Good morning and Happy Friday!
I feel like we’ve earned this weekend.
Here’s your Daily News for January 22.
1. Mask mandate extended
- Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday extended a statewide mask order into March as the state continues to face high numbers of COVID-19 cases and a vaccination rollout that has been hindered by limited supply.
- “The mask mandate remains one step we can all take in order to keep some balance in our daily lives and remain healthy and safe,” Ivey said during a news conference at the state Capitol.
- Ivey said the state saw a record-setting surge of cases in the wake of winter holidays. Although the state is beginning to emerge from that spike, state hospitalizations remain high. Ivey said that at one point last week the state had only 39 empty intensive care unit beds.
- The order, which has been in place since July, requires face masks in public when interacting within 6 feet with people from another household. The mask order will last until March 5.
- Read the full story from Kim Chandler and see the latest BamaTracker charts HERE.
2. Virus changes speech plans
- Sad news for everyone who enjoys getting dressed up and going to Alabama’s nerd prom, better known as the State of the State Address: the governor’s speech will be virtual this year.
- There will be no joint session of the Legislature to serve as the venue for the address, meaning all the pomp and circumstance of the annual event will go by the wayside this year.
- Of course, if you are an ADN Insider, you knew this yesterday, as we first reported it in the latest Inside Alabama Politics edition.
- Caroline and Mary fleshed the story out a bit, though, and there’s more to it.
- Read it in full HERE.
3. In the Weeds with Cam Ward
- It has been about two months since veteran State Sen. Cam Ward was appointed by Gov. Kay Ivey to lead the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.
- The agency has been beleaguered for years – first for having a reputation of being too lenient, then for the opposite under the regime led by Charlie Graddick.
- With Ward, Ivey wanted someone to find a happy medium and manage an agency that handles particularly sensitive issues.
- ADN’s Caroline Beck sat down with Ward for an extended interview about his new role and his vision for Pardons and Paroles.
- You can read it in full and listen to the “In the Weeds” podcast HERE.
- The podcast is also up and available on Apple, Google and Spotify if that’s your jam.
4. Unemployment rate drops to 3.9%
- Alabama’s unemployment rate decreased to 3.9% in the last month of 2020 after hitting a decades-high of nearly 13% earlier in the year shocked by the coronavirus pandemic.
- December’s rate compares to 4.4% in November and a record-low of 2.7% in December 2019. The newest rate represents 87,534 unemployed people, compared to 100,374 in November and 61,530 in December 2019, the Alabama Department of Labor said today.
- “This is the lowest unemployment rate Alabama has seen since the pandemic began, and I’m glad to see us close out 2020 on a good note,” Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said in a written statement. “While we are pleased to see our rate continue to drop, we know there is still a lot more work to be done. More than 26,000 Alabamians are unemployed now than at the same time last year.
- “We are still down more than 34,000 jobs from last year. Our work in 2021 will be focused on continuing this recovery.”
- Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
5. Biden immigration plan opposed by GOP, conservative groups
- Republican lawmakers and conservative groups are opposing President Joe Biden’s forthcoming immigration plan, characterizing it as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally.
- It underscores that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly.
- In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals’ demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump’s restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end.
- “It simply wouldn’t have happened without us,” Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden’s victory. “So we are now in a powerful position.”
- Biden’s proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border.
- “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Full story HERE.
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – January 21, 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gov. Kay Ivey extends Alabama face mask order into March
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID precautions nix live audience for governor’s annual address
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds with Cam
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Labor: December unemployment decreased to 3.9%
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden halts border wall building after Trump’s final surge
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden immigration plan opposed by GOP, conservative groups
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Henry: Trump’s pardon a ‘vindication’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officials urge Ivey to extend Alabama’s mask order
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Global shares mostly up on optimism for stimulus from Biden
AL.COM – Alabama adds 2,881 COVID-19 cases as mask order extended 6 weeks
AL.COM – Alabama sees population grow due to immigrants, Census estimates show
AL.COM – Alabama delegation supports Biden pick of Mobile native as defense secretary
AL.COM – Parole denied for Alabama’s longest-serving prison inmate, child killer Michael Mayola
AL.COM – Airbus lowers production outlook, but still sees increase in 2021
AL.COM – No honeymoon period for Biden from Alabama Republicans in Congress
AL.COM – Walmart will give COVID vaccinations, Alabama health officials say
AL.COM – Politically powerful Eagle Forum of Alabama shares DC riot conspiracy theories.
AL.COM – William Watson, Alabama man shown with ‘QAnon Shaman,’ says he was directed by radio host Alex Jones
Montgomery Advertiser – COVID-19 vaccinations begin at Maxwell-Gunter AFB
Montgomery Advertiser – Vice President Kamala Harris achieves what Charlotta Bass couldn’t
Montgomery Advertiser – Report: Donor threatened to withhold contribution to Alabama AG’s dark money group if it didn’t promote Capitol rally
Tuscaloosa News – Vice President Kamala Harris achieves what Charlotta Bass couldn’t
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama mask mandate extended to March 5 by Governor Kay Ivey
Tuscaloosa News – Production facility to bring more than 100 jobs to Sulligent
Decatur Daily – COVID precautions nix live audience for governor’s annual address
Decatur Daily – Mask mandate extended as death toll rises and state struggles to get enough vaccine
Decatur Daily – GE Appliances plant reaches production record amid pandemic demand
Times Daily – COVID nixes live State of the State address
Times Daily – UNA COVID cases drop after record high
Times Daily – Helen Keller, Nat King Cole included in ‘Heroes’ project
Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: The Catholic in the Oval Office
Anniston Star – Anniston school leaders hope teachers will be vaccinated by end of February
Anniston Star – COVID precautions nix live audience for governor’s annual address
YellowHammer News – Auburn trustee, Mobile native Lloyd Austin granted congressional waiver, paving way for confirmation as defense secretary
YellowHammer News – Manufacture Alabama launches Diversify initiative — ‘Creating a culture of inclusion and diversity from the highest ranks all the way down to the shop floor’
YellowHammer News – Business Council of Alabama announces three promotions following departure of Molly Cagle to Shipt
Gadsden Times – Positive attitudes, customer support played role in survival for downtown businesses
Gadsden Times – Rewards offered in anti-Semitic vandalism at Jewish facilities in Huntsville
Gadsden Times – Service held for shooting victim; suspect faces murder charge
Dothan Eagle – Dothan pharmacist to take guilty plea deal, admits to selling pills on side
Dothan Eagle – Dothan City Schools planning new assistance program for employees
Dothan Eagle – Global stocks sink after China coronavirus resurgence
Opelika-Auburn News – How’s the vaccination supply holding up in Lee County? Here’s what EAMC and Auburn University say
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University reports 100+ COVID-19 cases among campus community in first week of semester
Opelika-Auburn News – Highway 280 to close lanes at North College Street for traffic light installation
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Next six weeks critical in fight against COVID-19 says head of AL Hospital Assoc.
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa Police Department sees “rapid rise” in mental health calls, launches new behavioral health unit
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Hospitals seeing shortages of gloves
WSFA Montgomery – Congress poised for quick action on Biden’s Pentagon nominee
WSFA Montgomery – Logistics fall into place for Montgomery’s second charter school opening
WSFA Montgomery – UPDATE: Victims ID’d in deadly shooting on Sandfort Rd. in Phenix City
WAFF Huntsville – ‘I Vote Madison’ working with city leaders, community members
WAFF Huntsville – Alabama’s vaccine rollout compared to Tennessee
WAFF Huntsville – Authorities ask for help looking for Lawrence County couple
WKRG Mobile – Bill O’Brien named new Crimson Tide offensive coordinator
WKRG Mobile – Gov. Ivey awards grants to assist domestic violence victims in southwest Alabama
WKRG Mobile – Coronavirus guidelines now the rule at the White House
WTVY Dothan – Coffee County receives $11,000 grant for nonprofits
WTVY Dothan – Wiregrass Area Food Bank in severe need of canned goods
WTVY Dothan – Health officials encourage having a primary care doctor amidst COVID-19
WASHINGTON POST – In first full day in office, Biden faces multiple crises
WASHINGTON POST – Top Senate Republicans push to delay Trump impeachment trial
WASHINGTON POST – President Biden to increase federal food benefits among executive actions aimed at stabilizing U.S. economy
NEW YORK TIMES – Biden Plans Executive Action to Expand Food Stamps and Speed Stimulus Checks
NEW YORK TIMES – Biden Orders Sweeping Assessment of Russian Hacking, Even While Renewing Nuclear Treaty
NEW YORK TIMES – Banished by Trump but Brought Back by Biden, Fauci Aims to ‘Let the Science Speak’
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden to Sign Executive Orders to Boost Pandemic Aid, Expand Federal Worker Protections
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Fall, Signaling Losses After Fresh Records
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Studies of South African Coronavirus Strain Raise Concerns About Immune Response
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