Here’s your Daily News for Monday, June 15.
1. As economy improved, Medicaid enrollment increased
- Alabama’s unemployment rate steadily decreased amid a booming economy last year, but the number of people receiving health care through Medicaid in Alabama grew in 2019.
- According to a report from the Alabama Medicaid Agency, there were 1,046,192 people receiving Medicaid in September of 2019, a 2% growth from September 2018. It is not an all-time high – that was 2015 – but it is part of an overall uptick in the past decade.
- Enrollment in Medicaid, the health care provider for the state’s poor and disabled, remains higher now than when the unemployment rate hit nearly 12 percent in 2009. Before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Alabama’s unemployment rate was a historic low of 2.7%.
- Why is this news? Because conventional wisdom generally holds that the need for public assistance decreases as the economy improves and unemployment drops.
- State officials say an increase in eligible children plus improvements to the Medicaid system may explain the increase.
- Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
2. State tells judge it can staff prisons by deadline
- The state of Alabama told a federal judge that it is optimistic that it can adequately staff state prisons by a 2022 deadline despite slow progress in hiring.
- U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson had asked the state to explain how it planned to meet the court order to add about 2,000 officers in the next two years.
- Thompson said the state had only added about 100 officers over the last nine months and had a net loss in supervisors.
- In a Friday court filing, the prison system said hiring has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, but it has developed a pay structure, recruitment campaign and other infrastructure to hire and retain staff and supervisors.
- “Its efforts are bearing fruit,” wrote William R. Lunsford, an attorney representing the Alabama Department of Corrections.
- “The state remains optimistic that its employment-related processes will enable ADOC to achieve adequate correctional staffing levels by February 20, 2022.”
- Thompson in 2017 ruled that mental health care in state prisons was “horrendously inadequate” and said that understaffing is an overarching issue behind the unconstitutional conditions.
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
3. ‘Soft opening’ for Census knockers to begin
- Door knocking by census takers at the homes of people who haven’t yet responded to the 2020 census is scheduled to start next month, the U.S. Census Bureau says.
- The door knocking to interview households that haven’t yet responded to the 2020 census was supposed to have started last month, but the ongoing pandemic prompted officials to push most of it back until August. Next month will mark the start of a “soft launch” in six locations around the country to be named later “to ensure systems, operations and field plans work as they should,” the bureau said in a statement.
- All census takers will be trained in social distancing and will have personal protective equipment, according to the bureau.
- As of Thursday, almost 60.9% of U.S. residents had answered the census questionnaire either online, by telephone or by mailing back the form.
- In Alabama, the response rate is exactly two points behind the national average at 58.9%.
- Read more HERE.
4. With Senate control at stake, GOP candidates weigh campaigning with Trump
- In Alabama, you’d be hard pressed to find a Republican politician who wouldn’t want President Donald Trump stumping with them on the campaign trail.
- In fact, most GOP primaries here feature candidates tripping all over themselves trying to prove who is the most like Trump, has his endorsement or some other connection.
- It’s like that in most red states.
- However, in some purple swing states where Trump isn’t as popular, it isn’t that easy. And it’s those states – Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina and Iowa – that will determine whether Republicans hold on to the Senate majority in 2020.
- On one hand, candidates don’t want to appear to condone Trump’s sometimes inflammatory statements and tweets and risk losing moderates. On the other hand, spurning POTUS is a good way to lose the conservative base support any Republican needs to get over the top.
- Some GOP operatives say candidates’ best bet is to flip the script on their Democratic challengers by tying them to more radical elements on the political left, such as the “defund the police” movement.
- In any case, it’s a tight rope to walk and incumbent senators are working without a net this year as the election draws closer and the president returns to the campaign trail.
- Read more HERE.
5. Justice Sellers: Celebrate the Magna Carta
- On this date in 1215, the Magna Carta was signed in Runnymeade, England, as King John I sought to avoid civil war by agreeing that the monarch be subject to the rule of law.
- It turns out war wasn’t actually avoided, but nevertheless it was the first time in history that a sovereign ruler submitted to the concept of a greater law offering liberties to people and institutions.
- It was a turning point that helped lay the foundation for the idea of consent of the governed and, eventually, the Republic we inhabit today.
- Supreme Court Justice Will Sellers contributes an op-ed for today’s Daily News marking Magna Carta day and explaining its significance to American jurisprudence.
- Here’s an excerpt:
- Read Justice Sellers’ full op-ed HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As economy improved, Medicaid enrollment increased
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State tells judge it can staff prisons by deadline
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Soft opening’ for census door knocking to begin next month
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP candidates balance pros, cons of running with Trump
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justice Will Sellers: Celebrate the Magna Carta
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jim Byard: Now is the time for Alabama to lead locally
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama virus cases surge, prompting new health warnings
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New 2020 Education Department Strategic Plan announced, goals set for 2025
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama prison COVID-19 cases rise, another death reported.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama county’s DA urges new trial for death row inmate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Majority-black county seeks to move Confederate monument
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – June 14, 2020
AL.COM – For first time, Alabama added 1,000-plus coronavirus cases in a day
AL.COM – Mobile mayor: Confederate statue headed to history museum
AL.COM – Black in white coats: how Alabama’s black healthcare workers are battling pandemic, racism
AL.COM – Alabama monuments law affects more than Confederate monuments
AL.COM – Huntsville business leaders speak out: Remove Confederate monument from courthouse
AL.COM – House minority leader wants to end tax support for Confederate park
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Governments: Stop naming things for people
AL.COM – Contributor Thom Gossom, Jr.: The Talk
Montgomery Advertiser – Daughter of Hank Williams Jr. killed in car crash in Henry County
Montgomery Advertiser – Heart of Alabama’s coronavirus pandemic: Montgomery now has state’s most COVID-19 cases
Montgomery Advertiser – East Montgomery road work starts Sunday
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Doctor speaks after Montgomery County sees highest COVID-19 cases in Alabama
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State working on virtual K-12 school option for 2020 academic year
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – New 2020 Education Department Strategic Plan announced, goals set for 2025
Tuscaloosa News – How libraries turned the page during a pandemic
Tuscaloosa News – 2 killed in Alabama crash were Navy pilots in civilian plane
Tuscaloosa News – UA System details plans for reopening campuses
Decatur Daily – Alabama Medicaid rolls increase 2% in 2019
Decatur Daily – Alabama National Guard to use Decatur armory for new military police brigade
Decatur Daily – Authorities: Drugs one of several theories behind 7 shooting deaths
Times Daily – A look into where Alabama’s $3.7B coronavirus relief money went
Times Daily – Shoals Theatre optimistic for plays, concerts to return in August
Times Daily – COVID cases reported at Florence Nursing Home
Anniston Star – Activist group gathers for conversation, not demonstration
Anniston Star – As contact tracing increases, lawmaker looks at regulations
Anniston Star – Alabama Medicaid increases 2 percent in 2019
YellowHammer News – Mobile mayor orders statue of Confederate Admiral Semmes moved to museum
YellowHammer News – AFLAC donates 10,000 face shields to Montgomery County EMA
YellowHammer News – Alabama Power Foundation grant makes ‘virtual learning’ a reality for rural Greene County students
Gadsden Times – What’s behind increasing COVID-19 cases in Etowah County
Gadsden Times – Absentee voting deadlines and details
Gadsden Times – Gadsden’s history impacts future of economic development
Dothan Eagle – Ashford PPE provider plays important role in global COVID battle
Dothan Eagle – Dothan student named to Deans Honor Roll at Fort Hays State University
Dothan Eagle – Sophie Canavan graduates from College of Charleston
Troy Messenger – Downtown Troy hosts Stop the Violence Candlelight Vigil
Troy Messenger – After 16 years of leadership, White stepping back from arts center role
Troy Messenger – Pike County native joins Brundidge practice
Andalusia Star News – Loango juvenile in stable condition after accidental gunshot wound
Andalusia Star News – Opp City Council to meet June 15
Andalusia Star News – Andalusia City Council to meet on June 16
Opelika-Auburn News – Candle business opens despite COVID-19
Opelika-Auburn News – More work needed to combat human trafficking along I-85, Lee County
Opelika-Auburn News – Southern Union working back to normal
Daily Mountain Eagle – Several inmates denied parole this week
Daily Mountain Eagle – Dora police report busy month
Daily Mountain Eagle – Rise in new housing starts, construction permits a good sign for Jasper economy
Trussville Tribune – Jefferson County’s DA urges new trial for death row inmate
Trussville Tribune – Alabama tells judge it can staff prisons by deadline
Trussville Tribune – Man shot, killed while riding bicycle in Eastlake
Athens News Courier – CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 5: Wayne Harper announces bid for re-election
Athens News Courier – Local communications officers recognized for work
Athens News Courier – TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Limestone County native among 16 finalists
Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz fire station undergoes thorough renovation
Sand Mountain Reporter – Ivey opens up on difficult past few months | Discusses pandemic’s impact statewide with Albertville Rotary
Sand Mountain Reporter – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15
WSFA Montgomery – 8-year-old boy drowns while swimming in Franklin County
WSFA Montgomery – More than 42,000 pounds of ground beef recalled
WSFA Montgomery – ‘Black Lives Better’ rally in Montgomery promotes positivity and prayer
WAFF Huntsville – Prayer vigil held for law enforcement officers across the country
WAFF Huntsville – Firefighters help woman out of Huntsville house fire Sunday morning
WAFF Huntsville – East Limestone High School football coach charged with DUI
WKRG Mobile – Face masks with windows mean more than smiles to deaf people
WKRG Mobile – Tattoo shop offers to cover up hate, gang symbols for free
WKRG Mobile – MPD: Police investigate bomb threat at Walmart, nothing found
WTVY Dothan – Accuracy still unknown for many coronavirus tests rushed out
WTVY Dothan – Daughter of Hank Williams Jr. reportedly killed in vehicle crash
WTVY Dothan – Dothan’s Wiregrass Museum of Art reopening Wednesday
WASHINGTON POST – Killing of black man in Atlanta puts spotlight anew on police, as prosecutors contemplate charges against officer
WASHINGTON POST – Thousands gather Sunday for prayer and protests in Washington
WASHINGTON POST – Ripple effects of downturn show pandemic’s early economic toll was just the beginning
WASHINGTON POST – Contact tracing is ‘best’ tool we have until there’s a vaccine, health experts say
NEW YORK TIMES – ‘Troubling Tableau’ in 11th Circuit’s Prisoner Cases, Sotomayor Says
NEW YORK TIMES – The Rising Trump Lawyer Battling to Reshape the Electorate
NEW YORK TIMES – Threats of New Lockdowns in the U.S.
NEW YORK TIMES – What We’re Learning About Online Learning
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