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7 Things: Alabama coronavirus numbers keep improving, Terri Sewell weighing U.S. Senate bid, Ivey and legislature jockeying for power and more …

7. Now the White House doesn’t want to praise Cuomo

  • President Joe Biden has considered New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) “the gold standard” for how to handle the coronavirus pandemic, but now that Cuomo is facing investigation for how he covered up nursing home deaths, the White House wants to distance itself from the governor.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if Cuomo is still “the gold standard,” but instead of directly answering the question, she mentioned how Cuomo is the chair of the National Governors Association and the “role” he plays in helping during the pandemic. Regarding the investigation, she said they’re going to “leave that to others to determine, the appropriate law enforcement authorities to determine how that path is going to move as we look forward.”

6. Biden has us back in the Paris climate agreement

  • President Joe Biden has officially brought the United States back into the Paris Agreement, which was expected after some of the environmental executive orders he signed right after taking office.
  • Despite concerns that businesses might have about the agreement, Biden has previously said that this is necessary. Special envoy for climate John Kerry has said that the Paris Agreement isn’t enough, adding, “If every country delivered, we’d still see a warming planet Earth.” Kerry said this to stress that more actions need to be taken.

5. Alabama exports will rebound this year

  • In 2020, exports from Alabama declined by 17.6%, but it still totaled $17.13 billion; there were areas of exports that saw growth. Overall, the state remains 10% higher than it did in 2010. Governor Kay Ivey said, “Despite the challenges, Alabama has maintained and in fact strengthened its reputation as a reliable exporter of products and services.”
  • It’s anticipated that the exports in Alabama will rebound in 2021, but 2020 still saw growth in agriculture products by 196.7%, medical equipment by 53.8%, forest products by 22.8% and textile mill products by 50%.

4. Let the legislature call a special session

  • In 2020, the legislature was unable to meet for most of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but also because Governor Kay Ivey never called a special session and those in the legislature can’t call the session themselves. Some are working to try and change that.
  • State Representative Becky Nordgren (R-Gadsden) is proposing a constitutional amendment that would let the Alabama Legislature call itself into session, and she’s argued that some other governors working with “really heavy hands” by keeping states shut down is even more reason for this legislation. With the constitutional amendment, a Senate president pro tempore and speaker of the House, followed by a two-thirds majority vote, would be able to call a special session.

3. Ivey brushes off the idea of limiting executive powers

  • Some in the legislature have brought forward measures that would limit the powers of the governor by including the House and Senate in issuing emergency declarations, but Governor Kay Ivey has shown that she’s not concerned about these issues.
  • Ivey appeared on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” and she said that “the executive branch has been given the authority to act in emergencies is because it is an emergency.” Ivey added that “in an emergency, you don’t need a herd of turtles gathering to make an emergency decision.”

2. Terri Sewell will never run for Senate

  • Questions have been floating about who could run as a Democrat for U.S. Senator Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) seat after he retires next year, but now U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) has indicated that she may enter as a candidate.
  • While appearing on MSNBC’s “The Cross Connection,” Sewell was asked about entering a race for the U.S. Senate, and Sewell didn’t deny interest. She just said she’s going to “look very closely at” the idea.

1. Coronavirus cases and vaccinations are moving in the right direction

  • Hospitalizations and cases of the coronavirus have fallen drastically in Alabama since a peak in January, with hospitalizations now down 69% from where they were at their highest last month. There are now under 900 hospitalized after January saw 3,084 at its highest point.
  • The Alabama Department of Public Health has also reported that 186,578 people in the state are fully vaccinated and 530,021 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. With this many people already receiving their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, 11% of the state has been vaccinated. But, it is worth noting that some sites are not taking additional appointments while vaccine supply is low.