7 Things: McConnell beats Schumer on filibuster, one Alabama school system shutting down completely while another opens up, vaccine scheduling website coming in February and more …
7. Bill for no more concealed carry permits
- State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) has pre-filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would remove the requirement to have a concealed carry permit for a handgun. Open carry is already allowed without a permit.
- Allen has previously brought up legislation to do away with concealed carry permits for the state. In years past, law enforcement agencies are the main opposition to these bills, as well as groups like Moms Demand Action.
6. U.S. Senator won’t seek reelection due to partisan gridlock
- U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has announced that he will not be running for reelection, saying that it’s become “harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress.” He’s had a career in the federal government for more than three decades. This creates another seat the Republicans must fight for in 2022.
- Portman said that the “country is very polarized,” adding, “We need to tone it down.” He’s announced that he won’t run for reelection as the U.S. Senate has also received the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Portman has maintained that he’ll listen to both sides before deciding how to vote.
5. Transgender military ban ending
- As President Joe Biden has continued signing executive orders, one of his latest was to end now-former President Donald Trump’s ban on people who are transgender from joining the military. Biden’s order will completely reverse this and protect members of the military from being kicked out due to gender identity.
- The order says, “Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force.” The order adds that “it’s the right thing to do and is in our national interest.”
4. More stimulus
- President Joe Biden is apparently supporting a plan by House Democrats that will provide American families with $300 per month, per child younger than 6-years-old and $250 per month for children between 6 and 17-years-old but there are roadblocks.
- The current plan would be for the payments to last at least one year. Details on who would qualify for these payments based on income hasn’t been released, but it’s expected that this plan would cost around $120 billion. This would be included in Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package that hasn’t been released.
3. Vaccine website launching next month
- The Alabama Department of Public Health’s Dr. Karen Landers has said that the online scheduling platform for the coronavirus vaccine will be available in February, or possibly sooner.
- Governor Kay Ivey announced the website during her press conference where she also announced extending the statewide mask mandate. The purpose of the website is to alleviate pressure from the scheduling hotline.
2. School systems are heading in different directions on in-person schooling
- Montgomery Public Schools are shutting down their in-person schooling until all staff is vaccinated after four teachers died in the last week. While it unknown if those teachers died of COVID-19, or whether they caught the coronavirus at school, it is known that the number of COVID-19 cases is similar to those found in other districts in the state.
- After being on a hybrid learning schedule for months, where students are split into groups and alternate in-class and virtual learning, Madison County Superintendent Allen Perkins announced students will return to a traditional five-day in-person class schedule. Those who chose full-time virtual learning will continue with that.
1. McConnell beats back Democrats’ demands to end the filibuster
- While Democrats in the media claim victory in the latest debate over power-sharing in the U.S. Senate, Alabama native and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he is willing to operate under a previous agreement after U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) said they would not help end the filibuster.
- In reality, there has been a push to end the practice with party leaders like U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) calling it a “cherished tool of segregationists” amid Democrats’ push to give Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood, pack the courts, and ram through their unpopular legislative agenda.