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Daily News Digest – September 10, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, September 10.

1. State to move $300M to unemployment fund

  • Yesterday, we reported that state leaders were considering shifting around some of the $1.9 billion in federal CARES Act money allocated in May.
  • We’ve now learned that is definitely happening, and there are some good reasons why.
  • Finance Director Kelley Butler gave notice in writing this week to top lawmakers that the Ivey administration intends to move $300 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to the state’s unemployment benefits trust fund.
  • Currently, the state’s unemployment insurance benefits trust fund could run out next month, drained as a record-number of people were put out of work by the shuttering of businesses due to the coronavirus.
  • When the state’s unemployment fund runs out, two things happen: (1) the state borrows money from the federal government, and (2) the state pays the money back from tax increases on employers triggered by the unemployment schedule.
  • So, to avoid taxing businesses as much as five times their current unemployment rate, the state will reprogram $300 million worth of CARES Act funds.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


2. If voting absentee, ‘follow the directions’

  • The State of Alabama notifies voters if their absentee ballot applications are disqualified because of missteps in the process, allowing voters to attempt to fix the issues. However, the state does not provide the same opportunity on absentee ballots during the voting process.
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told Alabama Daily News the state does not track how many absentee ballots are ultimately disqualified because of mistakes made while returning them. It’s impossible to know how many have been rejected in recent past elections, he said.
  • Because of the surge in mail-in balloting and postal delays reported across the nation, the number of rejected ballots in November is projected to be significantly higher than previous elections.
  • The increased rejection rate could be pivotal in some battleground states like Pennsylvania this year.
  • Merrill encourages voters to turn in their absentee applications and their final ballots as soon as possible and to contact their county’s absentee election manager immediately if they encounter an error.
  • “We would hope that voters would follow the directions that are printed on the application and that was printed on the ballot, and if they do so and they meet all the standards that are required then it’s really just following the directions,” Merrill said.
  • Absentee ballots became available Wednesday.
  • The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is Oct. 29 at the close of business. An absentee ballot returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Nov. 2 and received by the Absentee Election Manager no later than noon on Nov. 3.
  • Read more about the absentee ballot process from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


3. ‘Deadly stuff’: Trump’s own words bring focus back to virus

  • Try as he might to change the subject, President Donald Trump can’t escape the coronavirus.
  • In April, the president tried to shift the public’s focus to the economy. In July, to defending the country’s heritage. In September, to enforcing law and order. But all along the way, the death toll from the coronavirus continued to mount.
  • And now, Trump’s own words are redirecting attention to his handling of the pandemic when he can least afford it — less than two months before Election Day.
  • “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said of the threat from the virus. That was in a private conversation with journalist Bob Woodward last March that became public on Wednesday with the publication of excerpts from Woodward’s upcoming book “Rage.”
  • In taped conversations released along with the excerpts, Trump insisted he didn’t want to create “panic.” But his comments also raised fresh questions about how he has managed the defining crisis of his presidency, one that has killed about 190,000 Americans so far, with no end in sight.
  • Read more and listen to the released Woodward excerpts as well as the White House response HERE.


4. Alabama Technology Network produces $1.25B in economic impact

  • The Alabama Technology Network, through its partnerships with Alabama community colleges across the state, created a total economic impact of $1.25 billion for Alabama in the 2019 fiscal year, according to Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker.
  • Baker gave an update to ACCS board members at their monthly meeting on Wednesday saying a recent audit showed the tremendous impact of the network for the state.
  • “I knew we were doing a lot of good things,” Baker said. “This is kind of something that travels almost invisible but we are out there in the field helping existing businesses and industries, small and large.”
  • The Alabama Technology Network is an ACCS entity that supports businesses and industries in the state by providing customized workplace training, innovative technical assistance and engineering services.
  • Baker said there are a total of 795 different projects around the state utilizing ATN and those projects range in scope from lasting a couple of days to a whole year.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



5. ‘Thank a Lineman’ specialty tag helps families of workers hurt or killed on the job

  • A specialty license plate honoring power line workers and raising funds to help the families of those injured on the job is now available in every probate office in Alabama.
  • The “Thank a Lineman” specialty plate was introduced in 2019 and has passed the 1,000-plates-sold threshold to be available to drivers statewide. The Energy Institute of Alabama, who advocated for the plate, established a foundation to raise money to support the families of those who are injured or killed doing the dangerous job of maintaining power lines.
  • The group recently made a contribution to the family of Boyd Hodge, a lineman for the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative who was killed during a work accident in August. A national foundation matched the Energy Institute’s contribution.
  • Seth Hammett, who serves as chairman of the Energy Institute of Alabama, said it is important to support those who are impacted by on-the-job accidents.
  • “We talk a lot about taking care of the people who keep the lights on,” he said. “Of course, there are many who do that from the generation plants to the lines, but the face of our industry is the lineman.”
  • Read more HERE.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – $300M CARES fund transfer needed to lessen tax increase on businesses
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama’s absentee voting system doesn’t allow voters to fix disqualified ballots
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Deadly stuff’: Trump’s own words bring focus back to virus
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Technology Network brings in $1.25 billion in economic impact
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Thank a Lineman’ specialty tag helps families of workers hurt or killed on the job
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Changes coming to distribution of state’s $1.9B CARES Act funds
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – McConnell proposes ‘targeted’ virus aid, but Dems say not enough
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama doctor, pharmacist sentenced for health care fraud
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump, Biden and the road to 270 electoral votes
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – September 9, 2020
AL.COM – Alabama adds 701 new COVID cases; hospitalizations dip to lowest since end of June
AL.COM – University of Alabama COVID-19 positives dropping, dean ‘cautiously optimistic’.
AL.COM – ‘Without your help, we’re history’: Alabama, Lyric Theatres in dire need of financial support
AL.COM – What you need to know about voting absentee in Alabama starting today
AL.COM – Mobile County schools to begin opening classrooms to students
AL.COM – Black Belt 2020: To improve unemployment, Black Belt must ‘accept our own responsibilities’
AL.COM – Contributor Joyce White Vance: Do not be alarmed if the election night count is slow
Montgomery Advertiser – Excitement builds: Wetumpka paves way for ‘Home Town Takeover’
Montgomery Advertiser – EPA no longer recommending downtown Montgomery plume for priority list
Montgomery Advertiser – Police searching for occupants of two vehicles spotted in the area of a July homicide
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Third-grade teacher for Richland Two school district dies of COVID-19
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama’s absentee voting system doesn’t allow voters to fix disqualified ballots
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State to shift $300M to unemployment account; more changes coming for Alabama’s $1.9B CARES Act funds
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH watching COVID cases for Labor Day weekend numbers
Tuscaloosa News – $60M bond plan for road, recreation projects gets Tuscaloosa council approval
Tuscaloosa News – Arrests made in series of car break-ins at Mallard Creek
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Schools considers plan to re-open classrooms
Decatur Daily – Decatur council shares online sales tax with schools; short-term camp sites approved
Decatur Daily – Increased property tax collections boosting Morgan’s bottom line
Decatur Daily – State to reallocate CARES Act funds to limit business unemployment tax increase
Times Daily – Audit firm has no relationship with Tuscumbia mayor
Times Daily – 4 inmates with Colbert cases have parole hearings this week
Times Daily – Changes in CARES Act fund allotments are likely
Anniston Star – Jacksonville man charged with choking woman
Anniston Star – Changes coming to distribution of state’s $1.9B CARES Act funds
Anniston Star – Alexandria man charged with domestic violence by strangulation
YellowHammer News – ADEM’s remediation work leads to Montgomery Superfund site coming off EPA priorities list
YellowHammer News – Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist includes two Alabamians
YellowHammer News – Ivey announces $1.5M in road and bridge projects funded by gas tax money
Gadsden Times – Members named to council’s Human Relations Advisory Committee
Gadsden Times – Have you seen this man? Collinsville police want to know
Gadsden Times – Etowah County partners in project to protect endangered fish
Dothan Eagle – Alabama doctor, pharmacist sentenced for health care fraud
Dothan Eagle – The Latest: Imperial College expert warns of virus ‘uptick’
Dothan Eagle – EU, UK in urgent meeting on lawbreaking British Brexit plan
Opelika-Auburn News – Alabama doctor, pharmacist sentenced for health care fraud
Opelika-Auburn News – Prominent attorney killed, girlfriend wounded in shooting
Opelika-Auburn News – County could require paying for firefighting, garbage pickup
WSFA Montgomery – Lowndes County food bank gets big boost
WSFA Montgomery – Sheriff: 1 dead, 1 injured in Shorter area shooting
WSFA Montgomery – 63 students at Pike Road’s Georgia Washington campus quarantined
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville City School leaders talk about in-person classes resuming
WAFF Huntsville – Time’s running out to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine trial
WAFF Huntsville – Fatal crash in Lauderdale County
WKRG Mobile – At least 17 US police chiefs have resigned or been fired since June 1
WKRG Mobile – FDA: We feel the urgency, but we’re not going to cut any corners on safe COVID-19 vaccine
WKRG Mobile – Rallies continue for, against Confederate flag removal in Marshall County
WTVY Dothan – Eric Trump brings his father’s message to Panama City Beach
WTVY Dothan – Eric Trump to host Make America Great Again! event in Panama City Beach
WTVY Dothan – Turning passion into profit: 3 young women start Eufaula businesses
WASHINGTON POST – Trump acknowledges he intentionally downplayed deadly coronavirus, says effort was to reduce panic
WASHINGTON POST – Woodward book: Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans
WASHINGTON POST – Major coronavirus vaccine trial is paused to investigate unexplained illness
NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: Senate Republicans Plan Vote on ‘Skinny’ Aid Bill
NEW YORK TIMES – Inquiry Begins Into AstraZeneca’s Vaccine Trial
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Admits Downplaying the Virus Knowing It Was ‘Deadly Stuff’
WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Stock Futures Slip as Tech Rally Fades
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Unemployment Claims Expected to Show Continued Slow Decline
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Oil Traders Gird for More Price Swings


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