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Daily News Digest – October 12, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, October 12.


1. Marsh gauging ‘real interest’ in education for 2022

  • Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, was for ten years the most powerful member of the Alabama Senate and, arguably, the most influential lawmaker overall for much of that time.
  • This past session, he gave up his role as Senate President Pro Tem saying he wanted to focus his last two years on issues he cared about rather than leading the chamber.
  • One of those issues is education. More specifically, education reform.
  • But after the 2021 session he’s not sure how many of his colleagues take the issue seriously.
  • “I’m frustrated that there doesn’t seem to be a real interest in the education problems in the state,” Marsh told Alabama Daily News on Monday.
  • In the 2021 regular session, Marsh filed the “Alabama Open Schools Act” to allow students from outside a system to enroll in its schools for a fee. It cleared the Senate Education Policy Committee but didn’t get a vote in the full chamber.
  • “There just wasn’t time to educate people on what we’re trying to do,” Marsh said.
  • He cites recent stats that put public school students’ achievement in reading and math near last in the nation.
  • “You would think there would be a concern there, but I can’t find it,” Marsh said.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.


2. COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations way down statewide

  • After an agonizing few months dealing with the delta variant, there are some real positive signs to report on the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hospitalizations due to the virus are way down in recent days and weeks.
  • As of Monday, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 839 COVID-19 patients in Alabama hospitals. That’s down from 2,417 one month ago and from the delta peak of 2,890 on Sept. 1.
  • The number of hospitalized patients has been one of the most important metrics to watch throughout the pandemic because it shows the severity of the spread and the strains on our health care infrastructure.
  • State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris is continuing to urge Alabamians to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying doing so now could help protect loved ones at family holiday gatherings.
  • The vaccine is free, while treatment and hospitalization can cost thousands of dollars.
  • Read more HERE.



3. Merck asks FDA to authorize promising anti-COVID pill

  • Drugmaker Merck asked U.S. regulators Monday to authorize its pill for treating COVID-19 in what would add an entirely new and easy-to-use weapon to the world’s arsenal against the pandemic.
  • If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration — a decision that could come in a matter of weeks — it would be the first pill shown to treat the illness. All other FDA-backed treatments against COVID-19 require an IV or injection.
  • An antiviral pill that people could take at home to reduce their symptoms and speed recovery could prove groundbreaking, easing the crushing caseload on U.S. hospitals and helping to curb outbreaks in poorer countries with weak health care systems. It would also bolster the two-pronged approach to the pandemic: treatment, by way of medication, and prevention, primarily through vaccinations.
  • The FDA will scrutinize company data on the safety and effectiveness of the drug, molnupiravir, before rendering a decision.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Judge: Prison staffing levels will be issue on DOJ lawsuit

  • A federal judge said prison staffing levels can remain an issue in the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Alabama, but said federal officials must provide more details behind some of their allegations.
  • U.S. District Judge David Proctor, in a mixed ruling for the state Friday, agreed with state lawyers that the Justice Department’s allegations of unsafe and unsanitary conditions were overly broad. But the judge refused Alabama’s request to dismiss staffing issues from the litigation.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice last year sued Alabama saying state prisons violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment because of high levels of inmate-on-inmate violence, excessive use of force by correctional staff, and unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
  • The Friday ruling came after lawyers for Alabama sought to dismiss the claims related to “unsafe and unsanitary conditions and correctional staffing.”
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



5. House returns for debt limit vote

  • Members of the House are scrambling back to Washington on Tuesday to approve a short-term lift of the nation’s debt limit and ensure the federal government can continue fully paying its bills into December.
  • The $480 billion increase in the country’s borrowing ceiling cleared the Senate last week on a party-line vote. The House is expected to approve it swiftly so President Joe Biden can sign it into law this week. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that steps to stave off a default on the country’s debts would be exhausted by Monday, and from that point, the department would soon be unable to fully meet the government’s financial obligations.
  • But the relief provided by the bill’s passage will only be temporary, forcing Congress to revisit the issue in December — a time when lawmakers will also be laboring to complete federal spending bills and avoid a damaging government shutdown. The yearend backlog raises risks for both parties and threatens a tumultuous close to Biden’s first year in office.
  • Read more HERE.




Inside Alabama Politics – October 7, 2021


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marsh gauging ‘real interest’ in education for 2022


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations way down statewide


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Merck asks FDA to authorize promising anti-COVID pill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge: Prison staffing levels will be issue on DOJ lawsuit


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House returns to stave off default with debt limit vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – $46B in COVID funds have flowed into Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fall will test leaders’ ability to keep Congress on rails


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Delta variant and worker shortage keep a lid on job growth


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Analysis: Hiring slowdown menaces Biden despite upbeat talk


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25: Georgia is No. 1, Big Ten grabs half of top 10


AL.COM – Tribes ask University of Alabama to return artifacts from Moundville


AL.COM – Alabama getting new license plate design in 2022


AL.COM – Judge denies Alabama’s request to dismiss parts of DOJ lawsuit against prison system


AL.COM – Alabama school district warns of food shortages, asks for parent help after deliveries fail


AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: Congress frets about the ceiling while America’s fiscal house burns


Montgomery Advertiser – Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration


Montgomery Advertiser – North Burbank Drive shooting kills 13-year-old; juvenile charged with manslaughter


Montgomery Advertiser – Police identify 36-year-old victim in shooting on Miller Street


Decatur Daily – Proposals begin process of building downtown parking deck


Decatur Daily – Decatur City Schools’ central office staff begins moving in at new headquarters


Decatur Daily – American Legion in Decatur organizing Field of Flags display


Times Daily – City seeking to strengthen fire inspection laws


Times Daily – Colbert Water Department to save $400K refinancing bonds


Times Daily – Election workers accused of shredding voter applications


Anniston Star – City releases regulations for certain debris pickup


Anniston Star – Boxing program helps Parkinson’s disease patients


Anniston Star – Older residents not the only to struggle with Parkinson’s


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Police search for armed robbery suspect in woods along I-65


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Hoover City Council to hold emergency meeting Tuesday to address flooding issues


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Effort to boost West Tuscaloosa literacy rate seeks financial help


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa’s holiday ice rink could make permanent move to Government Plaza


Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama graduate lands job of starship captain on “Star Trek: Discovery”


Gadsden Times – Gadsden’s traditional step back into history, ‘A Walk Through Time,’ returns


Gadsden Times – Funeral service for slain 3-year-old set this week


Gadsden Times – Indie pop duo 50 Fifty to host Halloween concert Oct. 29


Dothan Eagle – Report says UK’s slow virus lockdown cost 1000s of lives


Dothan Eagle – House returns to stave off default with debt limit vote


Dothan Eagle – UK job vacancies hit record high amid worker shortages


Opelika-Auburn News – Millennial Money: Save for holidays now, skip regret later


Opelika-Auburn News – China pledges $230 million for biodiversity fund at UN meet


Opelika-Auburn News – Surging California winds spark new wildfires, power outages


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama opens online applications for hemp growth, processing


WSFA Montgomery – Faith and Blue Weekend ends with conversations about policing


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery County man killed in Crenshaw County wreck


WAFF Huntsville – Family wants surveillance video after woman found dead in police van


WAFF Huntsville – Tennessee Valley farmers impacted by last week’s rain, flooding


WAFF Huntsville – Athens woman off ventilator after battling COVID-19


WKRG Mobile – Wilmer woman dies in crash on Snow Road


WKRG Mobile – Louisiana man dies in ATV crash in George County, Miss.


WKRG Mobile – The Vikings Begin: Travelling exhibit comes to History Museum of Mobile


WTVY Dothan – Rotary Club meeting was for the birds, literally!


WTVY Dothan – Man killed by deputies had drug, crime issues


WTVY Dothan – Holmes Co. fugitive arrested in Washington County


WASHINGTON POST – At least 85 percent of the world’s population has been affected by human-induced climate change, new study shows


WASHINGTON POST – Already, 18 weather disasters costing at least $1 billion each have hit the U.S. this year


WASHINGTON POST – Annapolis couple accused of selling nuclear secrets could face life in prison


NEW YORK TIMES – In China, Home Buyers Who Went All In Say They Want Out


NEW YORK TIMES – Raiders Coach Resigns After Homophobic and Misogynistic Emails


NEW YORK TIMES – Governor’s Race Puts Mask and Vaccines Mandates to a Political Test


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Return of Office Workers Reaches Pandemic High as Employees Trickle In


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Waver Amid Energy, Inflation Concerns


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Chinese Developer Fantasia Loses Two Board Members




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