Daily News Digest – Thursday, March 18

Daily News Digest – Thursday, March 18

Presented by

the Poarch Band of Creek Indians

 

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, March 18.

 

1. Damage, but no disaster

  • A wave of storms pounded the Deep South on Wednesday, leaving a trail of splintered trees and damaged buildings, and forecasters said still stronger ones were on the way with the potential for more tornadoes, downpours and hail the size of baseballs.
  • Tornadoes knocked down trees, toppled power lines and damaged homes in rural Chilton County and the Alabama communities of Burnsville and Moundville, where power was out and trees blocked a main highway.
  • Additional damage was reported in Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi, where video showed an apparent tornado at Brookhaven. High winds blew down signs and and trees in northeast Texas, and hailstones the size of baseballs were reported near the Alabama-Mississippi line, the weather service said.
  • More than 70,000 homes and businesses were without power from Texas to Alabama, and radar showed additional storms moving across the region as initial cleanup work began.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves and see photos HERE.

 

 

2. Education windfall: $4.5B to schools from relief bills

  • Contemplate this: when it’s said and done, Alabama schools and colleges will receive about $4.5 billion in relief funding from the federal government from the three packages passed in the last year.
  • These education funds are separate from the $4 billion allocated to state and local governments under the Biden plan, as previously reported by Alabama Daily News. They’re also separate from the $1.7 billion the state received last year, some of which was directed by state leaders to education.
  • Alabama K-12 schools are getting another $2 billion of federal relief funding from the President Joe Biden-pushed American Rescue Plan Act, according to Kirk Fulford, deputy director of the Legislative Services Agency’s Fiscal Division. That’s on top of a $1.1 billion schools received from the first two rounds of federal relief.
  • The money is in multiple funds spread over three allocations. Spending deadlines and restrictions vary. Exact details on the latest, largest pool of money aren’t yet available.
  • “There are a lot of complexities here, this committee is going to need to understand everything the best we can,” said Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa. He chairs the House education budget committee.
  • Truer words were never spoken.
  • Read more and see the balance sheets on where the money has gone from Mary Sell HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A message from

the Poarch Band of Creek Indians

 

Improving the quality of life for Alabamians has been a long-standing priority for the Poarch Creek Indians.

One of our many businesses, Muskogee Technology, responded to the pandemic by shifting production to critical PPE including isolation gowns, tablet stands, Lexan sneeze guards and isolation shields to keep healthcare heroes as healthy as possible.

We also prioritized giving in 2020, donating $500,000 to acquire RAPID tests and vaccine refrigerators for every county. We also donated $1,000,000 to Atmore Community Hospital and $150,000 to the American Red Cross for a new bloodmobile to serve Alabama.

Find out more about our tribe and its many industries here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Absentee voting bills advance

  • Legislation dealing with absentee voting in Alabama passed their first legislative hurdle Wednesday as they advanced through the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee.
  • A bill that would allow for more sites to be opened up within a county to accept in-person absentee ballots was debated and approved.
  • House Bill 507 sponsor Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, said it is needed in larger counties like Jefferson County, where voters can only return their absentee ballots in person at the downtown county courthouse.
  • The committee also approved legislation to allow absentee ballots to be counted beginning at 7 a.m. on election day and requiring absentee ballot application forms be received earlier by the absentee election manager.
  • House Bill 538 from Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, would require that absentee ballot applications be mailed to the election manager’s office 10 days before an election, or hand delivered five days before an election. Current state law says no matter if you are mailing or hand-delivering an absentee application, it must be submitted to the absentee election manager’s office no later than 5 days before an election.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.

 

4. What’s on tap

  • Tap tap tap in.
  • It’s the 16th legislative day and the last one before lawmaker’s spring break. And it’s looking like it could be a doozy.
  • The House comes in at 10 a.m. and its seven-bill calendar includes some controversial bills.
  • First up is House Bill 391 which says “biological male” student athletes cannot participate against female athletes in K-12 sports. The bill does not specifically mention transgender students, but says students must play on teams in accordance with the sex on their birth certificate. The bill has more than 30 Republican co-sponsors. Similar bills have been filed in other states.
  • House Bill 237 by Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg, would require physicians to exercise reasonable care to preserve the life of an unborn child after a failed abortion. It also creates criminal penalties for physicians who do not follow the law. The woman having the abortion would not be charged with a criminal offense.
  • House Bill 455 would increase penalties for those who participate in riots.
  • The Senate comes in at 9:30 a.m. Leadership has previously said they expected to vote on the record $7.6 billion education budget.

 

 

5. Homeland Security head spars with Congress over border surge

  • President Joe Biden’s head of Homeland Security sparred Wednesday with members of Congress over the surge of migrants at the Southwest border, refusing to concede the situation was a crisis or even much different from what the two previous administrations faced.
  • Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave ground on two Republican points as he acknowledged the administration may not have adequately notified communities chosen to host facilities for migrant teens and children and said some people were released without being tested for COVID-19, though a new testing policy has been implemented.
  • Since Biden’s inauguration, the country has seen a dramatic spike in the number of people encountered by border officials, with 18,945 family members and 9,297 unaccompanied children encountered in February — an increase of 168% and 63% from the month before, according to the Pew Research Center.
  • But Mayorkas, who remained largely unflappable during nearly four hours of often hostile interrogation, repeatedly deflected Republicans who sought to cast the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border as out of control.
  • “We have a very serious challenge, and I don’t think the difficulty of that challenge can be overstated,” Mayorkas said. “We also have a plan to address it. We are executing on our plan and we will succeed.”
  • It was the first high-profile immigration showdown for the new administration, which is facing political blowback as it copes with the sharp increase in migrants at the same time it attempts to undo some of President Donald Trump’s signature actions to reduce both legal and illegal entry.
  • Republicans contend that the rising number of people attempting to cross the Southwest border have been inspired by Biden’s early moves on immigration policy, which have included halting construction on the border wall and ending a program that forced asylum seekers to make their claims in Mexico and Central America.
  • “This administration’s actions have had a direct cause and effect on this humanitarian and border crisis,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

 

 

A message from the

Safe Surgery Coalition

 

  • Would you allow someone who is not a highly trained surgeon to operate on your brain, heart, kidneys or lungs? Of course not.
  • Yet some legislators are trying to change the law in Alabama to allow people who are not trained surgeons – in fact they are not even medical doctors – to operate on your eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Severe weather: Storms batter the South with more on the way

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19 relief for Alabama education totals more than $4B

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Absentee voting bills clear first hurdle

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Committee advances lottery bill, keeps casino issue alive

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Homeland Security head spars with Congress over border surge

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama unemployment was 4.3% in January

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Committee-approved $7.6B education budget includes multiple pay raises

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Anti-riot bill passes committee with changes

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House debates, passes election bills

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House committee advances treatment ban for trans kids

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – McConnell vows ‘scorched earth’ if Senate ends filibuster

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 17, 2021

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Stacy Column: Permanent reminder of a temporary feeling

 

AL.COM – Is Mo Brooks running for U.S. Senate? Stephen Miller appearing at campaign rally

 

AL.COM – Immigrant surge on Mexico border: Tuberville says Biden must ‘take this seriously’

 

AL.COM – April 15 tax-filing deadline to be postponed by 1 month

 

AL.COM – Bessemer Amazon worker testifies before Senate committee: ‘They can afford to do much better for the workers’

 

AL.COM – Alabama lottery bill advances; Del Marsh says adding casinos still an option

 

AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Alabama is dead last for open records. The Legislature could fix that

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama weather updates: Storms barrel through Montgomery, head east and south

 

Montgomery Advertiser – ‘The work of 100 people’: Community Hero Rebecca L. Martin dedicates decades to Chisholm

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Rebecca L. Martin is the Community Hero for March 2021

 

Decatur Daily – Alabama cities, counties to receive millions in federal aid

 

Decatur Daily – Tornadoes, flooding possible in 3 waves today

 

Decatur Daily – Committee-approved $7.6B education budget includes multiple pay raises

 

Times Daily – Colbert County Commission approves COVID-19 trailer grant application

 

Times Daily – Muscle Shoals council pays reduced invoice for golf course work

 

Times Daily – Commissioner satisfied with Norfolk Southern response

 

Anniston Star – RMC works with nonprofits to get COVID-19 vaccines to underserved groups

 

Anniston Star – Anniston man charged with sexual abuse

 

Anniston Star – Profitability questions raised at Cleburne hospital board meeting

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama Power reports just over 8,000 customers without power

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Columbiana storm shelter packed as folks seek safe place

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Homes destroyed in parts of Chilton Co.

 

Tuscaloosa News – Alabama weather updates: Storms barrel through Montgomery, head east and south

 

Tuscaloosa News – Special trucks expand capabilities of Tuscaloosa firefighters

 

Tuscaloosa News – PHOTOS: Tuscaloosa’s Special Fire Trucks

 

YellowHammer News – U.S. Rep. Moore cites ‘politically motivated’ changes as reason for not supporting new version of Violence Against Women Act

 

YellowHammer News – Alabama Senate committee approves ‘plain and simple’ lottery bill; Gaming issue not dead

 

YellowHammer News – Tianeptine, ‘gas station dope,’ banned from sale in Alabama after classification as Schedule II substance

 

Gadsden Times – Alabama weather updates: Storms barrel through Montgomery, head east and south

 

Gadsden Times – Most schools in Etowah County plan two-hour delay Thursday

 

Gadsden Times – Five to interview for Gadsden fire chief’s job; questions raised regarding interim appointment

 

Dothan Eagle – The Latest: Nevada to open vaccination to everyone over 16

 

Dothan Eagle – Highest threat level issued for tornado outbreak in the South

 

Dothan Eagle – Man charged with killing 8 people at Georgia massage parlors

 

Opelika-Auburn News – France’s Sarkozy faces new trial over 2012 campaign finance

 

Opelika-Auburn News – US sanctions 24 China and Hong Kong officials ahead of talks

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Man charged with killing 8 people at Georgia massage parlors

 

WSFA Montgomery – Woman clings to tree for safety above flood waters in Morgan County

 

WSFA Montgomery – Chilton County man survives as storm destroys home

 

WSFA Montgomery – Pike Road Schools requesting property tax increase

 

WAFF Huntsville – Woman clings to tree for safety above flood waters in Morgan County

 

WAFF Huntsville – Families flock to storm shelter in Morgan County

 

WAFF Huntsville – Two people stuck in SUV rescued from flood waters in Madison County

 

WKRG Mobile – Bye Alpha, Eta: Greek alphabet ditched for hurricane names

 

WKRG Mobile – ECSO: Man killed in officer-involved shooting in Pensacola Beach

 

WKRG Mobile – FCC announces largest robocall fine in its history

 

WTVY Dothan – Dothan man cleared of murdering radio personality’s brother

 

WTVY Dothan – Elba City Schools looking to host graduation and other school events

 

WTVY Dothan – Marianna death investigation upgraded to homicide case

 

WASHINGTON POST – Suspect charged with killing 8 in Atlanta-area shootings that targeted Asian-run spas

 

WASHINGTON POST – Sheriff’s official who said spa shooting suspect had ‘bad day’ posted shirts blaming ‘CHY-NA’ for virus

 

WASHINGTON POST – Christian leaders wrestle with Atlanta shooting suspect’s Southern Baptist ties

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Suspect in Atlanta Spa Attacks Is Charged With 8 Counts of Murder

 

NEW YORK TIMES – As Biden and Xi Begin a Careful Dance, a New American Policy Takes Shape

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Tribal Communities Set to Receive Big New Infusion of Aid

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – How the WHO’s Hunt for Covid’s Origins Stumbled in China

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Everywhere You Look, the Global Supply Chain Is a Mess

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL – Why Covid-19 Aid, Inflation Fears Hold the Key to the Dollar’s Future

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