Good morning and a blessed Good Friday to all.
It has been a long week. I feel like we’ve all earned some GIFs.
Here’s your Daily News for April 2.
1. ‘Essential business’ bill goes to governor
- The Alabama Legislature on Thursday approved a bill that would allow churches and small businesses to remain open during states of emergency. It now goes to the governor.
- House Bill 103 by Rep. Jamie Kiel, R-Russellville, would allow businesses and places of worship to remain open as long as they comply with any emergency order, rules or regulations issued by the governor and state or local agencies.
- Democrats called the bill dangerous and said it could lead to super-spreader events in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, led Senate Democrats in a filibuster of the bill, arguing it put business interests over public health.
- Singleton proposed an amendment that said the State House may not be closed to the public while the Legislature is in session and dared Republicans to vote it down. GOP members called the bluff and adopted the amendment and passed the bill. The House quickly concurred and sent the bill to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk.
- Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
2. House passes alcohol delivery bills
- Bills that would allow the home delivery of beer, wine and liquor passed the House of Representatives Thursday.
- Senate Bill 126 from Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, would allow customers to have alcoholic products home delivered from grocery or liquor stores and restaurants. It also sets up a delivery license process, fees and rules for alcohol delivery.
- House Bill 437 from Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, would allow customers to have wine shipped directly from wineries to their homes.
- Both bills have been the subject of heavy negotiations behind the scenes, which is usually the case with alcohol policy bills. But discussion on the House floor was mostly positive.
- Birmingham-based grocery delivery company Shipt supported the store delivery legislation saying it meets an existing demand.
- “We’ve heard consistently from customers across Alabama how much they value getting groceries and household essentials they need delivered by Shipt – but that they’d like the option of having alcohol along with the rest of their order,” Shipt spokesperson Evangeline George said in a statement. “This legislation brings that convenience one step closer.”
- Collins has been working for three years to pass her wine shipment bill.
- “I think the Legislature and the people of Alabama are ready for this service,” Collins said. “I’ve worked hard on this issue for years and I believe we are close to getting it done.”
- Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.
3. Lawmakers criticize, delay $1.5M prison PR contract
- A panel of state lawmakers on Thursday questioned an Alabama Department of Corrections public relations contract worth up to $1.5 million and criticized communications from the department during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The $900,000 contract extension with Markstein Consulting, LLC in Birmingham brings the total to $1.5 million. A representative from ADOC said the agency doesn’t expect to spend that much. The firm’s work includes messaging about the ADOC and responses to media and state agency inquiries.
- The committee can’t kill proposed contracts, but can delay them for up to 45 days, which it did.
- “I just don’t see the need,” Sen. Tom Butler, R-Madison, said about PR work for prisons. “… We’re not marketing resort hotels. Everyone has a pretty good concept of what a prison is.”
- In an emailed statement to Alabama Daily News, ADOC said its contracted communications partner assists in addressing the many crisis issues that arise unpredictably, as well as other emergent internal and external communications needs.
- “These issues include but are not limited to: the U.S. Department of Justice’s findings letters and its subsequent lawsuit, as well as other sensitive litigation matters that arise; the COVID-19 pandemic and other disease or infection outbreaks at ADOC facilities; issues of violence that occur within ADOC facilities; inmate escapes and inmate deaths; instances of staff corruption; facility safety and security issues; and more,” the statement said. “We have received well in excess of 1,000 media inquiries on these types of concerns in the past year alone.”
- A description of the contract on the committee’s agenda said the department is “facing several large scale challenges.”
- Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, called that a “masterful understatement.”
- Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
4. State to begin vaccinating prison inmates
- The Alabama prison system, which ranks sixth in the country for COVID-19 deaths, announced Thursday that it will begin vaccinating inmates after previously only making vaccine available to prison officers and staff.
- The Alabama Department of Corrections announced that on April 12 it will begin vaccinating inmates who want to receive the vaccine. The prison system estimated that it will initially have 6,000 – 7,000 doses available to begin inoculating inmates. There are more than 17,000 inmates in state prisons.
- “As with our staff vaccination plan – we will begin with those facilities that house our most vulnerable inmates. Our intent is to inoculate entire facilities at one time – not focus on particular age groups or demographics,” the prison system wrote in an emailed response.
- Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
5. US employers add 916,000 jobs in March as hiring accelerates
- America’s employers unleashed a burst of hiring in March, adding 916,000 jobs in a sign that a sustained recovery from the pandemic recession is taking hold as vaccinations accelerate, stimulus checks flow through the economy and businesses increasingly reopen.
- The March increase — the most since August — was nearly double February’s gain of 468,000, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate declined from 6.2% to 6%.
- Alabama’s unemployment rate for February was 4.0%, down for 4.3% in January. A year ago, in February 2020, the state’s unemployment rate was at an all-time low of 2.6%. That leads the southeastern United States.
- Even with last month’s robust increase, the economy remains more than 8 million jobs short of the number it had before the pandemic erupted a little over a year ago. But with the recovery widely expected to strengthen, many forecasters predict enough hiring in the coming months to recover nearly all lost jobs by year’s end.
- The increasingly bright outlook for the labor market follows a year of epic job losses, waves of coronavirus infections and small business closures. Numerous signs suggest that the economy is improving. Consumer confidence in March reached its highest level since the pandemic intensified.
- Read more HERE.
A message from
- It’s time to do something big for broadband & Connect Alabama for good.
- Senate Bill 215 creates the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority which will develop and implement a statewide connectivity plan.
- This effort is a long-term investment with direct impacts on education at all levels, healthcare, and economic development.
- Join us as we work to Connect Alabama.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Essential business’ bill goes to governor
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alcohol delivery bills pass the House
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers criticize $1.5 prison PR contract
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State to begin vaccinating prison inmates
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US employers add 916,000 jobs in March as hiring accelerates
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Busy day of committee work in State House
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Open records bill clears committee, lawmakers want more work on it
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marshall, other attorneys general sue Biden admin over stimulus tax rule
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – High court sympathetic to college athletes in NCAA dispute
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Roby joining Bradley law firm as government affairs advisor
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – April 1, 2021
AL.COM – USA faculty, graduates want university to denounce racism after Halloween photo controversy
AL.COM – Jerry Lett, ailing, paroled Alabama veteran, ordered back to prison because of state mistake
AL.COM – Many Alabama gun stores feel the heat as demand again soars
AL.COM – Alabama Senate approves bill to give Legislature more say in health emergencies
AL.COM – Women pay more for mortgages in Alabama than almost any other state
AL.COM – Lawsuit over Alabama nuclear plant appears headed to trial after judge’s ruling
AL.COM – Poll shows support for I-10 truck toll bridge; 90% concerned over congestion
AL.COM – Alabama’s GOP Congressmen oppose Biden’s $2 trillion ‘American Jobs’ plan
AL.COM – Alabama coal mine: ‘Working to reach an agreement’ with union to prevent strike
Montgomery Advertiser – Church bells toll 500 times for Montgomery COVID victims
Montgomery Advertiser – Amtrak in Montgomery? Biden’s proposal could revamp train service in Alabama and the South
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama House approves alcohol delivery, wine shipment bills
Decatur Daily – Browns Ferry accumulating nuclear waste
Decatur Daily – ‘Essential business’ bill goes to governor
Decatur Daily – $750,000 grant to help with sewer expansion to serve I-65 interchange area
Times Daily – Ohio anglers rescued by boaters near Natchez Trace Bridge
Times Daily – Road over Wilson Dam closed due to freezing conditions tonight, Friday night
Times Daily – ‘Essential business’ bill goes to governor
Anniston Star – Tracking the tornado’s path of destruction through Calhoun County
Anniston Star – Alcohol delivery and Wine delivery pass the House
Anniston Star – New entrant in race for Del Marsh’s Senate seat
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Jobs coming back as unemployment declines in Alabama
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama House passes alcohol delivery bills
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – CDC tool to help track your vaccine side effects
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama House approves alcohol delivery, wine shipment bills
Tuscaloosa News – Coal company said it hopes to avoid strike, will continue talks while serving customers
Tuscaloosa News – PHOTOS: Rise Center students celebrate Spring and Easter
YellowHammer News – Alabama Senate passes bill to establish lifetime concealed carry permits
YellowHammer News – House passes bills to legalize delivery of alcoholic beverages, wine shipments
YellowHammer News – Warrior Met Coal: Our priority is ‘keeping people employed with long-lasting careers’
Gadsden Times – Gadsden Symphony Orchestra opens season with outdoor concert April 11
Gadsden Times – Ammonia release prompts response at Koch Foods
Gadsden Times – Annual Attalla Easter egg hunt is Saturday
Dothan Eagle – Extremist kills self, her baby in Tunisia suicide bombing
Dothan Eagle – Ancient mummies to parade through streets of Cairo
Dothan Eagle – North Dakota governor declares wildfire emergency
Opelika-Auburn News – Agencies donate $200K to those impacted by Nashville bombing
Opelika-Auburn News – Virus pandemic overshadows Bulgarian parliamentary election
Opelika-Auburn News – Myanmar cuts wireless internet service amid coup protests
WSFA Montgomery – Alabama House passes alcohol delivery bills
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery church bells toll 500 times for COVID-19 victims
WSFA Montgomery – Human remains found in Tuskegee
WAFF Huntsville – Two people shot at Huntsville apartment complex
WAFF Huntsville – 80-year-old Huntsville woman with cancer scammed out of hundreds of dollars
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville church hosts drive-thru communion and other ways of worshipping
WKRG Mobile – Local law firm offering COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday
WKRG Mobile – Baldwin County meth dealer sentenced to eight years in prison
WKRG Mobile – NOT A JOKE: Opening Day with COVID-19 and live birds found in hair rollers. Here are the top stories for April 1
WTVY Dothan – Report: Person shot taking trash to road
WTVY Dothan – Trial date set in bizarre murder case
WTVY Dothan – End of an era: Scott Horne retires as G.W. Long football coach
WASHINGTON POST – Emergent plant that ruined Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses had prior FDA violations
WASHINGTON POST – Derek Chauvin should not have knelt on George Floyd’s neck after he stopped resisting, former sergeant testifies
WASHINGTON POST – Infrastructure plan calls for $80 billion for rail. It could transform passenger service.
NEW YORK TIMES – The Pandemic Hit the Working Class Hard. The Colleges That Serve Them Are Hurting, Too.
NEW YORK TIMES – Virginia, the Old Confederacy’s Heart, Becomes a Voting Rights Bastion
NEW YORK TIMES – Justice Dept. Inquiry Into Matt Gaetz Said to Be Focused on Cash Paid to Women
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Red-Hot U.S. Economy a Mixed Blessing For Rest of World
WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Jobs Growth Appears Set to Take Off
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Red-Hot U.S. Economy a Mixed Blessing For Rest of World
Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)