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Daily News Digest – October 14, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, October 14.


1. Redistricting session coming soon, but where are the maps?

  • Any moment now, we expect Gov. Kay Ivey to call a special session for redistricting. As we previously reported in Inside Alabama Politics, that session is expected to start Oct. 25, just 11 days from now. There’s a possibility it could start the next week on Nov. 1.
  • But when will we see proposed maps of new districts for Congress, State School Board and the Legislature? Probably not until the end of next week.
  • The proposed maps, based on 2020 census data as required every 10 years, will be made public after the Legislature’s reapportionment committee, made up of Senators and House members, meets to vote on them. Committee co-chair Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, told Alabama Daily News it could be late next week before that happens.
  • Some states, including neighboring Georgia, have been quicker to release proposed maps.
  • Part of the problem is a condensed timeline. Census data was badly delayed. Even the preliminary numbers did not reach state map makers until mid-August. Also, elections are right around the corner, unlike after the 2010 Census when the Legislature could take its time on some of the maps.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Committee revising state constitution close to final vote

  • The commission deciding what changes should be made to Alabama’s constitution is close to a final vote, with most members agreeing on Wednesday about alterations to three sections containing racist language.
  • The group decided to take another week to review all of the final suggested revisions before taking a final vote, most likely during the special session on reapportionment which could happen as soon as the last week of October.
  • Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, chairs the commission and said she thought the discussion on Wednesday and the outlook for the recompilation looked positive.
  • “I just want to make sure that we’re all on the same page because at the end of the day, I’m going to take this document back to the Legislature, and I want to say that this is a document that was bipartisan,” Coleman-Madison said after the meeting.
  • The revisions are limited to removing racist language, deleting duplicative or repealed provisions, consolidating economic development provisions and arranging all local constitutional amendments by the county of application.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.



3. Enrollment increases for community colleges, slight decreases for some universities

  • For-credit enrollment at Alabama’s community colleges increased more than 6% system wide this fall, according to preliminary numbers.
  • Enrollment is now about 75,600 students taking classes that count toward degrees or certifications, compared to 70,904 in fall 2020, according to Alabama Community College System data shared with Alabama Daily News on Wednesday.
  • Those numbers do not include adult education classes or some workforce development courses taken not for credit.
  • Community college enrollment has trended down in recent years, in part attributed to the availability of jobs.
  • The state’s four-year college system meanwhile saw a 1.4% decrease systemwide in undergraduate students to 130,529, according to early numbers. Universities’ graduate enrollment ticked up about 3.2%.
  • Read more from Mary Sell and see the full data HERE.


4. Mental capacity at issue as Smith faces another execution date

  • Federal judges heard arguments Wednesday about whether an Alabama inmate had the mental capacity to understand the paperwork setting up his planned execution next week, with a defense lawyer arguing the man’s cognitive deficiencies warranted disability assistance.
  • The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering an appeal by Willie B. Smith III, who was convicted of a woman’s 1991 kidnap and killing. His lawyer said the man has an IQ in the 70s and should have received help under the Americans with Disabilities Act to understand a form related to the selection of an execution method.
  • Smith is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Oct. 21 in the death of Sharma Ruth Johnson, 22. Prosecutors said Smith abducted Johnson at gunpoint from an ATM in Birmingham, stole $80 from her and then took her to a cemetery where he shot her in the back of the head.
  • This is Alabama’s second attempt this year to carry out Smith’s death sentence. The state called off prior execution plans last Feb. 12 after the U.S. Supreme Court maintained an injunction saying he could not be put to death without his pastor present.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



5. Inflation: surging prices match a 13-year high

  • Another jump in consumer prices in September sent inflation up 5.4% from where it was a year ago, matching the largest increase since 2008 as tangled global supply lines continue to create havoc.
  • U.S. consumer prices rose 0.4% in September from August as the costs of new cars, food, gas, and restaurant meals all jumped.
  • The ongoing price gains raise pressure on the Federal Reserve, whose officials have repeatedly said the increases will be transitory, and on President Joe Biden, who is facing an economy of slowing job gains and higher inflation. Biden has been accused by Republicans for spurring inflation with his $1.9 trillion rescue package enacted in March of this year.
  • The unexpected burst of inflation this year reflects sharply higher prices for food and energy, but also for furniture, cars, televisions, and other largely imported goods. COVID-19 has shut down factories in Asia and slowed U.S. port operations, leaving container ships anchored at sea and consumers and businesses paying more for goods that may not arrive for months.
  • Read more HERE.
  • Relatedly, millions of Social Security beneficiaries will see a 5.9% boost in their checks starting in 2022 to keep up with inflation. It’s the biggest cost-of-living increase in 39 years.




Inside Alabama Politics – October 7, 2021


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Release of reapportionment maps could come days before special session


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Committee recompiling state constitution close to final vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Early numbers show enrollment increases for community colleges, slight decreases for some universities


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mental capacity at issue as Alabama man faces execution date


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inflation: surging prices match a 13-year high


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Social Security checks getting big boost as inflation rises


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 13, 2021


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Who’s running? 2022 Alabama House races update


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As Democrats press forward with IRS monitoring rule, Tuberville seeks support for countermeasure


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2 inmates killed within a week in state prisons


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Difficult decisions’ as Biden, Democrats shrink plan to $2T


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – FDA authorizes first e-cigarette, cites benefit for smokers


AL.COM – Authorities ID 3 of 4 people killed in fiery south Alabama crash; 4th victim was child


AL.COM – Suspect in custody after deadly shooting over Alabama vs. Texas A&M football game


AL.COM – Tuberville, bankers bash Biden plan for banks reporting $600 transactions to IRS


Montgomery Advertiser – Who was Sharma Ruth Johnson? What we know about the murder of a 22-year-old Alabama woman in 1991.


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Constitution: Committee appears to support plan to remove racist language


Montgomery Advertiser – A history of execution methods in Alabama, and the controversies around them


Decatur Daily – Experience Art: River Clay Fine Arts Festival returns to downtown Decatur


Decatur Daily – Committee recompiling state constitution close to final vote


Decatur Daily – Princess could get ADA compliant with additional handicapped seating and updated restrooms


Times Daily – A fixture in the local music scene, Viall dies


Times Daily – Florence budget includes 3% pay raise for employees


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham pastor indicted on sex abuse charges


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Clock is ticking on USFL deal in Birmingham


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Monday Morning QB Club unveils new helicopter for Children’s of Alabama


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama Constitution: Committee appears to support plan to remove racist language


Tuscaloosa News – ALDOT: New project to extend work on Interstate 20/59 into fall 2022


Tuscaloosa News – Mental capacity at issue as Alabama man faces execution date


YellowHammer News – ALFA’s Walker: ‘Absolutely’ for a secure border; Immigration position ‘mischaracterized’


YellowHammer News – U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer issues stark warning over debt crisis — ‘has become a national security threat’


YellowHammer News – Nivory Gordon, Jr. named Alabama state director for USDA Rural Development


Gadsden Times – Mental capacity at issue as Alabama man faces execution date


Gadsden Times – Action! ABC’s ‘The Wonder Years’ films in downtown Montgomery


Gadsden Times – Carver alum, honoree, sees great opportunity for those in his hometown


Dothan Eagle – Lava from volcano on Spain’s La Palma forces 800 to evacuate


Dothan Eagle – US regulators seek answers from Tesla over lack of recall


Dothan Eagle – US to reopen land borders for vaccinated; William Shatner’s space flight; Braves, Astros advance


Opelika-Auburn News – Overnight blaze in Taiwan engulfs building, kills 46 people


Opelika-Auburn News – Bow-and-arrow attack suspect was flagged for radicalization; GOP’s record cash haul; Adele’s new album


Opelika-Auburn News – Deere & Co. workers go on strike after rejecting contract


WSFA Montgomery – Maryland man stuck in Alabama after vehicles stolen


WSFA Montgomery – Birmingham PD: Shooting suspect commits suicide during standoff


WSFA Montgomery – Mental capacity at issue as Alabama man faces execution date


WAFF Huntsville – Families of murder victims frustrated over backlog in trials


WAFF Huntsville – Lawrence County family fighting to keep man in prison


WAFF Huntsville – 2-week-old baby found, mother in police custody


WKRG Mobile – 12-year-old boy shot in Dothan drive-by


WKRG Mobile – Mobile’s new police chief discusses plans to combat crime in the city


WKRG Mobile – VIDEO: Louisiana farmer shouts profanities, points guns at employees


WTVY Dothan – Enterprise PD making community policing priority


WTVY Dothan – Henry County redrawing district lines ahead of 2022 elections


WTVY Dothan – A dispute is brewing at Southeast Health


WASHINGTON POST – Jan. 6 committee preparing to aggressively enforce subpoenas, targets former Trump DOJ official


WASHINGTON POST – Democrats send heavy hitters to boost McAuliffe, amid anxiety over his race


WASHINGTON POST – Another Facebook whistleblower will testify about the company before British lawmakers


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: F.D.A. Panel to Vote on Moderna Boosters


NEW YORK TIMES – The Most Important Global Meeting You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Is Now


NEW YORK TIMES – In Pennsylvania Governor’s Race, Josh Shapiro Focuses on Voting Rights


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Boeing Deals With New Dreamliner Defect Amid Production Problems


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Gas Shortage Prompts Power Plants to Switch to Oil, Boosting Demand


WALL STREET JOURNAL – FDA Advisors to Consider Moderna Covid-19 Booster Shot



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