1. White House aiming for Trump pivot from virus to economy
- After two months of frantic response to the coronavirus, the White House is planning to shift President Donald Trump’s public focus to the burgeoning efforts aimed at easing the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.
- Trump has now rejected the utility of his daily task force briefings, where he has time and again clashed with scientific experts. Trump’s aides are aiming to move the president onto more familiar — and safer, they hope — ground: talking up the economy, in tighter controlled settings.
- What had been his greatest asset in the reelection campaign, his ability to blanket news headlines with freewheeling performances, has become a daily liability.
- At the same time, new Republican Party polling shows Trump’s path to a second term depends on the public’s perception of how quickly the economy rebounds from the state-by-state shutdowns meant to slow the spread of the virus.
- Trump last left the White House grounds a month ago, and plans are being drawn up for a limited schedule of travel within the next few weeks, an aide said. It would be a symbolic show that the nation is beginning to reopen.
- The shift comes in conjunction with what the White House sees as encouraging signs across the country, with the pace of new infections stabilizing and deaths declining.
- Full story from Zeke Miller HERE.
2. Coronavirus-adjusted General Fund budget in committee Tuesday
- The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee is expected to debate and vote on the 2021 General Fund budget on Tuesday.
- Legislative leaders late last week said their session, on pause since mid-March because of the coronavirus, would resume May 4.
- But Senate budget committee chairman Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, on Sunday told Alabama Daily News that lawmakers need to set an example for the rest of the state.
- “Part of our problem we’re dealing with is uncertainty,” Albritton said. “A lot of people don’t know where we’re going. One thing we can do is start to lay down a solid budget.”
- Albritton will have a substitute budget, not yet made public, that’s expected to be significantly different from the $2.5 billion proposal Gov. Kay Ivey introduced in early February, before concerns over the coronavirus shuttered some businesses, at least temporarily put hundreds of thousands of Alabamians out of work and slowed state tax revenues.
- Albritton and others in the Senate have said the new version of the 2021 General Fund budget will look similar to the 2020 $2.2 billion budget, with a few exceptions for specific agencies. A raise for state employees next year is no longer expected.
- With leaders wanting to limit the amount of time spent in Montgomery for the remainder of the session, having the General Fund budget through committee could give lawmakers a head start in sending a finalized proposal to the governor’s desk. That process takes five days, but the General Fund would only have three days remaining should the committee advance it Tuesday.
- Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
3. Census delay could put off new voting districts, primaries
- The U.S. Census Bureau needs more time to wrap up the once-a-decade count because of the coronavirus, opening the possibility of delays in drawing new legislative districts that could help determine what political party is in power, what laws pass or fail and whether communities of color get a voice in their states.
- The number of people counted and their demographics guide how voting districts for the U.S. House and state legislatures are redrawn every 10 years. The months-long delay in census data could make a divisive process more complicated, potentially forcing lawmakers into costly special sessions to complete the work or postponing some primary elections.
- The census delay could trigger more lawsuits.
- Because of stay-at-home orders designed to combat the coronavirus, the Census Bureau put off hiring and training temporary census takers in mid-March. They won’t start knocking on doors of people who haven’t answered the questionnaire until August. The bureau pushed back the deadline to wrap up the count from the end of July to the end of October.
- Congress must approve the Census Bureau’s request to delay turning over redistricting data to the states from the end of March 2021 to the end of July 2021.
- Full story HERE.
4. Alabama public libraries offer online resources during pandemic
- Libraries in Alabama have limited their public interactions for over a month now due to coronavirus restrictions, but books, magazines, online programming, career help and other resources remain available online.
- Public libraries have adjusted to local needs by altering operating hours and limited personnel numbers, as well as by offering curbside services and virtual information assistance.
- Nancy Pack, the director of Alabama Public Library Services, told Alabama Daily News that anyone can view the electronic databases APLS and the Alabama Virtual Library provides.
- “It’s been a time where people who didn’t realize the resources public libraries had are now learning how to use those tools, and that’s a very good thing,” Pack said.
- In addition to statewide resources, several local public libraries have taken to offering virtual resources specific to their communities, such as online story time across social media sites.
- And with summer approaching, APLS is researching solutions for summer reading programs. Pack says summer reading programs usually run for six weeks with various public libraries offering programs for early literacy, children, teens and adults.
- Melanie Thornton, director of public relations at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, says public libraries are working to cultivate resources to inform citizens.
- “The library itself is not just a building. We are an entity in the community,” Thornton said. “We live in a time where you know we’re not just bound by the walls of the library. And that means that we can reach out to people at all times.”
- Full story from ADN’s Abby Driggers HERE.
Lee County prosecutor self-reports ethics issue; AG to review
- OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s attorney general’s office is investigating a state prosecutor who reported himself on an ethics issue.
- Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said he told the Alabama Ethics Commission about a possible ethics issue months ago.
- “I reached out to them to explain what was going on and to ask them if, in fact, what I was doing constituted a breach of any ethical standard,” Hughes told the Opelika-Auburn News.
- He said that the commission did not respond regarding the matter so he stopped the action immediately. He said the commission later notified him that it was conducting a review. “I cooperated fully and transparently, voluntarily answering every question asked, as well as providing all documentation requested.”
- Hughes didn’t provide details about the possible infraction, but said it has nothing to do with any case he or his staff prosecuted.
- “This was a mistake made out of a lack of knowledge and education and the fact that I self-reported underscores my commitment to doing things the right way,” he said. “Please know that I will continue to speak out and fight for the citizens of Lee County in order to keep our community safe.”
- Full story HERE.
Selma clothing plant gets deep clean amid virus concerns
- MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A clothing manufacturing plant in Alabama was undergoing a deep cleaning after two employees tested positive for the new coronavirus, and a top executive said the plant is scheduled to reopen today.
- Workers walked out of the American Apparel plant in Selma on Thursday, the Selma Times-Journal reported. The walkout took place after the first case had been confirmed, and the second case was confirmed a short time later. Workers were told they would be paid their regular wages for Thursday and Friday while the plant was closed.
- Chuck Lambert, the company’s president and CEO, said the plant has followed coronavirus safety guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- “It’s just a tough time for everybody,” Lambert said. “We’re going to do the very best we can, and we’ve done that throughout.”
- Read more HERE.
Poll shows mixed support for voting by mail
- A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Democrats are now much more likely than Republicans to support their state conducting elections exclusively by mail, 47% to 29%.
- In 2018, about half as many Democrats were in favor, and there was little difference in the views of Democrats and Republicans on the question.
- All states conduct elections differently, and only five states automatically mail ballots to every voter. But in response to the virus, some states — including Ohio on Tuesday — have shifted their primaries to virtually all-mail elections.
- The poll finds that 39% of Americans favor conducting all-mail elections, up from 19% in 2018. Another 40% are opposed. But even more, 48%, favor a move to voting only by mail if the coronavirus outbreak is ongoing in November. The poll also shows 60% of Americans support allowing people to vote via absentee ballot without requiring them to give a reason if the outbreak is still happening.
- The poll found roughly two-thirds of Republicans worried that voter fraud would be a major problem with all-mail voting.
- Brynn Alexander, 36, who just moved with her husband to military housing in Alabama, is one of those who worries about security.
- “How do you even identify that the mail got to the right person?” Alexander asked. She added that she favored exceptions for some, like her 70-year-old mother, but preferred votes at the polls.
- Full story HERE.
South Korea maintains Kim Jong Un health rumors are untrue
- SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A top South Korean official said his country remains confident there have been no “unusual developments” in North Korea, suggesting that rumors about the possible ill health of leader Kim Jong Un are untrue.
- Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul told a closed-door forum in Seoul on Sunday that South Korea has “enough intelligence to confidently say that there are no unusual developments” in rival North Korea that would back up speculation about Kim Jong Un’s health, according to his ministry.
- The minister said he would not reveal what specific intelligence led to that conclusion, but stressed that it had undergone a complex analysis.
- The rumors about Kim’s health began to swirl after he missed the April 15 commemoration of the 108th birthday of his grandfather, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung. Kim Jong Un is the third generation of his family to rule North Korea, and he hadn’t missed the event, one of the most important in the North, since assuming power after his father Kim Jong Il’s death in late 2011.
- Read more HERE.
A message from
The Alabama State Port Authority
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House aiming for Trump pivot from virus to economy
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Coronavirus-adjusted General Fund budget in committee Tuesday
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama public libraries offer online resources during pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Census delay could put off new voting districts, primaries
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Selma clothing plant gets deep clean amid virus concerns
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP-NORC poll: Mixed support for mail voting amid pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – South Korea maintains Kim Jong Un health rumors are untrue
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Spokeswoman: Ivey working to firm up a timetable to reopen
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senators says it is not safe for lawmakers to return in May
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump signs $484 billion measure to aid employers, hospitals
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Led by LSU, Alabama, SEC players dominate remote NFL draft
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19 cases increase at Alexander City VA home
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – April 26, 2020
AL.COM – Sen. Jones, Mayor Randall Woodfin has a message for high school, college seniors
AL.COM – 187 new coronavirus cases in Alabama; 40 percent of growth from 2 counties
AL.COM – Will Ainsworth: ‘It is time for churches to reopen’
AL.COM – Legendary Birmingham civil rights era radio voice and pastor Erskine Faush Sr. dies
AL.COM – Air quality improves as fewer Alabamians drive during shutdowns
AL.COM – Alabama public meetings move online, increasing transparency. Just don’t read the comments.
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: In Alabama, a month of shutdown takes its toll
Montgomery Advertiser – A massive asteroid is approaching Earth, and it looks like it’s wearing a face mask
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Guardsmen team with ADPH to make masks in Montgomery
Montgomery Advertiser – Stay informed with Social Security’s top five Social Security media pages
YellowHammer News – Alabama Power employee customizing headbands for health care workers
YellowHammer News – State Health Officer Dr. Harris on reopening: ‘We’re not looking at a date on a calendar — We’re trying to look at the data’
YellowHammer News – ADPH: If COVID-19 positive person gets hit by a bus and dies, ’cause of death’ listed as ‘COVID-19’
Tuscaloosa News – Two will interview for Tuscaloosa County schools chief
Tuscaloosa News – Front Lines: Alabama woman working as ER nurse in Brooklyn
Tuscaloosa News – Police investigating fatal shooting at Winston’s
Decatur Daily – Long list of issues fall by the wayside as virus upends session
Decatur Daily – Home market has buyers, but properties lacking
Decatur Daily – Masks could be required, and experts strongly recommend them
Times Daily – Lawmakers’ focus will be on budgets
Times Daily – Tourism Experiencing Tough Times, Local Officials Say
Times Daily – Banks ready to submit more PPP loan applications Monday
Anniston Star – Stimulus checks showing up in locals’ bank accounts
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Legislative session now on hold until May 4
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – 1-year-old shot in Bham; over 60 shell casings found at the scene
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UPDATE: Juvenile arrested in car theft with 4-month-old in backseat
WAFF Huntsville – Another ADOC employee tests positive for coronavirus
WAFF Huntsville – Global death toll tops 200,000 as some virus lockdowns eased
WAFF Huntsville – The Market at MidCity creates virtual shopping list to help local farmers
Troy Messenger – Alexander taking change of pace in stride
Troy Messenger – Troy lecturer researching COVID-19 treatments
Troy Messenger – Drive-in testing coming to Troy
Gadsden Times – Doctors struggle to pay bills, telemedicine isn’t helping
Gadsden Times – Birthday boy collects food for others
Gadsden Times – More than 200 in state dead from COVID-19
Dothan Eagle – Mayor believes Dothan will bounce back post-lockdown
Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: How bad was the 1918-1919 pandemic in Alabama?
Dothan Eagle – Area businesses find some relief in federal loan programs
Andalusia Star News – Andalusia’s Green Thumb
Andalusia Star News – Taylor Linens makes reusable masks
Andalusia Star News – 98 year old birthday girl: ‘Key to long life is happiness and family’
Opelika-Auburn News – Southern Union ready to get back to work
Opelika-Auburn News – EAMC doctors fight for community’s future
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn student housing market unsettled for near term
Daily Mountain Eagle – State: Runoff voters concerned about virus may vote absentee
Daily Mountain Eagle – Parrish finishing road grant project, Taft Road repairs
Daily Mountain Eagle – Caseworkers assisting storm victims with long-term needs
Trussville Tribune – 5 things to do if COVID-19 made you a caregiver
Trussville Tribune – Urgent care center in Springville offering drive-thru COVID-19 testing
Trussville Tribune – Alabama state senator says it is not safe for lawmakers to return in May
Athens News Courier – Front Lines: Decatur woman working as ER nurse in Brooklyn
Athens News Courier – I-565 widening Project to begin this summer, finish in 2021
Athens News Courier – Arrest Reports for 4/25/20
Sand Mountain Reporter – Albertville requests help to flatten curve | APD reminds residents only one family per dwelling per zoning ordinances
Sand Mountain Reporter – The Reporter adjusts print schedule due to COVID-19 crisis New Wednesday edition replaces two papers during week
Sand Mountain Reporter – Meals for heroes | Local businesses provide 550 lunches for MMC staff
WSFA Montgomery – UAB Police Sgt. making progress in battle with COVID-19; transferred out of ICU
WSFA Montgomery – Employee at Prattville Target tests positive for COVID-19
WSFA Montgomery – Mississippi man recovering at home after 21 days on a ventilator due to COVID-19
WKRG Mobile – USA Health says they are flexing their staff levels with the coronavirus pandemic
WKRG Mobile – Bicyclist struck and killed by vehicle in Escambia County, Florida
WKRG Mobile – Mobile state Senator calls for delay in legislature return amid COVID concerns
WTVY Dothan – Census delay could put off new voting districts, primaries
WTVY Dothan – White House aiming for Trump pivot from virus to economy
WTVY Dothan – Enterprise police arrest murder suspect
WASHINGTON POST – Social distancing could last months, White House coronavirus coordinator says
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: Despite $322 billion in new loans, the Paycheck Protection Program still falls short.
WASHINGTON POST – Democrats see Senate suddenly within reach, boosted by Biden’s ascent.
NEW YORK TIMES – Needing At-Home Workers, Call Centers Turn to People With Disabilities
NEW YORK TIMES – Vaccine Rates Drop Dangerously as Parents Avoid Doctor’s Visits
NEW YORK TIMES – Large, Troubled Companies Got Bailout Money in Small-Business Loan Program