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7 Things: Biden releasing oil in fruitless attempt to help gas prices, Alabama prisons still attracting DOJ attention, bail set at $5 million for Wisconsin parade attack suspect and more …

7. AG Marshall is siding with the cake baker

  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined 15 other attorney generals to support a Colorado baker owner being sued. The bakery owner, Jack Phillips, and his wife own Masterpiece Cakeshop, and they’re being sued over refusing to make a cake for a gender transition.
  • This is the same cake shop owner and baker who wouldn’t make a cake for a same-sex couple, claiming that gay marriage was against his Christianity. Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Phillips being forced to bake the cake would violate his constitutional rights.

6. Assistance coming for low-income Alabamians

  • According to an announcement from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, $480,000 in grants has been awarded by Governor Kay Ivey to low-income individuals.
  • A vast majority, $450,000, will go to the Community Action Agencies Association of Alabama, and the rest, $30,000, will be awarded to the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama. The programs all assist low-income individuals or seniors.

5. Brian Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound

  • The remains of Brian Laundrie, the primary suspect in the murder of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, were found in late October. Now, it’s been announced that Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
  • Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino made the announcement and added Laundrie’s parents “are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings bring closure to both families.”

4. Alabama building closing due to coronavirus cases

  • The DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency has announced that the DeKalb County Activities Building must close due to coronavirus cases linked to the building. The facility will only close for the rest of the week.
  • There are some county offices in the building, and DeKalb County Commission meetings are held at the facility. Currently, there’s a 10.3% positivity rate in DeKalb County, which is about 6% higher than the positivity rate of the state.

3. Bail set for Darrell Brooks, and a sixth person has died from the parade attack

  • The suspect in the crash at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, that has now killed six people and injured at least 48, Darrell Brooks, has been charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide. It’s expected that a sixth charge will be added. A police report shows that an officer believes this was an intentional act with an officer writing, “The vehicle then appeared to rapidly accelerate, as Officer Butryn heard tires squeal. The vehicle took an abrupt left turn into the crowd of parade participants. At this point, it was clear that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible.”
  • Brooks’ bail was also set at $5 million, which court commissioner Kevin M. Costello said, “I have no problem with bail being recommended by the state. The nature of this offense is shocking…Two detectives…not only tried to stop this but rendered an opinion that this was an intentional act.”

2. Biden is doing… something

  • With pressure mounting on President Joe Biden’s inability to form a cohesive energy policy as gas prices continue to rise, his administration announced plans to tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve and release 50 million barrels of oil. Americans use 18.7 million per day, even though his energy secretary didn’t know that. This means the oil released will last less than three days.
  • Americans will not really benefit all that much because the released oil is expected to go to China and India to address global energy shortages. American energy production is far less than it was under Trump. OPEC is not interested in helping, and some Democrats see this as an opportunity to move away from oil so they are using this as an opportunity to stop further oil projects or stop existing ones.

1. No improvements shown in Alabama prisons since 2019

  • The U.S. Department of Justice has filed another complaint against Alabama and the prison system, which is in relation to the original lawsuit filed in 2019 calling the conditions unconstitutional. The latest lawsuit alleges that conditions have not improved.
  • U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland signed the complaint that says, “[P]risoners at Alabama’s Prisons for Men have continued daily to endure a high risk of death, physical violence, and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners.” This comes after the Department of Justice was required by U.S. District Judge David Proctor to provide more specific allegations.