7 Things: Biden finally says you can do what you were already doing with masks, Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be used in Alabama after foolish pause, constitutional carry bill advances and more …
7. Some in Alabama will be paid to get vaccinated
- Yesterday, West Virginia said the state will give young people $100 savings bonds to get vaccinated, and some private businesses are following suit. The Brass Tap in Huntsville has told their employees that they’ll receive a $100 Visa card if they get the coronavirus vaccine. There are currently four employees that have completed their vaccination, but more are scheduled.
- Co-owner Chris Ray said they’re “trying to find a way to incentivize them and just show them we do appreciate them and their health matters to us, and to ensure the safety of not only our employees, but our guests as well.”
6. Large portions of Alabama chosen as a defense manufacturing community
- The Department of Defense worked with Redstone Arsenal and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to name a 22-county area that will be known as the Alabama Defense Advanced Manufacturing Community, one of five in the country.
- The Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program has granted UAH $3.7 million, and UAH will help coordinate to pull together existing programs throughout the state while establishing the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Integration Center (AMIIC) in Huntsville.
5. Education budget passes House
- The $7.7 billion education budget has been passed by the Alabama House of Representatives. This budget is a 6% increase from the previous year.
- There were small changes made to the bill so it will go back to the State Senate where it’s previously been passed. Local boards of education are getting a 5% increase in funding, the Alabama Community College System gets 10% additional funding and the First Class Pre-K program will get 19% more funding.
4. Constitutional carry and a ban on local enforcement of some federal gun laws advance
- Legislation that would protect against federal gun control, the Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act, and would also allow carrying a gun without a permit has advanced out of committee in the Alabama House of Representatives.
- There are concerns for the “constitutional carry” legislation since Governor Kay Ivey has already signed the bill that allows the purchase of lifetime concealed carry permits. Rhonda Pendleton, a volunteer for the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action, spoke about Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act, which forbids local law enforcement from enforcing some federal gun laws, and claimed, “[T]hese hypocritical lawmakers have gone back on their clearly-empty promises to support law enforcement.”
3. Biden’s proposed spending binge continues
- During an address to some in Congress, President Joe Biden is expected to propose an additional $1.8 trillion plan that will pay for free universal preschool, free community college and allow for “expanded access” to child care. This is his latest announcement for a series of spending proposals that could cost multiple trillions of dollars.
- Now, Biden may not know this but he currently has another program on the table right now — both the $2.1 trillion infrastructure bill, and tax increases to pay for some of it, met resistance by Republicans and Democrats alike. Biden has also already overseen a $1.9 trillion dollar stimulus bill as well.
2. Johnson & Johnson vaccinations can resume
- As President Joe Biden announced that 80% of seniors in the United States have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have notified the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) that the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccinations can resume.
- ADPH has given the final decision to resume the vaccinations in the state, but the CDC Advisory Committee Immunization Practices has added a warning for women ages 18-49 as there were a handful of cases that resulted in serious blood clots. More than 1 million Alabama residents are now fully vaccinated.
1. Biden unveils new mask plan, it makes little sense
- President Joe Biden and his administration continue to claim they are making decisions that have already been made by others. The vaccine rollout has unfolded how the previous administration designed as states expanded vaccine eligibility before Biden announced the program to do so. Now, a series of new mask rules, which most states have relaxed, has been announced by the president.
- Biden wore a mask outside as he strode to the podium to announce the new rules developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that said he would not need a mask in such a setting. He also still wants fully-vaccinated people to wear masks indoors. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) dismissed the political theater, saying, “I’m glad the CDC finally acknowledged what has been obvious for a long time, which is that wearing a mask outside is silly and not remotely justified by the science.” He added, “Too often the CDC, especially under the Biden administration, has been driven by politics and not science.”