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7 Things: Democrats ready to celebrate January 6, Alabama schools to change guidelines, ALGOP lays out 2022 legislative plan and more …

7. Oh good, another variant

  • There is already another new variant of the coronavirus that has emerged while the Omicron variant sweeps through the United States. The new IHU variant, found in France, was named for the researchers that discovered it at the IHU Mediterranee Infection.
  • There are only 12 people in Marseille, France, who have been diagnosed with the variant. The World Health Organization has said that the variant is “under investigation” and there is very little information available about the IHU variant.

6. Ivey announces proposed rail system

  • In a $231 million project, Governor Kay Ivey has proposed a rail system for central and southern Alabama. The 280-mile rail system would go through several counties, such as Mobile, Shelby, Etowah, and Washington, with another in Jefferson.
  • In her announcement, Ivey spoke about the economic advantages. She stated, “Creating good port access to central Alabama is a key part of this initiative, and it can provide options for freight containers to reach new destinations inland, which our country has struggled with during the supply chain crisis. I am proud our state is looking ahead and investing in the Alabama-USA Corridor and the future jobs and economic opportunity it will bring.”

5. Your COVID-19 test needs are not an emergency

  • Emergency rooms at hospitals across the state have continued to see issues as people are trying to get tested for the coronavirus. Now, the vice chair of clinical services at UAB, Dr. Bobby Lewis, has asked that people stop coming to UAB’s ER just for a coronavirus test.
  • Lewis said, “We have more than two-and-a-half times as many patients as we can adequately take care of at any one time.” Huntsville Hospital has seen similar issues this week, and other hospitals across the state were warning of the same issue last week.

4. Alabama Republicans reveal priorities for the legislative session

  • The Republican Party in the Alabama House of Representatives has announced its main priorities for the 2022 legislative session that begins next week. Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) made the announcement and outlined the agenda labeled as “Standing Tall for Alabama.”
  • The focus of the session will be on banning Critical Race Theory, removing permit requirements for concealed carry, simplifying the adoption process, protecting law enforcement and other first responders, cutting taxes on businesses, upholding election rules, supporting the military and veterans, and expanding broadband.

3. Alabama schools will change their guidance after all

  • As Alabama schools return to the classroom, both virtual and in-person, they’re also dealing with how to offer quarantine guidance, and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is altering its guidance just before students return. 
  • State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey previously said that the 10-day quarantine period would likely be the recommendation, but now, the Alabama Department of Public Health has announced the updated guidance will be that schools abide by the five-day quarantine period recommended for businesses and employees.  

2. Attorney General Merrick Garland acquiesces to Democrat demands

  • Because former President Donald Trump and U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) have not been arrested on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riot, the media and their Democrats have been demanding Attorney General Merrick Garland appear to give them false hope that everyone they disagree with will be arrested eventually. Garland has acquiesced.
  • During a January 6 Eve press conference, Garland said he would arrest people for committing crimes. He stated, “The Justice Department remains committed to holding all Jan. 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.” Somehow, this wasn’t enough, and Garland is now being criticized for being too apolitical.

1. January 6 celebrations taking place in Washington, D.C.

  • It’s expected that today President Joe Biden will be observing the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riot, and he will be delivering a speech to mark the day. It was already anticipated that many Democrats would be remembering the day with cable news events already planned.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden’s speech “will lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol, and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage we saw.” Psaki went on to say, “He will forcibly push back on the lies spread by the former president…so, he will, of course, speak to the moment, to the importance in history of the peaceful transfer of power, and of what we need to do to protect our own democracy and be forward-looking.”