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Weekend Digest – May 9, 2021

Good afternoon and Happy Mother’s Day! Shout out to my own mother whom I am so thankful for all her love and support! Love you Mom!

Here’s your Daily News for Sunday, May 9.

1. Last day could see gambling and gun rights bills

  • Alabama lawmakers return to Montgomery on May 17 for the final day of the 2021 session.
  • Legislators could decide a number of controversial issues on the last day including a gambling bill, a proposal to ban gender-affirming treatment for minors and a bill to forbid local police officers from enforcing any new federal gun restrictions.
  • A number of bills have already fallen by the wayside this session. Those include a bill to allow no-excuse absentee voting and another to change the state law protecting Confederate and other longstanding monuments.
  • Here is a look at some of the measures that are pending on the final day of the legislative session and some that are already dead for the session.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

2. Jury convicts Alabama officer of murder in 2018 shooting

  • Jurors convicted an Alabama police officer of murder Friday in the shooting of a suicidal man who was holding a gun to his own head, a verdict that was criticized by both the mayor and police chief, but lauded by the victim’s family, who said they hope it will spur law enforcement to change how they approach mental health crises.
  • The panel reached its decision in the second day of deliberations in the trial of Huntsville police officer William “Ben” Darby, who was indicted in the killing of Jeffrey Parker in 2018. Talks had to be started over after one jury member had to be replaced by an alternate because of a medical issue, news outlets reported.
  • While prosecutors contend Darby, 28, killed Parker without cause, the defense argued the shooting was justified because Parker posed a threat to Darby and other officers.
  • Read more HERE.

3. Saban encourages Alabamians to get vaccinated

  • Alabama football coach Nick Saban and other sports figures have taped a public service announcement encouraging Alabamians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Alabama Department of Public Health says Saban and others, including former NBA star Charles Barkley, participated in the PSA saying vaccinations are the way to make sure sports stadiums are filled and “loud again” this fall.
  • “College football fans and players both want full stadiums this fall. Let’s make sure we can safely make this happen by getting vaccinated. Please get your COVID-19 vaccine,” Saban says in the spot, according to a script provided to The Associated Press. “We want Bryant-Denny Stadium loud again this coming season and Roll Tide!”
  • The public service announcement is expected to be released next week. It comes as state health officials are looking for ways to boost lagging vaccination rates and persuade people to sign up for shots.
  • Read more HERE.

4. Inmate killed in prison assault 1 day before release

  • An inmate was killed in an assault inside an Alabama prison one day before he was scheduled to be released, prison officials confirmed.
  • Ian Rettig, 23, died Tuesday after an “apparent inmate-on-inmate assault,” a spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Corrections said in an email.
  • Rettig was scheduled to be released Wednesday, the prison system confirmed. Rettig was serving an 18-month sentence.
  • “Violence within ADOC facilities is not tolerated, and the fatal actions taken against Rettig by another inmate are being thoroughly investigated by the Department’s Law Enforcement Services Division,” the prison system wrote in an email.
  • The prison system said the exact cause of death is pending a autopsy and more information will be available upon the conclusion of the investigation into Rettig’s death.
  • Read more HERE.

5. Alabama court clears way for suit over Texas woman’s death

  • The Alabama Supreme Court cleared the way Friday for a lawsuit over the death of a Texas woman who killed herself after claiming she was raped while attending the University of Alabama.
  • The court said that a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Megan Rondini was not barred by the fact that she took own life. The decision came in response to a question from a federal judge who is considering the suit against T.J. Bunn Jr., who the young woman accused of sexual assault before taking her own life months later in 2016.
  • Bunn maintains the two had consensual sexual relations, the decision said, and his attorneys argued that a wrongful death suit can’t go forward because Rondini killed herself. But the possibility that the suicide was linked to Rondini’s allegation meant the suit can continue, the state court ruled.
  • Read more HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gambling and gun rights bills to be decided on last day
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Saban tapes message encouraging Alabamians to get vaccinated
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jury convicts Alabama officer of murder in 2018 shooting
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inmate killed in prison assault 1 day before release
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama court clears way for suit over Texas woman’s death
AL.COM – Alive or dead? Here’s the status of some bills in Alabama Legislature.
AL.COM – Alabama’s fastest growing and fastest shrinking counties from 2019 to 2020.
AL.COM – Florida sued over new law that limits ballot initiatives.
AL.COM – Alabama inmate killed in prison assault day before release.
AL.COM – Advocacy groups take part in Selma-to-Montgomery ‘votercade’.
AL.COM – Mobile driver’s licenses? Pandemic gives boost as more states move to digital IDs.
AL.COM – Cyberattack shuts down pipeline company serving U.S. East Coast.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Huntsville police chief has got to go.
AL.COM – Pediatricians say Alabama transgender bill could outlaw circumcision.
AL.COM – Contributors Steven L. Reed and Randall L. Woodfin: Hope is on the horizon in Alabama thanks to the American Jobs Plan.
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: As a teenager, I judged my mother and found her wanting.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Huntsville police officer’s murder conviction clears path for civil suit.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – UAB-developed viral immunotherapy for pediatric brain tumors shows promise.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Broadband bill passage a ‘milestone’ but funding questions remain.
ALABAMA NEWS NETWORK – Gambling and Gun Rights Bills to be Decided on Last Day of Session
ANNISTON STAR – Billboard campaign prods cities to remove Confederate monuments.
THE HILL – Biden fills immigration court with Trump hires.
THE HILL – Advocates sound alarm as restrictive voting laws pile up.
THE HILL – DOJ proposes crackdown on ‘ghost guns’ following Biden pledge.
POLITICO – Biden administration signs onto international effort to curb online extremism.
POLITICO – America’s most conservative states are embracing medical pot.
WASHINGTON POST – As Biden faces a struggle to hold the Senate, Democrats’ divisions resurface.
WASHINGTON POST – GOP governors slash jobless aid to try to force more Americans to return to work.
WASHINGTON POST – Liz Cheney’s months-long effort to turn Republicans from Trump threatens her reelection and ambitions. She says it’s only beginning.
WASHINGTON POST – Biden wants to move energy offshore, but choppy seas are ahead.
WASHINGTON POST – Covid forced more borrowers to be late on their mortgages than at any time since the Great Recession, CFPB reports.
NEW YORK TIMES – Schools Are Open, but Many Families Remain Hesitant to Return
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Maureen Dowd: Liz Cheney and the Big Lies
NEW YORK TIMES – In Covid Vaccine Data, L.G.B.T.Q. People Fear Invisibility
NEW YORK TIMES – U. S. states are turning down hundreds of thousands of doses as demand plummets.
WKRG – State Auditor delivers “obituary for the almost-dead prison plan”.
LOS ANGELES TIMES – Contributor Janie Forsyth McKinney: As a 12-year-old, I defied the KKK to comfort Freedom Riders injured in a firebombing.

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