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Daily News Digest – October 27, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, October 27.


1. Redistricting maps pass committee along party lines

  • The legislative committee redrawing Alabama’s congressional, state board of education and state legislative district maps approved drafts along party lines on Tuesday, two days before the full Legislature meets to consider them.
  • The nearly two-hour meeting was a likely preview of the special session on reapportionment that starts Thursday, with the Republican majority largely quiet in the debate while Democrats raised questions about minority representation and the speed at which the COVID-19-altered process is happening.
  • There are still no maps from the committee online and available for the public to see.
  • Democrats were highly critical of the process and some questioned the racial makeup of both legislative and congressional districts.
  • The special session could last up to 12 legislative days — days when the House and or Senate meet — spread over 30 calendar days.
  • Committee co-chair Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said he has scheduled for the entire process to take the standard five days, similar to how long the recent special session on prisons took.
  • “Now that’s all contingent on staying on track and, you know with 140 folks, you can get off track, sometimes when you least expect it,” McClendon said.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.



2. Medicaid enrollment increases with COVID-19, federal rules

  • Enrollment in August, the latest month available, was 1,207,582, up from 1,103,184 in August 2020, according to information given to Alabama Daily News by the state agency.
  • In early 2020, in response to the pandemic, the federal government increased states’ Medicaid funding, but said people couldn’t be unenrolled.
  • “We got that increased (Federal Medical Assistance Percentages), which really helped us with Medicaid. But one of the caveats was that we couldn’t take anybody off the rolls, even though they might be eligible to come off the rolls,” Rep. Steve Clouse, the House’s General Fund budget committee chairman said.
  • The only way recipients can now come off of Medicaid is if they die, move out of state or voluntarily remove themselves.
  • Prior to COVID-19, the federal government paid about 72% of Alabama Medicaid’s expenses. In response to the pandemic, that amount was increased to about 78%.
  • “It’s still to our advantage with the enhanced FMAP, even with the enrollment higher.”
  • Enrollment was about 1.05 million prior to the pandemic.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



3. Claudette Colvin seeks expungement

  • Months before Rosa Parks became the mother of the modern civil rights movement by refusing to move to the back of a segregated Alabama bus, Black teenager Claudette Colvin did the same. Convicted of assaulting a police officer while being arrested, she was placed on probation yet never received notice that she’d finished the term and was on safe ground legally.
  • Now 82, Colvin has asked a judge to end the matter once and for all. She wants a court in Montgomery to wipe away a record that her lawyer says has cast a shadow over the life of a largely unsung hero of the civil rights era.
  • “I am an old woman now. Having my records expunged will mean something to my grandchildren and great grandchildren. And it will mean something for other Black children,” Colvin said in a sworn statement.
  • Supporters sang civil rights anthems and clapped as Colvin entered the clerk’s office and filed the expungement request Tuesday. Her attorney, Phillip Ensler, said he was seeking all legal documents to be sealed and all records of the case erased.
  • Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey later said he agreed with the request to clear Colvin’s record, removing any doubt it would be approved.
  • “I guess you can say that now I am no longer a juvenile delinquent,” Colvin told a crowd that included relatives, well wishers and activists.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.




4. Biden, Democrats race to finalize scaled back budget deal

  • Half its original size, President Joe Biden’s big domestic policy plan is being pulled apart and reconfigured as Democrats edge closer to satisfying their most reluctant colleagues and finishing what’s now about a $1.75 trillion package.
  • How to pay for it all remained deeply in flux Tuesday, with a proposed billionaires’ tax running into criticism as cumbersome or worse. That’s forcing difficult reductions, if not the outright elimination, of policy priorities — from paid family leave to child care to dental, vision and hearing aid benefits for seniors.
  • The once hefty climate change strategies are losing some punch, too, focusing away from punitive measures on polluters in a shift toward rewarding clean energy incentives.
  • Pressure mounting, Biden met Tuesday evening with two holdout Democrats — Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
  • Together the two senators have packed a one-two punch — Manchin forcing supporters to pare back health care, child care and other spending and Sinema causing Democrats to reconsider their plans to reverse the Trump-era tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Senators put YouTube, TikTok, Snap on defensive over kids’ use

  • Senators put executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat on the defensive Tuesday, questioning them about what they’re doing to ensure young users’ safety on their platforms.
  • Citing the harm that can come to vulnerable young people from the sites — ranging from eating disorders to exposure to sexually explicit content and material promoting addictive drugs — the lawmakers also sought the executives’ support for legislation bolstering protection of children on social media. But they received little firm commitment.
  • “We’re hearing the same stories of harm” caused by YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat, said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the panel’s chairman.
  • “This is for Big Tech a big tobacco moment … It is a moment of reckoning,” he said. “There will be accountability. This time is different.”
  • Only 10 years old, Snapchat says an eye-popping 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. use the service. It reported 306 million daily users in the July-September quarter.
  • TikTok, in its first time testifying before Congress, received especially fierce criticism during the hearing, particularly from conservative Republican lawmakers who highlighted its Chinese ownership. The company says it stores all TikTok U.S. data in the United States, with a backup facility in Singapore.
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Redistricting committee passes new maps along party lines


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19, federal requirement increases Alabama Medicaid enrollment


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin seeks expungement of ’55 arrest record


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Half its original size, Biden’s big plan in race to finish


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senators put YouTube, TikTok, Snap on defensive on kids’ use


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey directs agencies to resist COVID vaccination mandate


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama’s ‘big 10’ mayors caution against conflicting vaccine mandates


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Air Force professor admits concealing Chinese contacts


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Billionaire tax criticized as Biden pushes for budget deal


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State budget leaders watching rising inflation, possible impacts


AL.COM – Alabama redistricting already facing criticism from Democrats before special session begins


AL.COM – 65% of Alabamians oppose COVID vaccine mandates, GOP poll shows


AL.COM – Auburn COVID vaccine mandate protesters line Toomer’s Corner: ‘We are losing freedoms’


AL.COM – ‘Sick and tired of being walked on’: Alabama federal contractors walk off job over vaccine mandate


AL.COM – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey: Oppose Biden vaccine mandate through courts, not legislation


AL.COM – No human trafficking cases prosecuted in Alabama federal courts in 2020


AL.COM – SBA has billions left in this EIDL grant program. But time is running out.


AL.COM – How this Alabama company has increased its workforce and maintained its supply chain


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama reapportionment committee approves new district maps on party-line votes


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery embraces changes to honor civil rights legends Fred Gray and Claudette Colvin


Montgomery Advertiser – Tuskegee band members threaten strike, demand more support


Decatur Daily – Morgan commission approves $2 million in pandemic bonuses


Decatur Daily – County hasn’t made plans for 3M settlement money; public meeting tonight


Decatur Daily – Redistricting committee passes new maps along party lines


Times Daily – Community Development Committee awards 84 grants


Times Daily – Redistricting committee passes new maps along party lines


Times Daily – Landfill fees double as leachate disposal costs go up


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Pell City firefighter released from hospital after two months of fighting COVID


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – AL hospitals continue to face nurse shortage


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Halloween decorations stolen from several yards in Homewood


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama reapportionment committee approves new district maps on party-line votes


Tuscaloosa News – Tuskegee band members threaten strike, demand more support


Tuscaloosa News – PHOTOS: Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build with GAF


YellowHammer News – Tim James calls on Ivey to expand special session legislative agenda to address vaccine mandates


YellowHammer News – Mo Brooks: Biden should be impeached for allowing illegal alien ‘invasion’ of southern border


YellowHammer News – Tuberville sounds alarm over Chinese aggression, says communist regime seeks to ‘diminish our standing and influence in the world’


Gadsden Times – Alabama reapportionment committee approves new district maps on party-line votes


Gadsden Times – Veteran donates airplane to Snead State’s Aviation College


Gadsden Times – Commissioners announce grant funds available for pandemic relief


Dothan Eagle – Higher shipping rates help UPS as Q3 results top Street


Dothan Eagle – Half its original size, Biden’s big plan in race to finish


Dothan Eagle – COVID cases falling, but trouble signs arise; Idaho mall shooting; record California rainfall


WSFA Montgomery – Town of Pike Road celebrates fall season


WSFA Montgomery – Civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin files petition to clear her name


WSFA Montgomery – 2nd suspect charged in Selma police officer’s slaying


WAFF Huntsville – 18-wheeler rollover crash closes lanes on Hwy 20 in Lawrence County


WAFF Huntsville – New bus transfer site in Huntsville will bring larger buses, more routes


WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Schools set to change COVID-19 prevention strategies


WKRG Mobile – Cannabis candy? Warnings issued ahead of Halloween


WKRG Mobile – Video: Woman nearly hit by semi-truck at event highlighting dangerous crosswalk


WKRG Mobile – Mobile man convicted in Louisiana on child porn charges


WTVY Dothan – Ozark Boys and Girls Club holding first Blue Fest


WTVY Dothan – Geneva County implements new football game policy


WTVY Dothan – Geneva County residents eligible for storm shelter assistance


WASHINGTON POST – Democrats race to reach deal on economic initiatives as Biden prepares to depart on foreign tour


WASHINGTON POST – U.S. drug company Merck to share license for experimental covid-19 treatment with nonprofit


WASHINGTON POST – Formula One racing is gaining traction in the United States, and an emerging fan base is along for the ride


NEW YORK TIMES – Gangs Rule Much of Haiti. For Many, It Means No Fuel, No Power, No Food.


NEW YORK TIMES – Democrats Hammer Out Novel Plan to Tax Billionaires and Corporate Giants


NEW YORK TIMES – A California Law School Reckons With the Shame of Native Massacres


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Federal Trade Commission Scrutinizing Facebook Disclosures


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Promising Covid-19 Pill Licensed to U.N.-Backed Nonprofit to Increase Global Supplies


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Wobble Amid Earnings




Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)





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