Author: Heather Gann (Heather Gann)

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Lawsuits against new trans treatment law dropped, refile expected
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Lawsuits against new trans treatment law dropped, refile expected

The lawsuits were filed in response to Gov. Kay Ivey's signature on Senate Bill 184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, which makes it a Class C felony for doctors to provide gender-affirming medical treatments, including puberty blockers, to children under the age of 19. Class C felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

More than half of Republican voters oppose Literacy Act delay
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More than half of Republican voters oppose Literacy Act delay

Gov. Kay Ivey and several education groups late last year moved to support a one-year delay, citing the need for another year of testing data to determine which students should be retained in grade three. But in a compromise with Smitherman, Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, agreed to remove the one-year delay from her bill that makes other changes to the literacy law.

Sale of Southern Research Brings Jobs to Alabama
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Sale of Southern Research Brings Jobs to Alabama

In a press release Monday, it was announced that the transaction will generate $80 million for Southern Research to support 350 additional permanent jobs with the new biotech center, dramatically increasing the organization’s economic impact as well as its potential for breakthrough scientific discoveries.

Alabama Innovation Corporation holds first meeting
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Alabama Innovation Corporation holds first meeting

Potential programs board members discussed included a loan guarantee program for Aspiring Alabamians, an Opportunity Zone Impact Fund program, an evergreen seed fund, statewide marketing efforts, and outdoor recreation as a recruitment and retainment tool.

Report shows COVID-19 hit Black Belt harder
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Report shows COVID-19 hit Black Belt harder

The report found there were an average of 218 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people in 2020 for the 25 Black Belt counties, almost 30% greater than the average of 168 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 in the non-Black Belt counties.

2-year Literacy Act delay bill approved in Senate committee
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2-year Literacy Act delay bill approved in Senate committee

In committee on Wednesday, Smitherman said when lawmakers approved the Literacy Act in 2019 and set the 2021-22 retention deadline, they couldn’t take into account COVID-19-caused learning disruptions. If the date isn’t changed, children will be "scapegoats" of the pandemic, Smitherman said.

Committee moves transgender bill
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Committee moves transgender bill

A bill moving to the Alabama Senate for a vote would make it a felony for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones or perform surgery to aid in the gender transition of people 18 years old or younger.