1. Delegation reacts to Pelosi bill; Vote likely Friday
- Republican members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation are none too pleased with a new coronavirus relief bill pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with some calling the $3 trillion plan “liberal la la land” and a “socialist wish list” that won’t pass the Senate.
- Pelosi has said she wants a vote Friday on the package that includes more than $900 billion to states and local governments, a second round of $1,200 checks to individuals and up to $6,000 per household, a $200 billion hazard pay fund for essential workers, health insurance subsidies for laid off workers, $175 billion for rent and mortgage assistance, $25 billion to boost the U.S. Postal Service and an extension of $600-a-week supplemental unemployment benefits.
- Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said he was disappointed Republicans had no input in the bill.
- “This really gets in the way of and delays our ability to pass something real to get people relief,” Rogers said.
- Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, called the proposal “a monstrosity” that was “dreamed up behind closed doors with zero bi-partisan input.”
- Meanwhile, the state’s lone House Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell of Selma, remains supportive. She said she pushed for the inclusion of funds for more COVID-19 testing and treatment, plus relief funds for local cities and counties.
- “Alabama’s legislators have not yet prioritized providing assistance to local towns, cities and counties who also have services that have been disrupted,” Sewell said.
- There was bi-partisan criticism for how the state of Alabama is handling the infusion of nearly $1.8 billion from the CARES Act. State lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey have been in a public disagreement over who should be in charge of dispersing the funds, which came to a head last week when Alabama Daily News reported a preliminary “wish list” from top legislative leaders that included some non-outbreak related projects.
- Rogers noted that there is talk in Congress of providing more funding for expanding rural broadband, as Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh has said he wants to do, but that it will likely take a “new bill” to do it.
- Read the full story HERE.
2. First COVID-19 cases at mental health facility, intakes stopped
- Five patients at the state’s Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatry Center have tested positive for COVID-19 since May 1.
- The positive cases came from two of four units in the hospital. Interactions among the elderly patients, many of whom have dementia, in those units have been limited, Dr. Mark Woods, medical director for the Alabama Department of Mental Health, told Alabama Daily News on Wednesday.
- “You have to realize, social distancing in this population is very, very difficult,” Woods said. “You know, you don’t want to restrain or force this population that already has a major issue with confusion. Any restrictions are very difficult. Getting them to wear a mask is virtually impossible. So we just really depend on our staff to work with us and they’ve been absolutely great.”
- The five patients have been receiving care at a local medical hospital and one has already tested negative for the virus. Two negative tests will be required before patients can return to the ADMH hospital.
- The most recent confirmation was on May 8. No cases have been reported in ADMH’s other two hospitals, also in Tuscaloosa, but wide testing hasn’t been done, Woods said Wednesday.
- The ADMH on March 16 stopped allowing new patients and restricted outside visits.
- Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
A message from
3. Community college campuses plan on opening this fall
- Alabama Community College System leadership on Wednesday said campuses are planning to reopen in the fall, subject to guidance from Gov. Kay Ivey regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The announcement came during an ACCS Board meeting with members participating via video conference.
- The system has also been discussing with the Ivey administration ideas for how students who are close to finishing their degrees and are able to enter the workforce soon can do so under new health and safety precautions.
- Vice Chancellor for System Development Susan Price explained that staff has submitted suggestions to Ivey on how students who still need to complete lab or clinical work or work force training programs can finish their courses in the coming months.
- “Many of those students, this is the last course that they need to complete a program to enter the workforce,” Price said.
- Community colleges are currently not allowed to provide in-person instruction until May 22. All colleges have had to move to online or virtual instruction for course work. While some course work can be completed online, some hands-on trades like welding, carpentry and electrical require more in-person training.
- ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker also updated the board on how he planned to spend the system’s portion of the $1.25 billion bond issue approved by the Legislature last week.
- Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.
4. State won’t release prison proposals
- Today is the last day for companies to submit detailed proposals to the Alabama Department of Corrections to build three new state prisons as part of a long-running request for proposals.
- But those proposals will not be released publicly, reports AL.com’s Mike Cason.
- Gov. Kay Ivey’s press secretary, Gina Maiola, says those proposals are part of negotiations and only the final actions from the state are required to be made public under the Open Records Law.
- Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said Ivey is not being transparent enough with the prison building project.
- “She’s not involving the Legislature in the process,” Marsh told Cason. “They’re talking about doing as much as a billion-dollar contract that the taxpayers are going to have to pay for.”
- Read the full story HERE.
5. Marsh’s office: No funds for new State House
- The Republican leader of the Alabama Senate said Wednesday that the state’s coronavirus relief funds will not be used to build a new State House, putting to rest an idea that had created an immediate backlash.
- Spending $200 million for a new State House was on a preliminary list, first reported by Alabama Daily News, along with telemedicine and expenses related to the pandemic, that legislative leaders sent the governor of potential uses for the state’s $1.8 billion in CARES Act funding. A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said the State House idea is now off the table.
- “We now have guidance that makes it clear that the funds could not be used to build a new State House. It should also be made clear that this list represented the first draft of potential uses for these funds as a starting point for discussion,” Marsh spokesman Will Califf said in a statement.
- Marsh last week defended the idea of at least discussing State House construction. Marsh said Saturday that his priority is improving rural broadband access to better enable distance learning and telemedicine during the pandemic. But he said the State House construction idea could be discussed if funds are left over.
- “Are there reasons to build a new State House? Yes, there are. Should it be at the top of the list? I cannot say that. But I will tell you it should be part of the discussion,” he said. Marsh added that there is a mold problem and design issues at the State House that hinder public access, particularly during the virus restrictions.
- Republican Gov. Kay Ivey and the GOP-controlled legislature have had a rare disagreement over the state’s $1.8 billion in coronavirus relief funds.
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
Bonus: Poking fun
- Legislative leaders have taken a lot of heat over the “wish list” story, some of which has been unfair.
- Perhaps we shouldn’t pile on, but when legendary political cartoonist Scott Stantis puts pencil to canvas, it usually ends up being pretty funny and poignant.
- Many will remember Scott for his years at The Birmingham News, where he made us laugh – and made us think – about political issues. His work caricaturing former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford and illustrating the legislative fights between Republican Gov. Bob Riley and the Democratic Legislature were brilliant.
- Today, he lampoons Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, who might be taking more than his share of the blame for the inclusion of $200 million for a new State House on that proverbial “wish list.”
- As Scott writes,”…granted, the current State House looks a lot like a badly kept 30-year-old Comfort Inn but, come on! With Alabama, like the rest of the states, down on its knees grasping for any relief from Covid-19 is now really the time to ask for something so unrelated?”
- All in good fun.
- See the cartoon and commentary HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama delegation reacts to new Pelosi relief bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Five COVID-19 cases at state mental hospital for the elderly; ADMH intakes stopped in March
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Community Colleges plan on opening campuses in fall; System working to improve distance learning
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marsh’s office: CARES Act money won’t be used for State House
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Scott Stantis: Bad Timing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Highlights of Democrats’ $3 trillion-plus virus relief bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Census response map shows lags as field operations restart
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Survey shows coronavirus impact on Alabama businesses
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 23 deaths at Alabama VA home attributed to COVID-19
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – High school graduations to test virus rules in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weaver resigns House seat to take unnamed Trump admin post
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – May 13, 2020
AL.COM – Jeff Sessions goes on defensive about recusal. Pundits say he should pivot
AL.COM – The problem with meat: Why you’ll be paying more for beef and pork
AL.COM – Contributor Chandra Scott: Lack of broadband access is a hidden barrier to our pandemic recovery
AL.COM – Woman facing prison for killing alleged rapist wants new judge
AL.COM – Auburn president Jay Gogue claims ‘we’re going to have football this fall’
AL.COM – Alabama Department of Corrections won’t release new prison proposals
AL.COM – 99 of Alabama’s 304 new coronavirus cases come from 3 counties
AL.COM – Jefferson County Schools to deliver meals to students in new program
AL.COM – $1.5 billion paid to Alabama small businesses through loan program
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery firefighter tests positive for coronavirus, 11 others self-isolating
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery police open death investigation on West Boulevard
Montgomery Advertiser – Most in-person court hearings can begin next week, Alabama Supreme Court rules
YellowHammer News – Convalescent plasma therapy is treating coronavirus patients in UAB research
YellowHammer News – AL-02 candidate Barry Moore releases video comparing his perjury trial to Michael Flynn’s legal battles
YellowHammer News – Jones calls on Trump, Pence, Republican senators to wear masks in public
Dothan Eagle – Man killed in tractor accident
Dothan Eagle – KBC owner returns to ‘Top Chef’ as guest judge Thursday night
Dothan Eagle – National virtual challenge win shines light on ACOM’s simulator program
Tuscaloosa News – Library accepting dropped off items
Tuscaloosa News – Marsh’s office: COVID-19 money won’t be used for Statehouse
Tuscaloosa News – Council endorses mayor’s Restart Tuscaloosa plan
Decatur Daily – New search possible for Decatur Youth Services director after latest offers rejected
Decatur Daily – 3 Morgan County school systems set graduation plans
Decatur Daily – Local residents make progress returning census forms, but task unfinished
Times Daily – Florence High will hold graduation June 12
Times Daily – Bill for elected Muscle Shoals school board on Ivey’s desk
Times Daily – Public input sought for Pine Street corridor study
Gadsden Times – Etowah High grads will take the field in June
Gadsden Times – Judicial building to open; caution still advised
Gadsden Times – Law enforcement, Etowah coroner on the scene of fatal crash
Anniston Star – Writing ability nets two seniors hundreds each in scholarships
Anniston Star – Community colleges plan to open campuses in fall; system working to improve distance learning
Anniston Star – Census response map shows Alabama lags as field operations resume
Troy Messenger – NEW TAKE ON GRADUATION: Schools develop alternate plans for commencement ceremonies
Troy Messenger – Federal funding will aid with telehealth services
Troy Messenger – Courthouse will reopen to public on Monday
Andalusia Star News – Andalusia man arrested for trafficking, promoting prison contraband
Andalusia Star News – All schools to hold graduation on regularly scheduled dates
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn HS graduation set for July 23
Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 latest: Opelika to open city buildings; hospitalizations back on the rise
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University student group says ‘leave it to us;’ shops for seniors
Daily Mountain Eagle – Cordova nursing home employees arrested
Daily Mountain Eagle – House thanks officers who helped after tornado
Daily Mountain Eagle – Bevill State looking for ways to honor graduates
Trussville Tribune – HIGHLIGHTS: Local hair salons are back in business
Trussville Tribune – ADPH distributes experimental drug remdesivir to Alabama hospitals to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients
Trussville Tribune – Coronavirus cases, deaths in Alabama grow as number of tests reported per day remain stagnant
Athens News Courier – Charges upgraded in Mill Valley Drive shooting
Athens News Courier – 2 FIRES, HOURS APART: Homes deemed total loss; no injuries reported
Athens News Courier – DOWNTOWN TURNAROUND: Temporary parklets will raise revenue for restaurants
Sand Mountain Reporter – ALEA finalizing plans to resume normal driver license division operations
Sand Mountain Reporter – Local students awarded Democratic Club scholarships
Sand Mountain Reporter – Guntersville bicentennial event receives award
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery’s COVID-19 cases, inpatients continue to rise
WSFA Montgomery – Alabama hospitals receive drug to fight COVID-19, ADPH won’t release specifics
WSFA Montgomery – Care Ambulance ending service in Chilton, Dallas and Lowndes Counties
Fox 6 Birmingham – School districts take different approaches to graduation ceremonies
Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: 450 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 as more than 10K test positive
Fox 6 Birmingham – Virus spikes could emerge weeks after US economic reopenings
WAFF Huntsville – Hospitals battling dwindling revenue due to coronavirus
WAFF Huntsville – Madison City Schools names new superintendent
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville woman celebrates 101st birthday with parade
WKRG Mobile – Alabama state superintendent asks districts to consider later start date
WKRG Mobile – Alabama hospitals receive remdesivir treatments to fight COVID-19
WKRG Mobile – ADPH: Three Mobile hospitals get experimental drug to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients
WTVY Dothan – Houston County buildings will reopen but chairman hopes people don’t come
WTVY Dothan – Arrest made in 343 acre Mussett Bayou wildfire in Walton County
WTVY Dothan – You can now test for COVID-19 at home, but is it safe or worth it?