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Daily News Digest – May 7, 2020

Presented by

The Boeing Company

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, May 7.

1. Budgets on the move; Speaker says no to outside bills

  • A House committee on Wednesday approved the Senate-passed $2.38 billion General Fund budget, putting it and the $7.3 billion education budget in line for final passage by Saturday.
  • House leadership on Wednesday afternoon said it will not be taking up bills that aren’t directly tied to the budgets or local to members’ districts, effectively killing some senators’ proposed legislation.
  • “At the end of the day, we decided we’re going to stick with the original agreement and there would be no other bills worked on or passed,” House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, told reporters.
  • All other bills will have to be taken up during a special session at the call of Gov. Kay Ivey. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said not taking up the additional bills was appropriate given the social distancing constraints on the 105-member House and the fact that most House Democrats have chosen not to attend the final days of the session.
  • “(McCutcheon has) got challenges that we don’t have to deal with in the Senate,” Marsh said.
  • Both budgets, the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund, will be considered on the House floor today.
  • One notable change in the General Fund from committee (besides the Zeigler plus-up): they increased from $100 million to $600 million the amount of federal coronavirus money allowed to be spent by the state without specific legislative appropriations. This is really getting interesting.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.




2. Small business owners seek financial support, resources from government

Photo: Trent Penny / The Anniston Star

  • It’s no secret that small businesses are having a tough time in this uniquely challenging economic environment.
  • And though state and federal programs have tried to keep businesses afloat, there’s only so much government can (and should) do sometimes.
  • Hopefully, we are toward the end of this pandemic shutdown, but it’s now when the true pain is starting to show for many companies.
  • To hear one restaurant owner tell it, it’s like having the “dream” of starting your own business turn to a “nightmare” almost overnight.
  • For their final project, our ADN intern reporters Devin Pavlou and Abby Driggers dug deep to write about the challenges facing some Alabama small businesses.
  • Abby and Devin started their internships roving the State House this semester chasing down quotes and stories from lawmakers, but the coronavirus put an end to that in mid-March.
  • To their credit, they’ve continued working and reporting from home, and we are proud to feature their work in Alabama Daily News. If you’re a publisher or editor, you’d be wise to consider them for reporting gigs.
  • Read their full story HERE.
  • [A special thank you to our news partners at The Anniston Star for the use of their photos for this story]






A message from

The Boeing Company

  • The Space Launch System (SLS), the world’s most powerful rocket, is ready to resume testing when facilities reopen thanks to Boeing employees in Alabama, who recently completed avionics and stage controller reviews.
  • This sets the stage for the next phase of Green Run tests, which is a top-to-bottom integrated analysis of the Boeing-built core stage’s systems prior to its maiden flight.
  • The SLS is the backbone of NASA’s deep space human exploration program and will be used to send the first woman and next man to the Moon, ahead of missions to Mars, for the agency’s Artemis program.
  • 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, which is managed in Huntsville.

3. Lives Lost: Medal of Honor winner downplayed heroism

  • Decades after the Vietnam War, retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins had a simple way of explaining how he survived mortar attacks and rifle bullets that killed so many people all around him.
  • “It was not my day,” he’d say.
  • Then the coronavirus found Adkins and felled its first Medal of Honor recipient on April 17.
  • Adkins, 86, was an Alabama war hero who returned home to become an accountant, teach night courses to adults trying to better themselves and launch a nonprofit foundation awarding scholarships to veterans.
  • The resident of the small city of Opelika received the nation’s highest military honor from then-President Barack Obama during a 2014 White House ceremony.
  • While deeply honored and humbled, Adkins deflected attention from his courageous actions fighting off waves of enemy attackers at a strategic point in South Vietnam.
  • “What I did is not heroic. What I did was … that was my job. That was what I was trained for. That’s what I was paid for as a professional soldier and I was trying to do the job in a professional way,” Adkins said in an oral history project for the Library of Congress after the award ceremony.
  • Adkins died three weeks after being admitted to the same hospital where one of his five children, Dr. Keith Adkins, works as a surgeon.
  • The son said his father was married for 60 years and gave back whatever he could, helping others not only in wartime but also at home.
  • “We want his legacy to be not just what he did in the military,” said Keith Adkins, who wasn’t involved in his father’s care. “We want to show that character that he had and what it led him to do when he was out of the military.”
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.



4. Administration shelved recovery plan

  • A set of detailed documents created by the nation’s top disease investigators meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places such as mass transit, day care centers and restaurants during the still-raging pandemic has been shelved by the Trump administration.
  • The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen.
  • It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
  • The AP obtained a copy from a second federal official who was not authorized to release it.
  • The Trump administration has instead sought to put the onus on states to handle COVID-19 response. This approach to managing the pandemic has been reflected in President Donald Trump’s public statements, from the assertion that he isn’t responsible for the country’s lackluster early testing efforts, to his description last week of the federal government’s role as a “supplier of last resort” for states in need of testing aid.
  • White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany echoed that at a briefing Wednesday: “We’ve consulted individually with states, but as I said, it’s (a) governor-led effort. It’s a state-led effort on … which the federal government will consult. And we do so each and every day.”
  • Full story from Jason Dearen and Mike Stobbe HERE.


5. Leah Nelson: Changes needed on funding for courts, law enforcement

  • As the Legislature has deliberated on state budgets over the last few weeks, one common theme emerged: local courts and district attorneys are experiencing a funding shortfall because of a lack of fees and fines being paid.
  • Many have pleaded with their local lawmakers for help, and this week the Senate responded by including a $4.5 million special appropriation for district attorneys to help keep their offices operational.
  • Some, including DAs and Senate budget writers alike, have noted that the situation has highlighted a flawed funding model for local courts and law enforcement.
  • Leah Nelson of Alabama Appleseed contributes an op-ed for Alabama Daily News arguing that very point.
  • She calls fines, fees and court costs a “hidden tax” in Alabama’s criminal justice system.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“Fines, fees, and court costs have long served as a hidden tax on Alabamians involved with the criminal legal system or who get the occasional traffic ticket. And they fund far more than just district attorneys or even just the administration of justice. Alabama relies on fines and fees to fill the state’s General Fund, finance government agencies, support county and municipal funds, and pay for local community programs…
“Prosecutors and courts should be adequately funded – and so must the state General Fund. Given precarious finances and barriers to employment that exist for many justice-involved people at the best of times, we must assume that the funding gap caused by unpaid fines and fees will remain as individuals and families continue to grapple with the pandemic’s collateral economic damage.
“It’s time to consider a new system, one that does not rely on the poorest Alabamians, and disproportionately on people of color, to fund basic state functions.”
  • Read her full opinion piece HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Budgets on the move; Speaker says no other bills will be considered


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – SEC schools expect campuses to be open in the fall


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lives Lost: Alabama Medal of Honor winner downplayed heroism


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Exclusive: Admin shelves CDC guide to reopening country


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – 2 drivers arrested in fatal race on Alabama interstate


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Leah Nelson: Changes needed on funding for courts, law enforcement


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 – Daily News Digest – May 6, 2020


AL.COM  – Speaker says House won’t consider bills other than budgets, bond, local bills


AL.COM  – Inside Alabama’s COVID-19 command center


AL.COM  – Coronavirus policies create confusion for birth doulas, mothers


AL.COM  – Almost 60% of Alabama’s 329 new coronavirus cases from 5 counties; county-by-county numbers


AL.COM  – Pandemic takes half-billion dollar bite out of Alabama budgets


AL.COM  – Alabama concerned veteran teachers could stay home as schools reopen


AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: The world has changed. The Alabama Legislature hasn’t


AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: The (Coronavirus) War Prayer


Montgomery Advertiser – Wiregrass rep lifts contest of Montgomery property tax referendum


Montgomery Advertiser – Two suspects charged with capital murder in death of 17-year-old Maryuri Cantillano


Montgomery Advertiser – Police launch death investigation in fatal shooting near Lee High School


YellowHammer News – Jones: Biden sexual assault allegation ‘does not have the indicia of credibility that I would be looking to at all’


YellowHammer News – State. Sen Whatley introduces bill to limit powers of state health officer, alter State of Emergency procedures


YellowHammer News – Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon says he, wife have coronavirus — Says he is ‘ticked off’ residents not adhering to COVID-19 guidelines


Tuscaloosa News – 1 arrested, 1 wanted in fatal race on Alabama interstate


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama mayor, wife diagnosed with COVID-19


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama lawmakers won’t vote on virus liability, health officer power bills


Decatur Daily – Vendors pleased with online ordering, social distancing measures at farmers market


Decatur Daily – General Fund plan advances in House; most other bills on hold



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


Times Daily – House Speaker: Only budget bills will be passed


Times Daily – Push for no-excuse absentee voting going nowhere


Times Daily – Grant will help Muscle Shoals enlarge retention pond


Anniston Star – Alabama’s budgets on the move; Speaker says no other bills will be considered


Anniston Star – Ayers family’s history in local newspapers is long


Anniston Star – Alabama youth council wants environment prioritized


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Push for no-excuse absentee voting likely going nowhere


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: 343 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 as more than 8,600 test positive


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Budgets on the move; Speaker says no other bills will be considered


WAFF Huntsville – Hospital staff discusses coronavirus numbers in the Shoals


WAFF Huntsville – New COVID-19 testing site opens in Meridianville


WAFF Huntsville – Budgets on the move; Speaker says no other bills will be considered


Gadsden Times – General Fund advances in House


Gadsden Times – Board weighs GCHS graduation options


Gadsden Times – Gadsden man returned from Texas to face child sex charges


Dothan Eagle – Troopers seeing traffic increase as state restrictions ease


Dothan Eagle – Publix confirms associates at two Dothan stores tested positive for COVID-19


Dothan Eagle – Dothan’s Alabama Clinics offering COVID-19 antibody testing


Troy Messenger – Pike Lib sets date for graduation; format undecided


Troy Messenger – Understanding how, when to use COVID-19 tests is crucial


Troy Messenger – Shopkeepers happy to welcome customers again


Andalusia Star News – County offices open up; follow orders


Andalusia Star News – RLHS alumna making her dreams come true


Andalusia Star News – DAR honors six seniors


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


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn program helps local family with treatment


Opelika-Auburn News – Police reports from May 6


Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama lawmakers advance pared down budgets amid COVID-19


Daily Mountain Eagle – Shelton works to protect Ridgewood residents during COVID-19 pandemic


Daily Mountain Eagle – Flyover for Walker Baptist set for 10:13 a.m. Thursday


Trussville Tribune – 2020 graduates from St. Clair County Schools to be recognized individually


Trussville Tribune – Center Point Farmers Market to begin in June, guidelines to combat COVID-19


Trussville Tribune – St. Clair County Jail: Inmate Roster, Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Athens News Courier – April jobs data to show epic losses and soaring unemployment


Athens News Courier – Pryor Field Regional Airport award infrastructure grant


Athens News Courier – UPDATED: Decatur man killed in Tuesday wreck


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


Sand Mountain Reporter – NACC art instructor adapts to online teaching


Sand Mountain Reporter – DeKalb: Open for business


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama Department of Labor works overtime to process 400K unemployment claims


WSFA Montgomery – 2 charged with capital murder in stabbing of Montgomery teen


WSFA Montgomery – Arrest made in 1 of 3 Wednesday Montgomery shootings


WKRG Mobile – Mystery illness possibly linked to COVID-19 sending children to ICU


WKRG Mobile – Wife of USA Professor who died due to COVID-19 speaks about husband’s death


WKRG Mobile – Crews on scene of 70-acre fire in Santa Rosa County


WTVY Dothan – Ozark man arrested for murder


WTVY Dothan – Residents lose homes, evacuate as wildfire engulfs more than 500 acres in Walton County


WTVY Dothan – Prediction: A fully open economy will kill more than 2,300 Alabamians


WASHINGTON POST  – Disproportionately black counties account for over half of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and nearly 60% of deaths, study finds


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump vetoes congressional resolution limiting his military authority against Iran.


WASHINGTON POST  – Betsy DeVos announces new rules on campus sexual assault, offering more rights to the accused.


NEW YORK TIMES  – Coronavirus Crisis Exacts Toll on People With Disabilities


NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump’s New Coronavirus Message: Time to Move On to the Economic Recovery


NEW YORK TIMES  – The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.

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