7 Things: Coronavirus pandemic could get worse, more vaccine doses for Alabama, Biden’s executive orders could cost Alabama jobs and more …
7. Board of Pardons looking to cut down on backlog
- The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has decided to include additional days to their meeting times so that they can cut down on the backlog of parole requests. They will only consider special dockets for pardons on these days, however.
- Cam Ward, the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles director, has said that they “want to make sure everyone who is eligible for a pardon hearing is receiving a hearing in the most efficient way.” The backlog currently consists of about 8,500 requests.
6. Cuomo’s failure was even worse in NY
- New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced that the number of nursing home deaths that were caused by the coronavirus is likely 50% higher than previously reported. This underreporting was due to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D) administration showing how many people died in hospitals instead of nursing homes.
- Over 20 nursing homes are being investigated in the state for not enforcing coronavirus precautions and underreporting deaths. The controversial decision by Cuomo to send nursing home patients back if they were “medically stable,” according to James, “may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities.” James added, “As the pandemic and our investigation continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate.”
5. Jim Zeigler wants to stop Governor Ivey’s prison plan
- State Auditor Jim Zeigler has been vocal about his opposition to Governor Kay Ivey’s prison plan to build new prisons in Escambia, Elmore and Bibb Counties, and one of his criticisms is how this “is all being done by the administration,” rather than through the legislature.
- Zeigler said the plan — where the rent would be $88 million per year on a 30-year contract — “is a bad plan.” He added, “A private businessman would have never concocted such a scheme to pay through the nose for 30 years and then own nothing – zero equity in the plan.” Zeigler is advocating for the plan to be stopped through the legislature, but he’s admitted that it’s going to be a difficult task.
4. So, that Patriot Party thing seems like a no-go
- Much of the speculation surrounding former President Donald Trump’s political future has centered around in-fighting and the long-shot idea that he would launch his own political party with no chance of actually gaining any political power but with the ability to play spoiler for the Republican Party in future elections. At this point, that seems unlikely.
- The former president and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) met at Mar-a-Lago to discuss how Trump could help the GOP in the future. After their meeting, it was reported that Trump “has agreed to work with Leader McCarthy.” McCarthy said Trump is “committed to helping elected Republicans in the House and Senate in 2022.”
3. Tuberville and Carl pushing back on energy policies
- President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that would end the practice of leasing federal lands and offshore areas for drilling, and while this was done in the name of climate change, this will have a negative impact on jobs and the economy, especially in Alabama.
- Now, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and U.S. Representative Jerry Carl (R-Enterprise) have both spoken out against this decision. Tuberville has decided to co-sponsor the Protecting our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act of 2021. The POWER Act would block Biden’s decision to stop leasing on federal land without congressional approval.
2. Alabama to get more vaccines but won’t expand eligibility
- Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris appeared before a budget committee in Montgomery and was peppered with questions about the state’s response to the coronavirus.
- Specifically, Harris was asked how many more vaccine doses the state will receive and when that state will expand eligibility to those 65 years old and above. Harris said there will be 10,000 additional doses over the next three weeks and they are developing a plan to deploy the doses but he did not say when he would be expanding the vaccine rollout to the next group.
1. Fauci: Coronavirus situation will probably get “worse”
- The coronavirus pandemic within the United States has been improving, and the vaccine rollout has been slow, but it’s expected to pick up speed as time goes on. Dr. Anthony Fauci wants to remind people that the pandemic “potentially could get worse” due to the new variants of the coronavirus.
- The new variants of the coronavirus are said to be more contagious than the standard strain found in the United States and across the world, but Fauci said the strain that has become more prominent in South Africa “is of greater concern and that could really be problematic.”