Good morning and Happy Friday!
Most of the state’s top legislative leaders were in Montgomery for meetings yesterday, which is somewhat rare for an out-of-session July Thursday. One of those meetings was very public. One was not. We have the details on both.
Here’s your Daily News for Friday, July 2.
1. Committee to analyze state’s response to COVID-19
- The very public meeting I referenced?
- That was the first gathering of the Alabama Pandemic Response and Preparedness Committee, a joint legislative task force responsible for analyzing how the state responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Co-chairs Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, and Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan, said their main objectives will be for each branch or level of government to identify the principal actions taken in response to the pandemic, the cost and benefits of those actions and how they compared to actions taken in other states.
- “This is a fact-finding, not a fault-finding committee,” Melson said.
- This committee was formed after a joint resolution from Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road, passed the Legislature earlier this year. The panel is required to meet at least three times before the 2022 regular legislative session, one of those times being a public hearing where citizens can submit testimony about how they were impacted by COVID and the state’s reaction to it.
- Gov. Kay Ivey is not a member of the panel but addressed the group at its first meeting. She told committee members that, while in hindsight she regrets some actions her administration took, she remains pleased overall with how she handled the pandemic.
- Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.
2. State leaders continue prison talks
- The not-so public meeting in Montgomery was a gathering of those involved in the state’s ongoing efforts to improve prisons.
- Legislative and Alabama Department of Corrections leaders met Thursday for the third time in less than a month to discuss options. Another meeting is scheduled for next week, Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, told Alabama Daily News.
- State leaders are now discussing building two new prisons and renovating others in an effort to fix the state’s dangerous and crowded correctional system.
- Albritton, at the table because he’s chairman of the Senate General Fund Budget committee, said the meeting included ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn. Albritton said CoreCivic, the company whose plans to build two large prisons and lease them to the state fell apart in June when underwriters backed out, is still part of discussions.
- Ivey last month said the lease-only route is no longer an option.
- While lawmakers in previous sessions failed to come to agreement on a plan to borrow and build new prisons, some leaders see more consensus now, especially after many complained about Ivey’s lease plan that they say excluded them from decisions.
- Others say a special session on prisons could be a big risk given the fractured nature of the House of Representatives.
- Mary Sell sorts it all out for us in her story HERE.
3. Ivey raises $1.2 million for reelection
- Gov. Kay Ivey has raised $1.2 million in her bid for reelection, her campaign announced Thursday.
- The Republican incumbent’s fundraising could deter challengers from either side of the aisle in the 2022 election. In a bit of saber-rattling, her campaign made the sizable figure known ahead of mandatory election filings.
- “The people of Alabama are energized and enthusiastic for 2022, and I could not be more grateful to them for their overwhelming support of my reelection campaign,” Ivey said in a statement.
- Campaign finance records show that Ivey had a campaign balance of under $200,000 at the end of 2020. She has garnered a number of major contributions since announcing her bid for office.
- Full story HERE.
4. US added a robust 850,000 jobs in June as hiring rebounded
- In an encouraging burst of hiring, America’s employers added 850,000 jobs in June, well above the average of the previous three months and a sign that companies may be having an easier time finding enough workers to fill open jobs.
- Today’s report from the Labor Department was the latest sign that the reopening of the economy is propelling a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession. Restaurant traffic across the country is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and more people are shopping, traveling and attending sports and entertainment events. The number of people flying each day has regained about 80% of its pre-COVID-19 levels. And Americans’ confidence in the economic outlook has nearly fully recovered.
- The result is that many businesses are desperate to hire and have posted a record-high number of jobs. With competition for workers intensifying, especially at restaurants and tourist and entertainment venues, employers are offering higher pay, along with signing and retention bonuses and more flexible hours. The proportion of job advertisements that promise a bonus has more than doubled in the past year, the employment website Indeed has found.
- Read more HERE.
5. Op-Ed: Funds could help ‘unsung heroes’
- The state and many cities are right now trying to decide how to spend billions in federal funds from the latest round of COVID-19 relief from Congress.
- In a new op-ed, Alabama AARP Director Candi Williams argues that some of those funds should go to help and reward direct care workers she says are the “unsung heroes” of the pandemic.
- Here’s an excerpt:
- Read Williams’ full piece HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inside Alabama Politics – June 29, 2021 Parts 1 & 2
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Committee to analyze state’s response to COVID-19
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State leaders continue new prison talks
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey raises $1.2 million for reelection
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US adds a solid 850,000 jobs as economy extends its gains
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Op-Ed: Alabama’s federal COVID relief funds could help unsung healthcare heroes
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Census on track for August data release after court ruling
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – NCAA clears way for athlete compensation as state laws loom
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 1, 2021
AL.COM – ‘Dozens’ of shots fired into home of Mobile Democratic state senator: Police
AL.COM – Correctional officer Stacy Lee George running for Alabama governor again
AL.COM – Lawsuit over Bellefonte Nuclear Plant sale now awaits judge’s ruling
AL.COM – Alabama high school graduation rate dips for class of 2020
AL.COM – Warrior Met Coal strike enters fourth month amidst reports of vandalism, violence
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery welcomes return of tourists at new downtown visitors center
Montgomery Advertiser – New Montgomery Visitors Center opens on Court Square
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery Visitors Center relaunches on Court Square
Decatur Daily – Suspect in Krispy Kreme robbery charged with previous armed robberies
Decatur Daily – Poole, Ledbetter announce runs for House Speaker
Decatur Daily – Committee to analyze state’s response to COVID-19
Times Daily – 3 charged after scuffle with deputies
Times Daily – UNA SGA president doesn’t resign, remains silent
Times Daily – 2 announce runs for House Speaker post
Anniston Star – Doses might go to waste as local COVID vaccinations far short of goal
Anniston Star – Grants’ benefits celebrated in Heflin, Borden Springs
Anniston Star – These tips will help you safely enjoy Alabama’s lakes and rivers
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Fireworks could be in short supply this Fourth of July weekend
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Concerns of COVID-19 spreading more among unvaccinated going into Fourth of July weekend
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham City officials offering free concert tickets for people who get vaccinated
Tuscaloosa News – Track the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, including forecasts and storm names list
Tuscaloosa News – Five things to do this Fourth of July weekend in Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa News – Reports of violence, vandalism surface as Warrior Met Coal miners’ strike enters fourth month
YellowHammer News – Ainsworth has greatest fundraising month ever for a lieutenant governor candidate
YellowHammer News – Blount County Sheriff Moon warns of consequences after ‘terroristic threats’ made against deputy
YellowHammer News – Trump to hold rally in Mobile late summer or early fall
Gadsden Times – Coosa Valley RC&D to host seed and fertilizer giveaway
Gadsden Times – ATF: How to use fireworks legally, safely during holiday weekend
Gadsden Times – Etowah County to host inaugural ‘Tomato Taste-Off’
Dothan Eagle – Registered sex workers in Germany drop sharply in pandemic
Dothan Eagle – Key voting rights decision expected from Supreme Court
Dothan Eagle – The ultimate garage & estate sale guide for this weekend
Opelika-Auburn News – Tropical Storm Elsa, 5th named storm, forms in Atlantic
Opelika-Auburn News – H&M says profit up by $1.2 billion as world opens up again
Opelika-Auburn News – 5 things to know for July 1: Trump Org, Bill Cosby, condo collapse, Covid-19, China
WSFA Montgomery – ALEA issues missing child alert for 2-year-old Mobile girl
WSFA Montgomery – Chief: Female fatally shot in Camden
WSFA Montgomery – Huge water main break closes road in Montgomery neighborhood
WAFF Huntsville – ADPH says some north Alabama counties at high risk for COVID-19
WAFF Huntsville – Christopher Henderson convicted of murder in Madison County; prosecution hopes for the death penalty
WAFF Huntsville – Closing arguments held in trial over sale of Bellefonte Nuclear Plant
WKRG Mobile – Fourth of July celebrations along the Gulf Coast
WKRG Mobile – Former Pine Forest star quarterback murdered in Pensacola
WKRG Mobile – MPD: Man shot on Cresthaven Road
WTVY Dothan – Troopers: Unnamed teen caused pileup that killed one
WTVY Dothan – Infant drowns in bathtub, mom charged
WTVY Dothan – ADPH: More than 550K positive COVID cases as fewer people get vaccines
WASHINGTON POST – Trump seeks to use indictments as a political rallying cry as he tries to survive latest legal threat
WASHINGTON POST – Trump, fighting to toss out subpoena, offered to give House Democrats peek at financial statements
WASHINGTON POST – U.S. military vacates main air base in Afghanistan, underscoring withdrawal expected within days
NEW YORK TIMES – Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Restrictions
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Was Not Indicted. But the Charges Still Threaten Him.
NEW YORK TIMES – Inspector Who Said Florida Tower Appeared in ‘Good Shape’ Is Now Under Scrutiny
WALL STREET JOURNAL – China, India Move Tens of Thousands of Troops to the Border in Largest Buildup in Decades
WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Job Growth Likely Accelerated in June, Economists Say
WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Shuts Down Bagram Air Base as Afghanistan Pullout Speeds Up