Daily News Digest – September 21, 2021

Daily News Digest – September 21, 2021

Presented by FastDemocracy

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, September 21.


1. Will special session include sentencing reform?

  • At the very end of the Alabama Legislature’s 2021 Regular Session in May, a slate of four criminal justice bills died before getting a vote in the Senate.
  • The bills, sponsored by Rep. Jim Hill, R-Moody, received bi-partisan support in the House and looked to be a lock to go to the governor’s desk. But things can get testy between the chambers on the final days of session and they never came up for a final vote.
  • “Sometimes with these things, you just run out of time,” Hill told Alabama Daily News.
  • Now, Hill is prepared to file the bills again in the special session on prison construction, should they fit into Gov. Kay Ivey’s call.
  • “These are the four I think would make the most immediate impact on our prison system,” Hill said.
  • Only the governor can call a special session of the Legislature. That official proclamation, or call, includes the parameters of what lawmakers can debate during the session.
  • That call is expected within the next few days. Ivey has told lawmakers she intends to call them into special session on Monday, Sept. 27.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Will the State House be open during the special session?

  • During the last two legislative sessions, Alabama legislative leaders and staff restricted access to the State House due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
  • The 2020 regular session was cut short when the coronavirus hit that March and few were allowed into the building as lawmakers reconvened to pass budgets and emergency appropriations a few months later.
  • For the 2021 session, the House and Senate followed strict protocol that involved temperature checks, masking and social distancing. But, other than a handful of committee meetings, lobbyists and other members of the public had to watch the Legislature’s proceedings via internet feed.
  • Now, a year and a half after its emergence, the virus is still dangerous, as the delta variant of COVID-19 has ravaged the state this summer.
  • What can the lobbying community and the public expect from this special session and any to come later this year?
  • Read the full story from Mary Sell HERE.






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3. Alabama virus hospitalizations continue downward trajectory

  • The number of COVID-19 patients in Alabama hospitals has fallen below 2,000, but medical officials cautioned Monday that hospitals and intensive care units remain full of largely unvaccinated patients and that deaths contributed to the decline.
  • After weeks of a near vertical upward trajectory in hospitalizations — as the highly contagious delta variant spread through unvaccinated populations — the number of people in state hospitals dipped Monday to 1,947 — the lowest it has been since early August.
  • The number is down from 2,890 on Sept. 1 and 3,087 on Jan. 12. But it remains way above the early summer lull in the pandemic when there were fewer than 300 people hospitalized.
  • “It is a good sign, but 25 consecutive days with more than 40 deaths clearly contributes to the decline,” Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association, said.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Democrats tie government funding to debt bill, GOP digs in

  • Democratic congressional leaders backed by the White House say they will push ahead with a vote to fund the government and suspend the debt limit, all but daring Republicans who say they will vote against it despite the risk of a fiscal crisis.
  • Congress is rushing headlong into an all-too-familiar stalemate: The federal government faces a shutdown if funding stops at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. At the same time, the U.S. risks defaulting on its accumulated debt load if the borrowing limits are not waived or adjusted.
  • All this while Democratic lawmakers are laboring to shoulder President Joe Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion “build back better” agenda through the House and Senate with stark opposition from Republicans.
  • “The American people expect our Republican colleagues to live up to their responsibilities and make good on the debts they proudly helped incur,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement Monday.
  • But Republicans in the minority were unmoved, saying Democrats have been willing to incur massive amounts of debt on their own, without GOP support.
  • Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he’s not about to help pay off past debts when Biden is about to pile on more with a “reckless” tax and spending package.
  • “Since Democrats decided to go it alone, they will not get Senate Republicans’ help with raising the debt limit. I’ve explained this clearly and consistently for over two months,” McConnell said Monday on the Senate floor.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney, known as one of the upper chamber’s more moderate members, is a hard no on suspending the debt limit.
  • “The Democrats say they don’t need our votes to spend money they want to spend, but they do need our votes to pay for it. That dog won’t hunt,” Romney said.
  • Full story HERE.



5. News Briefs


Mobile City Council President Levon Manzie dead at 38
  • MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The president of the Mobile City Council, two-term council member Levon Manzie, has died, the city said in a statement Monday.
  • Manzie, a fourth-generation minister who was seeking re-election, was 38. He had suffered from kidney ailments since his teen years but a cause of death was not revealed in a statement from relatives released by the city.
  • “Levon’s spiritual and political service will not be forgotten. He was truly a living servant of the people,” said the family statement.
  • The vice president of the council, C..J. Small, called Manzie “the epitome of servant leadership.”
  • Manzie led balloting for his District 2 seat in the municipal election last month. He faced a former council member, William Carroll, in a runoff election set for Oct. 5. Carroll’s campaign expressed sadness over Manzie’s death in a message posted on Facebook.
Alabama Toyota plant to make truck engines, add 450 jobs
  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A Toyota factory in north Alabama will add 450 jobs as the sole North American manufacturer of engines for the 2022 Tundra pickup truck, the company said Monday.
  • Employment at the Toyota Alabama plant will increase to 1,800 people, and the company said it plans to spend $288 million on the project, which is separate from a Toyota Mazda factory being constructed west of downtown Huntsville.
  • The twin-turbo V6 engine was described as a completely new motor for the Tundra.
Second Alabama man dies in floodwaters after heavy rain
  • HAZEL GREEN, Ala. (AP) — A man who was kayaking with his children following heavy rains saved the kids when the current became too strong but couldn’t get himself out of the water and drowned, officials said Monday.
  • Johnny Henderson III, 35, of Hazel Green was pronounced dead after emergency workers located his body in flood waters on Sunday, Coroner Tyler Berryhill said. Henderson was the second person from Alabama to die in weekend flooding.
  • “He was kayaking with his children near their home when the water current became very strong pulling them near a drainage pipe. He was able to get his children to safety from the kayak before later succumbing to the current of the dangerous waters,” Berryhill said in a statement.
  • Hazel Green Elementary School shared on social media that Henderson was the husband of a first-grade teacher there, and additional social workers and counselors were on hand.
  • Much of north central Alabama received heavy rains over the weekend, and the National Weather Service said Huntsville got a record 3.31 inches on Sunday, far above the old record of 1.9 inches set in 1953.
  • Also on Sunday, searchers in Tuscaloosa found the body of a man whose sports-utility vehicle was overwhelmed by water during flash flooding on Saturday. The body of Kelvin Watford, 40, was found about a quarter-mile downstream from where his vehicle was found, news outlets reported.
  • Flood watches and warnings covered northern sections of Alabama and Mississippi, most of Tennessee and northwest Georgia. The rains are associated with remnants of Hurricane Nicholas, which made landfall on the Gulf Coast last week.





A message from the

Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists



  • The Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists stands with the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in objecting to the pause in the access to monoclonal antibody treatments in Alabama.
  • Any proven treatment for COVID-19 that may keep them from hospitalization or becoming seriously ill should be pursued with vigor.
  • Read our full op-ed HERE.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will special session include sentencing reform measures?


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State House COVID-19 restrictions eased for upcoming special session


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama virus hospitalizations dip below 2,000, deaths rise


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democrats tie government funding to debt bill, GOP digs in


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Perry County facility key factor in prison plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate parliamentarian deals blow to Dems’ immigration push


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US launches mass expulsion of Haitian migrants from Texas


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25: Clemson, Ohio State slip; Penn State jumps to 6th


AL.COM – UAB experts hopeful COVID vaccines for children here by October


AL.COM – Tennessee Riverkeeper to sue Huntsville over sewage overflows


AL.COM – Shipt announces biggest deal to date with Visa


AL.COM – Officials push to condense I-10 project timeline


AL.COM – Kay Ivey joins other Republican governors in requesting meeting with Biden on southern border


AL.COM – Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Huntsville 2019 expansion put into motion


AL.COM – Alabama State renames residence hall for Montgomery bus boycott hero


AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: A Christian view of prison reform


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man found wounded near where woman was shot to death faces murder charge


Montgomery Advertiser – Runners raise $4,000 for Pike Road School libraries


Montgomery Advertiser – What to know about the ‘The Wonder Years’ reboot, filming in Montgomery


Decatur Daily – Three roads still closed from weekend flooding; cooler temps on way


Decatur Daily – In the community: Festival, pageantry despite rain


Times Daily – Weekend events survive despite torrential rains


Times Daily – Florence firefighters rescue 2 after fall into well


Times Daily – Florence Police: Photo of dead body was a prank


Anniston Star – Jacksonville second city to offer a monitored safe site


Anniston Star – Heflin police reopen cold-case death from 1990


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham nightclub offering COVID vaccine Tuesday night


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Jefferson County health leaders say they aren’t seeing enough people getting second COVID shot


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Health Leaders say Labor Day did not spike cases and hospitalizations


Tuscaloosa News – Damage in Tuscaloosa lingers from flooding caused by weekend heavy rains


Tuscaloosa News – What to know about the ‘The Wonder Years’ reboot, filming in Montgomery


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa groups awarded more than $316K from Alabama State Council on the Arts


YellowHammer News – Feed Your Adventure: Flavors of the Black Belt Trail


YellowHammer News – Tennessee Riverkeeper claims City of Huntsville violated environmental law, files intent to sue


YellowHammer News – Ivey announces next slate of local projects — ‘Improving Alabama’s infrastructure remains a top priority’


Gadsden Times – COVID-19 deaths in Etowah County closing in on 2020 total, despite availability of vaccine


Gadsden Times – Attalla approves COVID bonus payments to workers through ‘no employee left behind’ program


Gadsden Times – What to know about the ‘The Wonder Years’ reboot, filming in Montgomery


Dothan Eagle – Investigators identify man who drowned in Lake Lanier


Dothan Eagle – J&J: Booster dose of its COVID shot prompts strong response


Dothan Eagle – SUV crashes into USPS truck, killing Florida mail carrier


Opelika-Auburn News – J&J: Booster dose of its COVID shot prompts strong response


Opelika-Auburn News – Investigators identify man who drowned in Lake Lanier


Opelika-Auburn News – SUV crashes into USPS truck, killing Florida mail carrier


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama’s record death toll impacting funeral industry


WSFA Montgomery – Opelika police searching for hit and run suspect


WSFA Montgomery – 2 Montgomery residents killed in early morning Crenshaw County crash


WAFF Huntsville – Marshall Medical Centers face challenges with ICU beds at full capacity


WAFF Huntsville – Large debris pick-up in Madison County


WAFF Huntsville – Toyota Manufacturing in Huntsville makes big announcement


WKRG Mobile – Mobile City leaders weigh in on Levon Manzie death


WKRG Mobile – Laundrie family attorney cancels press conference at FBI’s request


WKRG Mobile – Morgan Wallen to perform at The Grounds in Mobile this fall


WTVY Dothan – UAB doctors say the Flu and COVID vaccines are “imperative” for protection against the virus’


WTVY Dothan – Local student named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist


WTVY Dothan – EMA Director pushing NOAA weather radio during peak hurricane season


WASHINGTON POST – After immigration ruling, Democrats’ once-sweeping agenda continues to shrink


WASHINGTON POST – Biden seeks to open a new chapter in world affairs, facing fresh skepticism from allies


WASHINGTON POST – British police identify new suspect in Russian Novichok double agent poisoning


NEW YORK TIMES – ‘Can’t Compete’: Why Hiring for Child Care Is a Huge Struggle


NEW YORK TIMES – Deported by U.S., Haitians Are in Shock: ‘I Don’t Know This Country’


NEW YORK TIMES – The Biden administration will raise the cap on refugee admissions to 125,000.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Evergrande Fallout Hits Western Bond Funds


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Apple Is Working on iPhone Features to Help Detect Depression, Cognitive Decline


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Real-Estate Agents Gear Up for Fight to Save Their Commissions




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