Daily News Digest – May 19, 2021

Daily News Digest – May 19, 2021

Presented by the

Alabama Municipal Electric Authority

 

 

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, May 19.

 

 

1. Ivey taking ‘hard look’ at Literacy Act delay

  • Gov. Kay Ivey is being asked to veto a bill approved Monday to delay until 2024 a requirement that third grade students who can’t read proficiently must repeat the grade.
  • Legislation to delay by two years the holdback requirement for third graders under the 2019 Literacy Act was one of the significant votes on lawmakers’ final day of the session.
  • “It is accurate that we are hearing from concerned parties regarding the Literacy Act delay,” Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola told Alabama Daily News Tuesday. “The governor is certainly taking a hard look at this and is exploring all options. Education policy is important to the governor, and as we review, we will provide an update on where she leans on this decision.”
  • The Alabama Literacy Act, aimed at improving young students’ reading abilities, includes requirements for enhanced teacher training, student screenings and additional help for struggling readers, including summer programs. Lawmakers and Ivey have dedicated millions of dollars to the effort. Supporters of the act point to data showing that if students aren’t proficient in reading by the third grade, their chances of academic success later, including graduating high school, are greatly diminished.
  • “I would love for her to (veto it),” Rep. Terri Collins told Alabama Daily News on Tuesday. “In my opinion, it doesn’t support her Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative and I know she’s been a big supporter of the Literacy Act.”
  • But the delay bill’s supporters, including the Alabama Education Association and the Superintendent’s Association of Alabama celebrated its passage Monday night arguing it’s an important measure in light of the learning disruption caused by COVID-19.
  • Bill sponsor Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, said he is urging Ivey to sign it.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.

 

 

2. Reed: ‘I feel great’ about session’s productivity

  • After his first session leading the Alabama Senate, President Pro Tem Greg Reed said he feels “great” about the productivity of the session that ended Monday and that the upper chamber “rallied together” despite the challenges of COVID-19.
  • Alabama lawmakers completed the 2021 Regular Session this week having expended all 30 meeting days within 105 calendar days allowed under Alabama’s constitution. Because last year’s session was cut short by the pandemic, the Legislature had more than the usual amount of issues to tackle beginning in February.
  • In an interview with Alabama Daily News, Reed said one challenge this year was tackling more than the normal legislative load because the 2020 session was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • “In the first year of a quadrennium, you’ve got a lot of really specific things you’re trying to do the first year,” Reed said. “This quadrennium, of course, was the infrastructure, which was kind of a huge issue for both chambers and for the governor. You get to the second session, well we didn’t really have a second session. So you wind up in the third session and you had a lot of things that had kind of been held over for individual members that needed to do things in their districts, topics that were important to them, specifically that they wanted to work on.”
  • “I talked with Republican and Democrat members on the issues that were important to them and we got an enormous amount of those things accomplished.”
  • We talked about gambling, economic development, education and State House access.
  • Read about our full discussion HERE.

 

 

 

 

A message from the

Alabama Municipal Electric Authority

 

  • One million Alabamians depend on reliable, affordable, innovative public power.
  • Public utilities employ 93,000 people in local jobs across the U.S.
  • 5.6 % of electric operating revenues go back into the community.
  • 2,000 communities large and small across the U.S. trust public power.
  • To learn more about AMEA and public power, visit www.AMEA.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. White House tries to calm economic fears

  • White House officials are seeking to quell anxiety about inflation and the pace of hiring — issuing a memo Tuesday that highlights robust economic gains as the United States gets vaccinated and recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The memo says the administration is “focused on an economic strategy of containing the virus and growing the economy from the bottom-up and middle-out. Data suggest that this strategy is working.” It is from Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, and Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.
  • The administration had until recently been basking in optimism about the economy, only to face a worrisome set of reports that showed a jump in consumer prices and a disappointing level of hiring in April. The memo is an attempt to promote a sunnier narrative and stress the need for additional spending to be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
  • Critics seized on the recent economic reports to suggest that the $1.9 trillion relief package was so big it would fuel inflation and to contend that its enhanced unemployment benefits were encouraging Americans to forgo working.
  • “Democrats insisted on continuing to pay people more not to work,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a Monday speech. “Instead of an agenda to reopen America, Democrats muscled through policies that would actually prolong parts of this crisis. And that’s what’s happened.”
  • Supply bottlenecks for basic goods such as autos contributed to a 0.8% surge in consumer prices in April, the biggest monthly increase in more than a decade. Fears that inflation could persist came from higher gas prices following the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline and shortage of homes being listed for sale.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

4. Conservatives see big issues come to fore at SCOTUS

  • Abortion. Guns. Religion. A Trump-fortified conservative majority is making its presence felt at the Supreme Court by quickly wading into high-profile social issues that have been a goal of the right for decades.
  • For years, frustrated conservatives, including some justices, chided a court with a majority of Republican appointees for not going far enough or passing on issues they thought demanded the court’s attention.
  • Now, with three appointees of former President Donald Trump on the nine-member court, longer-serving conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas can cobble together five-justice majorities even without the vote of Chief Justice John Roberts.
  • The justices announced Monday that they will hear an abortion case that could undermine nearly 50 years of abortion rights rulings and agreed last month to decide whether Americans have a constitutional right to carry guns in public for self-defense.
  • A decision to hear a case takes just four votes and is no guarantee of its outcome. But on guns and abortion in particular, the court with a less-conservative lineup passed up several opportunities to wade in. Court votes on whether or not to take up cases are not public.
  • Thomas, the longest-serving current justice, has long complained about his colleagues’ timidity on these topics. For nearly 30 years, he has called on the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that extended abortion rights across the country. He was one of four justices who would have overturned Roe in 1992, in his first term on the court.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

5. US encouraging Israel to wind down Gaza offensive

  • President Joe Biden and administration officials have encouraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials to wind down the bombardment of Gaza, a person with knowledge of the discussions said Tuesday, as the Israeli and Palestinian death tolls mounted and pressure grew on Biden to move more forcefully to stop the fighting.
  • Top Biden administration officials underscored to the Israelis on Monday and Tuesday that time is not on their side in terms of international objections to nine days of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rockets, and that it is in their interest to wind down the operations soon, according to the official, who was not authorized to comment publicly on the private talks and spoke on condition of anonymity.
  • The account shows Biden administration officials going further privately in messaging to Netanyahu than they have previously revealed. A White House readout of a Biden call to Netanyahu on Monday said Biden had expressed support for a cease-fire, but said nothing about the U.S. urging Israel to bring fighting to a close.
  • Read more HERE.

 

ICYMI: Restaurant COVID income tax waived

  • There was a lot of news out of the State House early this week. If you don’t believe me just take a look at yesterday’s digest.
  • One important story that you may have missed is how, in its last act of the 2021 Regular Session, the Alabama Legislature ensured that restaurant owners don’t have to pay state income taxes on the newest round of COVID-19 federal relief.
  • Sen. Dan Roberts, R-Mountain Brook, earlier in the session sponsored a bill to clarify tax code to ensure restaurant grants in the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan don’t raise the state income tax liability for owners. It also would have untaxed the plan’s enhanced child tax credit, earned income tax credit and child and dependent care tax credit.
  • But that bill didn’t move because legislative leaders said it could wait until a special session later this year, or even early in the 2022 session.
  • Roberts instead got the restaurant language on the existing House Bill 227 to allow for an income tax credit for the construction of storm shelters.
  • Read the full story from Mary Sell HERE.

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey taking ‘hard look’ at Literacy Act delay bill

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Reed: ‘I feel great’ about session’s productivity

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Charles Barkley gives money to employees at his high school

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House tries to calm economic fears

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Conservatives push big issues to fore at Supreme Court

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP source: US encouraging Israel to wind down Gaza offensive

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In last move of session, Legislature removes state income tax on restaurants’ federal rescue money

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Vaccine passports’ ban passes final vote

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill to allow citations instead of arrests goes to Ivey

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Literacy Act requirement delay passes final vote

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Curbside voting ban goes to governor

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sexual assault survivor ‘bill of rights’ goes to governor

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill to change governor’s control state of emergency orders dies

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Legislature: What passed and failed on the last day

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gambling bill dies as Alabama legislative session ends

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lawmakers OK legislation to lift yoga ban in schools

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge dismisses suit seeking to block Alabama prison leases

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – May 18, 2021

 

AL.COM – Auburn continuing work on $94.5 million culinary education center, hotel

 

AL.COM – This Alabama school system fired teachers, gave administrators $20,000 in bonuses

 

AL.COM – Amazon to bring fulfillment center to Huntsville, create 500 jobs

 

AL.COM – Birmingham, Montgomery will commemorate 60th anniversary of historic Freedom Rides with immersive exhibit

 

AL.COM – Mo Brooks picks up first endorsement from senator in Senate campaign

 

AL.COM – Alabama offers free online summer learning to battle student COVID slide

 

AL.COM – Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle dropped as defendant in bullied student lawsuit

 

AL.COM – Mayor proposes $455 million Birmingham budget, projects economic recovery

 

AL.COM – 3 men killed in Alabama prisons as state faces Justice Department lawsuit

 

AL.COM – Biden ends Trump’s ‘Heroes Garden’ plan; 6 Alabama statues would have been included

 

AL.COM – Africatown concerns remain unresolved in Mobile zoning code, activists claim

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Police involved shooting on Gibbons Drive in Montgomery

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Man killed by police in exchange of gunfire at east Montgomery hotel

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery changes street drinking rules for downtown and Cloverdale

 

Decatur Daily – Pandemic hasn’t derailed Decatur budget, per mid-year review

 

Decatur Daily – Prosecutor: Murder defendant had alcohol in system, driving 100 mph

 

Decatur Daily – Mayor proposes reorganization of Street and Environmental, Engineering departments

 

Times Daily – Utility pole replacement will cause some power outages in Cherokee

 

Times Daily – Arts Alive’s return deemed a major success

 

Times Daily – Helen Keller Hospital employees get pandemic bonus

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Can fully vaccinated people still spread the virus?

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham PD: Child shot Tuesday night in Ensley

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ALEA investigating after suspect shot dead at end of police pursuit in Blount County

 

Tuscaloosa News – Settlement reached in lawsuit over Covington County jail death

 

Tuscaloosa News – Ceremony marks opening of new bank building, neighboring workforce and development center

 

Tuscaloosa News – Despite cool spring, annual daylily sale is ready to bloom in Gordo

 

YellowHammer News – U.S. national security efforts strengthened by latest ULA launch

 

YellowHammer News – Alabama First Class Pre-K program adds 135 classrooms ahead of 2021-2022 school year

 

YellowHammer News – Alabama Senate unanimously passes bill protecting ‘born alive’ abortion survivors, sending bill to governor

 

Gadsden Times – Settlement reached in lawsuit over Covington County jail death

 

Gadsden Times – Rowe enters guilty plea in 2014, 2015 murder cases

 

Gadsden Times – Hearing set for Wednesday as rendering plant defendants try to keep documents under wraps

 

Dothan Eagle – Prosecutor finds deputies justified in shooting of Black man

 

Dothan Eagle – Hearing aid contest winners grateful, emotional and relieved

 

Dothan Eagle – Alabama town magistrate stabbed in City Hall attack

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Amid threats to members, House to vote on new security

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Amid threats to members, House to vote on new security

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Transgender treatment ban fails in Alabama Legislature

 

WSFA Montgomery – National Public Works Week celebrates workers at the heart of commuities

 

WSFA Montgomery – Can fully vaccinated people still spread the virus?

 

WSFA Montgomery – MPD: Kidnapping suspect killed in gunfire exchange with officers

 

WAFF Huntsville – Early morning fire destroys mobile home in Toney

 

WAFF Huntsville – Amazon Fulfillment Center bringing 500 jobs to Huntsville

 

WAFF Huntsville – MPD: Kidnapping suspect killed in gunfire exchange with officers

 

WKRG Mobile – Mobile City Council to have major make over

 

WKRG Mobile – Victim’s family speaks out in Bayou La Batre brawl involving Theodore head football coach

 

WKRG Mobile – Victim’s family speaks out in Bayou La Batre brawl involving Theodore head football coach

 

WTVY Dothan – Montgomery Police Department: Kidnapping suspect killed in gunfire exchange with officers

 

WTVY Dothan – Southeast Health honors volunteers who make vaccination clinics possible

 

WTVY Dothan – Summer camp safety protocols in place as registrations fill up

 

WASHINGTON POST – Biden is increasingly at odds with other Democrats over Israel

 

WASHINGTON POST – Diplomatic pressure mounts for a cease-fire as Israel, Hamas continue attacks

 

WASHINGTON POST – Investigation of Trump Organization now exploring possible criminal conduct, N.Y. attorney general’s office says

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Live Updates: France Leads Push for Cease-Fire in Gaza, but Fighting Drags On

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: India Reports Highest Daily Death Toll of Any Country

 

NEW YORK TIMES – New York’s Attorney General Joins Criminal Inquiry Into Trump Organization

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Asia Suffers Outbreaks Where Covid-19 Had Seemed Beaten

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Slip, With Tech Leading Losses

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – SPAC Selloff Bruises Individual Investors

 

 

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