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Daily News Digest – September 28, 2021

Presented by the

Energy Institute of Alabama

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, September 28.


1. Special session begins

  • The State House is once again abuzz with lawmakers, staff, lobbyists and reporters in a way we really haven’t seen since March 2020.
  • The special session on prisons began Monday with the pro forma introduction of bills and other ceremonial happenings. Three newly elected lawmakers were sworn in: Sen. April Weaver, R-Brierfield, Rep. Kenneth Paschal, R-Pelham, and Rep. Kenyatte Hassell, D-Montgomery.
  • Also of note, Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier, D-Selma was present in the Senate chamber after missing most of last session due to illness.
  • There were few surprises as the session got going. Most lawmakers were just eager to see the final draft of the prison construction bill, which proved hard to come by.
  • In the end the bill was pretty much the same as the latest draft with only a few tweaks.
  • House Ways and Means General Fund meets at 10:00 a.m. to take up the prison construction legislation. House Judiciary meets at 11:00 a.m. to take up the sentencing reform bills. See watch/listen options HERE.
  • Read our full write up from the first day of the special session HERE.



2. Judiciary chairman to Treasury: Alabama ‘misusing’ COVID-19 funds for prisons

  • Alabama’s plan to use $400 million in federal COVID-19 relief money on new prisons has caught the attention of top Democrats in Congress who moved Monday to try to prevent the expenditure.
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, sent a letter to Treasury Department Secretary Janet Yellen asking her to stop Alabama from “misusing” a portion of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation.
  • Alabama Daily News first reported in July that state leaders were eyeing a portion of the state’s about $2.1 billion ARP funding known as “lost revenue” for prison construction.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department set up a formula for calculating that amount of projected revenue that includes looking at the previous three year’s revenue growth. Any drop in that growth in 2020 could be considered lost revenue and it is up to lawmakers how to spend it, as they would most state revenue.
  • State Sen. Greg Albritton, a key lawmaker who has been involved in the prison negotiations, told ADN he is not worried about the Nadler letter.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.




A message from the
Energy Institute of Alabama

  • Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are planning to phase out gas-powered vehicles by 2030 and General Motors is preparing to go fully electric by 2035. Honda targets 2040 as the date to be all-electric while Toyota has announced 70 electrified models will be available by 2025. Ford is investing $29 billion in EVs and is releasing its F-150 Lightning truck next year.
  • The message is clear: The electric vehicle revolution is here.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature recognize this certain and imminent shift and we are preparing Alabama to continue in its role as a national auto-manufacturing leader.
  • Read more in an op-ed from Rep. Danny Garrett HERE.






3. Tuberville bill would nix proposed IRS bank monitoring measure

  • A new bill by U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from requiring banks and credit unions to report customers’ transactions or account balances beyond current statutory requirements.
  • Currently, the Bank Secrecy Act requires financial institutions to report transactions of $10,000 or more. A new proposal floated as part of President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” taxing and spending overhaul would lower that threshold to just $600.
  • In an interview with Alabama Daily News Monday, Tuberville called the proposal “an outrageous intrusion of the government into people’s lives.”
  • Democrats negotiating the issue in Congress last week agreed to scale back the Biden IRS plan, according to Bloomberg News. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal told the news outlet that he wants to raise the $600 reporting threshold.
  • Read more HERE.




4. GOP blocks government funding and debt limit increase; Dems will try again

  • Republican senators blocked a bill to keep the government operating and allow more federal borrowing, but Democrats aiming to avert a shutdown pledged to try again — at the same time pressing ahead on President Joe Biden’s big plans to reshape government.
  • The fiscal yearend deadline to fund the government past Thursday is bumping up against the Democrats’ desire to make progress on Biden’s expansive $3.5 trillion federal overhaul.
  • It’s all making for a tumultuous moment for Biden and his party, with consequences certain to shape his presidency and the lawmakers’ own political futures.
  • “You know me, I’m a born optimist,” Biden told reporters Monday, as he rolled up his sleeve for a COVID-19 booster shot. “We’re gonna get it done.”
  • Monday’s 50-48 vote against taking up the bill fell well short of the 60 needed to proceed over a GOP filibuster.
  • Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants to fund the government and prevent a devastating debt default, but wants to force Democrats to split the package in two and take the politically uncomfortable debt ceiling vote on their own.
  • “Republicans are not rooting for a shutdown or a debt limit breach,” he said.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Pentagon leaders to face Congress on Afghan pullout decision

  • In their first public testimony since the U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, top Pentagon leaders will face sharp questions in Congress about the chaotic pullout and the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the country.
  • Republicans in particular have intensified their attacks on President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all troops out of Afghanistan by Aug. 30, saying it left the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism. They are demanding more details on the suicide bombing in Kabul that killed 13 American service members in the final days of the withdrawal.
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are slated to testify Tuesday in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee and then on Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee. Gen. Frank McKenzie, who as head of Central Command oversaw the withdrawal, will testify as well.
  • Some in Congress have accused Milley of disloyalty for what the book “Peril,” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, reported as assurances to a Chinese general that the U.S. had no plan to attack China, and that if it did, Milley would warn him in advance. In the days following news accounts of the book’s reporting, Milley declined to comment in detail, instead telling reporters that he would lay out his answers directly to Congress. His only comments have been that the calls with the Chinese were routine and within the duties and responsibilities of his job.
  • Read more HERE.







A message from Cover Alabama

  • Want to create jobs? Expand Medicaid.
  • Expanding Medicaid in Alabama is essential for economic development efforts and growing and recruiting jobs in the state.









ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature gavels in for special session on prisons


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congressional Democrat to Treasury: Alabama ‘misusing’ COVID-19 funds for prisons


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tuberville bill would nix proposed IRS bank monitoring measure


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP blocks government funding and debt bill; Dems will try again


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pentagon leaders to face Congress on Afghan pullout decision


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 10 things to know as special session begins


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alcohol law goes into effect Oct. 1, but don’t expect deliveries right away


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Big week ahead on Capitol Hill after budget talks hit ‘stalemate’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poll numbers down, justices say they aren’t politicians


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25: Clemson falls to No. 25, snapping top-10 streak


AL.COM – Lawmakers begin special session on building new Alabama prisons


AL.COM – 3 issues to watch on Alabama’s plan for new prisons


AL.COM – Large range in Alabama standardized test results indicates impact of pandemic


AL.COM – More monoclonal antibody treatments now available in south Alabama


AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: Your feelings aren’t as important as America’s future


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Nobody cares about Alabama prisons


Montgomery Advertiser – As special session opens, Alabama legislative leaders think they can pass prison package


Montgomery Advertiser – Innovation center opens by welcoming tech headquarters to Montgomery


Montgomery Advertiser – Lee High School teachers hold conference to help one another


Decatur Daily – Austin High senior selected as student of the month in Alabama by student organization


Decatur Daily – Mayor to propose hiring lobbyist for third Decatur bridge


Decatur Daily – Opponents of 700-home development at Newby Farms cite traffic, drainage


Times Daily – Legislature gavels in for session on prisons


Times Daily – Commission OKs budget with 5% pay raise


Times Daily – New solar farm in Colbert County is completed


Anniston Star – Alcohol law goes into effect Oct. 1, but don’t expect deliveries right away


Anniston Star – New factors may influence retail shopping this winter


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – JCCEO Head Start Center closed indefinitely leaving parents scrambling to find childcare, how you can help


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Power poll indicates Birmingham business support for vaccine mandates


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Local elementary school testing students for COVID-19


Tuscaloosa News – As special session opens, Alabama legislative leaders think they can pass prison package


Tuscaloosa News – Battery recycling plant will be built at Tuscaloosa County Airport Industrial Park


YellowHammer News – GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Jessica Taylor: ‘No, I did not support’ Roy Moore in 2017


YellowHammer News – Brooks cosponsors bill to prohibit Biden vaccine mandate — ‘I will protect liberty and freedom from dictatorial government oppression’


YellowHammer News – Scott Chambers announced as news director of Yellowhammer Network News


Gadsden Times – Habitat for Humanity moves headquarters to Rainbow City


Gadsden Times – Etowah County surpasses 19k COVID-19 cases, 450 deaths


Gadsden Times – As special session opens, Alabama legislative leaders think they can pass prison package


Dothan Eagle – ‘Moulin Rouge!’ musical wins 10 Tony Awards; Germany’s Social Dems win tight race; NFL Week 3 recap


Dothan Eagle – US officials: Biden aide to meet Saudi crown prince on Yemen


Dothan Eagle – Uncertain start to post-Merkel era after close German vote


Opelika-Auburn News – Sheriff: Florida woman threw firebombs at Buddhist temple


Opelika-Auburn News – Liz Weston: Is a new job the right financial move?


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery City Council set to vote on new budget Tuesday


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama trying to use COVID relief funds for new prisons


WSFA Montgomery – Selma woman makes initial court appearance in husband’s stabbing death


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama Supreme Court Ruling called ‘Alabama’s Closed Record Act’


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur City Council approves over $71 million city budget


WAFF Huntsville – Governor Ivey, local and school leaders break ground on new Fort Payne BEAT center


WKRG Mobile – Japan to lift all coronavirus emergency steps nationwide


WKRG Mobile – Mississippi gov: Still no word on medical marijuana session


WKRG Mobile – Four fallen Alabama firefighters to be honored at National Memorial Service


WTVY Dothan – Lawmaker: Prison plan could .bankrupt southeast Alabama cities


WTVY Dothan – New housing development plans coming to Early County


WTVY Dothan – Geneva police chase leaves one behind bars


WASHINGTON POST – New York governor declares ‘disaster emergency’ amid staffing shortage crisis prompted by vaccine resisters


WASHINGTON POST – Pfizer, BioNTech tell FDA vaccine trial had favorable results in young children


WASHINGTON POST – R. Kelly found guilty on all federal charges in sex trafficking and racketeering trial


NEW YORK TIMES – Pelosi Plans Infrastructure Vote as Safety Net Bill Remains Mired in Rifts


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: Thousands of New York Health Workers Got Vaccinated Before Deadline


NEW YORK TIMES – New Taliban Chancellor Bars Women From Kabul University


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Fall as Bond Yields Hit Three-Month High


WALL STREET JOURNAL – GOP Senators Block Democratic Bill to Fund Government and Suspend Debt Ceiling


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Bank Mergers Are On Track to Hit Their Highest Level Since the Financial Crisis



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