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Daily News Digest – October 4, 2021

Presented by the

Alabama League of Municipalities


Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, October 4.



1. Prison plan: How it happened and what’s next

  • As Rick Bragg wrote, it’s all over but the shoutin’.
  • The Alabama Legislature’s special session on prisons came and went in five days, the minimum needed to pass legislation. And it went largely as predicted.
  • Construction will start early next year on the two 4,000-bed men’s prisons approved in the rapid-fire session.
  • The package of bills Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law late Friday includes the borrowing of up to $785 million for the two prisons and the use of $400 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for the mega-prisons in central and south Alabama. A second phase of construction allows for a new women’s prison and renovations to three existing men’s prisons.
  • Also enacted was one of two modest reform bills. House Bill 2 increases the number of inmates who could be released prior to the end of their sentence and placed under supervision of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.
  • But again, there will be more shouting to come, particularly over the state’s use of ARPA funds on prison construction. State leaders are confident in their legal standing, but that won’t stop advocacy groups and perhaps the Biden administration from throwing up road blocks ahead of the bond sale.
  • We could end up in a familiar place on this issue: the federal court system.
  • Mary Sell has a full rundown of the five things to know about what happened, why it matters and what’s next.
  • Read her story HERE.



2. Can Dems come together to save Biden agenda?

  • It’s one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favorite sayings, a guidepost for Democrats in trying times: “Our diversity is our strength. Our unity is our power.”
  • But as Democrats try to usher President Joe Biden’s expansive federal government overhaul into law, it’s the party’s diversity of progressive and moderate views that’s pulling them apart.
  • And only by staying unified does their no-votes-to-spare majority have any hope of pushing his rebuilding agenda into law.
  • Together, Biden, Pelosi and other Democrats are entering a highly uncertain time, the messy throes of legislating, in what will now be a longer-haul pursuit that could stretch for weeks, if not months, of negotiations.
  • The product — or the colossal failure to reach a deal — will define not only the first year of Biden’s presidency, but the legacy of Pelosi and a generation of lawmakers in Congress, with ramifications for next year’s midterm elections. At stake is not only the scaled-back $3.5 trillion plan, but also the slimmer $1 trillion public works bill that is now stalled, intractably linked to the bigger bill.
  • Read more from Lisa Mascaro HERE.







A message from the

Alabama League of Municipalities

  • On July 29, the League announced the creation of its Economic Development Academy, which focuses on helping local leaders further understand their critical role in the economic development process. It is specifically designed to educate and engage municipal officials and designated community business leaders on best practices and strategies for successful economic and community development.
  • Recently, 30 communities were selected to form the inaugural class on November 1: Alexander City, Bessemer, Center Point, Centreville, Chelsea, Coffeeville, Columbiana, Elba, Enterprise, Gadsden, Geneva, Good Hope, Guin, Hartselle, Irondale, Lipscomb, Monroeville, Mount Vernon, Oneonta, Opp, Ozark, Pike Road, Scottsboro, Selma, Tallassee, Tarrant, Thomasville, Trussville, Tuskegee and Union Springs.
  • Congratulations to each community selected!
  • Click HERE for more information about ALM’s Economic Development Academy.






3. SCOTUS begins new term today

  • The Supreme Court is beginning a momentous new term with a return to familiar surroundings, the mahogany and marble courtroom that the justices abandoned more than 18 months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Abortion, guns and religion all are on the agenda for a court with a rightward tilt, including three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump.
  • The justices will meet in person for arguments today, although Justice Brett Kavanaugh will participate remotely from his home after testing positive for COVID-19 late last week. Kavanaugh, who was vaccinated in January, is showing no symptoms, the court said. All the other justices also have been vaccinated.
  • With a nod to the persistence of the virus, the court remains closed to the public. Only lawyers involved in the cases and reporters who regularly cover the court will be on hand, and anyone not arguing will have to wear a mask. The court is also requiring negative COVID-19 tests from lawyers and reporters who want to be in the courtroom.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Ex-Facebook manager alleges social network fueled Capitol riot

  • A data scientist who was revealed Sunday as the Facebook whistleblower says the company’s own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation.
  • Frances Haugen was identified in a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday as the woman who anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement.
  • She said Facebook prematurely turned off safeguards designed to thwart misinformation and rabble rousing after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump last year, alleging that contributed to the deadly Jan. 6 sacking of the U.S. Capitol.
  • Post-election, the company dissolved a unit on civic integrity where she had been working, which Haugen said was the moment she realized “I don’t trust that they’re willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous.”
  • The backlash has been intensifying since The Wall Street Journal’s mid-September publication of an expose that revealed Facebook’s internal research had concluded the social network’s attention-seeking algorithms had helped foster political dissent and contributed to mental health and emotional problems among teens, especially girls. After copying thousands of pages of Facebook’s internal research, Haugen leaked them to the Journal to provide the foundation for a succession of stories packaged as the “Facebook Files.”
  • Read more and watch the interview HERE.



5. AP Top 25

  • Iowa is gearing up for its biggest home game since the 1980s, Cincinnati has its highest ranking in 12 years and Clemson is on the outside looking in at The Associated Press college football poll for the first time since 2014.
  • Alabama and Georgia are the only constants during this topsy-turvy college football season. They held down the top two spots for a fifth straight week in the AP Top 25, which is presented by Regions Bank.
  • Alabama received 53 of a possible 62 first-place votes Sunday, with Georgia picking up the rest.
  • After those two teams, the movement up and down and in and out of the Top 25 was about what would be expected after a week in which nine ranked teams lost, including four in the top 10.
  • Through the first five weeks of the season, 34 ranked teams have lost, the most in poll history.
  • Auburn jumped four spots to No. 18 after beating LSU in Baton Rouge.
  • Read more and see the full AP Top 25 HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prison plan passes: How it happened and what’s next


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Can Democrats come together to save Biden agenda?


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court back for new term


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Abortion, guns, religion top a big Supreme Court term


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ex-Facebook manager alleges social network fed Capitol riot


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25: Iowa up to No. 3; Clemson out of Top 25 first time since ’14


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey signs $1.3B prison construction plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature, Ivey approve parole change bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Everybody is frustrated,’ Biden says as his agenda stalls


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Expanded museum traces legacy of slavery in America


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Project aims to ID voting rights marchers of ‘Bloody Sunday’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State accepts county’s payment for removing rebel monument


AL.COM – Alabama adds 892 COVID cases Sunday, lowest daily total since July


AL.COM – Alabama’s new prison-building plan skips bid process for earlier start on construction


AL.COM – ‘You have to fight’: Hundreds gather for Birmingham Women’s March for abortion rights


AL.COM – Alabama 14-year-old twins fight for women’s empowerment, menstrual equity


AL.COM – ‘No place to put them:’ Housing, labor shortages push Gulf Coast towards $200 million solution


AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: ‘Unprecedented’ alliance must now improve lives for $330 million investment in stadium, arena to be true success


Montgomery Advertiser – 10 Alabama counties acquiring the most investments right now


Montgomery Advertiser – Victim named in Saturday afternoon shooting death


Montgomery Advertiser – Pike Road Patriot Marching Band earns honors



Decatur Daily – Decatur City Schools Foundation leader Stevi Price: ‘Every student deserves a chance to succeed’


Decatur Daily – PET TALES: Tiny Tucker avoids grass, loves chicken and is always ready to play


Decatur Daily – Drug court reduces recidivism, changes lives in Morgan County


Times Daily – Tuscumbia employees to benefit from relief act funds


Times Daily – Rotarians break ground on special needs playground


Times Daily – Sheffield police officer dies ‘a hero’


Anniston Star – October in Oxford brings out the crowds


Anniston Star – Women’s rights supporters, leaders march in downtown Anniston


Anniston Star – Dollar Tree stores to see new pricing, stocking policies


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Mortimer Jordan military dad returns home


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Auburn man charged with manslaughter following shooting death of 13-month-old


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Thompson High School holds centennial celebration


Tuscaloosa News – 10 Alabama counties acquiring the most investments right now


Tuscaloosa News – Gas tax-funded work on McFarland Boulevard begins next month


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa council gives outdoor construction of Saban Center unanimous approval


YellowHammer News – UAB’s hepatitis C-positive organ transplant program extends to heart and lung patients


YellowHammer News – U.S. Rep. Aderholt: Democrat spending bill struggles show ‘one or two seats in the House make a difference’


Gadsden Times – 10 Alabama counties acquiring the most investments right now


Gadsden Times – PET OF THE WEEK: Cuddle bug Koda looking for ‘furever’ home


Gadsden Times – ELAINE HARRIS SPEARMAN COMMENTARY: ‘Vaccinated or non-vaccinated’ is the narrative


Dothan Eagle – Response time questioned in Southern California oil spill


Dothan Eagle – Ex-US Rep. Todd Akin, sunk by ‘legitimate rape’ remark, dies


Dothan Eagle – Trial against pharmacy chains’ opioid sales set to begin


Opelika-Auburn News – Police: Woman shot multiple times, body dumped on interstate


Opelika-Auburn News – Catalan ex-leader Puigdemont faces Italy extradition hearing


Opelika-Auburn News – Russia test-fires new hypersonic missile from submarine


WSFA Montgomery – Body found in eastern Montgomery County


WSFA Montgomery – Victim identified from Saturday fatal shooting in Montgomery


WSFA Montgomery – Man arrested following fatal shooting of 13-month-old in Auburn


WAFF Huntsville – GoFundMe set up for the family of Sgt. Risner


WAFF Huntsville – Sgt. Risner’s death leaves officials wondering


WAFF Huntsville – Higher prices at the pump in Alabama, but for good reason


WKRG Mobile – What’s old is new again: Justices back at court for new term


WKRG Mobile – Alabama reaches 800K total cases of COVID-19


WKRG Mobile – Nobel Prize honors discovery of temperature, touch receptors


WTVY Dothan – People walk “Out of the Darkness” to fight suicide and remember loved ones


WTVY Dothan – Scarecrows are back at the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens


WTVY Dothan – State gas tax goes into effect this weekend


WASHINGTON POST – Trump, talked out of announcing a 2024 bid for now, settles on a wink-and-nod unofficial candidacy


WASHINGTON POST – For Democrats and the Biden agenda, it’s becoming a matter of trust


WASHINGTON POST – White House set to blast China for failing to live up to Trump’s trade deal


NEW YORK TIMES – 18,000 Shots Given to N.Y.C. School Employees Ahead of Vaccine Deadline


NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Signals Little Thaw in Trade Relations With China


NEW YORK TIMES – Whistle-Blower Says Facebook ‘Chooses Profits Over Safety’


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Broader Inflation Pressures Begin to Show


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Volvo Cars Announces IPO Plan That Could Value It at $25 Billion


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Evergrande Unit Flags Possible Takeover Bid



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