville to healthcare workers


Sand Mountain Reporter – NACC art instructor adapts to online teaching


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama climbs past 8,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases


WSFA Montgomery – Ala. Senate passes $2.38 billion general fund budget


WSFA Montgomery – 70,000 coronavirus deaths in US; infection rate rises outside N.Y. as states open


WKRG Mobile – Mobile Police Chief calls rise in accidental shootings “significant”


WKRG Mobile – Missing Child Alert cancelled for 8-year-old girl in Florida


WKRG Mobile – “I’m not going to say they can’t sit down,” Orange Beach hot dog shop pushes to open economy


WTVY Dothan – Jeff Sessions wants investigation into possible Chinese coronavirus cover up


WTVY Dothan – Attorney: Former police chief won’t get job back but could file second lawsuit


WTVY Dothan – Bill would prohibit lawsuits by those who claim they contracted coronavirus in certain places


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump’s demand for payroll tax cut is rebuffed on Capitol Hill as lawmakers spar over next virus aid bill


WASHINGTON POST  – Americans are told to wash hands to fight coronavirus. But some don’t trust the tap


WASHINGTON POST  – States moving forward with reopening are seeing increases in new coronavirus cases


NEW YORK TIMES  – This Working Man Was Ready to Retire. But the Virus Took Him.


NEW YORK TIMES  – What Is the Real Virus Death Toll in Each State?


NEW YORK TIMES – Administration to Phase Out Coronavirus Task Force




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