Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, June 30.
1. Virus update
- The Alabama Department of Public Health reported a total of 36,682 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday. After a lag in reporting over the weekend, that number is an increase of nearly 4,000 cases since late last week.
- Confirmed deaths topped 900 at 905 on Monday. About 78% of deaths have been people age 65 or older. At least 18,866 – or more than half – of Alabama COVID-19 patients are presumed to have recovered from the disease, according to state statistics.
- About 392,800 Alabamians have been tested, according to ADPH. The percentage of positive tests has increased in recent weeks, hitting 10.9% last week.
- State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris told Alabama Daily News that his concerns about the state’s situation remain what they’ve been for months: “a recipe for disaster.”
- Read more HERE.
- FYI – Gov. Kay Ivey and other state officials will have an update on the situation at 10 a.m. today. More on what that might entail in today’s Inside Alabama Politics below.
2. Plan to test college students emerges
- Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday awarded $30 million in Alabama’s CARES Act funding for increased testing and a re-entry platform for Alabama’s public universities and two-year colleges.
- It is not yet clear if all of Alabama’s public four-year and two-year institutions will require students to test before returning to campus, but University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray Watts said its students will be required to test.
- “Our ability to test every student returning to campus will go a long way in helping us maintain a safe environment,” Watts said in a press release. “We are excited that, through this partnership with Governor Ivey and the state of Alabama, we will have the ability to make testing available across our system and to public colleges and universities throughout the state.”
- More than $750,000 will fund the testing initiative that is a partnership with UAB and Alabama’s Department of Public Health.
- University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine’s Dean Selwyn Vickers said the increased testing effort is primarily focused on those returning students in the fall but could later focus on hot spots or underserved areas.
- “Our ongoing efforts in the fall will be partnered with ADPH to look at sentinel and hot spot testing and to use the infrastructure we have to support its efforts to rapidly deploy teams in areas where testing is needed,” Vickers said during an online press conference on Monday.
- The University of South Alabama, HudsonAlpha and Kailos Genetics will be working with UAB to create the logistical strategy of testing every student and the plan for re-entry to campuses.
- Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.
3. Inside Alabama Politics
- A new Public Health order is coming, but it’s not what you think;
- What to expect at the State House next week;
- Tax receipts on online purchases up, trend concerns educators;
- Could CARES Act funds make way for a tax break?
- A timely historic reminder from the Archives;
- Sessions and Tuberville turn into homestretch;
- Battle lines drawn in Congressional runoffs;
- RIP Wayne McMahan.
4. This Russia business
- Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.
- The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials.
- The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump was not — and still has not been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they have not been fully verified.
- The National Security Council and the undersecretary of defense for intelligence did hold meetings regarding the intelligence. The Pentagon declined to comment and the NSC did not respond to questions about the meetings.
- Concerns about Russian bounties flared anew this year after members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known to the public as SEAL Team Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000 in U.S. currency. The funds bolstered the suspicions of the American intelligence community that the Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and other linked associations.
- The White House contends the president was unaware of this development as well.
- The U.S. is investigating whether any Americans died as a result of the Russian bounties. Officials are focused in particular on an April 2019 attack on an American convoy. Three U.S. Marines were killed after a car rigged with explosives detonated near their armored vehicles as they returned to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan.
- Read the full story on all that HERE.
- Meanwhile, Members of Congress in both parties called for additional information and consequences for Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
- Eight Republican lawmakers attended a White House briefing Monday and eight Democrats were to be briefed on the matter Tuesday morning.
- Republicans who were in the briefing expressed alarm about Russia’s activities in Afghanistan.
- Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger were in the briefing Monday led by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. McCaul and Kinzinger said in a statement that lawmakers were told “there is an ongoing review to determine the accuracy of these reports.”
- “If the intelligence review process verifies the reports, we strongly encourage the Administration to take swift and serious action to hold the Putin regime accountable,” they said.
- Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said, “After today’s briefing with senior White House officials, we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces.”
- Read more on that HERE.
5. Supreme Court’s abortion ruling raises stakes for election
- Supporters of abortion rights are elated, foes of abortion dismayed and angry, but they agree on one consequence of the Supreme Court’s first major abortion ruling since President Donald Trump took office: The upcoming election is crucial to their cause.
- The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down a Louisiana law seeking to require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. For both sides in the abortion debate, it was viewed as a momentous test of the court’s stance following Trump’s appointments of two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
- Both justices joined the conservative bloc’s dissent that supported the Louisiana law. But they were outvoted because Chief Justice John Roberts concurred with the court’s four more liberal justices.
- The ruling was yet another major decision in which the conservative-leaning court failed to deliver an easy victory to the right in culture war issues during an election year; one ruling protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment, and the other rejected Trump’s effort to end protections for young immigrants.
- Both sides also say Monday’s ruling is not the last word on state-level abortion restrictions. One abortion rights leader evoked the image of playing whack-a-mole as new cases surface.
- Now, anti-abortion leaders say there’s an urgent need to reelect Trump so he can appoint more justices like Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Abortion rights activists, with equal fervor, say it’s crucial to defeat Trump and end Republican control of the Senate, where the GOP majority has confirmed scores of conservative judges during Trump’s term.
- Full story HERE.
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – Inside Alabama Politics – June 30, 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama COVID-19 cases continue to climb
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – $30 million CARES funding awarded for increased testing, focus on public colleges and universities
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP sources: White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP lawmakers urge action after Russia-Afghanistan briefing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court’s abortion ruling raises stakes for election
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama mayor resigns after post on Crimson Tide’s BLM video
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Confederate flag losing prominence 155 years after Civil War
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – More cities consider or implement face mask requirements
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Conversations begin on police policies, training in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Report: China forcing birth control, abortions in ‘demographic genocide’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – June 29, 2020
AL.COM – Alabama reporting 1,718 new coronavirus cases; Data delay combines 2 days of results
AL.COM – Feds investigate nursing homes in Alabama where nurses died from coronavirus
AL.COM – CDC team arrives in Alabama to help state with COVID response
AL.COM – ‘Worst fears’: Mobile County grapples with rising COVID-19 cases
AL.COM – Coronavirus cases soar in north Alabama, 16-year-old on ventilator in Huntsville
AL.COM – Slain Alabama police officers honored in End of Watch Ride to Remember
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama State University to reopen this fall as ‘mask mandatory’ campus, modified schedule
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery police search for missing 17-year-old girl Lesley Pantaleon
Montgomery Advertiser – Lowndes County Commission votes unanimously to remove Confederate monument in Hayneville
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Doctor clears up confusion about COVID-19 testing
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Ala. hospitals see highest number of COVID-19 in-house patients
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Ala. employers can legally require you to get tested for COVID-19
Tuscaloosa News – Event honors Dornell Cousette, other fallen officers
Tuscaloosa News – New Tuscaloosa County school leader to begin work
Decatur Daily – Decatur council suggests masks, may require them
Decatur Daily – Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion clinic law
Decatur Daily – Stoppages, single-lane closures possible on I-565 near Greenbrier exit tonight
Times Daily – The Latest: Spain GDP shrinks 5.2% in 1st 3 months of year
Times Daily – Iconic Sheffield water tower back in operation
Times Daily – Local schools to offer options when school resumes in August
Anniston Star – Coronavirus hits home: Schools, police affected as local cases rise
Anniston Star – County emergency radio teams top national performance evaluation
Anniston Star – Jacksonville and Ranburne food drives for families in July
Gadsden Times – Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion clinic law
Gadsden Times – Fireworks slated for Saturday night
Gadsden Times – Report of attempted burglary leads to arrest
YellowHammer News – Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine partners with Humane Genomics Inc. on COVID-19 vaccine development
YellowHammer News – Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce will hold virtual Military Appreciation Day event July 2
YellowHammer News – Ala. Dept. of Labor to begin offering extended unemployment benefits to eligible citizens
Dothan Eagle – Covenant childcare closes for two weeks due to two COVID-19 cases
Dothan Eagle – Dale County man indicted on 60 counts of child sex crimes
Dothan Eagle – Child sex crime charges dismissed against Geneva County woman
Troy Messenger – Dale County man charged with child sex crimes
Troy Messenger – ‘Century plant’ blooms in Brundidge yard
Troy Messenger – Data lag prompts big spike in state cases: Pike County nears 400 confirmed cases
Andalusia Star News – Covington County unemployment rates slowly declining
Andalusia Star News – Plan unveiled for schools to return in August
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika librarian helps open gateways to today’s conversations
Opelika-Auburn News – With masks, temperature checks, Boys and Girls Club brings kids from quarantine back to camp
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police chief stricken with COVID-19
Daily Mountain Eagle – Carbon Hill Mayor Mark Chambers resigns after Facebook posts
Daily Mountain Eagle – WCSO: 4 positive for COVID-19 following mass testing
Daily Mountain Eagle – More cities consider or implement face mask requirements
Trussville Tribune – No temporary lane closures planned for holiday weekend
Trussville Tribune – Former Birmingham police officer sentenced on sexual assault conviction
Trussville Tribune – Inmate at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women dies after testing positive for coronavirus
Athens News Courier – More cities consider or implement face mask requirements
Athens News Courier – Athens City Schools to begin 2020-21 school year Aug. 17
Athens News Courier – Ivey awards $30 million for COVID-19 testing
Sand Mountain Reporter – 16 test positive for COVID-19 at Albertville Health and Rehab
WSFA Montgomery – 3 Gulf Shores restaurants confirm COVID-19 among staff
WSFA Montgomery – Selma assistant fire chief arrested after deadly crash
WSFA Montgomery – Apparent contractor illegally dumping roof shingles, county says
WAFF Huntsville – Marshall County Schools work to finalize plans for upcoming school year
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville bar, restaurant employees adjusting to increased COVID-19 numbers
WAFF Huntsville – Alabama probate judges considering curbside voting for July primary
WKRG Mobile – Biloxi Police ask for help in finding runaway
WKRG Mobile – Prodisee Pantry advising drivers to brace for extra traffic ahead of Tuesday’s distribution
WKRG Mobile – Common Sense Campaign of South Alabama to hold Senate debate
WTVY Dothan – 1-year-old boy abducted in Bay Minette has been located
WTVY Dothan – Enterprise police seek shooting suspect
WTVY Dothan – Houston County Schools prepare for upcoming school year
WASHINGTON POST – Trump ‘white power’ tweet set off a scramble inside the White House — but no clear condemnation
WASHINGTON POST – Senate defense bill may challenge Trump on renaming military bases with Confederate names
WASHINGTON POST – Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to start negotiations on new coronavirus relief bill as economic worries continue
NEW YORK TIMES – John Roberts Was Already Chief Justice. But Now It’s His Court.
NEW YORK TIMES – The Fall of Jeff Sessions, and What Came After
NEW YORK TIMES – Paycheck Program Ends With $130 Billion Unspent, and Uncertainty Ahead
NEW YORK TIMES – Democrats Detail a Climate Agenda Tying Environment to Racial Justice
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