Daily News Digest – February 23, 2022

Daily News Digest – February 23, 2022

Presented by the

Alabama Community College System

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, February 23.

1. What happened in the House

It was a long night in the Alabama House of Representatives as lawmakers worked through the most controversial calendar of the session so far.
Here’s what happened…
Concealed carry gun permit bill passes
  • Lawmakers voted 65-37 to allow Alabamians to carry concealed handguns without a permit.
  • House Bill 272, sponsored by Rep. Shane Stringer, R-Citronelle, does away with the requirement that gun owners obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun on their bodies, in their purses and in their vehicles.
  • The permits would still be available through the county sheriffs’ offices for other purposes, such as carrying in restricted places and reciprocity across other states.
  • Stringer said that he was originally against the idea of permitless carry until the Legislature passed a bill last session requiring the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to create a database of all people forbidden from receiving permits. This database is set to go online Oct. 1, and House Bill 272, if it becomes law, will not go into effect until January 2023.
  • The bill now goes to the Senate.
  • Read more from ADN’s Maddison Booth HERE.
Anti-riot legislation advances
  • The House approved legislation that would create a new definition of a riot and provide tougher penalties for people who participate in one.
  • Republicans supporting the bill said it is needed to quell violent protests that have caused injuries and property damage. But critics argued that it would have a chilling effect on protests and that a loose definition of rioting could allow an officer to make arrests based on presumptions — and prejudices — about the people involved.
  • Rep. Allen Treadaway, a retired Birmingham assistant police chief, proposed the bill after a summer 2020 protest turned violent in Birmingham in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police in Minneapolis.
  • Legislators voted 75-27 for the bill that now moves to the Alabama Senate.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
House passes transgender student bathroom ban
  • The House approved legislation prohibiting public school students from using bathrooms or locker rooms that do not match their biological sex at birth.
  • Lawmakers voted 74-24 for the bill after two hours of contentious debate where Republicans said it would address an ongoing problem in public schools but opponents said it targets trans youth to score political points.
  • The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

 

2. What happened in the Senate

It wasn’t nearly as contentious upstairs in the Senate, but there was still plenty of activity.
Here’s what happened…
Retiree bonus bills pass
  • The Senate approved bills giving one-time bonuses to retired teachers and state employees.
  • Senate Bill 30 by Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, and Senate Bill 111 by Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, provide lump-sum bonuses based on retirees’ years of service, $2 per month for each year worked.
  • The original teacher retirement bill put a $300 minimum on the payments, but that was removed earlier in committee. There are no minimum or maximum amounts in either bill.
  • The bills now move to the House.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
Senate approves 2-year reading retention delay
  • The Senate approved delaying by two years the third-grade holdback requirement in the Alabama Literacy Act.
  • Sen. Rodger Smitherman’s Senate Bill 200 now moves to the House, where it is in conflict with a bill to wait only one year to retain third graders who aren’t reading proficiently. Under the original 2019 act, that retention is supposed to start this spring. Under Smitherman’s bill, it would go into effect in Spring 2024.
  • Smitherman, D-Birmingham, has argued that COVID-19 has caused so many disruptions to education in the past two years, it would be unfair to hold back students because of the pandemic.
  • Opponents said that no matter the reason, the state shouldn’t be promoting to fourth grade students who can’t read.
  • Smitherman and Rep. Terri Collins are in ongoing negotiations on a compromise.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
Marsh urges action on education bill this session
  • Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, took to the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon to argue for more parental choice and more accountability in schools from the state department of education.
  • He encouraged his counterparts to pass legislation this session that signals state leadership isn’t happy with its low national education rankings.
  • Marsh’s Senate Bill 140 is a massive school choice measure that, as originally written, would let about $5,500 in state funding follow students to private schools or homeschool settings. Last week, the bill was sent to a study commission to further explore the issue, signaling its not likely to pass this session.
  • “I refuse to let this commission be the ‘Kill Del Marsh’s Bill Committee’” Marsh, in his last legislative session, said Tuesday.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.

 

 

 

A message from the

Alabama Community College System

 

  • Businesses are hiring and Alabama residents now have access to FREE, rapid job training so they’re qualified for Alabama’s most in-demand jobs.
  • Through the support of the ACCS Innovation Center, this free, rapid job training comes to you where you are. Being near a community college is no longer a barrier to training.
  • This is possible thanks to a $10 million investment by legislators and Gov. Ivey and through partnerships with business and industry associations.
  • Training will be available in 23 career fields including hospitality and tourism, truck driving, heavy equipment operation, diesel technician, butcher and meat cutting, and more.

 

 

 

3. What’s on tap today

It’s a committee and Legislative day at the State House. A few things to expect:
  • The first vote on 2023 budgets is expected this morning when the Senate General Fund committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposed $2.7 billion General Fund is about $300 million more than the current year’s spending.
  • The House Judiciary Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. and has a public hearing on a bill to ban medical procedures or medications for transgender youth. House Bill 266 is sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy. A Senate version of the bill has been approved in committee and awaits a vote in that chamber.
  • Also at 1:30 p.m., the House Municipal and County Government Committee is expected to vote on a bill making it more difficult for local governments to cut funding for law enforcement agencies. House Bill 111, the Police Funding Protection Act, says “no governing body of any county or municipality shall reduce the operating budget of its respective law enforcement agency by more than 20 percent in a 10-year period unless the governing body can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the operating budget reduction was a fiscally appropriate decision as a result of a decrease in revenues.” The bill by Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Pike Road, was carried over earlier this month.
  • The Senate convenes at 3 p.m., the House at 4 p.m.
  • A bill to require Alabama public school students to attend kindergarten or take an assessment to go directly to first grade is expected to get a House vote this afternoon. House Bill 331 is Rep. Pebblin Warren’s latest effort to require more 5-year-olds to attend kindergarten. She’s picked up some GOP support over the years and last year the bill was approved in the House and a Senate committee but died without a final vote in the Senate. The bill would increase kindergarten enrollment by about 5,000 students annually, according to a fiscal note.
  • Rep. Terri Collins’ House Bill 220 to delay the holdback provision of the Alabama Literacy Act is on the House floor today. We’ll see if there’s a substitute offered from the result of her talks with Sen. Smitherman.
  • See you at the State House!

 

 

4. West hits back with sanctions for Russia’s Ukraine actions

  • Responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order sending troops to separatist regions of Ukraine, world leaders hit back with non-military actions Tuesday in hopes of averting a full-blown war in Europe.
  • Germany made the first big move, taking steps to halt certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia — a massive, lucrative project long sought by Moscow but criticized by the U.S. for increasing Europe’s reliance on Russian energy supplies.
  • And in Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden announced financial sanctions on banks and Russian officials close to Putin and their sons as punishment for what he called “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.” He said the U.S. would impose “full blocking” on two large Russian financial institutions and “comprehensive sanctions” on Russian debt.
  • “That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western finance,” Biden said. “It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.”
  • Biden promised that more sanctions would be coming if Putin proceeds further.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

5. US ports to get $450M to speed flow of goods, lower prices

  • Clogged U.S. ports are being given access to nearly $450 million in federal money from President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law as part of the administration’s recent stepped-up efforts aiming to ease supply chain congestion and lower prices for American consumers.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday announced the availability of a first batch of competitive grants for ports that will be double last year’s amount annually for five years. The grants are aimed specifically at reducing bottlenecks that have slowed the flow of goods to store shelves and pushed up costs.
  • The grants are among several pots of money under the $1 trillion law that the department intends to steer toward providing mid-term and long-term relief to the nation’s supply chain, which administration officials described as somewhat outdated and broken. Still, acknowledging that the upgrades will take time, Biden officials have largely shied away from any assurances that Americans could see clear and demonstrable changes to their lives before the 2022 midterm elections.
  • U.S. ports will have until May to apply for the grants, which will be awarded by fall.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

 

A message from the

Alabama Municipal Electric Authority

  • One million Alabamians depend on reliable, affordable, innovative public power.
  • Public utilities employ 93,000 people in local jobs across the United States. Revenues from public power utilities go back into the community.
  • To learn more about AMEA and public power, visit www.AMEA.com.

 

 

 

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Concealed carry gun permit bill passes House

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House approves controversial anti-riot legislation

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lawmakers advance transgender students bathroom ban

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate approves retiree bonus bills

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate approves 2-year reading retention delay

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marsh urges action on education bill this session

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – West hits back with sanctions for Russia’s Ukraine actions

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US ports to get $450M to speed flow of goods, lower prices

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Britt, allies begin TV ad barrage

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – BCA: Another bite at the Amazon apple

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would legalize fentanyl testing strips

 

AL.COM – Alabama House passes bill to end permit requirement for carrying concealed pistols

 

AL.COM – Alabama House passes riot bill that would impose mandatory jail time

 

AL.COM – Alabama House passes bill to restrict bathroom access for transgender students

 

AL.COM – FBI, other agencies conduct raid on Alabama water board

 

AL.COM – 10,000 workers in Alabama now getting $1,500 stimulus package bonuses

 

AL.COM – Federal trial for Alabama educator accused in virtual school fraud scheme begins

 

AL.COM – From homeless to Congress? Alabama Senate candidate believes now’s his time

 

AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey sends letter to AHSAA, seeking ‘answers’ on Oakwood Academy forfeit

 

AL.COM – Sen. Tommy Tuberville: No American blood should be shed over Ukraine

 

AL.COM – Union: Amazon interfering in second Bessemer election

 

AL.COM – Drug overdoses killed more than 1 person per day in Jefferson County last year, an all-time high

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Hyundai plans job fair, hopes to fill 300 positions this year in Montgomery

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama House approves bill changing riot definition; critics say it gives police too much power

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama House approves bill restricting bathroom access to birth sex

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Bessemer city leaders still working to pass budget

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Chilton County woman advocating for people to take all head injuries seriously after husband’s death

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Local activist works to continue conflict resolution outreach as Birmingham mayor takes up the initiative

 

Tuscaloosa News – Alabama Senate approves bill to delay Literacy Act implementation

 

Tuscaloosa News – Alabama House approves permitless carry bill

 

Tuscaloosa News – Alabama House committee scheduled to consider critical race theory bill

 

Decatur Daily – Bill would legalize fentanyl testing strips

 

Decatur Daily – Moulton getting aggressive on dilapidated structures

 

Decatur Daily – Editorial: Legislature passes tax break after tax season starts

 

Times Daily – Concealed carry gun permit bill Passes House

 

Times Daily – Alabama Forestry Commission to have tree giveaway

 

Times Daily – Bill would legalize fentanyl testing strips

 

Anniston Star – Base pay rises for Oxford firefighters

 

Anniston Star – Police departments struggle to keep officers

 

Anniston Star – Highway pedestrian struck and killed

 

YellowHammer News – Gov. Kay Ivey demands AHSAA answer over failure to accommodate Oakwood Adventist’s religious observance

 

YellowHammer News – Tuberville on Ukraine tensions: Russia must pay ‘a heavy price for Putin’s aggression’

 

YellowHammer News – Ainsworth urges passage of constitutional carry as potential House vote looms

 

Gadsden Times – Commissioners oppose efforts to increase weight allowances for logging trucks

 

Gadsden Times – Pair of solo exhibitions now on display at Hardin Center

 

Gadsden Times – Alabama House approves bill changing riot definition; critics say it gives police too much power

 

Dothan Eagle – Subaru picks a right-to-repair fight over auto wireless data

 

Dothan Eagle – Gary Brooker, frontman of rock band Procol Harum, dies at 76

 

Dothan Eagle – US ports to get $450M to speed flow of goods, lower prices

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Is omicron leading us closer to herd immunity against COVID?

 

Opelika-Auburn News – New Mexico Republicans compete to appear on primary ballot

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Ex-officer charged in Breonna Taylor raid begins trial

 

WSFA Montgomery – Forum held on separating Greenville from county school system

 

WSFA Montgomery – New construction set to come to Opelika

 

WSFA Montgomery – Reports: Alabama pageant queen, conservative commentator dead at 27

 

WAFF Huntsville – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville discusses Russia-Ukraine conflict

 

WAFF Huntsville – Alabama House passes permitless carry bill

 

WAFF Huntsville – ‘Twosday’: North Alabama baby born at 2:22 a.m. on 2/22/2022

 

WKRG Mobile – Europe braces for further strife as Ukraine crisis escalates

 

WKRG Mobile – Ukraine’s economy is another victim of Russia’s ‘hybrid war’

 

WKRG Mobile – S. Korea approves Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for ages 5-11

 

WTVY Dothan – Man pleads guilty in “buried alive” murder case

 

WTVY Dothan – Alabama prosecutor suspended for messages sent to inmate

 

WTVY Dothan – G.W. Carver Interpretive Museum preserving history since 2000

 

WASHINGTON POST – Kremlin warns Americans will face financial ‘consequences’ of U.S. sanctions

 

WASHINGTON POST – U.S., European allies announce first wave of sanctions after Russian troops enter eastern Ukraine

 

WASHINGTON POST – On Ukraine, Republicans are united on criticizing Biden, but not on how to counter Russian threat

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Ukraine Live Updates: Pressure Mounts on Russia as U.S. and Allies Order Sanctions

 

NEW YORK TIMES – The Doctor Giving DeSantis’s Pandemic Policies a Seal of Approval

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: South Korea Approves Shots for Children 5 to 11 as Cases Soar

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Ukraine Shifts to War Footing, Tells Citizens to Leave Russia

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures, Global Markets Gain After S&P 500 Enters Correction

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Some Companies Ditch Annual Raises and Review Worker Pay More Often

 

 

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