Here’s your Daily News for Monday, May 3.
1. All eyes on the House in final days of session
- With three voting days remaining in the Alabama Legislature’s 2021 regular session, State House leaders are preparing for a final push on some of the most controversial bills of the session.
- The House of Representatives has yet to vote on bills allowing medical marijuana, a comprehensive gambling package and a ban on medical treatment, including puberty blockers and surgery, for transgender youth.
- House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, told reporters that votes on the gambling and medical marijuana bills looked very “promising” in the House, but wasn’t as certain for the transgender minor medical bill.
- “We’re working with Senate leadership so I can’t speak as firm on that one as we can the gaming or the medical marijuana, but it is being considered,” McCutcheon said.
- None of the bills are on the proposed special order calendar for Tuesday. That means bill proponents will have two days to get the proposals passed by the House and concurred/conferenced with the Senate: Thursday, May 6 and Monday, May 17.
- With such a small window of time, it is not just the vote count that matters but also the threat of a filibuster on the House floor, which could happen on any of the three bills.
- Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.
2. Bill would allow police to issue citations rather than make arrests
- Alabama lawmakers are close to allowing city police officers to issue citations for some misdemeanor offenses rather than taking offenders into custody.
- Senate Bill 59 by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, would require cities to pass ordinances specifying what offenses could get court summons rather than immediate arrests.
- Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, carried the bill in the House.
- “The intent is to take what would be minor offenses and give the officer a chance to issue a citation rather than making an arrest,” England said. “…They will still require a court appearance, but we’re not going to take you into custody that day.”
- The bill specifies what crimes still require arrests, including violent crimes and sex crimes, and crimes in which the victims are minors. Identity theft and shoplifting would require detainment of the suspect.
- England gave the example of officers on a football game day in Tuscaloosa having to make multiple arrests for underage drinking. Each arrest takes an officer off of patrol for one to two hours. Under the bill, they could issue a citation and keep patrolling, he said.
- Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
3. Afghan pullout begins
- The final phase of ending America’s “forever war” in Afghanistan after 20 years formally began Saturday, with the withdrawal of the last U.S. and NATO troops by the end of summer.
- President Joe Biden had set May 1 as the official start of the withdrawal of the remaining forces — about 2,500-3,500 U.S. troops and about 7,000 NATO soldiers.
- Even before Saturday, the herculean task of packing up had begun.
- The military has been taking inventory, deciding what is shipped back to the U.S., what is handed to the Afghan security forces and what is sold as junk in Afghanistan’s markets. In recent weeks, the military has been flying out equipment on massive C-17 cargo planes.
- Meanwhile, the top U.S. military officer warned that the future of that country faces some “bad possible” outcomes as Taliban insurgence inevitably try to regain power.
- Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the Afghan military and police as “reasonably well equipped, reasonably well trained, reasonably well led.” He cited Afghan troops’ years of experience against a resilient insurgency, but he declined to say they are fully ready to stand up to the Taliban without direct international backing during a potential Taliban offensive.
- Read more HERE.
TSA extends face-mask requirement on planes until September
- If you’re traveling on a plane, train or bus, don’t put that face mask away yet.
- The Transportation Security Administration said Friday it will extend its mask requirement, which also applies in airports and train stations, through Sept. 13. The rule took effect Feb. 1 and was set to expire May 11.
- The agency said that children up to 2 and people with certain disabilities will continue to be exempted from the mask rule.
- TSA officials said the mask rule matches health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recently said that fully vaccinated people can travel safely, but it still recommends that they wear masks and maintain distance from other people. About 100 million Americans, roughly half the nation’s adults, have been fully immunized against COVID-19.
- Airlines and their unions had pushed for an extension of the federal mask rule as a stronger alternative to airline-imposed rules.
- Full story.
5. News Briefs
Alabama to allow night hunting of feral hogs, coyotes
- MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is making is easier to hunt coyotes, which are considered a nuisance in some areas, and feral hogs, which are blamed for causing $50 million in property damage annually in the state.
- A new law signed by Gov. Kay Ivey recently allows hunters who purchase a license to kill the animals at night, a move that wildlife officials hope will help control their populations. Currently, such hunts are allowed only by special permit.
- Coyotes, which have become more common in the Southeast in recent years, are known to prey on farm animals at times and also kill white-tailed deer. Wild hogs can wipe out entire crops and reproduce quickly.
- Allowing hunters to pursue the animals at night won’t eliminate the problem, Chuck Sykes, director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, said in a statement.
- “What we are doing is giving people more opportunity to remove more pigs and coyotes if they choose to do so. It is another tool to reduce the number of predators,” he said.
- The season likely will start on July 1 and continue through October, Sykes said.
Fire kills petting zoo animals in Alabama
- GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A spokesperson for an Alabama city says about 75 animals died after a fire at a petting zoo.
- Birds, reptiles and guinea pigs were among the animals killed in the Sunday morning fire at Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden.
- News outlets report that Gadsden Fire Chief Wil Reed said a passerby reported the fire at 5:45 a.m.
- Responding firefighters arrived to find the petting zoo and barn fully engulfed in flames.
- The city said the cause of the fire is unknown. No people were reported injured.
- A full investigation will be conducted by the Gadsden Fire Department and the fire marshal.
- “All of the pasture animals and animals in the outdoor enclosures survived, but the animals inside the main building did not,” Gadsden spokesman Michael Rodgers said via email to AL.com.
No youth status for teen suspect in football game shooting
- MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A teenager facing charges in the shooting of nine people two years ago during a high school football game in Alabama will face trial as an adult.
- News outlets in Mobile say a judge ruled that Deangelo Dejuan Parnell will not be granted youthful offender status.
- The shooting occurred in Aug. 30, 2019. Video and photos show the gunfire sent players and onlookers at Ladd-Peebles Stadium running for cover. Nine people were hurt.
- Deangelo, who was a 17-year-old LeFlore High School student at the time, turned himself in the next day. He faces nine counts of attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
- At least one lawsuit has been filed over security at the game.
- The defense argued last week that the defendant’s age and his lack of criminal history warranted youthful offender treatment. Prosecutors countered with school records showing 16 separate disciplinary infractions. Prosecutors also introduced evidence that Parnell was accused of assaulting and robbing a fellow inmate at Mobile Metro Jail in December.
- Mobile County Circuit Judge James Patterson ruled in favor of the prosecution last week. He earlier had denied the defense’s request to exclude school and jail records.
- An arraignment is set for May 13.
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – April 27, 2021
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Formal start of final phase of Afghan pullout by US, NATO
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US general: Afghan forces could face ‘bad possible outcomes’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – TSA extends face-mask requirement on planes until September
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In final days of 2021 session, House may tackle three heated issues
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would allow police to issue citations rather make than arrests
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Vaccine hesitancy a problem in effort to return to ‘normal’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama debates removing Confederate flag from coat of arms
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Remains of Alabama soldier missing since 1950 identified
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Court documents: Woman, kids found dead in car were shot
AL.COM – Use-of-force cases prompt state debates over officer records
AL.COM – Ben Crump, ‘Black America’s attorney general,’ seems to be everywhere
AL.COM – Contributor Jennifer Greer: Saving babies and mothers in Alabama
AL.COM – Trial begins this week for Huntsville police officer charged with murder of mentally ill man
AL.COM – 3 Alabama cities invested more than $100 million on baseball stadiums
AL.COM – US, NATO officially start final phase of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan
Montgomery Advertiser – Freedom to Serve: Military children rising to their best at Maxwell AFB & Gunter Annex
Montgomery Advertiser – Seafood and Art Festival in Downtown Montgomery
Montgomery Advertiser – Flimp Festival is held at Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Decatur Daily – Morgan jailers to get body cameras; county employees getting pay hike
Decatur Daily – Help wanted: Restaurant industry struggles to find workers
Decatur Daily – Contaminants on Aquadome property raise concerns after new report
Times Daily – Shoals employers struggling to hire workers
Times Daily – Health officials: Vaccinated people equal fewer hospitalizations
Times Daily – Rogers Group submits low bid for U.S. Highway 72 resurfacing job
Anniston Star – Park event honors city’s basketball teams
Anniston Star – Anniston’s Downtown Market opens the season
Anniston Star – With multiple projects underway, Anniston officials upbeat about future of downtown
BIRMINGHAM WATCH – Help Wanted: Restaurant Industry Struggles to Find Workers.
BIRMINGHAM WATCH – The Tornado Outbreak of April 27, 2011: Are We Better Prepared Now?
BIRMINGHAM WATCH – COVID Is Killing More Seniors, but It Is Infecting More Young People
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Housing schemes to look out for in a seller’s market
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Health officials concerned over variant cases and the impact on children
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Pandemic leaves lasting impact on food insecurity
Tuscaloosa News – Arrest made after two UA students seriously injured in a multi-vehicle crash on the Strip
Tuscaloosa News – Gambling, medical cannabis, transgender care: Alabama House faces momentous votes
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Elliott: Not anticipating special sessions for prison, gaming if not done before end of 2021 regular session
YellowHammer News – Alabama’s newest Smart Neighborhood build underway in Leeds
YellowHammer News – Submersible storage system developed by senior design class could see actual Navy use
Gadsden Times – About 75 animals lost in fire at Noccalula Falls Park petting zoo
Gadsden Times – Gambling, medical cannabis, transgender care: Alabama House faces momentous votes
Dothan Eagle – Prince Harry, Jennifer Lopez make voices heard at Vax Live
Dothan Eagle – Impact of devastating Indian virus surge spreads to politics
Dothan Eagle – US begins reuniting some families separated at Mexico border
Opelika-Auburn News – 3 killed, 27 hospitalized after boat capsizes off San Diego
Opelika-Auburn News – Striking oil here could be worth billions of dollars. Not everyone is happy
Opelika-Auburn News – Democrats seek narrow path to rein in cost of medicines
WSFA Montgomery – Mobile looking to return of cruises by mid-summer
WSFA Montgomery – Alabama debates removing Confederate flag from coat of arms
WSFA Montgomery – Rally held to remember and call for justice for Greg Gunn
WAFF Huntsville – Dutton community comes together to help family who lost home and three dogs in fire
WAFF Huntsville – How the pandemic has affected Huntsville Havoc gameday
WAFF Huntsville – Fire at petting zoo at Noccalula Falls Park, dozens of animals killed
WKRG Mobile – U-Haul truck crashes into FWB office building
WKRG Mobile – Family of missing biker start GoFundMe to help with search efforts
WKRG Mobile – Paddleboarder suffers possible shark bite at Florida beach
WTVY Dothan – Teen charged in accidental shooting of friend
WTVY Dothan – Eufaula police investigate Sunday morning shooting death of Eufaula man
WTVY Dothan – Doctors link rise in COVID-19 case numbers to pandemic fatigue
WASHINGTON POST – Justice Dept. probes of local police prompt hopes for reform, fears of delays
WASHINGTON POST – Florida Republicans rushed to curb mail voting after Trump’s attacks on the practice. Now some fear it could lower GOP turnout.
WASHINGTON POST – For Republicans, fealty to Trump’s election falsehood becomes defining loyalty test
NEW YORK TIMES – Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe
NEW YORK TIMES – How the A.T.F., Key to Biden’s Gun Plan, Became an N.R.A. ‘Whipping Boy’
NEW YORK TIMES – Widespread Commodity Shortages Raise Inflation Fears
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Asia’s Lopsided Economic Booms Store Problems for the Future
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Apple and ‘Fortnite’ Maker Epic Games to Square Off in Court
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Record Share of Companies Are Beating Earnings Estimates
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