7 Things: Alabama’s no-excuse absentee voting could get easier, medical marijuana advances, many Confederate monuments have fallen in Alabama and more …
7. Anti-infanticide bill advances
- State Representative Ginny Shaver’s (R-Leesburg) bill that would require medical attention be given to those who are “born alive” after an attempted abortion has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee.
- Shaver has explained that this bill deals with the “situation where a child survives an abortion attempt and is born alive, it would require a physician to exercise the same reasonable care to preserve the life of the child that is born alive.” Those who voted against the bill were State Representatives Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) and Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham).
6. Pelosi’s commission to investigate U.S. Capitol riot won’t be objective
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has proposed a commission to investigate the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, and now Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has spoken out about the issues with the commission.
- Pelosi’s commission would be made up of seven Democrats, but only four Republicans. Republicans wouldn’t have any sway in the subpoena powers. McConnell said this “inquiry with a hard-wired partisan slant would never be legitimate in the eyes of the American people,” adding, “An undertaking that is uneven or unjust would not help our country.”
5. Shelby OK with “meritorious” earmarks
- As Democrats returned to power, they brought a return of spending earmarks, or spending directed by members of Congress, back into the arena. U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), known appropriator and ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, backs the return of “meritorious and transparent” earmarks. He stated, “If they are frivolous requests, they should go by the wayside.”
- The question about what is meritorious is obviously in the eye of the beholder, and much will be made about congressmen “bringing home the bacon” and getting their district/state’s fair share. Members of Congress will have to play this game or get left out altogether.
4. CVS to give the vaccine in Alabama as FDA approves Johnson & Johnson vaccine
- Nine CVS stores will soon have the ability to give the coronavirus vaccine across the state in Union Springs, Lanett, Jackson, Evergreen, Greensboro, Moulton, Tuskegee, Bayou La Batre and Camden. Governor Kay Ivey noted this is a big part of getting the vaccine delivered. “We are truly in the midst of a historic vaccination rollout, and it will take strong partnerships like this to get the job done,” she advised.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that the single-dose coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is 66% effective at preventing the coronavirus, and they’ve said it’s safe to use. It won’t be decided until Friday whether the vaccine can be recommended for emergency use in the nation. The final decision on the vaccine should be coming in the next few days. Johnson & Johnson has already said they’ll be able to vaccinate about 20 million people by the end of March if approved soon.
3. Alabama is super-safe now that some mean monuments are gone
- The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has put together a report on the Confederate monuments and markers removed in 2020, which included 12 in the state of Alabama. Many of the symbols were removed after George Floyd’s death. SPLC added that there were 167 Confederate markers removed across the country after Floyd’s death.
- SPLC chief of staff Lecia Brooks said, “Over the course of seven months, more symbols of hate were removed from public property than in the proceeding four years combined.” Overall, Alabama tied with Texas for third-most Confederate symbols removed last year.
2. Medical marijuana approved by Alabama Senate
- The medical marijuana bill by State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence) has passed the Senate in a 21-8 vote. Previously, the bill passed the Senate but was held up in the House of Representatives.
- The legislation only allows a select few medical conditions to qualify for being prescribed marijuana, and none of the approved methods would be smokeable. An amendment was added to the bill to include sickle cell anemia to the list of medical conditions.
1. Bill would allow no-excuse absentee voting
- The Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee in the Alabama House held a public hearing on a bill by State Representative Laura Hall (D-Huntsville) that would remove the requirement to have an excuse to vote absentee.
- At the hearing, Secretary of State John Merrill’s communications director Grace Newcomb spoke in favor of the legislation, as well as State Representative Adline Clarke (D-Mobile). The committee will likely vote on the bill next week.