Weekend Digest – July 11, 2021

Weekend Digest – July 11, 2021

1. Alabama won’t require masks, social distancing at K-12 schools

  • State Superintendent Eric Mackey on Friday said there will be no push from the state department to require students or staff to wear masks when schools resume next month.
  • Mackey told Alabama Daily News it will be up to local schools to approach mask-wearing and social distancing.
  • “Local school districts have the authority if they want to do something with requirements, but we are not going to do any guidance from the state level on that,” Mackey said.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey’s press secretary Gina Maiola confirmed to ADN that the governor will not be pushing a mask mandate for schools.
  • “Gov. Ivey believes students need to be in the classroom without any type of mask requirement,” Maiola said. “She continues to encourage all eligible Alabamians to roll up their sleeves and get the vaccine to make COVID-19 a distant memory.”
  • Read more from me HERE.

 

2. Trump attacks Britt in Senate race

  • Former President Donald Trump attacked U.S. Senate candidate Katie Britt Saturday while asking voters to support his endorsed candidate, Congressman Mo Brooks.
  • In an abrupt statement Saturday evening, the former president called Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell an “Old Crow” who was helping push the candidacy of Britt, whom Trump called an “assistant” to Sen. Richard Shelby.
  • Britt was formerly chief of staff to Shelby as he was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • “She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our country needs,” Trump’s statement read. “For Mitch McConnell to be wasting money on her campaign is absolutely outrageous. Vote for Mo Brooks!”
  • Britt dismissed the sudden swipe as a proxy attack from Brooks in response to her impressive fundraising haul announced last week. Britt raised more than $2.2 million for her campaign in less than a month.
  • “I don’t need anyone else to fight my battles,” Britt said in video posted to Twitter. “My opponent is obviously panicked. He’s been in elected office for 40 years, but the people of Alabama are eager for a real conservative choice and someone who’s going to bring change to D.C.”
  • Read more from Todd Stacy HERE.

 

3. State trying to boost sagging vaccination rate in Alabama

  • A state agency said Friday it will work with private organizations to encourage more elderly and disabled people to get vaccines for COVID-19, which is on the rise in Alabama as the state’s inoculation rate trails the nation.
  • With Alabama trailing only Mississippi in vaccinations and just 30% of the state’s population fully vaccinated against the illness caused by the new coronavirus, the Alabama Department of Senior Services said a new marketing campaign was aimed at overcoming vaccine hesitancy.
  • The agency will work with local agencies for the aging and disability organizations to encourage more people to get shots. A telephone hotline will allow people to reach local services and make vaccination appointments, which has been difficult for some disabled people.
  • “Through this new marketing campaign, ADSS is making it easy for Alabamians to connect with a live, local individual who can help provide information and resources specific to their needs,” Commissioner Jean Brown said in a statement.
  • Read more HERE.

 

4. Democrats craft voting bill with eye on Supreme Court fight

  • As congressional Democrats gear up for another bruising legislative push to expand voting rights, much of their attention has quietly focused on a small yet crucial voting bloc with the power to scuttle their plans: the nine Supreme Court justices.
  • Democrats face dim prospects for passing voting legislation through a narrowly divided Congress, where an issue that once drew compromise has become an increasingly partisan flashpoint. But as they look to reinstate key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark civil rights-era law diminished over the past decade by Supreme Court rulings, they have accepted the reality that any bill they pass probably will wind up in litigation — and ultimately back before the high court.
  • The task of building a more durable Voting Rights Act got harder when the high court’s conservative majority on July 1 issued its second major ruling in eight years narrowing the law’s once robust power.
  • “What it feels like is a shifting of the goal posts,” said Damon Hewitt, the president and executive director of the left-leaning Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
  • Read more HERE.

 

5. Jury selection set to begin for trial of Alabama sheriff

  • A longtime Alabama sheriff accused on theft and ethics charges is set to stand trial nearly two years after he was indicted.
  • Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday for Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, who has continued to serve despite facing a dozen felony counts alleging he stole campaign donations, got interest-free loans and solicited money from employees.
  • Blakely, 70, has pleaded not guilty and announced plans to seek an 11th term in office if acquitted. While state law doesn’t require the removal of a sheriff under indictment, a conviction would result in his automatic ouster from office.
  • Read more HERE.

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama won’t require masks, social distancing at K-12 schools
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump attacks Britt in Alabama Senate race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State trying to boost sagging vaccination rate in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democrats craft voting bill with eye on Supreme Court fight
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jury selection set to begin for trial of Alabama sheriff
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rep. Mike Jones seeks Senate seat
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jessica Taylor enters US Senate race in Alabama
AL.COM – Alabama schools are using summer reading camps to improve literacy. Will it work?
AL.COM – Donald Trump Jr. at Alabama fishing expo hears his name floated for 2024 GOP ticket
AL.COM – Katie Britt dismisses Trump comment that she’s ‘not what Alabama wants’ for US Senate
AL.COM – At CPAC 2021, conservatives dream of a Trump comeback — or reinstatement
AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: In defense of conservative Mountain Brook parents
AL.COM Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Alabama is dead last for COVID vaccinations. Kay Ivey seems OK with that
AL.COM – Mo Brooks tells CPAC crowd to fight like soldiers at Valley Forge
AL.COM – Alabama home to 1 of 5 unvaccinated clusters putting all of America at risk for COVID variants
AL.COM – Johnson & Johnson vaccine effective against Delta variant, UAB experts say
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – This city is leading the renaissance of Alabama’s Black Belt
THE HILL – Republican immigration proposal falls flat
THE HILL – Biden urged to harden government for future pandemics
POLITICO – Plugging Obamacare’s biggest hole poses dilemma for Democrats: Lawmakers can’t agree on how to extend coverage to millions in red states refusing Medicaid expansion
ROLL CALL – GOP bill for Capitol security cuts House version by two-thirds
DECATUR DAILY – Institute for Deaf & Blind to start using part of Wallace Center property, begin renovations
DECATUR DAILY – The Decatur Daily: COVID cases rising among unvaccinated
TIMES DAILY – Statewide spike of retiring educators has affected some Shoals schools
TIMES DAILY – Alabama won’t require masks, social distancing at K-12 public schools
GADSDEN TIMES – Industrial hemp production still developing in Alabama
OPELIKA AUBURN NEWS – ‘They’re sisters’: Community rallies around Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch while residents struggle to cope with loss
DOTHAN EAGLE – Clouse eyes House speaker seat as state prison decision looms
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: A grueling task
WASHINGTON POST – Rent prices are soaring as Americans flock back to cities
WASHINGTON POST – ‘Fear on top of fear’: Why anti-gun Americans joined the wave of new gun owners
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: The Jan. 6 Capitol attack was, in fact, a violent insurrection
WASHINGTON POST – ‘The real damage’
Why FEMA is denying disaster aid to Black families that have lived for generations in the Deep South.
NEW YORK TIMES – Editorial Board Member Brent Staples: How the White Press Wrote Off Black America
NEW YORK TIMES – The Big Question of the 2022 Midterms: How Will the Suburbs Swing?