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Weekend Digest – January, 9, 2022

Presented by the

Alabama Department of Public Health

Good afternoon!
If you missed our first Capitol Journal program of the year (and my first as host), you can check it out online HERE.
Also, if you’re the type that likes to listen in the car or while doing yard work, there’s a handy podcast of the show.
Here’s your Weekend Digest for Sunday, January 9.



1. Special session likely on ARPA funds

  • Top lawmakers from both parties agree that the biggest immediate issue facing the Legislature as it prepares to gather in Montgomery is the allocation of some $580 million in federal relief funds.
  • It’s a task that could complicate the entire election year session, which is why many expect Gov. Kay Ivey to call a special session within the regular session to focus lawmakers’ attention solely on the American Rescue Plan Act funds.
  • During our conversation on Capitol Journal Friday, Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, said separating those funds from the rest of the session could be effective.
  • “The idea of being able to separate the ARPA funds and the allocation and process of dealing with those is going to be important for the Legislature,” Reed said.
  • Only the governor can call a special session.
  • Gina Maiola, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kay Ivey, would not say if a special session was in the works but said the governor wants the ARPA funds to be an “early priority” when lawmakers convene on Tuesday.
  • A similar approach was taken in 2019 when Ivey called a special session at the very beginning of the regular session in order to focus lawmakers’ attention specifically on the gas tax and infrastructure plan.
  • Read my full story and see full interviews with Reed and Finance Director Bill Poole HERE.



2. Rep. Steve McMillan will undergo treatments for brain tumors

  • Long-time state lawmaker Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Gulf Shores, will undergo “an aggressive treatment plan” targeting three small tumors in his brain, he told his colleagues in a letter this week.
  • “I am hopeful of its success as are the doctors, but we all know that God’s power to heal far surpasses anything known to man,” McMillan, 80, said in the letter shared with Alabama Daily News.
  • He said the tumors were found after he experienced some unusual symptoms and consulted his physician.
  • McMillan announced last year he would not seek reelection in the seat he’s held since 1980.
  • “I welcome and appreciate your prayers on my behalf as my family and I take on this fight,” the letter continued.
  • He certainly has ours.
  • Full story from Mary Sell HERE.





A message from the

Alabama Department of Public Health

  • COVID won’t have the last word. We will.
  • Protect yourself and those around you. Please get vaccinated today!
  • And if you have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, make sure to get tested.





3. Rep. Lynn Greer won’t seek reelection

  • Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, will not seek reelection this year.
  • Greer was first elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1974 and has served a total of six terms, three continuously since 2010. His public service career also includes nine years on the Public Service Commission.
  • “I promised my family four years ago I would not run again,” Greer told Alabama Daily News on Friday.
  • Greer, 80, is still heavily involved in his two businesses, Greer Construction and Greer Management, which manages more than 49 apartment complexes in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi.
  • “I have a lot of stress and it’s time for me to get out of the State House,” Greer said.
  • No other current House member was serving in 1974 and Greer has been a mentor to other Shoals legislators.
  • Full story from Mary Sell HERE.



4. State says prison construction allowed with relief cash

  • Alabama officials say federal rules do not appear to block the state’s plan to use $400 million in pandemic relief funds to build prisons, although the U.S. Treasury Department document states that new prisons are generally not an eligible use of the money.
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Thursday issued the final rule for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, enacted as a part of the American Rescue Plan. The Treasury Department wrote that construction of new correctional facilities is “generally ineligible” if they are built as a response to an increase in rate of crime.
  • Alabama is steering $400 million of the more than $2 billion it will receive from the American Rescue Plan to build new prisons. State officials said Friday that the new rules do not prohibit the expenditure, while opponents of the plan say the rules back up that it is an inappropriate use of the money.
  • JaTaune Bosby, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama said in a statement that prison construction is an inappropriate, “particularly while healthcare workers, teachers, small business owners, and so many other people in Alabama are struggling during this ongoing pandemic.”
  • The Alabama Department of Finance said in a statement that the prison construction plan “is not impacted by the US Department of the Treasury’s Final Rule.”
  • Kirk Fulford, deputy director of the Legislative Services’ Agency fiscal division, wrote in an email, that the $400 million is coming from a segment of American Rescue Funds intended to make up for “lost revenue” during the pandemic that states can use to shore up government services. He said states have greater flexibility over that money.
  • “I do not see the final rule impacting our use of the $400 million for prisons at all. The funds appropriated for prisons came from the ‘lost revenue’ portion of the funds,” Fulford wrote in an email.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.




5. No. Auburn beats Florida for 11th straight, showdown in Tuscaloosa looms

  • K.D. Johnson scored 23 points and No. 9 Auburn extended its winning streak to 11 with a 85-73 victory over Florida on Saturday night.
  • Jaylin Williams netted a season-high 14 points for the Tigers (14-1, 3-0), and Wendell Green Jr. added 13 for an Auburn team that outscored Florida 35-9 in bench points. Jabari Smith had 13 points and five rebounds.
  • The Tigers’ greatest strength this season is its depth, and that was on full display Saturday. With three starters sitting significant portions of the second half due to foul trouble, Auburn was able to hold off a second-half surge by the Gators with their reserves.
  • “I thought we were a little fatigued tonight,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “I thought, for the first time, the grind of the season may have been a factor. … Then obviously, you know, those guys — Wendell, K.D. and Jabari — rise up and make shots.”
  • Next up is the Iron Bowl of basketball, as Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa to face No. 21 Alabama on Tuesday.
  • The game is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on ESPN.
  • That’s good timing! You can watch the State of the State address at 6:00, then our live Capitol Journal analysis show immediately after, then have plenty of time to flip over to the worldwide leader for the game.
  • Read more HERE.





A message from


  • Your bill tracker needs to be compatible with Alabama’s new website, or you could miss out on important legislative updates.
  • FastDemocracy provides the most accurate and up-to-date bill tracking software so you’re always well-informed and on top of everything happening in Montgomery.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Special session likely on federal ARPA funds


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rep. Steve McMillan to undergo treatment for brain tumors


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rep. Greer, first elected in ’74, not seeking reelection


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State says prison construction allowed with relief cash


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No. 9 Auburn beats Florida for 11th straight, 3-0 SEC start


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US employers add 199,000 jobs as unemployment falls to 3.9%


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court weighs vaccine rules affecting more than 80M


AL.COM – Alabama hospitals, ICUs starting to feel crush of omicron; 48 children hospitalized with COVID


AL.COM – As colleagues hid, Mo Brooks was ‘cheering on’ Jan. 6 insurrectionists: Ex-McCarthy aide


AL.COM – Alabama death row inmate Michael Reeves’ execution blocked by federal judge’s order


AL.COM – Ahmaud Arbery killers sentenced: 2 get life without parole


MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Controversial state Rep. Will Dismukes won’t seek re-election after term expires


MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Public invited to survey, meetings to inform search for MPS new superintendent


MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Lindy Blanchard spends $1.5 million, raises $6,000 in first month in governor’s race


DECATUR DAILY – Budgets, federal relief funds are top priorities as Legislature convenes



DECATUR DAILY – The Decatur Daily: Lawmakers offer red meat for election year


TIMES DAILY – Budgets, relief funds are top priorities for lawmakers


TIMES DAILY – State residents eligible for credit for installing a qualified storm shelter


TIMES DAILY – Companies keep mum as vaccine mandate goes to Supreme Court


TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Tuscaloosa prepares for large crowd on the Strip during national championship game


DOTHAN EAGLE – ‘It’s a political thing’: Wiregrass sheriffs against ending pistol permit requirement


YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Senate Pro-Tem Reed: Senators will have opportunity to offer bills important in their districts after abbreviated 2020 session in 2022


YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Jones Valley Teaching Farm expands to provide more food access to those in need.


YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Mo Brooks: Claim I was ‘cheering on’ January 6 U.S. Capitol intruders ‘categorically false’


WASHINGTON POST – Supreme Court seems skeptical of Biden’s vaccine rules for businesses, more receptive to policy for health-care workers.


WASHINGTON POST – Biden visits Colorado town ravaged by wildfire, cites climate change.


WASHINGTON POST – White House preparing to ask Congress for more funding for therapeutics, vaccines, other coronavirus health needs.


NEW YORK TIMES – Lani Guinier, Legal Scholar at the Center of Controversy, Dies at 71.


NEW YORK TIMES – Why Tesla Soared as Other Automakers Struggled to Make Cars


NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. hiring slowed in December as employers struggled to find workers.



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