Weekend Digest – August 9, 2020

Weekend Digest – August 9, 2020
Good afternoon and happy Sunday!
Here’s your Daily News for August 9.

1. Trump allows some unemployment pay, defers payroll tax

  • President Donald Trump on Saturday bypassed the nation’s lawmakers as he claimed the authority to defer payroll taxes and replace an expired unemployment benefit with a lower amount after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed.
  • Trump’s orders encroached on Congress’ control of federal spending and seemed likely to be met with legal challenges.
  • The president cast his actions as necessary given that lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement to plunge more money into the stumbling economy, which has imperiled his November reelection.
  • Trump moved to continue paying a supplemental federal unemployment benefit for millions of Americans out of work during the outbreak. However, his order called for up to $400 payments each week, one-third less than the $600 people had been receiving. How many people would receive the benefit and how long it might take to arrive were open questions.
  • The previous unemployment benefit, which expired on Aug. 1, was fully funded by Washington, but Trump is asking states to now cover 25%. He is seeking to set aside $44 billion in previously approved disaster aid to help states, but said it would be up to states to determine how much, if any of it, to fund, so the benefits could be smaller still.
  • Read more about Trump’s order HERE.

 

2. Virus resistant: World’s Longest Yard Sale still lines roads

  • For decades, thousands of vendors have fanned out along roadsides from Alabama to Michigan each summer to haggle over the prices of old Coca-Cola bottles, clothes, toys, knives and more at The World’s Longest Yard Sale.
  • And though the coronavirus pandemic has canceled events around the globe, the six-state yard sale is happening this weekend for the 34th straight year.
  • Beginning Thursday and ending Sunday, thousands of people will mingle, chat and bargain across a 690-mile-long stretch of Middle America. Organizers say they might not get the usual crowd, estimated at 200,000 people, but they could.
  • “We feel like there’s a lot of pent-up demand,” said Hugh Stump III, executive director of tourism in Gadsden, at the southernmost end of the sale.
  • Read more from AP’s Jay Reeves HERE.

 

3. Postal Service emerges as flash point heading into election

  •  Mail piling up. Constant attacks from the president. Cuts to overtime as record numbers of ballots are expected to pass through post offices this fall.
  • The success of the 2020 presidential election could hinge on a most unlikely government agency: the U.S. Postal Service. Current signs are not promising.
  • The Postal Service already was facing questions over how it would handle the expected spike of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic, but several operational changes imposed by its new leader have led to mail backlogs across the United States as rumors of additional cutbacks swirl, fueling worries about the November vote.
  • “It seems like they’re just trying to turn customers away from the post office,” said Jim Sizemore, president of the American Postal Workers Union chapter in the Cincinnati region. He said his offices are behind on deliveries because of new rules specifying when mail can go out.
  • The pandemic has forced states to expand voting by mail as a safe alternative to in-person polling places. Some states are opting to send ballots to voters or allowing people to use fear of the virus as a reason to cast an absentee ballot. That’s led to predictions of an an unprecedented amount of mail voting in the presidential election.
  • Read more about the postal service HERE.

 

A message from
The Business Council of Alabama
The Business Council of Alabama is proud to present Engage Alabama, a virtual business conference open to all Alabamians.
It is available at no cost to attendees, thanks to our incredible sponsors.
This two-day summit, taking place August 26-27, will bring together more than 40 elected officials, industry leaders, and subject matter experts to provide invaluable resources on hot-button issues in our state.
Register at no charge, and the first 750 to do so will receive a complimentary conference t-shirt.

 

4. Suit claiming bats, rats at Eutaw courthouse goes to Supreme Court

  • An Alabama appeals court ruled it doesn’t have the power to decide whether to dismiss an employee lawsuit claiming a west Alabama courthouse is infested with rodents and bats.
  • The Court of Civil Appeals, in a decision Friday, said the Alabama Supreme Court needed to consider the lawsuit involving the Greene County Courthouse at Eutaw.
  • Nearly 30 county employees filed suit in February blaming county commissioners for what the suit describes as deplorable conditions at the William McKinley Branch Courthouse, which opened in the mid-1990s and was named for a civil rights leader who became the nation’s first elected Black probate judge.
  • Aside from pests inside the building, the roof leaks, and air conditioning and heating systems don’t work, the suit claims. The problems combine to create unsafe working conditions, the suit claims, and workers deserve an unspecified amount of money as compensation.
  • The county denied there was a “continuous” bat infestation, court documents show. It also contends the suit doesn’t state any claims that should result in a verdict for the workers and asked a court to throw out the complaint.
  • Read the full story HERE.

 

5. Week in Good News

State trying to reduce $7M cost of cleaning up litter
  • A new campaign by the Alabama Department of Transportation highlights both the huge cost of removing roadside trash and the potential penalties for being a litterbug.
  • The fine for a first conviction for littering is $500, and a second conviction can cost $1,000 plus community service. Lawmakers increased the penalties last year as the cost of removing litter reached $7 million.
  • The trash highlighted in the “Trash Costs Cash” public service announcement includes cigarette butts, fast-food trash, plastic bottles and old drink cans.
  • “If we each play our part in keeping our state clean, we won’t be impacted by the rising litter fines. More ALDOT funding can be spent on improving the roads we drive instead of litter pickup,” Allison Green, coordinator of Drive Safe Alabama, said in a statement.
  • Read the full story HERE.

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump allows some unemployment pay, defers payroll tax
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Virus resistant: World’s Longest Yard Sale still lines roads
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Postal Service emerges as flash point heading into election
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Suit claiming bats, rats at courthouse goes to Supreme Court
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State trying to reduce $7M cost of cleaning up litter
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – August 7, 2020
AL.COM – Alabama coronavirus cases falling in many counties: Week in review.
AL.COM – President Trump extends COVID unemployment benefits, defers payroll tax.
AL.COM – Alabama schools won’t test all students for COVID-19, worrying some experts about spread.
AL.COM – Alabama schools reopening: What we know so far about coronavirus and kids.
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: God repeats himself: ‘I don’t do politics’.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – O’Neal Cancer Center and ADPH bring enhanced cervical cancer education and screening options to 13 counties in state.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – State Sen. Elliott: ‘No way in the world’ financing for Ivey new prison plan passes the smell test.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Hospital officials say now is not the time to ease precautions.
DECATUR DAILY – HUD: Decatur Housing Authority blocked Blacks from riverfront apartments.
DECATUR DAILY – The Decatur Daily: Students on the front line of keeping schools safe.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Rebels and racists may lose namesakes on UA buildings.
GADSDEN TIMES – BLM Gadsden, counter-protesters clash during march.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – A year after Mississippi ICE raids, chicken plants face few penalties as families suffer.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Rally against discrimination and hate held in Montgomery.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor William Green: It’s life or death: Congress must help with electric bills.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions.
WASHINGTON POST – Calling it a ‘peaceful protest,’ Trump flouts coronavirus guidelines with golf club gathering.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Susan Southard: Americans insist the atom bomb ended the war in Japan — ignoring its human cost.
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: Trump’s executive orders won’t cut it. Congress needs to make a deal.
WASHINGTON POST – Why climate change is about to make your bad commute worse.
WASHINGTON POST – After hundreds of covid-19 deaths in state-run veterans homes, lawmakers press VA to adhere to science.
WASHINGTON POST – He fled Congo to work in a U.S. meat plant. Then he — and hundreds of his co-workers — got the coronavirus.
NEW YORK TIMES – Democrats Hold Edge as Battle for Senate Majority Becomes ‘Knife Fight’
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Go-It-Alone Stimulus Won’t Do Much to Lift the Recovery
NEW YORK TIMES – The New York Times: America Could Control the Pandemic by October. Let’s Get to It.
NEW YORK TIMES – Hurricane Forecast: ‘One of the Most Active Seasons on Record’
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Ross Douthat: What to Do When Covid Doesn’t Go Away
NBC NEWS – Small farmers left behind in Trump administration’s COVID-19 relief package.