7 Things: Ivey’s $3 billion plan for prisons, social media companies could lose incentives in Alabama, bill to mandate kindergarten proposed and more …
7. Vaccine skepticism impact could be racial
- The vaccine rollout in the United States and Alabama continues as the number of coronavirus cases trends down, but some communities are still slow to jump on board with a vaccine.
- Hispanic and black communities are reportedly less likely to want the vaccine and less likely to be receiving the vaccine. In Alabama, Tuskegee residents appear to be subjects of repeated stories of vaccine skepticism because of an unethical experiment on black men in the area with syphilis who had medical treatment withheld.
6. Coronavirus stimulus movement
- The debate over the latest attempt at passing another coronavirus stimulus plan, this time for as much as $1.9 trillion, has Democrats attempting to circumvent Republican objections to pass the bill on their own. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) questions passing the stimulus bill in this manner.
- While Democrats attempt to move on their own in Congress, 10 Republican U.S. Senators traveled to the White House to try to work out a compromise. This was happening even though President Joe Biden, who preaches a message of unity, has said he doesn’t need Republicans to pass the bill.
5. Economy will bounce back without Biden’s help
- The U.S. Congressional Budget Office has estimated that by mid-2021, the economy will be back to pre-pandemic size without President Joe Biden signing additional emergency stimulus or relief packages. Currently, Biden has been advocating for a $1.9 trillion relief package.
- The report says that the revival of the economy will be because “Labor market conditions continue to improve.” It adds, “As the economy expands, many people rejoin the civilian labor force who had left during the pandemic, restoring it to its pre-pandemic size in 2022.” It’s also expected that unemployment will be back to the “pre-pandemic level in 2024.” The economic growth is expected to continue until 2026, according to this report.
4. Raising the penalty for removing a monument
- State Representative Mike Holmes (R-Wetumpka) has said that he wants to increase the fine for illegally removing a monument to $10,000 per day in addition to the overall fine of $25,000 under current law.
- In a press release, Holmes said, “The only want we can determine where we are going as a state or nation is to remember where we have been, and preserving our history is fundamental in that process.”
3. Making kindergarten mandatory
- The legislative session begins today in Alabama, and State Representative Pebblin Warren (D-Tuskegee) is introducing a bill that would make it mandatory for kids in Alabama to attend kindergarten.
- Right now, kids are only required to begin attending school at six-years-old for first grade. This bill has passed the House before but failed in the Senate.
2. Consequences in Alabama for censoring speech?
- State Representative Chip Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island) has filed a bill that would hold websites and social media platforms accountable for censoring people’s speech by removing state “tax abatements, credits or economic incentive of any kind,” as the bill says.
- The only exception would be “a comment or post that is an incitement to violence.” Brown said the motivation in this is because “social media platforms and other websites have used the recent change in presidential administrations as an excuse to censor and remove any speech that simply contradicts their privately-held political beliefs.”
1. Ivey has signed the prison plan
- Governor Kay Ivey has signed a 30-year contract to build two new prisons in the state. There appears to be no legislative support from either political party on this matter, but that doesn’t really seem to matter because the decision does not require legislative input or support.
- Reports have shown that the prison plan will end up costing more than $3 billion, but Ivey says the state will actually save money on the matter. She advised, “Leasing and operating new, modern correctional facilities without raising taxes or incurring debt is without question the most fiscally responsible decision for our State.”