7 Things: Alabama GOP Senate race closes out, no mask needed to vote, battle over returning to school coming and more …
7. Kids have to go back to school
- Schools across the country will have to reopen for in-class instruction for the fall semester, according to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, even though some states are still concerned over coronavirus cases.
- DeVos said “kids cannot afford to not continue learning,” adding that it’s “not a matter of if” but “a matter of how.” DeVos did say that there can be exceptions made for areas that become coronavirus hotspots and reiterated that the main focus is keeping kids from falling behind any more than they already have from the spring semester.
6. Nearly 9,000 coronavirus cases in one week
- The Alabama Department of Public Health reported the data for the week of July 5-11 showing that the state gained 8,935 cases throughout the week; the current statewide total is 51,294, and the growth seems to be constant.
- Since the pandemic began, there have been 1,086 deaths, with over 95% of deaths being in those with underlying conditions, and about 80% of those being people being 65 years and older. Madison County’s current case total is 2,119, Jefferson County is at 6,433 and Montgomery County has 4,430.
5. Trump wore a mask in public for the first time
- President Donald Trump visited the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he met with wounded U.S. soldiers and the nurses and doctors at the facility, so of course, he wore a mask. This was one of the first times he has worn one publicly.
- Trump said “it’s expected to wear a mask” in a hospital, but he previously has declined to wear a mask at press conferences over concern on how the media would portray him in a mask.
4. Trump commutes Roger Stone’s sentence, media declares it the worst thing ever
- On Friday, after months of speculation and a judge’s decision not to delay sentencing, President Donald Trump commuted the sentencing of his ally Roger Stone, who was sentenced to 40 months for lying to Congress.
- The media’s outrage remains insatiable, but former FBI special counsel Robert Mueller was so offended by this he took to the pages of the Washington Post to declare that Stone is still a convicted felon. He also defended the entire investigation in spite of evidence that continues to show the entire thing was a farce based on the questionable behavior by many in the Obama administration.
3. Alabama schools have some plans on how to open — unknown if children will return
- Alabama’s K-12 schools are preparing to reopen next month, but the battle over whether or not that is safe is starting to ramp up with Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) saying that if schools reopen, “it will probably be three weeks and schools will have to shut down and do all virtual.”
- Singleton proposes following a plan offered by the Alabama School Nurses Association that would cost $150 million and require the building of nurses stations/isolation rooms at every single school, testing machines and supplies for 500,000 tests, and the hiring of approximately 300 nurses for the schools around the state that don’t have one, which seems unlikely by next month.
2. Sessions is still fighting back against Trump attacks
- Over the weekend, President Donald Trump once again weighed in on the Alabama U.S. Senate runoff calling former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions a “disaster.” Sessions responded to the petty remarks by dismissing Trump’s attack as “juvenile insults,” concluding that “Alabama does not take orders from Washington.”
- Meanwhile, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville has been endorsed by Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth and was described by him as a “tough fighter that Alabama needs in the U.S. Senate.”
1. You can’t be required to wear a mask to vote
- Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Attorney General Steve Marshall have released a statement that polling places can’t require people to wear masks to vote in the runoff on July 14.
- Merrill said, “While it can be ‘strongly recommended’ that an individual wear a mask, it cannot be require.” By Article III, Section 177(a) of the Constitution of Alabama, eligible citizens have a right to vote, and Merrill reinforced that “we will continue to see that the right for every eligible Alabamian to vote is protected.”