Presented by the
Business Council of Alabama
Correction to yesterday’s news: The Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday, not 4:30 as was written. It’s always a special event.
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, December 3.
1. Another day, another record
- Alabama on Wednesday hit a new high for the number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day and the number of patients hospitalized with the disease, health officials said as hospitals brace for an additional wave of cases in the weeks following Thanksgiving gatherings.
- Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama’s state health officer, said excluding backlogged cases, the state reported more than 3,000 additional virus cases Wednesday. The state also reported having 1,801 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number since the pandemic began.
- One in three patients in intensive care units in the state have COVID-19, said Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association.
- Only 10% of the state’s 1,634 intensive care beds were available Monday, Williamson said. He said there are 1,471 ICU beds in use, and 486 of those are filled with COVID-19 patients.
- The number of COVID-19 patients is nearly 200 higher than the previous mid-summer peak.
- “There is simply a great deal of community transmission occurring right now in most parts of Alabama,” Harris said. “Now, more than ever, we hope that Alabamians can avoid large gatherings, wear masks in public and try to maintain a 6-foot distance from other households whenever possible.”
- Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
2. Kids Count report shows pre-COVID inequities for Alabama children
- A report released today that measures Alabama children’s wellbeing doesn’t include any data since the onset of the coronavirus, but drafters expect some of the disparities highlighted in the Kids Count Data Book to be exacerbated by the pandemic.
- “We fully believe that every indicator, or almost every indicator we’re tracking will see significant impact directly because of COVID,” said Stephen Woerner, executive director of VOICES for Alabama Children, which publishes the annual report. “The silver lining, if there is one, is that this is highlighting so many issues that we need to address and policymakers and decision makers are going to have to make good decisions about how to support our children.”
- One of the continued notable stats about Alabama’s children is that there continue to be fewer of them. While Alabama’s total population has grown by just more than 10% since 2000, the child population has decreased by 3%. People of color will soon be the majority of the child population and the majority of the workforce by 2030.
- The percentage of children living in poverty continues to increase, according to the newest data. The total rate of poverty for Alabama in 2014-2018 averaged 17.5%, up from 16.1% in 2000. But children in poverty had an average rate from 2014-2018 of 25.1%, up from 21.5% in 2000. Poverty rates are higher for Black and Hispanic children, 41.9% and 42.6%, respectively.
- The Kids Count Data Book measures 70 indicators of childhood wellbeing including health, economic security and education.
- Among the good news in the report: Continued improvement in infant mortality rates and a drop in teen births.
- “We’re also seeing a significant decrease in teen mothers, so that’s obviously a good thing,” Woerner said.
- New in this year’s report is information about mental health services. Last year, 33,118 children received services for a serious emotional disturbance.
- Alabama this year performed better than in 2019 on 16 data points used by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to measure childhood wellbeing, the state dropped from 44th in the nation to 47th overall. Woerner said that’s because other states improved at more significant rates.
- Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell and link to the complete Kids Count 2020 Data Book HERE.
A message from
the Business Council of Alabama
- The Business Council of Alabama has launched Keep Alabama Open, working to unite hardworking Alabamians in the earnest pursuit of protecting jobs and safeguarding self governance.
- Businesses, while following state health orders to keep customers and themselves safe, should be able to continue to earn a living and support their families.
- To join the initiative, visit keepalabamaopen.com and sign on.
3. Butler says state should spend most of its CARES money
- State Finance Director Kelly Butler said Wednesday his office is working under a Dec. 30 deadline to spend more than $800 million remaining from the more than $1.76 billion federal CARES Act money allocated to the state earlier this year.
- Some state officials had hoped for a deadline extension from Congress, but no such proposal has developed. House and Senate leaders are discussing varying COVID-19 relief packages that could provide additional money to states, but so far no agreement has been reached in Washington.
- “We are certainly operating as if it is a hard deadline,” Kelly Butler told reporters during an update on the spending.
- Butler also said he expects later this month a third reallocation of some of the funds earmarked for various entities and expenses in May but so far unspent.
- Money not spent by the Dec. 30 deadline has to be returned to the federal government. Butler said he’s “highly confident” the state can spend almost all the money, down to about $10 million or less.
- According to a dashboard updated by the Department Finance, as of early this week, $933.4 million of the state’s $1.76 billion had been spent, leaving $827.7 million “unexpended.”
- Last month, Gov. Kay Ivey and legislative leadership reallocated $200 million in CARES Act money to Alabama small businesses, non-profit groups and faith-based organizations impacted by COVID-19.
- “Revive Plus” is a second wave of funding for organizations with 50 or fewer employees. They can receive grants of up to $20,000.
- As of Wednesday morning, more than 30,000 applications for the grants had been received, Butler said. The application period closes at noon Friday.
- Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
4. Compromise COVID bill gets a boost
- President-elect Joe Biden swung behind a bipartisan COVID-19 relief effort Wednesday and his top Capitol Hill allies cut their demands for a $2 trillion-plus measure by more than half in hopes of breaking a months-long logjam and delivering much-sought aid as the tempestuous congressional session speeds to a close.
- Biden said the developing aid package “wouldn’t be the answer, but it would be the immediate help for a lot of things.” He wants a relief bill to pass Congress now, with more aid to come next year.
- Biden’s remarks followed an announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer of New York in support of an almost $1 trillion approach as the “basis” for discussions. The announcement appeared aimed at budging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who so far has been unwilling to abandon a $550 billion Senate GOP plan that failed twice this fall.
- The Democrats embraced a $908 billion approach from moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, among others. It would establish a $300 per week jobless benefit, send $160 billion to help state and local governments, boost schools and universities, revive popular “paycheck protection” subsidies for businesses, and bail out transit systems and airlines.
- The new plan includes a liability shield for businesses and other organizations that have reopened their doors during the pandemic. It’s the first time Pelosi and Schumer have shown a willingness to consider the idea, a top priority of McConnell, though there’s been no discussion on the details, which are sure to be tricky.
- Full story HERE.
5. Inside Alabama Politics
- Latest on a special session;
- Polls show consistency;
- They weren’t kidding about that ‘scorecard’;
- State House machinations;
- Rogers finally hits committee pay dirt;
- Tuberville world comes full circle;
- Senator bringing back bill to change state emergency order extensions;
- Bill would prohibit payments to groups that turn out voters;
- Hatcher catches fire in SD26 Special Election;
- Lawmakers’ pay increasing in 2021
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – December 3, 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama sets daily case record; 1 of 3 in ICU have COVID-19
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kids Count report shows pre-COVID inequities for Alabama children
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State finance director ‘highly confident’ CARES funds will be spent by Dec. 30
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden, top Democrats swing behind bipartisan virus aid bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Panel: 1st vaccines to health care workers, nursing homes
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump threatens defense veto over social media protections
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AG Barr says no widespread election fraud
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest, December 1, 2020
AL.COM – Huntsville Hospital cutting some elective surgeries due to COVID-19 surge
AL.COM – Amazon loses bid to postpone Bessemer union hearing
AL.COM – Del Marsh: ‘I’m ready to do the things that I want to do’
AL.COM – Montgomery mayor: Rename West Jeff Davis Avenue in honor of civil rights attorney Fred Gray
AL.COM – Alabama A&M President Andrew Hugine announces retirement; oversaw record growth
AL.COM – CDC reduces COVID quarantine recommendation time
AL.COM – Alabama expects to spend almost all of its $1.8 billion from CARES Act
AL.COM – US lawmakers unveil anti-slavery constitutional amendment
AL.COM – Mo Brooks plans to challenge Electoral College vote
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Wait-n-see is over. Do something now, Kay Ivey.
AL.COM – Former U.S. attorney advises parents, staff after Huntsville schools ransomware attack
AL.COM – Former Alabama judge deserves prison for ‘gut-wrenching … lies, deceit,’ fellow judge writes
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama will meet CARES Act deadline, spend money in time, finance director says
Montgomery Advertiser – Veteran turns passion for gardening into Cloverdale storefront Divine Vines and Decor
Montgomery Advertiser – De’areon Walker talks about changing the name of Lanier High School
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham City Schools ends sub-varsity basketball as COVID cases rise
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State health leaders advises public to not follow CDC updated quarantine guidelines
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – What does Alabama’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan look like?
Tuscaloosa News – Theatre Tuscaloosa cancels plans for live Christmas play
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre switch from live to virtual performance
Tuscaloosa News – Backlog of more than 700 positive COVID-19 cases processed Tuesday in Alabama
Decatur Daily – Decatur City Council divided on new planning manager position’s pay
Decatur Daily – State finance director ‘highly confident’ CARES funds will be spent by Dec. 30
Decatur Daily – Falkville senior center addition, renovation move forward
Times Daily – Hospital officials: COVID cases manageable, but increasing
Times Daily – UNA sets 6 fall commencements
Times Daily – Alabama Music Hall of Fame achiever victim of COVID-19
Anniston Star – Commissioners talk about spur trail from Mountain Center
Anniston Star – State finance director ‘highly confident’ CARES funds will be spent by Dec. 30
Anniston Star – Marsh readies for transition out of public eye
YellowHammer News – Alabama Realtors PAC endorses Hatcher in Senate District 26
YellowHammer News – Sec. of State Merrill awards medallions to companies, agencies that helped Nov. 3 election go smoothly
YellowHammer News – Alliance created to train, certify workers in the Alabama construction industry
Gadsden Times – ‘A big deal’: City Council weighs objections to Pilgrim’s Pride rendering plant vs. jobs
Gadsden Times – Etowah COVID-19 case spike: 174 new cases Wednesday, seven deaths in the past seven days
Gadsden Times – Alabama will meet CARES Act deadline, spend money in time, finance director says
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika interim police chief appointed, new chief to be hired by January
Opelika-Auburn News – Community asked to flatten the curve as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rise ahead of expected Thanksgiving surge
Opelika-Auburn News – The Latest: Germany hits a record for daily virus deaths
WSFA Montgomery – Finance director ‘confident’ most CARES Act money will be spent by deadline
WSFA Montgomery – Helping Montgomery Families Initiative launches “OpenDoors” program
WSFA Montgomery – Opelika nursing home prepares for COVID-19 vaccine
WAFF Huntsville – What happens when Tennesseans with no mask mandate work in north Alabama?
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Hospital CEO alarmed by COVID-19 spike across the Valley
WAFF Huntsville – Crime of the Week: Hustlin’ for credit card fraud
WKRG Mobile – Increase in ALEA troopers reduces holiday traffic fatalities
WKRG Mobile – Cyberattacks surging as COVID-19 pandemic continues
WKRG Mobile – Recording device found hidden in Escambia Co. Administrator’s office
WTVY Dothan – Dothan retail is booming during pandemic
WTVY Dothan – Wiregrass Public Safety Center will offer safety certifications for women
WTVY Dothan – “Turkeys from Heaven” seeks donations to feed their goal of 2,000 families in need
WASHINGTON POST – Trump escalates baseless attacks on election with 46-minute video rant
WASHINGTON POST – Trump is said to be livid at Barr, with one official suggesting termination possible
WASHINGTON POST – The most petulant 46 minutes in American history
NEW YORK TIMES – Grim Day in U.S. as Covid-19 Deaths and Hospitalizations Set Records
NEW YORK TIMES – Top Democrats Back Compromise Plan to Revive Stimulus Talks
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump, in Video From White House, Delivers a 46-Minute Diatribe on the ‘Rigged’ Election
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Coronavirus-Stimulus Efforts Pick Up Speed
WALL STREET JOURNAL – How the U.K. Beat the U.S. and Europe to a Covid-19 Vaccine
WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Has One Powerful Friend Left in the U.S.: Wall Street
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