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7 Things: Ivey rebukes state health department over masking, DeSantis getting money from Alabama but Trump still the GOP favorite for 2024 and more …

7. Monkeypox declared an international emergency

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that monkeypox was now considered a global emergency since there have been cases diagnosed in more than 70 countries. The WHO emergency committee did not reach a decision, so the emergency was declared by WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

  • Internationally, 74 countries have just over 16,000 cases of monkeypox in total. Professor of public health and epidemiology at Yale University Dr. Albert Ko said, “[W]e’ve seen a shift in the epidemiology of monkeypox where there’s no widespread, unexpected transmission…The cases we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg. The window has probably closed for us to quickly stop the outbreaks in Europe and the U.S., but it is not too late to stop monkeypox from causing huge damage to poorer countries without the resources to handle it.”

6. Woodfin shares the stage with Kamala Harris

  • At the National Urban League’s annual conference, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin was the moderator for a discussion with Vice President Kamala Harris. The conference was held in Washington, D.C., and Harris answered questions on topics such as abortion and gun violence.

  • Woodfin said on Twitter, “It was an incredible honor to share the @NatUrbanLeague stage with @VP @KamalaHarris and have frank dialogue about how we move our country forward. Thank you for your leadership, Madam Vice President.”

5. Unemployment has fallen in Alabama

  • June had another record-breaking unemployment rate of 2.6% in Alabama. The Alabama Department of Labor reported that the state had an unemployment rate of 2.7% for the month of May. There are currently about 60,338 people unemployed. The labor participation rate is 57.5%, which is about where the state was pre-pandemic.

  • Governor Kay Ivey reacted to the news, saying, “Alabama is working like never before, and the future continues to look brighter for our state and her people.” There is also a record number of people who are employed in the state, with a total of 2,228,231 people employed.

4. Discussion of ending the grocery tax grows as prices increase

  • There has been roughly an 11% increase on groceries in Alabama since 2021, and as these prices increase, there is a stronger push to end the grocery tax in Alabama. In years past, there have been discussions over ending the 4% tax, but it’s become louder as food becomes less affordable.

  • Alabama Arise, which is a group advocating for bringing an end to the tax, said with all of the grocery tax revenue going to the Education Trust Fund, the revenue makes up about 6% of the trust budget. With the revenue going to the education fund, this has been the largest point of hesitation in doing away with the tax.

3. Alabamians have been donating to Ron DeSantis

  • In his reelection bid for governor of Florida, people in Alabama have donated $60,355 to Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) campaign. The donations have come from 1,139 individuals.

  • In 2018, DeSantis only received $35,102 from residents of Alabama. DeSantis has also been a Republican favorite for a presidential run in 2024, for which the governor has expressed some interest.

2. Trump still the frontrunner for 2024

  • According to a new straw poll taken at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit, former President Donald Trump is still the favorite Republican candidate for 2024, gaining 78.7% of the vote from those in attendance.

  • In the poll, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) gained only 19% of the vote, while South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) had only 1%. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence all received less than 1%.

1. Ivey doesn’t want to normalize masking — the State Department of Public Health does

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued guidance that individuals should start masking again as coronavirus cases have increased, with a social media post specifically calling for people to “normalize masking and protect our community.”

  • Governor Kay Ivey emphasized that she has no desire to “normalize masking.” Her communications director advised, “Normalizing masking, Covid-19 restrictions and the like are not anywhere in Gov. Ivey’s vocabulary. Alabamians have common sense and can choose what is best for them.”