7 Things: Fauci under fire after new book, Ivey says prison special session will have to wait, Birmingham could have its own vaccine lottery and more …
7. Mobile County dealing with cyberattack
- Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson has acknowledged that “certain systems” have been impacted by a cyberattack in the form of malware. The attack occurred last week and shut down operations for about three days.
- Sharee Broussard, a spokeswoman for the county, said that they’re working to “restore those systems” and they’re “working closely with federal and other law enforcement and IT specialists.”
6. More good Alabama jobs
- The Mazda Toyota Manufacturing facility in Huntsville has announced that they’re looking to hire about 2,400 more people as they prepare to begin operations. Around 1,600 people have already been hired.
- Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield expressed how hiring is particularly challenging right now as the state emerges from a pandemic. Jobs at the plant don’t require expertise or experience and start at $17 per hour.
5. New Medicaid expansion push includes job creation
- In the push to expand Medicaid in Alabama, advocates for the expansion, the Commonwealth Fund, released a study that shows expanding the health care service could create about 28,500 jobs in Alabama.
- Medicaid is state-subsidized health care for low-income individuals, and Alabama is joined by only 11 other states that haven’t decided to expand their Medicaid programs. If expanded to include single adults with an income of less than $17,774 and families of three with an income of less than $30,305, there would be 340,000 people in Alabama covered by the expansion.
4. Vaccine push becomes pushier
- Even though 63% of Americans have already received the vaccine and cases, hospitalizations and deaths are way down, President Joe Biden is declaring he is setting a target of 70% vaccinated by July 4.
- Biden’s administration is looking to increase the vaccination rate with partnerships with Anheuser-Busch for a single free beer, already free vaccines for free at black barbershops, free child care, competitions amongst cities and tax credits for employers who let people have time off to get the vaccine. All of this will have a small impact on the desire for people to get vaccinated, but the real goal here is to declare that the administration is dragging America across the finish line so they can take credit for the vaccine developed under the leadership of the previous administration.
3. Birmingham city councilman has a solution for vaccine lottery
- As the discussion over whether Alabama should start a vaccine lottery to incentivize more people to get the vaccine, Birmingham City Council President William Parker is planning to present a vaccine sweepstakes of $13 million.
- Parker’s plan would be funded by the funds Birmingham will receive from the American Rescue Plan, totaling $148.8 million, which the city has already received about $75 million. Those who get vaccinated would get a $500 gift card or savings bond. Daily drawings will be done for people to win up to $10,000, with two drawings for $1 million.
2. Pump the brakes on that special session for prisons
- Governor Kay Ivey is running for reelection, which is already known, but her announcement included the touting of 44,000 jobs created with her as governor and more than $18 billion in new capital investment. Ivey also said she is not sold on a special session for prisons.
- During an appearance in Montgomery on Wednesday, Ivey declared that there will no call for a special session from her until there is “a plan and that plan has been agreed upon.” Legislators who were frozen out of the prison building process, and that is what this will be, will now have a say in how the state moves forward.
1. Fauci under fire
- The big news that Dr. Anthony Fauci was getting a big book deal was overshadowed by emails released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and the emails show how Fauci dismissed a lab-leak theory for the coronavirus, as well as how he has flipped on different issues as the pandemic progressed.
- U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has sparred with Fauci regularly over issues like herd immunity and masks, simply said on Twitter “Told you” with the hashtag #firefauci.” He added in another post, “Can’t wait to see the media try to spin the Fauci FOIA emails.”