Daily News – May 4, 2020

Daily News – May 4, 2020

Presented by

The Boeing Company

Good morning and Happy Star Wars Day!
May the Fourth be with you.
Here’s your Daily News.

1. Legislature reconvenes

  • The Alabama Legislature reconvenes today for the 16th day of the 2020 Regular Session.
  • Of course, this session has been anything but regular, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The House will gavel in at 1:00 p.m., though it is uncertain what it will take up. The Education Trust Fund budget, which starts in the House this year, is not through committee yet. They’ll most likely have a calendar full of non-controversial local legislation.
  • House Democrats have said they won’t be in attendance due to health risk concerns and their belief that the budgets should wait until more is known about revenues.
  • The House has 105 members and 53 are required for a quorum. With Democrats holding only 28 seats, it isn’t likely they’ll prevent the session from going forward.
  • The Senate convenes at 4:00 p.m., where the General Fund budget and related supplemental legislation will be read for the second time, but not voted on.
  • The bill to watch is Senate Bill 161, which moved out of committee last week. It creates a three-person panel of the governor and the House and Senate General Fund budget chairmen to make decisions about the $1.8 billion in available relief funding from the federal government.
  • Without a new law, the governor alone would be responsible for spending that money, but the Legislature wanted to have a say.
  • “Rather than leave this to one (executive) branch alone to handle, we believe it would appropriate for the Legislature to have some input,” said Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, who chairs the Senate General Fund budget committee.
  • Read more about all this in Mary Sell’s extensive session preview HERE.


2. DAs look for funding help

  • Last week when the Senate General Fund budget committee met, several senators said they had heard from their local district attorneys about funding shortfalls they are facing amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • We looked into it and found that many DAs throughout the state say the situation has reduced funding for their offices and they’re looking to the Legislature for help.
  • District attorneys receive about 30% of their funding from the state’s General Fund budget. The other 70% comes from various court fees and fines.
  • “To collect that 70%, three things have to be working,” Morgan County DA Scott Anderson recently said. “The economy, law enforcement writing tickets and making arrests and the courts holding court. All three of those things came to a halt with the coronavirus.”
  • Barry Matson, the executive director of the Alabama District Attorneys Association, said that if more supplemental money doesn’t come from the Legislature in the coming months, district attorneys’ offices across the state could be looking at job losses and an overall detrimental impact to Alabama’s criminal justice process.
  • “If we do our job, we discern what should go forward and what shouldn’t, and when we’re down to bare bones, it’s not only can we not catch the bad guy but we can’t screen out the cases that shouldn’t go forward,” Matson said.
  • The situation has also highlighted what some call a flawed funding model. Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee is among them.
  • “I think we have to reform it, but you have to do it over a period of time,” Ward said. “You can’t do it just overnight.”
  • Read the full story from Caroline Beck and Mary Sell HERE.






A message from

The Boeing Company

  • Boeing employees in Alabama are playing an essential role in helping humankind make the next giant leap to the Moon and eventually Mars through its work on the Space Launch System (SLS).
  • Boeing and NASA teams recently completed a rigorous avionics review to ensure the first core stage will be prepared to resume testing when facilities are safe to reopen.
  • The Boeing-built SLS is NASA’s most powerful rocket and will be used to transport the first woman and next man to the Moon for the agency’s Artemis program.
  • Boeing is the prime contractor for the design, development, test and production of the launch vehicle core stage, as well as development of the flight avionics suite. The program is managed out of Huntsville from the Marshall Space Flight Center.
  • You can read more about the program’s progress here.






3. Mackey discusses school reopening plans

  • Alabama public schools closed because of the coronavirus could bring some students back in June as part of a phased reopening before the next full school year, the state’s top official for K-12 schools said.
  • Children 13 and older could return to campus in groups of 10 or fewer people for athletic practice and possibly summer school starting June 8, Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey said during an online Q&A session with Alabama Association of School Boards Executive Director Sally Smith.
  • Younger students could get the go-ahead to return for summer literacy camps as early as July 6, and band and athletic practices could start in early August, he said.
  • But Mackey warned that the timeline was tentative and dependent on the impact of the virus.
  • “We may move forward, and then we may have to retract,” he said.
  • Read more and watch the video HERE.



4. DHS report: China hid virus’ severity to hoard supplies

  • U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show.
  • Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable.
  • Not classified but marked “for official use only,” the DHS analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the analysis states.
  • The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Trump talks reopening, Senate reconvenes

  • Anxious to spur an economic recovery without risking lives, President Donald Trump on Sunday insisted that “you can satisfy both” — see states gradually lift lockdowns while also protecting people from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 60,000 Americans.
  • The president, fielding questions from Americans in a virtual town hall from the Lincoln Memorial, acknowledged valid fears on both sides of the issue. Some people are worried about getting sick; others are reeling from lost jobs and livelihoods.
  • But while Trump increased his projection for the total U.S. death total to 80,000 or 90,000 — up by more than 20,000 fatalities from what he had suggested just a few weeks ago — he struck a note of urgency to restart the nation’s economy, declaring “we have to reopen our country.”
  • Read more and watch the full town hall event HERE.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is reconvening today for the first time since March. The House remains in recess for now.
  • Senate Majority Mitch McConnell said the Senate cannot “sit on the sidelines.” He compared the senators to the essential work force of grocery clerks, truck drivers and others keeping Americans fed during the crisis.
  • Yet re-opening part of Capitol Hill poses health risks not just for the lawmakers but the cooks, cleaners, police officers and other workers who keep the lights on at the Capitol complex. The Washington, D.C. area remains a virus hot-spot under stay-home rules.
  • It won’t be more COVID-19 funding topping the agenda, with officials saying Congress is now in a “wait and see” mode to ascertain how the more than $3 trillion already approved will work.
  • Instead, the Senate will be busy with hearings on policy and nominations, including judges and defense officials, and the Director of National Intelligence.
  • Read more from Capitol Hill HERE.





A message from the

Alabama State Port Authority

Thanks to Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature, larger ships are welcome at Alabama’s only seaport.
The Rebuild Alabama Act helps pay for modernizing Alabama’s harbor and channel to accommodate larger ships, deliver more capacity and lower rates for Alabama shippers.
Keeping Alabama companies competitive helps our businesses grow, attracts new investment, and employs more Alabamians.
The PORT. Providing Alabama products cost competitive access to global markets.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – State House preview: Lawmakers want say in spending of federal coronavirus funds


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – DAs look to Legislature for funding help after COVID-19


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mackey outlines phased plan to reopen schools


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Dr. Jeremy Smith: Support Needed For Quality Care To Continue


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -DHS report: China hid virus’ severity to hoard supplies


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Senate set to reopen as virus risk divides Congress


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In televised town hall, Trump pushes for economic reopening


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 18 deaths, 85 COVID-19 cases at veterans home


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawsuit challenges Alabama voting rules during pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – After record year, Alabama tourism revenues expected to fall


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Lack of travel leads to decline in fatal wrecks in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – May 1, 2020


AL.COM  – Blount County sheriff won’t enforce coronavirus laws


AL.COM  – Alabama reports 270 new coronavirus cases; 7,615 overall; 6 counties have double-digit growth


AL.COM  – Air Force plans flyovers at Alabama hospitals for those “at the front line battling COVID-19”


AL.COM  – Alabama students losing K-12 private school scholarships under Accountability Act


AL.COM  – Alabama shatters tourism records in 2019, but 2020 looks bleak.


AL.COM  – Many return to work this week in Alabama, and feelings are divided


AL.COM  – Airbus is in ‘gravest crisis,’ but coronavirus won’t kill operations in Mobile


AL.COM  – Alabama schools could reopen in June for some students


Montgomery Advertiser – 187th Fighter Wing Red Tails to salute coronavirus front line ‘hero’ workers


Montgomery Advertiser – New leaders take over Red Tail fighter and support squadrons


Montgomery Advertiser – Pike Road students 3D printing parts to help coronavirus fight


YellowHammer News – State Rep. Allen: ‘Doesn’t make much sense’ that liquor, big-box stores are open while churches remain closed


YellowHammer News – State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris touts Alabama’s ‘gradual first step’ in coronavirus reopening in national TV appearance


YellowHammer News – Alabama nurses use technology, drop off supplies for first-time mothers in need


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama official outlines phased plan to reopen schools


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama’s virus numbers rise as stores, other venues open


Tuscaloosa News – Court rejects lawsuits challenging traffic camera tickets


Decatur Daily – Morgan courthouse to open Monday, with Limestone and Lawrence to open May 11


Decatur Daily – Transport of workers to COVID-19 hot spot raises local concern


Decatur Daily – As DAs struggle for funding, Morgan and other counties make staff cuts


Times Daily – Ag authority selects construction manager


Times Daily – DAs look to Legislature for funding help after COVID-19


Times Daily – Colbert County Courthouse set to reopen Monday


Anniston Star – Man dead after shooting Saturday in Heflin


Anniston Star – H. Brandt Ayers, former publisher of The Anniston Star, dead at 85


Anniston Star – Alabama youth deal with school closures, uncertain futures


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Vet performs life-changing surgery on dog free of charge to family in need


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tune in and turn it up: Online radio station connects senior communities


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Missing 6-year-old Miy’Angel Crutchfield found safe, suspect in custody


WAFF Huntsville – Buckhorn school grieves death of student following car accident; second student in serious condition


WAFF Huntsville – Power outages, trees down as severe storm rolls through North Alabama


WAFF Huntsville – Costco requiring customers to wear face masks starting Monday; also limiting the amount of meat per purchase


Gadsden Times – After record year, Alabama tourism revenues expected to fall


Gadsden Times – Alabama official outlines phased plan to reopen schools


Gadsden Times – Judicial branch restrictions extended through May 15


Dothan Eagle – Nonprofits face challenges supporting community and themselves during pandemic


Dothan Eagle – Nationally-recognized Golf+ of Dothan has adapted well during COVID-19


Dothan Eagle – Lee announces grant program to provide marketing assistance to local businesses impacted by COVID-19


Troy Messenger – County case count increases


Troy Messenger – Couple celebrates ‘Quarantine Wedding’ with love, technology


Andalusia Star News – BACK TO BUSINESS


Andalusia Star News – Veterans Services office opens Monday


Andalusia Star News – County Commission paves way for large scale solar project in Wing


Opelika-Auburn News – House Dems to skip budget session


Opelika-Auburn News – ‘The heart and soul of our company;’ AU Hotel gives back


Opelika-Auburn News – Community Garden provides fresh food, fresh air, fresh perspective


Daily Mountain Eagle – WACF awards $90K in COVID-19-related grants


Daily Mountain Eagle – Community Foundation awards $836K in grants


Daily Mountain Eagle – GALLERY: Free pet food distributed to locals


Trussville Tribune – After record year, Alabama tourism revenues expected to fall


Trussville Tribune – Lack of travel leads to decline in fatal wrecks in Alabama


Trussville Tribune – Tentative plan calls for phased reopening of schools starting in June; Athletic practice, summer school might return in limited form


Athens News Courier – Lack of travel leads to decline in fatal wrecks in Alabama


Athens News Courier – For some Alabama farmers, worries grow like weeds


Athens News Courier – After record year, Alabama tourism revenues expected to fall


Sand Mountain Reporter – County Courthouses to remain closed to public | Commission sets May 18 open date unless COVID-19 cases spike


Sand Mountain Reporter – Supplemental Security Income recipients must act now to get additional relief


Sand Mountain Reporter – Alabama counties able to apply for COVID-19 related election expense reimbursement


WSFA Montgomery – Ala. National Guard plans flyovers to salute COVID-19 response efforts


WSFA Montgomery – Troy University, Pike County Schools partner to manufacture PPE using 3D printers


WSFA Montgomery – Court rejects lawsuits challenging traffic camera tickets


WKRG Mobile – Police: Robertsdale inmate dies in custody


WKRG Mobile – 2020 National Day of Prayer takes on new significance in pandemic


WKRG Mobile – Family says husband, daughter run over by jet ski in Dog River


WTVY Dothan – Back in session: Senate risks a return but House stays away


WTVY Dothan – Troy students will return to campus classes for fall semester


WTVY Dothan – Ozark robbery suspect in custody


WASHINGTON POST  – The housing market faces its next crisis as May rent and mortgages come due


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump says it’s safe to reopen states as governors grapple with loosening restrictions


WASHINGTON POST  – White House and Congress clash over liability protections for businesses as firms cautiously weigh virus reopening plans


NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Says U.S. Death Toll Could Reach 100,000


NEW YORK TIMES  – Anti-Vaccination Activists Are Growing Force at Virus Protests


NEW YORK TIMES  – What’s Scaring the Pediatricians: Children are not the focus of the pandemic. But pediatricians are worried for children and families, for now and for the future.

No front pages today 🙁