Daily News Digest – January 5, 2022

Daily News Digest – January 5, 2022

Presented by

Workers Drive Alabama

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, January 5.

 

1. Harris: Omicron ‘is spreading like wildfire’

  • Alabama’s state health officer on Tuesday said the highly infectious omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly as the state sets record numbers for cases.
  • “It is just spreading like wildfire,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said in a briefing with reporters, adding that, “omicron will infect a very large number of people in Alabama before it finally subsides.”
  • Alabama set new records for daily cases, hitting more than 8,000 a day Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, according to numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the average percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back as positive hit a new high of 38.5% Tuesday.
  • While early research suggests omicron causes less severe disease than earlier variants — such as the delta variant which he said had an estimated 2% fatality rate — he cautioned that some people will still get severely ill and the high infection rates means significant numbers could end up in state hospitals.
  • “We had 41 people die yesterday. We don’t have that with the flu. We don’t have that with common colds. It’s just not the same thing,” Harris said.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

 

 

2. New legislative site offers better bill tracking, search options

  • The Legislature has a new website that officials hope will make tracking bills and monitoring legislative action easier for the public.
  • Improvements include better search features, including the ability to search bills by topic across multiple sessions, and allowing users to create lists of priority bills they want to track throughout the session.
  • “You’ll be able to get so much more information off of this new website than you’ve ever been able to get before,” Secretary of the Senate Pat Harris said Tuesday at a State House tutorial.
  • The site went live on Monday.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.

 

 

 

A message from

Workers Drive Alabama

  • Alabama is facing a labor shortage, and businesses are starting to notice.
  • 95% of suspended licenses in Alabama stem from unpaid traffic tickets, not dangerous driving. Research shows it’s hard to get or keep a job without a valid driver’s license.
  • Smart public policy keeps up with changing times. That’s why lawmakers from both parties have introduced a bill to end these pointless debt-based driver’s licenses suspensions.
  • Support the bipartisan driver’s license bill and get these folks back on the road. When we’re free to drive, we’re free to work.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Taylor drops out of Senate race, endorses Durant

  • Businesswoman Jessica Taylor dropped out of Alabama’s U.S. Senate race Tuesday and threw her support behind Mike Durant in the Republican primary.
  • Durant is the founder and president of an aerospace company in Huntsville but might be best known as the helicopter pilot shot down and held prisoner in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia. He is vying with U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and former Business Council of Alabama President Katie Britt for the Republican nomination in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.
  • “After meeting Mike, I quickly realized he is an outsider with an inspiring life story and has the best shot at beating the establishment careerists. We don’t need another career politician in Washington. We need a pro-Trump conservative with the guts to take on the establishment,” Taylor wrote in a tweet.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

 

 

4. Mike Kemp named chairman of BCA

  • The Business Council of Alabama has named Birmingham KMS CEO Mike Kemp as its new chairman of the board.
  • Kemp becomes the first African American to lead BCA, Alabama’s largest business association. He previously served as the organization’s first vice chairman and oversaw Progress PAC, BCA’s political arm, during the 2018 election cycle.
  • “Mike has a deep background of BCA leadership experience and knows our issues and our members extremely well,” said interim CEO Robin Stone. “Mike brings people together and is always looking for innovative solutions and new opportunities for positive change. He will have an immediate impact on BCA, the members we serve, and the state.”
  • Kemp’s chairmanship was part of a larger announcement of BCA’s new leadership team, which includes Angus Cooper III of Cooper/T. Smith Corporation as first vice chairman and John Turner of Regions Bank as second vice chairman.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

5. Jan. 6 panel seeks interview with Sean Hannity

  • The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection on Tuesday requested an interview with Fox News personality Sean Hannity, one of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies in the media, as the committee continues to widen its scope.
  • In a letter to Hannity, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, said the panel wants to question him regarding his communications with former President Donald Trump, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others in Trump’s orbit in the days surrounding the insurrection.
  • One specific December 2020 text from Hannity to Meadows highlighted in the letter reads: “We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6 th. (sic) He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.”
  • The letter to Hannity also highlights texts from the night before the insurrection, including one in which Hannity said he was “very worried about the next 48 hours” and another to Meadows in which he wrote, “Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.” The letter says it appears from other text messages that Hannity may have spoken directly with Trump on Jan. 5 regarding planning for the following day.
  • A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment on the request. Jay Sekulow, Hannity’s lawyer, said they are reviewing the committee’s letter and “will respond as appropriate.”
  • Read more 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 – Harris: ‘Omicron spreading like wildfire’ in Alabama

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New legislative site offers better bill tracking, search options

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Taylor drops out of U.S. Senate race, endorses Durant

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mike Kemp named chairman of Business Council of Alabama

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jan. 6 panel seeks interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity

 

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 – Inside Alabama Politics – December 22, 2021

 

AL.COM – Lew Burdette, head of King’s Home program for abused women and youth, running for governor

 

AL.COM – Donald Trump cancels Jan. 6 attack anniversary press conference

 

AL.COM – ‘Alabama-USA Corridor:’ Rail work to improve supply-chain infrastructure

 

AL.COM – Senate candidate Katie Britt speaks on Jan. 6 Capitol rioters, Mo Brooks’ role

 

AL.COM – Toyota was US auto sales leader in 2021; GM had been top since 1931

 

AL.COM – The World Games seeks 3,300 volunteers for 2022 competition in Birmingham

 

AL.COM – Mo Brooks claims he’s only Alabama Republican senate candidate ‘to vote against Doug Jones’ in 2017

 

AL.COM – Alabama sets record for daily COVID cases, but doctors say omicron appears less severe.

 

AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Alabama prisons are part of the problem

 

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: The irony of Twitter silencing Marjorie Taylor Greene.

 

AL.COM – Where Alabama’s Capitol riot suspects cases stand a year after Jan. 6 insurrection

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Unbroken: Montgomery author shares message of healing in self-help devotional book series

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Juvenile charged with terrorist threats after post made on Instagram

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Pedestrian killed along West Fairview Avenue identified as 74-year-old Montgomery man

 

Decatur Daily – Police: Man barricaded nephew in house before setting fire

 

Decatur Daily – Bill would keep foreign buyers from Alabama farmland, forests

 

Decatur Daily – 400 households in Greenbrier area remain without electricity

 

Times Daily – Mother, 2 children die in house fire in Haleyville

 

Times Daily – Qualifying deadline is Jan. 28 for GOP races

 

Times Daily – Republican Club breakfast features Congressional candidates

 

Anniston Star – Jacksonville City Council, school board plan scholarships

 

Anniston Star – Blanchard begins ad blitz in bid to unseat Ivey

 

Anniston Star – Bill would keep foreign buyers from Alabama farm land, forests

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Haleyville School System rallies behind father and community upon loss of mother and two children in house fire

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Talladega County Schools making changes due to COVID surge

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Shooting investigation underway in Walker County

 

Tuscaloosa News – Federal judges hear testimony in Alabama redistricting lawsuit

 

Tuscaloosa News – ‘Spreading like wildfire’: Alabama hits record number of daily COVID cases as omicron surges

 

Tuscaloosa News – Etowah County industrial site could be connected to Port of Mobile rail project

 

YellowHammer News – Jessica Taylor exits U.S. Senate race, endorses candidacy of ‘political outsider’ Mike Durant

 

YellowHammer News – Gov. Kay Ivey officially qualifies for reelection — ‘We have accomplished a lot, but there is a lot more that needs to be done’

 

YellowHammer News – Eastern Shore MPO chair Jack Burrell: ‘Haven’t had any pushback from ALDOT’ on new I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway proposal

 

Gadsden Times – Etowah County industrial site could be connected to Port of Mobile rail project

 

Gadsden Times – Federal judges hear testimony in Alabama redistricting lawsuit

 

Gadsden Times – ‘Spreading like wildfire’: Alabama hits record number of daily COVID cases as omicron surges

 

Dothan Eagle – Media preview of WVa legislative session to be held remotely

 

Dothan Eagle – German health minister advocates tougher curbs on contacts

 

Dothan Eagle – ‘We were trapped’: Trauma of Jan. 6 lingers for lawmakers

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Shrill protests in France as Macron targets unvaccinated

 

Opelika-Auburn News – NFL teams providing female fans with clubs of their own

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Virginia officials defend response to snowy gridlock on I-95

 

WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery cracking down on apartments without licenses

 

WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery City Council overrides mayor’s veto on new district map

 

WSFA Montgomery – Arrest made in Montgomery’s final homicide of 2021

 

WAFF Huntsville – Albertville City, Fayetteville City Schools return Wednesday with masks optional

 

WAFF Huntsville – No overnight warming centers in Decatur; Salvation Army can’t find people to work

 

WAFF Huntsville – Decatur’s newest municipal judge officially sworn into office

 

WKRG Mobile – Virginia officials defend response to snowy gridlock on I-95

 

WKRG Mobile – Biden urges concern but not alarm in US as omicron rises

 

WKRG Mobile – Israel reports all-time high for new COVID-19 infections

 

WTVY Dothan – Visit Dothan CEO indicted on bank fraud charge

 

WTVY Dothan – Online to store during the pandemic; one stores triumph

 

WTVY Dothan – Headland Fire and Rescue member facing tragedy over holiday weekend

 

WASHINGTON POST – Some GOP leaders are scornful or silent about booster shots seen as key to fighting omicron

 

WASHINGTON POST – Tales of anguish emerge from China’s locked-down Xi’an as hospitals demand patients are covid-free

 

WASHINGTON POST – Smuggled Iranian fuel and secret nighttime transfers: Seafarers recount how it’s done

 

NEW YORK TIMES – In Omicron Hot Spots, Hospitals Fill Up, but I.C.U.s May Not

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Chicago Cancels Public School Classes in Clash With Teachers

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Election Falsehoods Surged on Podcasts Before Capitol Riots, Researchers Find

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Toyota Overtakes GM as Bestselling Auto Maker in U.S.

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Covid-19 Infections Top One Million After Holiday Backlog

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Workers Quit Jobs at a Record Level in November

 

 

Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)