Daily News Digest – January 4, 2022

Daily News Digest – January 4, 2022

Presented by

AlabamaWorks!

Good morning!
Don’t forget today’s preview / tutorial session of the Alabama Legislature’s new website and bill tracking portal. It begins at 10:00 a.m. in State House Room 200 and can be streamed online.
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, January 4.

 

 

1. Some schools adjust as omicron variant spreads

  • With Alabama hospitals treating more COVID-19 patients daily and the positivity rate for coronavirus tests exceeding 35% statewide, some state school systems are returning to online learning or implementing mask restrictions to avoid classroom outbreaks.
  • In Sylacauga, students will attend classes remotely for three days when the new semester begins on Wednesday, Superintendent Michele Eller said in a statement.
  • Shelby County schools in metro Birmingham started the post-holiday grading period online Monday for its nearly 21,000 students as part of a plan implemented before the latest surge.
  • Pike County’s public schools will hold classes in person but require masks for all workers and students through Jan. 28.
  • More than 1,100 people were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 on Monday, or more than 3.5 times as many as in mid-December.
  • About 36% of COVID-19 tests came back positive statewide over the last week — a high for the pandemic — and the positivity rate exceeds 40% in 10 of the state’s 67 counties, according to statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • Less than 48% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, giving Alabama one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates despite months of work by health officials to promote the shots. With more than 16,450 dead of the illness, Alabama has the nation’s third-highest death rate from COVID-19, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

2. Bill would keep foreign buyers from Alabama farm land, forests

  • Alabama has the third-highest amount of foreign-held agricultural land in the U.S. at nearly 1.8 million acres.
  • Nationwide, foreign investors held an interest in nearly 35.2 million acres of U.S. forest land and farm land, according to a 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
  • That’s a concern to Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, who has pre-filed a bill to restrict purchases of agriculture and forest land in Alabama.
  • “I think that we’re having a problem with foreign countries coming up on our farmland,” Melson told Alabama Daily News. “… We feed the world and we don’t need the world coming in and buying up all our farm land. It’s just to protect US citizens.”
  • His Senate Bill 14 says “a nonresident alien, foreign business, or foreign government, or an agent, trustee, or fiduciary thereof, may not purchase or otherwise acquire agricultural land in this state.”
  • The Alabama Farmers Federation supports Melson’s bill.
  • “The pandemic has exposed our country’s dependence on foreign nations for essential supplies,” Preston Roberts, ALFA’s agricultural legislation director, told ADN.  “It is more critical than ever to secure our ability to produce our nation’s food supply. Sen. Melson’s bill promotes national security and protects hard working Alabamians.”
  • Read more from Mary Sell and read the bill HERE.

 

 

 

 

A message from

AlabamaWorks!

  • Workforce will be a hot topic in 2022 with no shortage of discussions about labor force participation rates, employee retention and labor shortages.
  • Data on these topics is in high demand, and the Alabama Workforce Council is pleased to release a set of workforce profiles that give a snapshot of key data points on Alabama’s workforce ecosystem.
  • Reaching our goals requires understanding the differences across Alabama’s seven workforce regions.
  • Creating opportunities and empowering students for success begins with a thorough knowledge of the current workforce landscape as well as factors that impact access to education and employment.
  • See the Regional Workforce Profiles HERE.

 

 

 

3. Britt begins ad TV, radio campaign

  • Katie Britt’s Senate campaign is up on the airwaves starting today with an ad campaign introducing the first time candidate to Alabama voters.
  • While an unaffiliated Super PAC had run a flight of ads back in November, this represents the first radio and television ads on behalf of the campaign. It also purchased a host of billboard ads across the state.
  • According to those familiar with the buy, the campaign plans to ramp up gradually starting with statewide radio and targeted cable and digital buys.
  • Read more and see the first TV ad HERE.

 

 

4. Schumer to push for vote on filibuster change

  • Days before the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate will vote soon on easing filibuster rules in an effort to advance stalled voting legislation that Democrats say is needed to protect America’s democracy.
  • In a letter Monday to colleagues, Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate “must evolve” and will “debate and consider” the rule changes by Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as the Democrats seek to overcome Republican opposition to their elections law package.
  • Republicans say the bill is an egregious federal overreach into state-run election processes intended to tip the scales of elections in Democrats’ favor. Moreover, they viscerally oppose changing the Senate’s filibuster rules to push it through.
  • Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, argued on Monday that ending the filibuster would turn the Senate into a “Lord of the Flies”-style institution where majority rules, no matter what.
  • “It is absurd and dangerous to the institution itself,” said Lee in a statement. He said Schumer and his “disastrous plan” must be stopped.
  • Read more HERE.

 

5. Auburn, Alabama are top ranked SEC hoop teams

  • We got a taste of conference basketball before the new year. This week the SEC slate continues in earnest and the state’s flagship schools are the class of the conference at the moment.
  • Auburn is ranked 9th and Alabama 15th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Monday. The teams are coming off home wins against LSU and Tennessee, respectively.
  • Auburn (11-1) suits back up tonight facing South Carolina on the road and Alabama (10-3) travels to Florida tomorrow.
  • No. 16 Kentucky, No. 18 Tennessee, and No. 21 LSU round out the other SEC teams ranked this week.
  • Don’t get too excited. It’s a long season and we’ve only seen the first of the omicron variant’s impact.
  • The No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (11-1) haven’t played since Dec. 22 after having to postpone last week’s games due to COVID-19 protocols. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said it “hit our program extremely hard” while impacting both players and staff, though the retiring Hall of Famer said he hasn’t had the virus himself.
  • “It went through just about our whole team,” he said. “We’re not in the shape that we have been in before, so it’s going to take time to ramp up.”
  • Read more and see the full Top 25 HERE.

 

 

 

A message from

FastDemocracy

  • Your bill tracker needs to be compatible with Alabama’s new website, or you could miss out on important legislative updates.
  • FastDemocracy provides the most accurate and up-to-date bill tracking software so you’re always well-informed and on top of everything happening in Montgomery.
  • Email nicole@fastdemocracy.com to get a demo today!

 

 

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Some schools teaching online, requiring masks as cases surge

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Katie Britt begins TV, radio ad campaign

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would keep foreign buyers from Alabama farm land, forests

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Schumer: Senate to vote on filibuster change on voting bill

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25: Auburn, Alabama lead SEC

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Snow falls on Alabama as winter returns

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers face decisions on $1.5 billion in relief funds

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Blanchard begins ad blitz in bid to unseat Ivey

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden vows US to act decisively if Russia invades Ukraine

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jan. 6 committee prepares to go public as findings mount

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inside Alabama Politics – December 22, 2021

 

AL.COM – ADPH sticks with 10-day school COVID quarantines as Alabama school officials worry about staffing

 

AL.COM – Will the COVID pandemic ever end? Omicron clouds forecasts

 

AL.COM – Trump, Ivanka, Don Jr. subpoenaed by NY Attorney General Letitia James

 

AL.COM – FDA expands Pfizer COVID booster shots to kids as young as 12

 

AL.COM – Stimulus update: Important update from IRS on stimulus, child tax credit

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Maxine McNair, last parent of a child killed in 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, dies

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Legislature considers safety measures amid surge in omicron cases

 

Montgomery Advertiser – More than 3,600 babies born at Baptist East in 2021

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Hospitalizations not rising as quickly as Covid cases

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – FDA authorizes boosters for kids 12 to 15 years old

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UAB discusses breakthrough COVID cases

 

Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa city, county students set to return to classrooms Wednesday

 

Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama reinstates mask mandate for spring semester

 

Tuscaloosa News – Sunday night snow brought beauty, little threat to drivers in West Alabama

 

YellowHammer News – U.S. Senate hopeful Mike Durant to launch ‘Alabama First’ tour targeting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, ‘career politicians’

 

YellowHammer News – State Rep. Stringer: Sheriffs pressuring ALEA to slow prohibited firearm database creation; Permitless carry opponents using ‘straight-up Democrat tactics’

 

YellowHammer News – Alabama wins injunction against Biden administration’s Head Start COVID-19 vaccine, mask mandates

 

Gadsden Times – Fort Payne police investigate altercation, identify man killed Sunday

 

Gadsden Times – Maxine McNair, last parent of a child killed in 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, dies

 

Gadsden Times – School systems have no current plans to change operations because of Omicron

 

Dothan Eagle – New maps, new building, new bills greet California lawmakers

 

Dothan Eagle – How will pandemic end? Omicron clouds forecasts for endgame

 

Dothan Eagle – School, work, travel can wait as snow blankets U.S. capital

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Hong Kong news site to shut; pro-Beijing lawmakers sworn in

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Little time to rule as N. Carolina remapping trial begins

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Biden: More competition in meat industry can ease food costs

 

WSFA Montgomery – Beloved social justice matriarch Maxine McNair passes away

 

WSFA Montgomery – University of Alabama, UAB to require masks at start of spring semester

 

WSFA Montgomery – CrimeStoppers, Montgomery city leaders react to ongoing violence

 

WAFF Huntsville – Madison County winter weather damage and accident reports

 

WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Fire and Rescue to host recruitment event

 

WAFF Huntsville – University of Alabama, UAB to require masks at start of spring semester

 

WKRG Mobile – What will Silicon Valley learn from Holmes’ conviction?

 

WKRG Mobile – A surge of evangelicals in Spain, fueled by Latin Americans

 

WKRG Mobile – Schumer: Senate to vote on filibuster change on voting bill

 

WTVY Dothan – Alabama surpasses 1,000 COVID hospitalizations, again

 

WTVY Dothan – Dothan officers handcuff man not suspected of crimes

 

WTVY Dothan – Ozark man confesses to shooting into occupied vehicle

 

WASHINGTON POST – Southeast U.S. poised for a firestorm of omicron cases, with few safeguards in place

 

WASHINGTON POST – Judge grants relief to Navy SEALs who refused coronavirus vaccine, sued Biden administration

 

WASHINGTON POST – More than 103,000 Americans hospitalized with covid, matching worst of summer surge

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Elizabeth Holmes is found guilty of four counts of fraud.

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Another Far-Right Group Is Scrutinized About Its Efforts to Aid Trump

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Lack of Quick Covid Test to Diagnose Omicron or Delta Complicates Treatments

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – The Elizabeth Holmes Verdict: Theranos Founder Is Guilty on Four of 11 Charges in Fraud Trial

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – AT&T and Verizon Agree to New Delay of 5G Rollout

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Covid-19 Cases Soar to New Records in U.S.

 

 

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