Presented by the
Alabama Municipal Electric Authority
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, September 8.
1. Big day for prison plan
- If you’re an ADN Insider and read yesterday’s Inside Alabama Politics, you know the basics of the prison construction plan nearing its final stages of development and how it differed from an earlier draft.
- Now, there are more details, including another draft bill that both GOP legislative caucuses are reviewing and will be discussing in meetings today. (Tip of the cap to Mike Cason for first reporting the bill draft).
- There’s also a handy summary for those who don’t want to read a 29 page bill.
- Also, Gov. Kay Ivey sent members of the Legislature a letter asking them to get behind the prison construction proposal and laying out the reasons why it is necessary. (Another hat tip to Brian Lyman for having that first).
- Should it all come together, we could be looking at an announcement on a special session as soon as tomorrow.
- Then again, this is the Alabama Legislature and things can spin out of control at any minute.
- Read all of it – the bill, the summary and Ivey’s letter – in Mary Sell’s latest HERE.
2. Hassell wins in HD78
- Kenyatte Hassell is the newest member of the Alabama Legislature.
- The Montgomery Democrat won the House District 78 special general election Tuesday night, securing 80% of the vote.
- Hassell beat Republican nominee Loretta Grant who received 19.8% of the vote, according to unofficial election results.
- With a small turnout in the special election, that amounted to 1,028 votes for Hassell and 254 for Grant.
- Hassell is a life-long Montgomery resident and father of four, according to his campaign website. He works for YoungLife, a Christian youth ministry, and manages a barber shop.
- Read more from Caroline Beck and watch Hassell’s victory speech HERE.
A message from the
Alabama Municipal Electric Authority
- One million Alabamians depend on reliable, affordable, innovative public power.
- Public utilities employ 93,000 people in local jobs across the U.S.Revenues from public power utilities go back into the community.
- 2,000 communities large and small across the U.S. trust public power.
- To learn more about AMEA and public power, visit www.AMEA.com.
3. Counties ask for $10M reimbursement from state for county jail strains
- The Association of County Commissions of Alabama is asking for a $10 million reimbursement from the state for the increased strain on county jails taking care of state inmates.
- The association approved the resolution last week that requests Gov. Kay Ivey and the state Legislature to “retroactively reimburse county governments for their extended care of an increased number of State-responsible inmates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a consequence of the Alabama Department of Corrections’ decision to drastically reduce its intake activities in 2020 and 2021.”
- The reimbursement amount is for the time from Jan. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021 and accounts for all counties, Abby Fitzpatrick, director of communication and engagement for the association, told Alabama Daily News.
- The $10 million estimate is based on the reimbursement rate of $28 per inmate per day that the Alabama Department of Corrections used in paying counties in 2020 through state CARES Act funds, Fitzpatrick said.
- County officials have been advocating for more resources to take care of state inmates for many years and the problem has only gotten worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.
4. COVID-19 boosters are coming but who will get them and when?
- COVID-19 booster shots may be coming for at least some Americans but already the Biden administration is being forced to scale back expectations — illustrating just how much important science still has to be worked out.
- The initial plan was to offer Pfizer or Moderna boosters starting Sept. 20, contingent on authorization from U.S. regulators. But now administration officials acknowledge Moderna boosters probably won’t be ready by then — the Food and Drug Administration needs more evidence to judge them. Adding to the complexity, Moderna wants its booster to be half the dose of the original shots.
- As for Pfizer’s booster, who really needs another dose right away isn’t a simple decision either. What’s ultimately recommended for an 80-year-old vaccinated back in December may be different than for a 35-year-old immunized in the spring — who likely would get a stronger immunity boost by waiting longer for another shot.
- FDA’s scientific advisers will publicly debate Pfizer’s evidence on Sept. 17, just three days before the administration’s target. If the FDA approves another dose, then advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will recommend who should get one.
- That’s tricky because while real-world data shows the vaccines used in the U.S. remain strongly protective against severe disease and death, their ability to prevent milder infection is dropping. It’s not clear how much of that is due to immunity waning or the extra-contagious delta variant — or the fact that delta struck just as much of the country dropped masks and other precautions.
- Read more HERE.
5. Evacuees plead for action: ‘We are in some kind of jail’
- The Americans trying to evacuate hundreds of Afghans and American citizens — including one Afghan who worked as a U.S. military translator and says he is anticipating his beheading by the Taliban — pleaded for action from the Biden administration Tuesday to get the would-be evacuees aboard charter flights that are standing by to fly them from Afghanistan.
- “Unfortunately we are left behind now,” the former translator said Tuesday. “No one heard our voice.”
- The man, whose identity was withheld for his security, said he was running out of money to keep his family housed in a hotel in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, after waiting a week for Taliban permission for the chartered evacuation flights to leave the airport there.
- U.S. Army veterans working to help the man, an interpreter for U.S. forces for 15 years, called the effort more grinding than their deployments in Afghanistan. They tried and failed to get their old interpreter on the earlier airlifts that ended with the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan Aug. 30.
- “I hope we can help them out, and get them out of this mess,” said a retired Army colonel, Thomas McGrath, one of the veterans trying to help his former interpreter.
- Hundreds of vulnerable Afghans are waiting for permission from Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to board prearranged charter flights standing by at the airport in Mazar-e-Sharif.
- The group includes dozens of American citizens and green card holders and their families, the Afghans and their American advocates say.
- Read more HERE.
Bonus: AP Top 25
- Georgia jumped three spots to No. 2 behind Alabama in The Associated Press Top 25 released Tuesday, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the country for the 30th time in the 85-year history of the college football poll.
- It is the second time in the last three seasons and the third in the last five that the SEC is sitting 1-2 in the AP Top 25, which is presented by Regions Bank. Alabama and LSU had a four-week run as Nos. 1 and 2 in the 2019 season before they played each other.
- The Crimson Tide strengthened its hold on No. 1 after it throttled Miami in the first full week of the regular season. Alabama received 59 first-place votes, up from the 47 it had in the preseason poll.
- No. 25 Auburn grabbed the final spot and has now been ranked for at least one week in nine straight seasons.
- Read more and see the full poll HERE.
Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)