Weekend Digest – April 18, 2021

Weekend Digest – April 18, 2021

Good afternoon and happy Sunday!
Here’s your Daily News for April 18.

1. City leaders watch business license renewals for COVID-19 impact

  • In a March presentation on how the city of Birmingham’s finances are faring one year into the pandemic, city finance director Lester Smith said business license filings were down about 500 in the first 2.5 months of the year compared to the same time last year.
  • “My concern is that differentiation between those numbers may be lost businesses, but we don’t know that yet so we have to continue to monitor it,” Smith said late last month.
  • Municipal business licenses are usually due early each year and have been an anticipated gauge of the true economic impact of COVID-19.
  • “The overall concern is that in the municipalities that have seen a downturn in license renewals, is that you have lost some jobs and loss of business investment in your community,” Alabama League of Municipalities Executive Director Greg Cochran told Alabama Daily News. “Ensuring that businesses stayed healthy during the pandemic and stayed afloat financially was a difficult tight rope for a lot of them to maneuver down.”
  • There’s no statewide collection of business license data. Alabama Daily News reached out to some of the state’s largest cities about their 2021 licenses compared to 2020 and 2019. Several reported at least a slight decline.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.

2. ‘Aniah’s Law’ denying bail in more cases heads to voters

  • Alabama lawmakers have approved a proposal intended to give judges more discretion to deny bail to people accused of violent crimes that is named in honor of a college student killed in 2019.
  • Legislators last week approved the proposed constitutional amendment rewriting a section of the Alabama Constitution to clarify a list of offenses where a judge can deny bail. The offenses include murder, kidnapping, rape, and first-degree robbery.
  • Voters must approve the amendment before it can be added to the constitution.
  • The proposal is called Aniah’s Law for 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard who was killed after being abducted from an Auburn gas station. The suspect in her killing was free on bond in an earlier kidnapping case, authorities said.
  • “Too many of those who are accused of violent crimes are bonding out of jail and committing even more serious offenses, and it is time for law-abiding Alabamians to start fighting back,” Republican Rep. Chip Brown of Mobile, the sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
  • Read more HERE.

3. Treatment ban creates uncertainty for trans youth, families

  • Before he began receiving hormone therapy eight months ago, Dylan Brandt felt insecure and out of place. Then the 15-year-old transgender boy started taking testosterone in August. His mood improved, and his mother said he became more outgoing.
  • But in the coming months, Dylan and his family face a difficult choice. His home state, Arkansas, passed a law prohibiting gender confirming treatments for minors, the first state to do so.
  • Unless opponents are successful in blocking it with a lawsuit, Arkansas’ ban will take effect late this summer. The measure prohibits doctors from providing gender confirming hormone therapy, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 or referring them to other doctors who provide that care.
  • It’s already created confusion, sadness and pain for hundreds of transgender youth, as well as their families and health care providers. With other states considering similar bans, it’s a preview of the difficult choices that other families could face around the country.
  • Similar legislation in Alabama has already passed the Senate.
  • Read more HERE.

4. Fauci says he expects J&J vaccine to resume later this week

  • The United States will likely move to resume Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this coming week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, in a series of news show interviews, said he expects a decision when advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meet Friday to discuss the pause in J&J’s single-dose vaccine.
  • “I would be very surprised if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday,” he said. “I don’t really anticipate that they’re going to want it stretch it out a bit longer.”
  • Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said he believed that federal regulators could bring the shots back with restrictions based on age or gender or with a blanket warning, so that it is administered in a way “a little bit different than we were before the pause.”
  • Read more HERE.

5. GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run

  • Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left the White House, the race to succeed him atop the Republican Party is already beginning.
  • Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has launched an aggressive schedule, visiting states that will play a pivotal role in the 2024 primaries, and he has signed a contract with Fox News Channel. 
  • Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, has started a political advocacy group, finalized a book deal and later this month will give his first speech since leaving office in South Carolina.
  • And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been courting donors, including in Trump’s backyard, with a prominent speaking slot before the former president at a GOP fundraising retreat dinner this month at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort where Trump now lives.
  • Trump ended his presidency with such a firm grip on Republican voters that party leaders fretted he would freeze the field of potential 2024 candidates, delaying preparations as he teased another run. Instead, many Republicans with national ambitions are openly laying the groundwork for campaigns as Trump continues to mull his own plans.
  • Read more HERE.

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – City leaders watch business license renewals for COVID-19 impact
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Aniah’s Law’ denying bail in more cases heads to voters
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Treatment ban creates uncertainty for trans youth, families
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fauci says he expects J&J vaccine to resume later this week
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama unemployment rate drops to 3.8%
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lawmakers vote to ban trans athletes from female teams
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Broadband expansion bill close to final vote
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Medical marijuana bill heads to key House vote
 
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would ban state enforcement of federal gun laws
 
AL.COM – Alabama continues slow path toward normalcy after removal of mask mandate: ‘It’s a good feeling’.
 
AL.COM – Hoover demonstrators hold peaceful protest against police brutality, racial injustice.
 
AL.COM – Alabama corrections officer faces felony over smuggling contraband into jail.
 
AL.COM – America First Caucus would champion ‘Anglo-Saxon political traditions’.
 
AL.COM – What’s in Alabama’s plan for a lottery, casinos, and sports betting?
 
AL.COM – Alabama beach businesses scramble for employees amid tourism boom: ‘Begging people to work’.
 
AL.COM – Coronavirus death toll tops 3 million people worldwide.
 
AL.COM – Columnist Amanda Walker: Everything doesn’t have to be political.
 
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: On gun control, police shootings and living out ‘Groundhog Day’.
 
AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: Packing SCOTUS remains a ‘bonehead’ political blunder for Democrats.
 
AL.COM – Contributor Jessica Miller: Alzheimer’s in the South: The Latest in Research.
 
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame salutes Alabama health care workers.
 
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – ‘Saving taxpayers millions of dollars’: Alabama lawmaker wants to cut red tape for local school construction.
 
AP NEWS – Ivey OKs naming sweet potato as Alabama’s state vegetable.
 
DECATUR DAILY – Barrels made at Jack Daniel Cooperage are ‘No. 1 ingredient’.
 
DECATUR DAILY – Broadband expansion bill close to final vote.
 
GADSDEN TIMES – Pilot’s perspective: Rendering plant poses safety risk, threat to access and future growth.
 
GADSDEN TIMES – Rendering plant opposition attorney responds to mayor’s questions, criticisms.
 
ANNISTON STAR – ‘Very active post’: McClellan still swarms with soldiers, thanks to National Guard.
 
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Stephen Cooper: Let’s kill Alabama’s death penalty with capitalism.
 
OPELIKA AUBURN NEWS – CARES Act reaches more than 6,000 Auburn residents so far; additional relief expected in May.
 
WASHINGTON POST – Columnist Jonathan Capehart: Being Black in America is exhausting.
 
WASHINGTON POST – The GOP’s gradual descent into ‘replacement theory’ and ‘nativist dog whistles’.
 
WASHINGTON POST – The Search for Environmental Hope: Climate news is relentlessly, objectively grim. Should we ever allow ourselves to feel optimism?
 
NEW YORK TIMES – One America News Network Stays True to Trump
 
NEW YORK TIMES – The New York Times: Make Tax-Dodging Companies Pay for Biden’s Infrastructure Plan
 
NEW YORK TIMES – Despite Tensions, U.S. and China Agree to Work Together on Climate Change
 
NEW YORK TIMES – One Way to Get People Off the Streets: Buy Hotels. For homeless people, a place to live is life changing to a degree that almost no other intervention can provide.