Daily News Digest – October 28, 2021

Daily News Digest – October 28, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, October 28.


1. Preview: Special session starts today

  • It’s a blustery day in Montgomery, hardly a warm welcome for state lawmakers gathering at the State House to begin the second special session of the year.
  • This one, of course, focuses on redistricting. With fresh census numbers in hand, they must redraw congressional, state school board and state legislative districts.
  • The congressional districts will get most of the statewide and national attention because that map is easier to understand and scoring seats in Congress is what most national folks care about.
  • The state school board seats will get little attention at all because voters don’t care much about the state school board aside from wanting to keep it elected, apparently.
  • But neither Congress nor school board has the potential of upending the session.
  • The new maps for state House and Senate do have that potential as members in both chambers are beginning to express displeasure over how districts have been redrawn. We’ll have to see how serious the disagreements are.
  • Also, in her call, Gov. Kay Ivey asked lawmakers to allocate $80 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act funds for hospitals and nursing homes ravaged by the delta variant.
  • Caroline Beck has more on that in her thorough special session preview story you can read HERE.



2. Health leaders: COVID-19 numbers ‘headed in the right direction’


  • The number of Alabamians hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped below 500 this week for the first time since mid-July.
  • “It’s been a haul, but we’re down from 2,880 in late August,” Alabama Hospital Association President Dr. Don Williamson told Alabama Daily News on Wednesday.
  • The 475 hospitalizations reported on Wednesday is still more than double early summer numbers and more than Williamson said he’s comfortable with going into flu and holiday seasons. As of Tuesday, there were 11 pediatric and four pregnant COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
  • State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris told ADN on Wednesday he, too is encouraged by recent numbers.
  • “Of course, we’ve learned that we don’t know what we don’t know so it’s hard to predict how long things will look this way, but we certainly have turned the corner at the moment compared with what we’ve been doing for the last half of the summer and first part of the fall,” Harris said.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



3. Biden goes to Capitol Hill for latest budget pitch

  • President Joe Biden is on Capitol Hill this morning pushing his revised domestic policy bill and a related bipartisan infrastructure plan with fractious House Democrats after days of prolonged negotiations over his ambitious social and climate policies and how to pay for them.
  • Biden will then make remarks from the White House, hoping to signal that an agreement might be within reach.
  • But is it in reach?
  • On Wednesday, a paid family leave proposal fell out of the plan along with a “billionaires’ tax” intended to pay for some of the spending, causing some consternation among some liberals.
  • While scaling back the plan may be winning over swing votes in Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Sinema of Arizona, it may be losing others.
  • The Washington Post reported that Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, said it was “inconceivable” that he would support the restructured deal and that he agreed with House progressives that a vote on infrastructure should not happen before the larger budget deal moves through.
  • That puts Biden and his “Build Back Better” agenda between a rock and a hard place on Capitol Hill.
  • Things are going to move fast today.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Garland defends school board memo amid Republican criticism

  • Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday defended a memo aimed at combating threats against school officials nationwide while Republicans insisted he rescind the directive.
  • The memo took center stage as Garland appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee – his second congressional appearance in a week – and said it was meant to respond to violence and threats of violence directed against local school board officials.
  • The memo came out Oct. 4, less than a week after the National School Board Association wrote the Biden administration about the threats to school officials and asked for help. Some school board meetings have devolved into shouting contests over issues such as how racial issues are taught, masks in schools, and COVID-19 vaccines and testing requirements.
  • Republicans say Garland went too far in instructing Justice Department divisions to coordinate with local law enforcement. In his memo Garland said there had been “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”
  • The National School Board Association has since said “we regret and apologize” for its letter, which asked for federal assistance to combat harassment and violence against school officials and said some of the acts could be “domestic terrorism.”
  • Full story HERE.


5. Woman gets life in prison for helping husband plan killings

  • A north Alabama woman received a life sentence Wednesday for helping her husband plan the 2015 killings of his estranged pregnant wife, her unborn child and three others.
  • Rhonda Carlson, 48, avoided the death penalty in a deal with prosecutors in exchange for testifying against her husband, Christopher Henderson, prior to his trial. She admitted to helping plan the attack and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
  • A jury in July convicted Henderson in the shooting and stabbing deaths of Kristin Smallwood; her unborn daughter; her 8-year-old son Clayton Chambers; her 1-year-old nephew Eli Sokolowski; and her mother, Carol Jean Smallwood. He was sentenced to death earlier this month.
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature meets Thursday for redistricting special session


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officials: COVID-19 numbers moving in right direction


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden to Capitol Hill; Paid family leave nixed from plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Garland defends school board memo amid Republican criticism


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Woman gets life sentence for helping husband plan killings


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Redistricting committee passes new maps along party lines


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19, federal requirement increases Alabama Medicaid enrollment


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin seeks expungement of ’55 arrest record


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Half its original size, Biden’s big plan in race to finish


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senators put YouTube, TikTok, Snap on defensive on kids’ use


AL.COM – Tuberville defends Auburn’s Bryan Harsin for not disclosing vaccination status: ‘Mandates to me are unconstitutional’


AL.COM – Africatown documentary premieres Thursday; to be used in tourism plan


AL.COM – Mobile city officials OK $30 million to support new downtown airport project


AL.COM – Immunocompromised people may need 4th COVID vaccine dose, CDC says


AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: Conservatives must address the rise of Republican socialism


AL.COM – Contributor Whit Sides: When Alabama’s coverage gap hit home for my family


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama reapportionment committee approves new district maps on party-line votes


Montgomery Advertiser – Why Autauga’s Bear Creek Swamp is fertile ground for spooky tales and ghostly legends


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery police launch death investigation after 24-year-old killed in Biltmore Ave. shootout


Decatur Daily – Protesting ULA workers say exemptions to vaccine mandate are needed


Decatur Daily – DU vote could clinch one settlement on toxic chemicals, advance two others


Decatur Daily – Beltline intersection project likely to begin in spring


Times Daily – Man facing sex abuse, torture of child charges


Times Daily – A goulish good time at UNA


Times Daily – The Club/Senior Center to reopen


Anniston Star – Alexander City schools cope with supply-chain issues in meal preparation


Anniston Star – Calhoun County Fair opens at Ag Center


Anniston Star – Hearing held for Anniston man charged with manslaughter


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham Postal Annex gets new technology to help with holiday packages


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Former Hoover High School students plead guilty to 2018 murder of teenager


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Demand to sell items at Magic City Classic returning to pre-pandemic levels


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama reapportionment committee approves new district maps on party-line votes


Tuscaloosa News – Tech or Treat: Tuscaloosa’s Halloween event features costumes and candy


Tuscaloosa News – Stacey Abrams group donates $1.34M to wipe out medical debts in Alabama, other states


YellowHammer News – Alabama consumers on average paying 69% more for gas than same time last year


YellowHammer News – Tuberville urges Biden to rescind vaccine mandate for defense contractors, says edict ‘threatens our national security’


YellowHammer News – ‘Learn and Burn’: Alabama legislators gain first-hand experience in forest management


Gadsden Times – Alabama reapportionment committee approves new district maps on party-line votes


Gadsden Times – Stacey Abrams group donates $1.34M to wipe out medical debts in Alabama, other states


Gadsden Times – Preparations continue for annual CommUNITY Thanksgiving meal


Dothan Eagle – Paid family leave falls out of Biden bill; cheap pill shows promise against COVID; Astros even WS


Dothan Eagle – Facebook exec pushes back on whistleblower claims


Opelika-Auburn News – Facebook exec pushes back on whistleblower claims


Opelika-Auburn News – Paid family leave falls out of Biden bill; cheap pill shows promise against COVID; Astros even WS


Opelika-Auburn News – Florida police sergeant returns fire, injures 4 inside BMW


WSFA Montgomery – Renters struggling with COVID-19 assistance program, advocates say


WSFA Montgomery – 1 dead, 1 injured in Montgomery shooting on Biltmore Avenue


WSFA Montgomery – Weekend assault reported at Auburn University


WAFF Huntsville – Crime of the Week: the case of a steak swiping suspect


WAFF Huntsville – Deputies searching for missing man in Morgan County


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur City Council President says they surpassed goals in $98.4 million settlement with 3M


WKRG Mobile – Man shot dead at Family Dollar on Pleasant Valley Road, Mobile Police say


WKRG Mobile – Theodore High football coach in court for assault charge stemming from Bayou La Batre brawl


WKRG Mobile – Crash takes out power along Moffett Road


WTVY Dothan – Police: Mom assaults daughter who took wrong school bus


WTVY Dothan – Ozark-Dale County Library new location nearing completion


WTVY Dothan – Share your Halloween pictures for News 4 This Morning


WASHINGTON POST – Biden to announce new social spending framework he expects to win support of all Democrats


WASHINGTON POST – An army of poll watchers — many driven by GOP’s ‘election integrity’ push — turns out across Virginia


WASHINGTON POST – White House suggests flexibility in vaccine deadline for federal workers, contractors


NEW YORK TIMES – Live Updates: Biden and Democrats to Announce Progress on Bill


NEW YORK TIMES – Hunting for Money, Democrats Rush to Rewrite Tax Code


NEW YORK TIMES – Old Power Gear Is Slowing Use of Clean Energy and Electric Cars


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Four U.S. Intelligence Agencies Produced Extensive Reports on Afghanistan, but All Failed to Predict Kabul’s Rapid Collapse


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Economy Likely Slowed in Third Quarter on Delta Surge, Supply Crunch


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden to Release New Framework on $1.75 Trillion Social-Spending and Climate Package



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