7 Things: UAB battling the coronavirus, ‘Teachers Bill of Rights’, activists want Madison County to ignore marijuana laws and more …
7. Ban on an occupational tax passes
- The City of Montgomery wanted to tax people who worked in the city but didn’t live in the city, which is essentially a tax on a job, but the Alabama legislature didn’t think this was a good idea and have killed it.
- The tax on non-residents has been a problem for legislators for years, but the bill would not repeal any occupational taxes. It just stops city councils from implementing new ones without legislative approval.
6. Senate committee advances death penalty bill
- The bill by State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) that would shorten the appeals process for death penalty cases has been advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now move to the full Senate.
- The bill seeks to remove having to go through the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and just going straight to the Alabama Supreme Court, but will still provide the ability to appeal on the federal level.
5. Aniah’s Law passes
- The bill that would allow judges more ability to deny bail for those who are accused of violent crimes has been passed by the Alabama House of Representatives.
- State Representative Chris Brown (R-Mobile), the sponsor of the bill, said, “Too many of those who are accused of violent crimes are bonding out of jail and committing even more serious offenses, and it is time for law-abiding Alabamians to start fighting back.”
4. Bernie Sanders is in first and he can beat Trump
- In new polling data released by Fox News, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary with 31% polling, while former Vice President Joe Biden slips to second with 18%, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in third with 16%, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has 12% in fourth place and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is down in fifth place with 10%.
- Biden looks good in the most recent polling out of South Carolina which has him leading Sanders 36 to 16%. A big victory in the Palmetto State could give new life to Biden’s flailing campaign.
3. Decriminalizing marijuana in Madison County
- A letter sent to Madison County leaders by the Madison County Democratic Executive Committee, League of Women Voters of the Tennessee Valley, UAH College Democrats and the NAACP of Huntsville requests that marijuana be decriminalized.
- The letter states that “to improve the public safety, social equity, and overall well-being of our community” the county should stop arresting people for marijuana possession and also “drop all criminal charges related to cannabis possession,” claiming that this “will help ease racial disparities in community policing, allowing greater enforcement emphasis on crimes that have victims.”
2. Students need to start respecting their teachers
- Legislation that’s been deemed the “Teacher Bill of Rights” is being considered, which would give teachers 10 rights, including being able to discipline students, remove students from the classroom and to “be treated with civility and respect.”
- An attorney for the Alabama Education Association Clint Daughtry explained, “Teachers are … the only group of college-education professionals that I know of that run the risk on a daily basis of being hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, what have you.”
1. UAB helping solve the coronavirus crisis
- With coronavirus wrecking the stock market, a panic is underway, but the University of Alabama at Birmingham has been researching and developing the drug remdesivir through the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center; that same drug is being used to treat coronavirus patients across the United States and in China.
- The work to develop the drug was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee after U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) became the chairman. Shelby said that this research “could help save thousands around the world.”