Daily News Digest – September 13, 2021

Daily News Digest – September 13, 2021

Presented by the

Alabama League of Municipalities

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, September 13.

 

 

1. ‘Design-build’ process could see prisons built more quickly

  • Two Alabama construction companies could be in the best position to get state contracts to build two men’s prisons under a proposal lawmakers are now weighing.
  • Montgomery-based Caddell and Birmingham-based BL Harbert were both part of teams expected to build prisons under Gov. Kay Ivey’s earlier plan to lease from private developers three new facilities. That plan fell apart in the spring, but some legislative leaders say Caddell and Harbert have been vetted and put in the groundwork to quickly move on construction, if the Legislature can pass a bill that includes borrowing as much as $785 million.
  • “It would be problematic if we tried to move out and get somebody else,” Sen. Greg Albritton, who has helped lead discussions on new prisons over the summer, said Friday. “(These companies) are in the best position to do this work.”
  • The draft legislation, which House and Senate GOP and Democrat caucuses discussed last week in closed meetings, allows the state to bypass normal bid processes on the two proposed 4,000-bed men’s facilities planned in Elmore and Escambia counties.
  • However, the companies were already involved in the months-long request for qualifications and request for proposals processes under Ivey’s lease plan that began in 2019.
  • “We believe that it is building upon what was already a competitive process,” said Othni Lathram, director of the Legislative Services Agency that drafts bills and studies their fiscal impact, was in all four caucus meetings last week discussing the bill.
  • He said the proposal would cut roughly a year off the completion of the two men’s prisons and save the state about $75 million by locking in material costs sooner.
  • Mary Sell has the latest on the prison plan, including the use of federal funds and the vote counting process in the House and Senate. Read her full feature story HERE.

 

2. Hospitalizations plateau, begin decline

 

 

  • For the first time in weeks, Alabama’s pandemic numbers appear to be headed in the right direction.
  • After climbing to 2,890, the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 plateaued over the last ten days and even began declining. As of Sunday, 2,463 Alabamians were hospitalized with the virus.
  • That’s the good news.
  • The bad news is the state’s intensive care capacity continues to be overwhelmed.
  • According to State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, there are about 60 more patients requiring intensive care than state hospitals have ICU beds.
  • The latest hospitalization numbers from the weekend are expected to be updated later today.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

A message from the

Alabama League of Municipalities

  • During the 2021 Regular Session, League bill SB-119 revised Alabama’s municipal elections by moving nearly all elections in Alabama’s cities and towns off the presidential election cycle where they have resided on the calendar since 1984.
  • ALM appreciates the support of Alabama’s lawmakers, especially bill sponsors Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) and Rep. Jim Hill (R-Odenville) and Governor Ivey for signing the bill into law.
  • Cities and towns affected by the new law will hold their next elections in August 2025 and will hold elections every four years thereafter.
  • To learn more about the Alabama League of Municipalities, visit www.almonline.org.

 

 

 

 

3. Hubbard apologies, seeks early release from prison

  • Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard in a Friday court filing apologized for his ethics conviction that he said hurt the state and his family as his attorney filed a request for his early release after serving one year of a 28-month sentence.
  • Hubbard’s attorney argued his sentence of over two years behind bars is out of line with punishments handed down to other officials convicted of violating the state ethics law. In a letter to the judge, Hubbard wrote that, “I recognize and admit my errors” and apologized to the people of the state and others.
  • “My conviction has severely damaged and embarrassed me and and my family, friends, former constituents, community, church, the legislature and the state of Alabama. For this, I am severely sorry and respectfully ask forgiveness from everyone affected,” Hubbard wrote in the letter to Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

 

 

 

4. Manchin nixes Biden’s $3.5T budget plan, urges $1.5T instead

  • As congressional Democrats speed ahead this week in pursuit of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan for social and environmental spending, a Democratic senator vital to the bill’s fate says the cost will need to be slashed to $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion to win his support.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also cautioned there was “no way” Congress will meet the late September goal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for passage given his current wide differences with liberal Democrats on how much to spend and how to pay for it.
  • “I cannot support $3.5 trillion,” Manchin said Sunday, citing in particular his opposition to a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and vast new social spending. “We should be looking at everything, and we’re not. We don’t have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there’s some deadline we’re meeting, or someone’s going to fall through the cracks.”
  • Democrats have no votes to spare if they want to enact Biden’s massive “Build Back Better” agenda, with the Senate split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris the tiebreaker if there is no Republican support. Democratic congressional leaders have set a target of Wednesday for committees to have the bill drafted.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

5. AP Top 25

  • Alabama and Georgia continue to be in a league of their own atop the Associated Press Top 25 poll, but other teams are making moves after a wild weekend in college football.
  • Oregon’s victory over Ohio State catapulted the Ducks up to No. 4 and Arkansas broke into rankings for the first time in 25 years after routing Texas.
  • Auburn climbed a few more slots to No. 22 setting up a high-stakes matchup with No. 10 Penn State in Happy Valley.
  • Read more and see the full AP Top 25 HERE.
  • Also read Ralph Russo’s take on who’s ranked too high, too low and about right going into this week.

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Design-build’ process could see prisons built more quickly
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations at plateau
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hubbard apologies, seeks early release from prison
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Manchin nixes Biden’s $3.5T budget plan, urges $1.5T instead
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Top 25 Reality Check: Assessing voters after volatile weeks
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Don’t focus on hate’: World marks 20th anniversary of 9/11
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bush warns of domestic extremism, appeals to ‘nation I know’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – FBI releases newly declassified record on Sept. 11 attacks
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Cannabis Commission wants plants next year, hires director
AL.COM – Alabama limits teen COVID vaccination options after legislators complain
AL.COM – Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard seeks early release from prison
AL.COM – Ida deals new blow to Louisiana schools struggling to reopen
AL.COM – Rental assistance delayed as evictions resume
Montgomery Advertiser – Community college asking city, county to kick in $4M for Prattville campus expansion
Montgomery Advertiser – Solemn Montgomery ceremony honors 9/11 anniversary
Decatur Daily – Allen open to four-way stops to solve traffic issues near Decatur Middle
Decatur Daily – Day of Caring volunteers still needed
Decatur Daily – Work to improve Lawrence 434 should be complete by next summer
Times Daily – Commission OKs low bids for COVID-19 trailer, chest compression devices
Times Daily – Muscle Shoals council moves meeting date forward
Times Daily – Delta variant: A faster, more aggressive virus
Anniston Star – Man in custody after gunfire at Oxford park
Anniston Star – Laying of wreath culminates Oxford’s Sept. 11 event
Anniston Star – Festive crowd in Weaver pauses to remember 9/11
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – 2 shot 1 dead in Birmingham shooting
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Two charged with capital murder following Huntsville shooting
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Calls to veteran crisis hotline increasing
Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama professor says mental illness, not martyrdom, drives many suicide attackers
YellowHammer News – Katie Britt: Remembering 9/11, recommitting to our fellow Americans this Patriot Day
Gadsden Times – Commission receives grant to help with workforce training for older job seekers
Gadsden Times – Gadsden vows to ‘Never Forget’ 9/11 on 20th anniversary
Gadsden Times – Homeless coalition sets annual meeting; speaker to discuss mental health and COVID-19
Dothan Eagle – The Latest: UN official slams Taliban over reprisal killings
Dothan Eagle – Police: Florida man attacks kid yelling playground is noisy
Dothan Eagle – Authorities: 5 dead, 4 injured in northern Ohio house fire
Opelika-Auburn News – Energized pope cracks jokes, greets fans in Slovakia
WSFA Montgomery – National Truck Driver Appreciation Week honors country’s 3.6 million truckers
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery organization, church collecting books for Alabama inmates
WSFA Montgomery – River Region United Way launches coalition to increase reading proficiency rates
WAFF Huntsville – Town leaders working to grow Hammondville
WAFF Huntsville – State Rep. Anthony Daniels, Alabama Republican Party Chairman respond to president’s order
WAFF Huntsville – Decatur nurses share their COVID-19 experience
WKRG Mobile – UN seeks $606 million for Afghanistan after Taliban takeover
WKRG Mobile – Hubbard apologizes, seeks early release from prison
WKRG Mobile – Pregnant woman falls off of vehicle after a domestic violence incident
WTVY Dothan – Stadium climb held at Riddle Pace Field to commemorate 20th anniversary of 9/11
WTVY Dothan – City of Dothan remembers 9/11 through Patriots Day ceremony
WTVY Dothan – Cheating during elections and what this man did about it
WASHINGTON POST – Democrats wanted Trump gone. Now they want him on the ballot.
WASHINGTON POST – House Democrats circulate new tax plan as party seeks unity on key economic package
WASHINGTON POST – Space for dissent opened in Afghanistan after the Taliban was ousted 20 years ago. Now the militants are trying to slam it shut.
NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: New York City Schools Reopen With Hope and Anxiety
NEW YORK TIMES – The Legacy of America’s Post-9/11 Turn to Torture
NEW YORK TIMES – In California, Republicans Struggle to Expand the Recall’s Appeal
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Elon Musk’s SpaceX Seeks Next Space Milestone With Launch This Week
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Airbnb, Apache, Biogen: What to Watch When the Stock Market Opens Today
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Shell Pushes to Restart Oil Platforms After Hurricane Ida

 

 

Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)