Weekend Digest – April 11, 2021

Weekend Digest – April 11, 2021

Good afternoon and Happy Sunday!
Here’s your Daily News for April 11.

1. Alabama mask order ends, but some cities, schools continue

  • With Gov. Kay Ivey advocating personal responsibility and common sense as Alabama’s statewide mask order ends Friday after nearly nine months, local governments, school systems and businesses are coming up with their own rules to address the continuing COVID-19 threat.
  • Two of Alabama’s largest cities, including Birmingham and Montgomery, are keeping mask requirements in place.
  • “We’re doing this because the pandemic still exists and remains a threat. I have been encouraged by many small businesses to extend the mandate beyond the expiration date of the state order,” Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said.
  • Tuscaloosa city schools will continue to require face masks for all students, faculty and staff, spokeswoman Lesley Bruinton told The Tuscaloosa News. Tuscaloosa County schools, however, won’t require face coverings for workers or its 19,000 students.
  • Read more HERE.

2. Affair derails secretary of state Merrill’s political hopes

  • The venue had been booked. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, a rising GOP star with an eye long set on higher office, was about to announce his run for U.S. Senate. But then scandal brought his political aspirations crashing down.
  • Merrill’s upward trajectory was shattered this week by a woman’s disclosure of their affair, prompting him to announce that he will not run for Senate or any other office in 2022.
  • Merrill declined to go into detail but told media outlet al.com Wednesday that he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman outside his marriage. The outlet reported that he had initially denied the affair before being confronted with a recording of a phone conversation between him and Cesaire McPherson.
  • Merrill, 57, told The Associated Press that he will not be a candidate “because of choices I have made and the decisions I have made that were not in the best interest of me or my family.”
  • He declined to discuss the relationship.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

3. Speaker: Representatives divided over trans treatment bill

  • Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon says representatives are divided over a bill that would ban the use of hormones and puberty-blockers to treat transgender minors.
  • The Republican legislative leader said Thursday he was uncertain when the bill would get a floor vote.
  • “I’ve had some discussions with members this week, and members, in some ways are a little divided on the issues,” McCutcheon said.
  • “So, if it does come to the floor, I’m sure, there will be hearty debate on the issue because there are a lot of questions out there.”
  • Arkansas lawmakers this week made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, enacting the prohibition over the governor’s objections. Opponents have vowed to challenge it in court.
  • Read more HERE.

4. Virus recovery funds to promote tourism on Alabama coast

  • Beach season is heating up, and Alabama’s coast is getting federal money to help recover from tourism losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration said Thursday it will provide the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau with $800,000 for a marketing program. The money will be combined with $200,000 in local funding.
  • The agency is helping communities nationwide implement programs to counter economic hardships caused by the pandemic, Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary for economic development, said in a statement.
  • “This investment will fund a strategic, multi-faceted marketing campaign designed to attract visitors to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, resulting in continuous economic growth and job creation,” he said.
  • Read more HERE.

5. After Amazon: Labor tries to regroup in wake of Alabama loss

  • Despite the strongest public support and the most sympathetic president in years, the American labor movement just suffered a stinging defeat — again.
  • Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, overwhelmingly voted against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in much-anticipated election results announced Friday.
  • Amazon and business groups celebrated the decision, saying warehouse workers got a chance to weigh the pros and cons of union membership — and voted to reject it.
  • But labor activists argue that the lopsided vote shows how unfairly the odds are stacked against union organizing efforts and highlights the need for Congress to reform U.S. labor law. The House last month passed such legislation — the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act — but it looks likely to die in the Senate.
  • Read more HERE.

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama mask order ends, but some cities, schools continue
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Affair derails Alabama secretary of state’s political hopes
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Speaker: Representatives divided over trans treatment bill
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Virus recovery funds to promote tourism on Alabama coast
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After Amazon: Labor tries to regroup in wake of Alabama loss
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Vaccine passport’ ban bill passes Senate
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers waive workforce requirements on tax credits
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Constitutional Amendment would allow $80M bond issue for state park renovations
 
AL.COM – John Merrill was hours away from announcing US Senate run when scandal exploded.
 
AL.COM – Alabama lawmakers ‘a little divided’ over trans youth treatment bill.
 
AL.COM – Slavery reparations to be considered by Congress.
 
AL.COM – Alabama has nation’s 2nd lowest new COVID case rate as mask order ends.
 
AL.COM – Columnist Amanda Walker: Salvaging the dignity of history.
 
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: The old politics behind the new vaccine.
 
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Auburn University’s Department of Animal Sciences partners with Winpak to extend shelf life of food.
 
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Nearly $100 million targeted for wildlife injured by 2010 oil spill in Gulf of Mexico.
 
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama’s Holocaust Day of Remembrance observance to be April 11.
 
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – State business leaders expecting economic growth.
 
DECATUR DAILY – Biden’s gun control measures get mixed reviews locally.
 
RUSSIAN TIMES – The Decatur Daily: Faith in elections is under assault.
 
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – COVID-19 cases at lowest point in a year.
 
ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star: Medicaid dollars would benefit state.
 
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Could the Confederate Memorial Park be a future home for Alabama’s displaced monuments?
 
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Perry Hooper: HR 1 ‘For the People Act’ is a disaster.
 
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Al Allenback: Don’t believe hype: HR-1 is truly ‘For The People’ who want to vote.
 
WASHINGTON POST – Amazon’s win in Alabama is latest victory in power struggle between tech giants, workers.
 
WASHINGTON POST – Rep. Greene’s fundraising haul alarms detractors, who warn she represents a dangerous side of American politics.
 
WASHINGTON POST – Child care wasn’t prioritized in the first infrastructure package. It’s ‘cause for alarm,’ experts say.
 
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Kate Crawford: Amazon’s union vote could be a harbinger for the future of work.
 
WASHINGTON POST – More Black Americans open to vaccines after outreach efforts.
 
NEW YORK TIMES – Vaccinated Mothers Are Trying to Give Babies Antibodies via Breast Milk
 
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Paul Krugman Wonks Out: Why Was Trump’s Signature Policy Such a Flop?