1. Correction: Special session story
- There is a very small, but very important correction to yesterday’s story about the possibility of one or more special sessions of the Alabama Legislature.
- In reporting, we discovered that the Alabama Jobs Act, the state’s premiere industrial recruitment tool, was originally written to expire in 2019. However, state officials over the weekend pointed us to a 2017 bill from State Rep. Alan Baker that extended the law to expire at the end of this year.
- Thankfully, that clarification made it to all of our subscribing newspapers and television stations, but I mistakenly ran the original, incorrect version yesterday.
- I’m sorry about that. Special thanks to Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield for pointing out the error, which was quickly remedied.
- To be clear, the Jobs Act expires at the end of THIS year, which is one of the biggest reasons why some lawmakers and the governor’s office believe at least one special session of the Legislature will be needed before the end of the year.
- The other reasons from the various leaders we spoke to include prison reform, coronavirus lawsuit immunity and other priority bills that died in the truncated regular session that ended last week.
- Read the full, correct story HERE.
2. Unemployment system glitches cause claims issue
- The Alabama Department of Labor says that about 53,000 people were blocked from filing the required weekly unemployment benefits report telling state government that they still don’t have a job. Only by filing a weekly report will another week’s worth of unemployment benefits will be issued.
- “Your access to the Internet Weekly Claim System has been suspended,” the message said. “You have had two chances to enter earnings for your claim. Failure to call within 4 calendar days from today’s date could result in a denial of benefits.”
- The department said Monday that it had resolved the technical glitches that led those who tried to file their weekly certification to have their account suspended.
- Spokesperson Tara Hutchison said claimants were not seeing errors Monday morning and that suspensions had been lifted.
- However, a second message indicating filings had been made also caused some confusion.
- “Some of you saw a message on your trackers indicating that the week has already been filed for you,” the department wrote online late Sunday. “This was an error. You will need to go back and certify yourself, online or by phone. Again, we apologize for all of the inconveniences today, we know it has been stressful.”
- As of May 19, ADOL had disbursed more that $1 billion in unemployment benefits to a little more than 250,000 people, according to ADOL figures. A vast majority of the money comes from the federal government’s coronavirus relief program. More than $850 million has come from Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, the additional $600 most are receiving in their unemployment check.
- Full story HERE.
3. National cemeteries missing flags, ceremonies amid pandemic
- Pam Nichols usually spends Memorial Day with a huge crowd at the Alabama National Cemetery after helping place thousands of little U.S. flags on veterans’ graves. Both the crowds and the flags are missing this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The agency that oversees 142 national cemeteries closed them to public ceremonies and flag placement events to help stem the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Even Arlington National Cemetery, which is overseen by the Army, was skipping public events Monday.
- So Nichols and a small group from the Support Committee for the Alabama National Cemetery planned to privately lay a wreath at the central Alabama cemetery, where more than 8,100 veterans and relatives are buried.
- “It’s disappointing, of course, because that’s what we exist for, honoring and keeping the memory of these veterans alive. But at the same time, I understand where they’re coming from,” said Nichols, who chairs the group.
- Full story from Jay Reeves HERE.
- Meanwhile, President Donald Trump honored America’s war dead in back-to-back Memorial Day appearances colored by an epic struggle off the battlefield against the coronavirus.
- Trump first honored the nation’s fallen at Arlington National Cemetery. Presidents on Memorial Day typically lay a wreath and speak at the hallowed burial ground in Virginia.
- Trump then traveled to Baltimore’s historic Fort McHenry, where he declared: “Together we will vanquish the virus and America will rise from this crisis to new and even greater heights. No obstacle, no challenge and no threat is a match for the sheer determination of the American people.”
- He praised the tens of thousands of service members and National Guard personnel “on the front lines of our war against this terrible virus.”
- Read that full story HERE.
4. Deadlines coming for laid off workers to get health insurance
- Many laid-off workers who lost health insurance in the coronavirus shutdown soon face the first deadlines to qualify for fallback coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
- Taxpayer-subsidized health insurance is available for a modest cost — sometimes even free — across the country, but industry officials and independent researchers say few people seem to know how to find it. For those who lost their health insurance as layoffs mounted in late March, a 60-day “special enrollment” period for individual coverage under the ACA closes at the end of May.
- The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that nearly 27 million workers and family members had lost job-based health coverage as of the start of this month, a number now likely higher with unemployment claims rising.
- The options include subsidized private insurance, Medicaid for adults, the Children’s Health Insurance Program through Medicaid and COBRA plans.
- Read more HERE.
5. Gerald Allen: Electric Vehicles Next Wave to Drive Alabama’s Auto-Manufacturing Success
- State Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, contributes an op-ed for today’s Daily News detailing the emergence of the electric vehicle market and the opportunity it has for the auto industry in Alabama.
- Allen represents the area that is home to the Mercedes Benz U.S. Alabama, which is expected to open its Bibb County battery manufacturing facility later this year.
- Allen says Mercedes’ investment in “electrifying” its fleet of vehicles serves as a signal for where the industry is heading and that Alabama should be ready.
- Here’s an excerpt:
“We know that expanding EV sales and production in Alabama will require a number of investments from the industry, the Legislature and eventually the consumers of this state. To cement our reputation as a forward-leaning automotive leader, we must prepare for the future of electric vehicles, production of electric vehicles parts and ensure the necessary EV infrastructure is in place to be competitive for generations. Doing so will show that our state supports this burgeoning sector of automotive manufacturing and help recruit even more of these projects that will provide numerous high-paying jobs and produce significant economic benefits.
“The Rebuild Alabama Infrastructure Plan, approved legislatively in 2019, provided a foundational first step as it included a provision that helps propel Alabama toward the cutting-edge of EV infrastructure. The landmark legislation established a grant program that proactively facilitates the installation of new EV charging stations across the state. These stations will supplement the Electrify America charging stations currently being installed in the state and add to Alabama’s EV infrastructure.”
- Read Sen. Allen’s full op-ed HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will there be a special session? Opinions vary but issues are plenty
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama unemployment system glitches cause claims issue
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – National cemeteries missing flags, ceremonies amid pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump honors fallen soldiers as nation battles against virus
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 1st deadlines for laid-off workers to get health insurance
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gerald Allen: Electric Vehicles Next Wave of Alabama’s Auto-Manufacturing Success
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Memorial Day even more poignant as veterans die from virus
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Virus deaths in Alabama surpass 550 with new rules in effect
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – CDC, states’ reporting of virus test data causes confusion
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House goal on testing nursing homes unmet
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Woods, Manning win a TV charity match as good as real thing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest, May 25, 2020
AL.COM – ADOL website issues cause confusion for thousands of Alabama unemployment claimants
AL.COM – Memorial Day even more poignant as veterans in Alabama, across the nation, die from virus
AL.COM – Pundit Ann Coulter calls Trump ‘complete moron,’ says Tuberville ’another Roy Moore catastrophe’
AL.COM – Almost 50% of Alabama’s new coronavirus cases from 3 counties; 14,478 total cases
AL.COM – Pandemic slams door on Montgomery’s tourism boom
AL.COM – Memorial Day beach crowds modest as rip tides and strong winds keep people away
Montgomery Advertiser – Jeff Sessions, Tommy Tuberville trade barbs over financial disclosure reports
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery singer, Walmart employee Darius Scarver auditions for ‘America’s Got Talent’
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘A pat on the back’: Postal worker delivers meals to those who helped him beat coronavirus
Tuscaloosa News – UA’s OLLI offers free online courses for adults
Tuscaloosa News – Opinions vary on possible special session, but outstanding issues are plenty
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa observes Memorial Day in new ways
Decatur Daily – Danville triple homicide: Petition in divorce proceedings filed 3 days before shootings
Decatur Daily – In the community: It did happen
Decatur Daily – Opinions vary on need for special sessions, but outstanding issues are plenty
Times Daily – Sheffield City Hall opening delayed until June 1
Times Daily – Baker: Virus has created opportunity
Times Daily – Work shirt became Tuscumbia sailor’s family legacy
Anniston Star – Anniston High and JSU alum helped push back pandemic in New Jersey for two months
Anniston Star – Look Back … to local boys touring Fort McClellan training sites, 1945
Anniston Star – Opinions vary on possible special sessions, but outstanding issues are plenty
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – VFW post lowers flag to honor fallen servicemen and women
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabaster man remembers fallen Marine brother on Memorial Day
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Opinions vary on possible special session, but outstanding issues are plenty
WAFF Huntsville – Opinions vary on possible special session, but outstanding issues are plenty
WAFF Huntsville – 2 sought in Danville triple murder
WAFF Huntsville – Woman rescued after getting swept over falls at Little River Canyon
Gadsden Times – Search and rescue underway at Little River Canyon
Gadsden Times – Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association Memorial Day ceremony
Dothan Eagle – Alabama unemployment system glitches cause claims issue
Dothan Eagle – National cemeteries missing flags, ceremonies amid pandemic
Dothan Eagle – Photos: Americans emerge from isolation on Memorial Day weekend
YellowHammer News – Air University Partners with UAH College of Professional Studies
YellowHammer News – 5 ways Alabama is making a difference in the battle against COVID-19
YellowHammer News – Thousands sign petition supporting UAH’s hockey program
Troy Messenger – Nearly 100 youth participate in steer show
Troy Messenger – Phillips releases second book on careers
Troy Messenger – Despite lack of ceremonies, Memorial Day reflections continue
Opelika-Auburn News – Churches take it steady with re-openings
Opelika-Auburn News – ONE YEAR AGO: Rod and Paula Bramblett killed in fatal two-vehicle accident
Opelika-Auburn News – ‘Memorial Day looks a little different’: Cities livestream remembrances of fallen veterans
Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama unemployment system glitches cause claims issue
Daily Mountain Eagle – Adamsville man killed at Jasper Speedway after go-kart crash
Trussville Tribune – Morning Update: Alabama COVID-19 cases move to 14,508 with 559 deaths
Trussville Tribune – Smaller classes, online reservations new norm as gyms reopen
Athens News Courier – IRS searching for homeless, others for impact payments
Athens News Courier – Calhoun graduate attends White House graduation ceremony
Athens News Courier – Mayor presents scholarships to youth commission
WSFA Montgomery – Reports of COVID-19 fraud double in Alabama in one month
WSFA Montgomery – Despite COVID-19, remembrance continues at Alabama National Cemetery
WSFA Montgomery – Prattville business woman gives life to World War l poem
WKRG Mobile – 13-year-old student graduates from community college, earns 4 associate’s degrees
WKRG Mobile – Man from Eight Mile dies after motorcycle crash
WKRG Mobile – Mobile County Crime Map: Person shot at Summertree Apartments on Azalea Road
WTVY Dothan – NASA astronauts go back to the future with capsule launch
WTVY Dothan – Biden makes 1st in-person appearance in more than 2 months
WTVY Dothan – UN virus therapy trial pauses hydroxychloroquine testing
WASHINGTON POST – The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick — and shortages may get worse
WASHINGTON POST – Memorial Day offers array of contrasts as Biden and Trump salute war dead, with and without masks
WASHINGTON POST – Trump threatens to pull Republican convention out of North Carolina
NEW YORK TIMES – The Price of a Virus Lockdown: Economic ‘Free Fall’ in California
NEW YORK TIMES – As Meatpacking Plants Reopen, Data About Worker Illness Remains Elusive
NEW YORK TIMES – Fear of Covid Leads Other Patients to Decline Critical Treatment