7 Things: Governor Ivey’s State of the State, Alabama vaccination website finally launched, Democrats make case for impeachment and more …
7. Manchin doesn’t support a $15 minimum wage
- U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) won’t support a $15 minimum wage, but instead said that he’d be more in favor closer to $11 because that makes sense for his state. He said he’s “supportive of basically having something that’s responsible and reasonable.”
- It’s expected for a minimum wage increase to $15 will be included in the next coronavirus relief package, but Democrats need all the party support they can get for the legislation in the Senate. Manchin has buckled under the pressure of the next $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and said he’d support passing the legislation through reconciliation.
6. Former Alabama Senate pro tem steps down but readies for gambling pitch
- State Senator Del Marsh (R-Anniston) decided to step down as pro tem and State Senator Greg Reed (R-Jasper) was elected as the next president pro tempore, which is the highest-ranking position for a senator in the body, but Marsh has made it clear he is not done.
- Marsh says he will spend the next two years focusing on legislation he feels needs to be passed, so he has stated he will push for a constitutional amendment on a lottery and gambling that will create revenue to support college scholarships and expanded broadband access.
5. Alabama Legislature has its first coronavirus case
- Last year saw a truncated legislative session because of the coronavirus, but there will be an attempt to have a more normal session with testing, safety precautions and built-in breaks every couple of weeks to reassess the situation. The precautions in place seem to be working, as one legislator was sent home.
- House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) said, “You’ve made a sacrifice to come here.” He added, “[M]any of us have health risks. Many of your family members have health risks. You’re here, and we have business to take care of, and we will take care of that business.”
4. Biden signs for more immigration policy changes
- Governing through executive order, President Joe Biden signed three more orders that relate to immigration and reverse more of President Donald Trump’s policies. Through this, Biden is also creating a program to reunite families separated at the border.
- Biden claims that he’s “not making new law” but instead just “eliminating bad policy.” The other orders Biden signed will be to address “irregular migration.” He’s also trying to “streamline” the citizenship process and reviewing policies from the Trump presidency.
3. Democrats lay out case for impeachment
- With former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment right around the corner, House Democrats believe their best case for conviction is to accuse Trump of putting the lives of members of Congress in danger by aiming a mob at them “like a loaded cannon.”
- Trump’s defense attorneys say he did not incite the riot and was merely suggesting that his supporters “fight like hell” to dispute the results of the election and that he was speaking about Joe Biden’s “suspect” win. They say his argument was about “election security in general” and meant to push members to challenge certain states “under a process written into Congressional rules,” as has happened in the past.
2. Website for vaccine appointments launched
- To alleviate pressure from the coronavirus vaccine hotline, the Alabama Department of Public Health has opened a new website where people can schedule appointments to get the coronavirus vaccine and check their eligibility.
- Beginning on February 8, those who are 65-years-old and older will be able to get the vaccine; this expansion of eligibility also includes more frontline workers. Recently, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said that most doses of the vaccine are already assigned to someone, so more supply is needed.
1. State of the State from Governor Kay Ivey
- Last night, Governor Kay Ivey gave the 2021 State of the State address. She largely focused on helping the state recover from the coronavirus pandemic and distribute the vaccine, but she also touched on Alabama’s prisons and her plan to build multiple prisons.
- Ivey made education and getting students back to the classroom a focus in her address and proposed a 2% raise for state employees and teachers, according to State Finance Director Kelly Butler. Ivey’s press secretary Gina Maiola said this raise “is both doable financially and the right thing to do after what has been a challenging year.”