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Daily News Digest – September 2, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, September 2.


1. Redistricting public hearings start

  • During the first public hearing on reapportionment Wednesday, Alabamians asked the lawmakers redrawing voting districts not to split up communities of interests and keep counties whole in the new maps being created.
  • Some pushed for a pledge from GOP legislators’ not to gerrymander to their advantage the Congressional, state Senate and House, and board of education maps being redone with new 2020 census data.
  • “I will pledge to draw districts that comply with the United States Constitution and the Voting Rights Act,” Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, said during the first public hearing the reapportionment committee he co-chairs held Wednesday morning.
  • Committee co-chair Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said he’d draw fair districts “that are representative of the population and stay in compliance with the many, many rules and regulations that control what we do and what will be approved by the court.”
  • The town hall at Drake State Community College in Huntsville was the first of about two dozen.
  • Pringle earlier this week said he’s hopeful a special session on proposed maps can happen in late October or early November.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Fewer Alabama high school grads going straight to college

  • The number of students graduating from Alabama high schools and entering state universities and colleges dipped by 5% in 2020 to 41%.
  • While that decrease can in part be blamed on COVID-19-caused disruptions, it’s also part of a larger decline that education officials say is a sign of a strong economy. In 2011, 53% of high school graduates went directly to in-state colleges.
  • “I think it mostly can be attributed since 2011 to an improvement in the economy,” Jim Purcell, executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, said. Post-Great Recession, more jobs have been available to people right out of high school.
  • But as the state works to find more skilled workers, higher education leaders are trying new ways to reach them. Purcell said that as people’s careers advance or manufacturing jobs become more automated, training and courses are available.
  • “Higher ed will be there for them,” he said.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.


3. Alabama universities try out vaccine incentives to boost shots

  • Four-year universities in Alabama are using incentive programs to get their campus populations vaccinated against COVID-19 as students return to campuses.
  • The state’s two largest universities each have an incentive program, with the University of Alabama recently increasing the amount and extending the deadline for when students can show proof of their first shot.
  • Students are not required to show proof of vaccination to go to universities in Alabama, thanks to a law passed earlier this year in the Alabama Legislature. But schools can still offer perks to encourage vaccinations.
  • On Wednesday, 2,828 Alabamians hospitalized for COVID-19, inching the state closer to the record of 3,087 in January. The state’s intensive care units are also well over capacity due to the virus, according the Alabama Hospital Association.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.


4. SCOTUS divides 5-4 to leave Texas abortion law in place

  • A deeply divided Supreme Court is allowing a Texas law that bans most abortions to remain in effect.
  • The court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers and others that sought to block enforcement of the law that went into effect Wednesday. But the justices also suggested that their order likely isn’t the last word on whether the law can stand because other challenges to it can still be brought.
  • The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant.
  • It is the strictest law against abortion rights in the United States since the high court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and part of a broader push by Republicans nationwide to impose new restrictions on abortion. Twelve other states, including Alabama, have enacted bans early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked from going into effect.
  • The high court’s order declining to halt the Texas law came just before midnight Wednesday. The majority said those bringing the case had not met the high burden required for a stay of the law.
  • “In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit. In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts,” the unsigned order said.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Ready for some football?

  • Did you see the big game last night?
  • In the Montgomery Kickoff at Cramton Bowl, Tyler Johnston III threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns, Trea Shropshire had 120 yards receiving and a score as UAB beat Jacksonville State 31-0. Congrats to Coach Bill Clark and his crew.
  • Now it’s time for the SEC to play and everyone from players and coaches to fans are ready for opening weekend.
  • The SEC will fully reopen for business this weekend, with 11 of the 14 teams hosting games after a season of shrunken crowds and no on-campus tailgating in states where fall Saturdays are all about college football.
  • The lone outlier for COVID-19 restrictions in the league is LSU, where fans 12 and up attending the McNeese State home opener on Sept. 11 will have to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. Most schools do encourage mask wearing within the stadium, and perhaps require them indoors, but there are few other COVID-related restrictions.
  • Tailgating is back, but many of the attendance restrictions and mask mandates from 2020 are not.
  • Two season-opening games games involving SEC teams will be held at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where officials will only require masks in enclosed spaces like the club seating areas, press box and retail store. Top-ranked Alabama opens against No. 14 Miami on Saturday in Atlanta, with Mississippi-Louisville meeting in the city two days later.
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Redistricting public hearings start with requests not to split communities, gerrymander


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fewer Alabama high school grads going straight to college; higher ed advertising options


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama universities try out vaccine incentives to boost shots


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – High court divides 5-4 to leave Texas abortion law in place


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – From burgers to ballgames, SEC fans aiming for normalcy


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden defends departure from Afghanistan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rogers: Biden’s words ‘hollow’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama community colleges offer students vaccine incentives


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Dismukes pleads not guilty to theft charge


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US consumer confidence falls in August to 6-month low


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Analysis: What we learned from the latest Daily News poll


AL.COM – Alabama lawmaker proposes opt-out for school mask requirements; parental consent for vaccines


AL.COM – Alabama saw record COVID cases in August, wave now reaching northern counties


AL.COM – No longer last: Alabama COVID vaccination rate surges ahead of Mississippi. Watch out, Wyoming


AL.COM – Judge formally dismisses lawsuit over Confederate monument in Huntsville


AL.COM – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey appoints Limestone County investigator as sheriff to replace Mike Blakely


AL.COM – Alabama dog track owners launch media campaign for lottery, casino legislation


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama State, Whataburger partner on resource room for free food, business clothing


Montgomery Advertiser – The Spirit of Auburn football: Return of ‘War Eagle’ also brings one bird’s bittersweet last flight


Montgomery Advertiser – Dog track owners plan push for Alabama gambling bill, but are legislators interested?


Decatur Daily – Decatur capital murder suspect caught, jailed


Decatur Daily – Calhoun students say incentives nice but not primary reason for getting vaccinated


Decatur Daily – Leave situation could become ‘crisis’ for some state employees


Times Daily – Army Corps of Engineers, TVA, assessing damage at Wilson Dam


Times Daily – Tropical storm damage mostly trees in Shoals


Times Daily – Residents want Shoals in same Congressional district


Anniston Star – COVID treatment center opens in former Anniston school


Anniston Star – Alexandria lineman dies while responding to storm damage


Anniston Star – Redistricting public hearings start with requests not to split communities, gerrymander


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – When to go to an urgent care vs the emergency room


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama sets new execution date for inmate for 1991 murder


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State commission says medical cannabis dispensaries could operate similar to pharmacies


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama State, Whataburger partner on resource room for free food, business clothing


Tuscaloosa News – A musical partnership brings free blues concert to Tuscaloosa this weekend


Tuscaloosa News – Two Alabama electric workers die trying to restore power lost during Ida


YellowHammer News – Alabama Medical Association to discuss Delta variant impact on children during Facebook Live COVID-19 update


YellowHammer News – U.S. Rep. Barry Moore urges Congress to address veterans’ mental health concerns amid Afghanistan-related turmoil


YellowHammer News – U.S. Rep. Moore to the media covering Afghanistan: ‘Take off your DNC t-shirts and your DNC hats’ — ‘Don’t let them give you a scapegoat’


Gadsden Times – Alabama State, Whataburger partner on resource room for free food, business clothing


Gadsden Times – Rendering plant opposition pleased with message Gadsden’s resolution sends


Gadsden Times – Two Alabama electric workers die trying to restore power lost during Ida


Dothan Eagle – EXPLAINER: Congress asks tech companies for Jan. 6 records


Dothan Eagle – At least 8 deaths as Hurricane Ida’s remnants hit Northeast


Dothan Eagle – The Latest: UK says sees scope for dialogue with Taliban


Opelika-Auburn News – ‘Lean In’ circles help women in construction navigate bias


Opelika-Auburn News – At least 8 deaths as Hurricane Ida’s remnants hit Northeast


Opelika-Auburn News – EXPLAINER: Congress asks tech companies for Jan. 6 records


WSFA Montgomery – Interim Montgomery police chief: Department morale is ‘coming back around’


WSFA Montgomery – 2 businesses provide lunch for Lake Martin Community Hospital staff


WSFA Montgomery – Civil Air Patrol from Maxwell AFB assisting in Ida recovery


WAFF Huntsville – Crime of the Week: Stealing credit cards from cars


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville woman says she’ll now get vaccinated after being hospitalized with COVID-19


WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Confederate Monument lawsuit dismissed


WKRG Mobile – Church offers meal, prayer for Ida evacuees staying in Pensacola


WKRG Mobile – Detour for MS highway collapse supposed to undergo bridge construction


WKRG Mobile – Ask for COVID vaccine proof, face a $5,000 fine in Florida


WTVY Dothan – Health officials say COVID vaccine rates need improvement


WTVY Dothan – Pepper Mock sworn in as Geneva Chief of Police


WTVY Dothan – Tornado causes damage on west side of Dothan


WASHINGTON POST – Supreme Court refuses to block Texas law banning abortions at six weeks


WASHINGTON POST – FDA to meet with outside advisers on coronavirus booster shots Sept. 17. That’s just days before the shots are expected to become available.


WASHINGTON POST – Rep. McCarthy threatens tech and telecom firms that comply with Jan.6 committee’s request


NEW YORK TIMES – Latest Updates: At Least 8 Dead as Ida Swamps New York City Area


NEW YORK TIMES – After Quick Victory, Taliban Find Governing Is Harder


NEW YORK TIMES – Afghanistan Live Updates: Pentagon Says Working With Taliban Against ISIS-K Is ‘Possible’


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Ben Dugan Works for CVS. His Job Is Battling a $45 Billion Crime Spree.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – North Korea Rejects Covid-19 Vaccine Doses


WALL STREET JOURNAL – At Least Eight Killed as Ida Remnants Batter Northeast



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