The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

2 days ago

7 Things: Ivey to let mask mandate end as coronavirus cases drop 94%, vaccine passports will be banned in Alabama, Biden tries to force gun control via questionable executive order and more …

7. Report on protest coming soon

  • What started as a protest but ended with tear gas in downtown Huntsville last summer has been under review by the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council, and now City Council President Jennie Robinson has announced that the report will be presented on April 22.
  • The two protests under review happened on June 1 and June 3 last year, and as there were also protests and some riots taking place across the country. The use of tear gas at the Huntsville protests came under criticism.

6. The media’s fecklessness exposed as votes counted in Bessemer Amazon union vote

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  • Despite a concerted statewide and national media effort, activists pretending to be journalists, hours of phone-banking, and visits by politicians and D-list celebrities, the oft-touted attempted to unionize the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer looks to be on the way to a big loss for the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union after the first day of counting.
  • The rout appears to be on after about half the ballots have been counted so far with the non-union vote leading 1,100 to 463. Because the union is losing, and they seem to acknowledge that, the complaints of “illegal” behavior by Amazon have begun with union president Stuart Appelbaum saying, “Our system is broken, Amazon took full advantage of that, and we will be calling on the labor board to hold Amazon accountable for its illegal and egregious behavior during the campaign. But make no mistake about it; this still represents an important moment for working people and their voices will be heard.”

5. Lifetime concealed carry permits passes

  • Governor Kay Ivey is expected to sign legislation passed by the Alabama House of Representatives that would create the Alabama Uniform Concealed Carry Permit Act, which would allow people to receive a lifetime concealed carry permit.
  • Under the legislation, permits would now be available in the forms of one year, three years, five years and lifetime, with a lifetime permit costing $300 while the others cost $25 per year. There would also be a statewide law enforcement database showing who is ineligible to carry a firearm.

4. First gun control action from Biden

  • President Joe Biden has declared gun violence “a public health crisis” and announced executive action on gun control. He’s claimed that this action doesn’t violate the Second Amendment, adding, “These are phony arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about.”
  • Within a month, Biden wants “ghost guns,” which are guns people can assemble themselves legally and don’t have a serial number, to stop being built. Biden is also asking that the Department of Justice suggest action on “community violence intervention,” look into gun trafficking and report, and suggest some legislation for “red flag” issues.

3. Alabama says “nah” to Biden’s gun control desires

  • Alabama State House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) has responded to President Joe Biden’s administration plan  to use his executive authority to enact his desired gun control measures, saying, “[W]hen it comes to protecting the ability of Alabamians to buy, own and utilize firearms under the Second Amendment, Alabama House Republicans are working hard every day to do just that.”
  • Alabama’s Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives made it pretty clear that they will resist the attempts by the Biden administration. U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) said, “Extreme gun control legislation isn’t the answer to stopping gun violence. Look at the cities in America with the most severe gun laws and you’ll see that those same cities have the highest violent crime rates in the country.” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) warned that Democrats are ready to act on their desires to “dismantling the Second Amendment.”

2. Alabama won’t have vaccine passports

  • State Senator Arthur Orr’s (R-Decatur) legislation that would ban coronavirus vaccine passports in Alabama has been approved by the State Senate in a 30-0 vote. This would ban the state or any local governments from requiring vaccine passports.
  • Also, businesses would be prohibited from refusing service to citizens based only on whether they’re vaccinated. Orr stated, “The implementation of a mandatory vaccine passport is a direct infringement upon the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.”

1. Coronavirus cases are down by 94% in Alabama

  • In the last seven days, Alabama has averaged 196 new coronavirus cases every day. When the state was at its peak the week of January 11, the average number of new cases every day was at 3,080. Overall, there has been a 94% decrease in daily cases.
  • Hospitalizations are also down 90% since their peak on January 11, with 3,084 hospitalizations. Most recently, there were only 317 current hospitalizations due to the coronavirus. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris advised that Alabama has fallen below 5% of tests coming back positive.

3 days ago

7 Things: Merrill’s political career torpedoed by salacious affair admission, Ivey reaffirms end to masks, Biden ready to move on gun control executive orders and more …

7. Bill to limit election law changes too close to elections passes

  • New legislation which bans any changes to election laws and procedures up to six months before a general election has passed the Alabama House of Representatives. State Representative Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills) sponsors the bill that would be a constitutional amendment.
  • The purpose of the bill is to protect future elections and prevent doubt in elections moving forward, such as in places like Pennsylvania in the 2020 general election. The bill passed 75-24 with strong Democrat opposition.

6. You can now be exempt from ‘so help me God’

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  • The Alabama Secretary of State’s Office will now allow people to opt-out of the voter declaration oath that states “so help me God” after a lawsuit from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) challenged the phrase.
  • There will now be an option to check a box that says, “OPTIONAL: Because of a sincerely held belief, I decline to include the final four words of the oath above.” FFRF has said this is a “huge constitutional victory for secular voters in Alabama.”

5. Medical marijuana is advancing

  • The Alabama House Judiciary Committee has approved the medical marijuana bill by State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence), and after debate over adding some amendments to the bill, the approval was determined by a voice vote. If Alabama legalized medical marijuana, it’d be the 37th state to do so.
  • The bill will have to go to the House Health Committee next before it can move to the full House. Melson has expressed confidence in the bill’s future with the Health Committee, but he said for the full House “we’ll just see what happens.”

4. Lottery debate has started, seems unlikely to move forward

  • Legislation by State Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) that would legalize a lottery in Alabama has started being debated in the State Senate. The bill is a constitutional amendment, so voters would have the final say on whether it becomes law.
  • Some opposition to the bill has been focused on how this does nothing to curb illegal gaming in the state. For example, State Senator Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) has said, “It is time that we start acting as the grown-up in the room and take charge of it.”

3. Biden taking action on gun control today

  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki has indicated that President Joe Biden on Thursday will be signing an executive order on gun control, or at least announcing executive action. Psaki didn’t discuss any details on what would be included in this action by Biden.
  • Previously, Biden has said that there should be a ban on large magazines and “assault weapons,” but he’s yet to define what an “assault weapon” is. It’s unclear what Biden could do through executive order, since most bans would require Congress.

2. Mask mandate is ending; ‘Safer Apart’ until May 5

  • The mask mandate in Alabama will officially expire on April 9, as Governor Kay Ivey has announced and now confirmed. Ivey also released details on the new health order, “Safer Apart,” which will expire on May 5. The “Safer Apart” order still requires that people who are coronavirus-positive quarantine, and there will still be a limit on how many people can visit patients at hospitals and nursing homes. Most other precautions have changed to recommendations instead of requirements. The Governor also said she has no plan to forbid employers from mandating a coronavirus vaccine as a term of employment.
  • U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) says this still isn’t over yet and he will keep wearing his mask. He advised, “I’ll continue to wear a mask for a long time on airplanes. I haven’t had a cold since I’ve been wearing one of these and I fly all the time. And I think it’s helping.” Tuberville added he wants people to get vaccinated.

1. Merrill won’t be running for U.S. Senate, is asked to resign

  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill released a statement to confirm that he won’t be a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022, saying that this came “After much prayer, reflection, and conversations with my wife, Cindy.” Merrill also confirmed, though, that he carried out an extramarital affair with Cesaire McPherson out of Montgomery.
  • There have been text messages, a recording and photos released through the NationalFile in a report on the affair. Merrill said that he’s “disappointed in myself,” adding, “I’m also disappointed that I allowed my family to be embarrassed by this action.” Merrill has not indicated that he’ll resign from his position. Alabama Democrats want him to resign over allegations that he called black people “coloreds.” Governor Kay Ivey weighed in by stating that Merrill made “poor decisions and bad choices.”

4 days ago

7 Things: Trump endorses Mo Brooks, Ivey wants ‘comprehensive gaming legislation,’ Birmingham extends its mask mandate and more …

7. Biden: Georgia needs to ‘smarten up’

  • Despite the more recent reporting that shows Georgia’s new voting laws are less restrictive than many other states, President Joe Biden has said, “It is reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws that are just antithetical to who we are.”
  • Biden did say that the state needs to “smarten up” and “stop it” to prevent more businesses from leaving, but acknowledged that businesses leaving the state will impact “people who are making hourly wages” the most.

6. Bezos could just scratch a check to the Treasury at any time

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  • As Democrats seek to raise taxes by reconciliation and avoiding a filibuster, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says to go ahead and do it. Writing on Amazon’s Twitter account, Bezos said his company does “recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides — both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate).”
  • While this is being treated as an altruistic measure by both Bezos and Amazon, it isn’t really. Amazon can more easily absorb these costs than its competitors; the same goes for their support of a higher minimum wage. Even if the tax hike doesn’t come to fruition, Bezos can still write a check from Amazon to the Treasury and mail it to Reporting and Analysis Branch 2 at P.O. Box 1328, Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328.

5. Economic development in Alabama continued to be strong through 2020

  • In 2020, the state of Alabama still saw economic development investments worth $4.8 billion, and there were 9,466 job commitments. This was announced by Governor Kay Ivey, who said these “economic development efforts made a steady and important contribution to the state’s growth prospects.”
  • The 2020 New and Expanding Industry Report details that there were 230 new economic development projects in 2020. Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce Greg Canfield said “[T]he economic development pipeline for 2021 continues to flow with high-caliber projects that are poised to bring new opportunities to Alabama.”

4. The federal government won’t support or require vaccine passports

  • As speculation has started about whether the federal government will try to require vaccine passports for traveling, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said that the federal government won’t be involved in this type of “credential.”
  • Psaki stated, “The government is not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.” She also emphasized that there won’t be a “federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

3. Birmingham mask mandate extended until May 24

  • The city of Birmingham has decided to keep a mask mandate in place until at least May 24. The Birmingham City Council voted on the issue as the statewide mask mandate is set to expire permanently on April 9, and Mayor Randall Woodfin has said that this citywide mandate is “necessary.”
  • Councilman Hunter Williams was the only one to vote against extending the citywide mask mandate, making the final vote 8-1. According to recent data, about 31% of the people within Jefferson County, where Birmingham is located, have received the coronavirus vaccine. Tuscaloosa is going in another direction, as the city council has revoked Mayor Walt Maddox’s COVID-19-related emergency powers. Maddox supported the move.

2. Ivey is looking to push gaming forward

  • With the Senate to take a vote on a lottery bill today, Gov. Kay Ivey’s press secretary said Ivey “is ready to dig her heels in” to get “solid, comprehensive gaming legislation, worthy of the voters” to the people for a referendum.
  • The governor’s spokesperson also highlighted how there’s “gambling already happening in our state. In fact, it is rampant, and much of it is illegal. The governor feels strongly that we need to shine a bright light on these activities, control and regulate it and make sure the people of Alabama are the beneficiaries.”

1. So, the Senate race might be over 

  • It is nearly a consensus belief that an endorsement from President Donald Trump in the 2022 U.S. Senate race would give the person receiving it a giant advantage. On Wednesday, Trump endorsed U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in his bid.
  • Trump’s endorsement is a full-throated endorsement that will probably end this race, by all intents and purposes. He said in a statement, “Few Republicans have as much COURAGE and FIGHT as Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks. Mo is a great Conservative Republican leader, who will stand up for America First no matter what obstacles the Fake News Media, RINOs, or Socialist Democrats may place in his path. Mo Brooks is pro-life, loves our Military and our Vets, will protect our Second Amendment, combat the Biden open borders agenda, is fighting for voter integrity (like few others), and was the Co-Chair of our winning, and record-setting, Alabama campaign in 2020. Mo Brooks has my Complete and Total Endorsement for the U.S. Senate representing the Great State of Alabama. He will never let you down!”

4 days ago

Follow the science, end the mask mandates everywhere in Alabama

(Wikicommons, Pixabay, YHN)

Governor Kay Ivey’s mask order ends on Friday, April 9, but a couple of cities in Alabama might be looking to extend their mask orders.

The City of Birmingham has extended its mask order and is using the idea that the science behind mask orders has saved lives. Someone should ask the Mayor of Birmingham, who bragged about this on social media, exactly what that science is.

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In announcing the extension of the order, Mayor Randall Woodfin stated, “These decisions to save lives may not be popular, but it’s the right thing to do.”

If any line delivered by a politician needed the “without evidence” tag, this is it.

The idea is that his decision is saving lives and people don’t want to do that?

If you disagree, which is the “popular” thing? That you want people to die?

When they’re done asking him exactly what science he is using to extend this order, they should also ask him exactly why the date May 24 was chosen.

On May 25, you can just die and Mayor Woodfin is fine with that?

Obviously, these dates are arbitrary, and everybody knows that. At the end of the day, he can’t just end the mask order on that date either because the coronavirus exists.

But Birmingham is not the only city that is considering an extended mask mandate. Some have suggested Montgomery might keep masks beyond Friday, but this doesn’t seem likely.

The City of Decatur attempted to end its mask order yesterday but ran into a procedural problem with one of the city councilmen, Billy Jackson, who again cited the idea that this made the community safer, without evidence.

He stated, “This mask ordinance was no different. It was done by the previous council for the safety of our community so I will not support this tonight.”

But during an interview on WVNN in Huntsville, Hunter Pepper, another Decatur city councilman, made it pretty clear that this was just merely a delay tactic and the city will revoke their mask order on Wednesday.

Pepper said, “[T]omorrow we are gonna host a special called meeting and hopefully get rid of this ordinance with a unanimous vote because we all know Billy’s not gonna wanna show up.”

That’s some good local government right there.

Now, some school systems are keeping the masks in place for some reason.

Why? Science, probably.

Who knows — schools are not super-spreader locations, and kids are not at risk.

Say what you will about Alabama’s vaccination rates and how we’re last in the nation and how terrible everything seems to be going, but the state of Alabama has still logged less than 200 coronavirus cases in the last two days. The state is also on a slow and steady decline of hospitalizations, and for that reason, ending the mask order is the correct thing to do.

Obviously, there was plenty of reason to implement a mask mandate in the beginning of this coronavirus pandemic. There was a lot of unknown out there. But, “15 days to slow the spread” has lasted over a year.

Did it work?

No.

Lockdown or not. Mask order or not. The virus raged until there was a vaccine.

There is no justification for extending these orders in the state of Alabama or anywhere else.

The oft-repeated refrain of “follow the science” is now just a slogan, a slogan ignorant people regurgitate so they won’t be questioned.

That slogan should not be used to control people.

Even, media darling, Dr. Anthony Fauci struggles to explain how states without mask mandates are moving forward without spiraling death tolls and infection rates.

Science.

Maybe I just want people to die, but if a business wants to keep masks mandatory inside their walls, that is fine. But if a politician or bureaucrat wants to extend a mask order, they should have to explain why.

At this point, none of them will, and it is more likely none of them can.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

5 days ago

7 Things: Local mask mandates up in the air, tax hikes could doom Biden infrastructure plan, politicians criticize businesses’ involvement in political issues and more …

7. Arkansas governor will veto transgender treatment bill

  • The Alabama Legislature is considering legislation that would ban gender conversion treatments for transgender youth, and in Arkansas, the state legislature passed a similar bill. Despite this, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) has vetoed the legislation.
  • Hutchinson said his reason for vetoing the bill is because they would be “creating new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people.” It’s likely that the Arkansas Legislature will override this decision with a majority vote in the House and Senate.

6. Report: Occupational licensing costs jobs

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  • The Alabama Policy Institute (API) has released a report called the “Not-So Sweet Home Alabama” that shows occupational licensing laws have cost Alabama about 21,000 jobs and around $56 million per year. Occupational licensing laws require that members of some professions be certified through the government.
  • The national average for jobs that require a government license is at 31, but Alabama has 36 jobs that require those licenses. The main issue with this is that there are some low-income professions where these licenses become a burden, such as athletic trainers, massage therapists and manicurists.

5. Tuberville: Stop politicizing the military

  • In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, U.S. Senators Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) highlight how new training within the United States military is too political and they need to refocus on being non-partisan.
  • The letter says “examination of the stand-down training materials reveals a disappointing partisan slant and poorly defined First Amendment rights for military members.” They go on to say that “some of the training materials imply only certain political thoughts are welcome.” The letter ends by asking Austin to “personally review the stand-down training material disseminated by the services and other subordinate headquarters in order to ensure that these materials comply with the guidance issued by your office. We cannot allow our military to be politicized.”

4. Majority of Americans support union at Amazon plant in Alabama

  • Data for Progress has released new polling data from AFL-CIO, which shows that a majority of registered voters support Amazon workers at the Bessemer fulfillment center unionizing. Of likely voters, 69% support the workers while 16% oppose the move to unionize.
  • The results were also divided by political party, as 55% of Republicans, 79% of independents and 96% of Democrats were in support of unionizing. A spokesman for Amazon said, “Our employees know the truth – starting wages of $15 or more, health care from day one, and a safe and inclusive workplace.”

3. Politics and sports continue to mix while McConnell warns businesses to stay out

  • President Joe Biden faced criticism after saying that the voting laws in Georgia are “Jim Crow on steroids” and urging Major League Baseball to move the All-Star game to Colorado, which has the same restrictions, When asked about this, White House press secretary Jen Psaki shied away from giving a strong answer and said that Biden “supports them being able to make the decision.” Then when asked if Biden would support moving the Masters Tournament from the state, she said, “[O]ur focus is on doing what we can to advocate for making voting easier and more accessible around the country and that’s where our efforts are going to be from the White House.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is warning businesses about getting involved in politics, saying that businesses “will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.” McConnell went on to point out how New York actually has less availability for early voting than Georgia and added that there’s an agenda at play as “Democrats want to pass a sweeping bill that would let them rewrite all 50 states’ election laws and turn the Federal Election Commission into a Democrat-run partisan body.”

2. Infrastructure bill with big tax hikes loses the Democrat support it needs

  • President Joe Biden is working on a $2 trillion dollar infrastructure program, but it will require 100% Democrat support in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately for Biden, the tax increases in the bill have cost the bill the support of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and others needed to get the bill across the finish line, even if they attempted to use a process that would avoid a filibuster and only requires a simple majority
  • As the White House’s tax plan seems to be hitting a brick wall, they are sending Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin out to suggest that other nations should raise taxes across the board to eliminate tax havens and competitions between the nations for businesses.

1. Decatur mask order remains as the shaming of businesses starts

  • The City of Decatur failed to remove its mask mandate ahead of the expiration of the statewide mask requirements expiration on April 9. The vote to immediately consider the move to repeal the order failed to pass 4-1 after council member Billy Jackson declared, “This mask ordinance was no different. It was done by the previous council for the safety of our community so I will not support this tonight.” There is no science that backs this up. For example, Michigan is seeing a virus surge with a mask mandate and Texas continues to see its cases fall three weeks after going wide-open. Birmingham will consider extending its order today.
  • In what should be seen as amazing news, Alabama only saw 89 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, but some in the state are still not comfortable with the mask mandate ending. It is expected that the media will be curating and printing lists of businesses that will continue to require masks, which gives those who are angry about it the ammunition to complain online without actually going to these businesses.

6 days ago

7 Things: Vaccine now available for everyone in Alabama, Birmingham poised to keep masks, Tuberville calls out those who pressured MLB to move All-Star Game out of Georgia and more …

7. Some teachers clearly don’t ever want to go back to school

  • Former Obama advisor Rahm Emmanneul famously said, “[N]ever let a good crisis go to waste,” and the teachers in California are ready to put that into action. They already demanded that they be given priority with vaccines, that schools have their filtration systems changed and that they receive more pay, and now they are demanding they stay home until their child care is paid for too.
  • Teachers’ unions have opposed school reopening under the false premise that schools are super-spreaders all over the country. Now, the United Teachers of Los Angeles is demanding that teachers with children be allowed to continue working from home until the school district subsidizes their child care and creates a proper child care program for teachers by the fall.

6. Brooks: Make E-Verify mandatory everywhere

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  • A new bill introduced by U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) would make using E-Verify, which is a database that allows employers to check if a worker is allowed to work in the country, mandatory for all 50 states during the hiring process for employers.
  • The legislation is titled “Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act.” Brooks said making this “mandatory for all companies coupled with harsh penalties for violation cuts off illegal aliens from American jobs.”

5. Attack at the capitol

  • Over the weekend, there was an attack at the U.S. Capitol where a Capitol Police officer, William “Billy” Evans, was killed and another was injured. Now, U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH), chairman of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, has said that “everything’s going to be reevaluated after today” in reference to Capitol security.
  • The man who committed the attack drove his car into Capitol Police officers and a barricade on Constitution Avenue and then proceeded to go after officers with a knife. The attacker, Noah Green, was shot by Capitol Police and died at the hospital.

4. MLB has moved the All-Star game

  • Major League Baseball has decided to change the location of the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft from Atlanta, Georgia, after pressure was put on the league due to the recent voting laws passed in the state. U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) suggested a boycott against the league, saying, “Republicans are fans most likely able to afford Major League Baseball obscene ticket, parking & food prices.”
  • U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) tweeted, “The people running @mlb have decided to abandon baseball and instead enter the cancel culture game. Which has become the left’s new national pastime.” U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) stated, “MLB has cowered to the will of the radical left and taken a stance against fair elections and voter ID. Sports have unified Americans – now, cancel culture is coming for sports, too…This is another example of progressive pressure under [President Biden] – he’s not the uniter, but the divider in chief.”

3. Birmingham could be masking until May 24

  • Governor Kay Ivey decided that the statewide mask mandate will end permanently on April 9, and now the Birmingham City Council is considering a citywide mask mandate until at least May 24.
  • The council will be meeting on Tuesday to discuss the mandate. Council President William Parker said, “[N]ow is not the time to relax our efforts. The science is clear: wearing masks and social distancing works in preventing the spread of the virus.”

2. The government messaging on the vaccine is confusing and bad 

  • President Joe Biden gave an Easter address on Sunday with first lady Jill Biden. The president took time to focus on the coronavirus vaccine and even agreed with Pope Francis that getting the vaccine is a “moral obligation.”
  • Biden’s address was given through a video message that was released on social media. Biden also highlighted that “the virus is not gone,” adding that by getting vaccinated, “we not only can beat this virus, we can hasten the day when we can celebrate the holidays together.”

1. Everyone is eligible for the vaccine now

  • Governor Kay Ivey has announced that beginning today, everyone in the state of Alabama over the age of 16 is eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine. Ivey said, “Truly, this vaccine is our ticket back to normal life.”
  • State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has explained that the state is able to expand eligibility “because we have available supply.” Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for those 18 years and older, while the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 16 years and older.

6 days ago

VIDEO: Ivey rejects Biden call to extend mask order, Alabama has been slow to vaccinate, Dale Strong appears to be the frontrunner in AL-05 and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Is Governor Kay Ivey (R) still planning to let the mask mandate go away?

— Shouldn’t Alabama expand the vaccination eligibility at this point? (Editor’s note: this episode was filmed before Gov. Ivey on Friday announced an expansion of eligibility to all Alabamians age 16 and over beginning Monday)

— Is Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong the frontrunner for AL-05’s U.S. House seat?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by the host of “The Valley Labor Report” Jacob Morrison to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who fixate on issues like allowing yoga to be taught in school and how dishonest the conversation is across the board.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

1 week ago

7 Things: Businesses and churches could stay open in health emergencies, coronavirus the third leading cause of death in the last year, Hoover family creates another soldier for ISIS and more …

7. Faculty members call on University of South Alabama to make a statement of being anti-racist

  • In an open letter, about 275 faculty members at the University of South Alabama asked that the school make a statement of being anti-racist, but they also asked for changes such as term appointments for deans. This is in response to the Halloween costume controversy that was brought up in March.
  • The letter says that the way the university handled the situation demonstrated “a lack of integrity, transparency, and participation in decision-making,” and then goes on to say, “We believe that the message the University administration is sending to faculty, staff, and students of color is that they would rather protect White tenured faculty than maintain campus safety.”

6. Lifetime concealed carry permits bill passes

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  • The Alabama Uniform Concealed Carry Permit Act has passed the Alabama State Senate. This would simplify the concealed carry process and create a lifetime concealed carry permit for $300.
  • The bill would also create a database for the whole state that would be available to law enforcement to show those prohibited from owning a firearm. The bill will now move to the House.

5. The Biden administration knows it is lying about Georgia

  • President Joe Biden made several false statements about voter laws passed in Georgia, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki has doubled down on those inaccuracies. This has been pointed out to the administration multiple times, even by friendly “journalists.”
  • Psaki said despite being corrected, “It just gives options. It gives options to expand it, right, but it standardized it at five. It also makes it so that outside groups can’t provide water or food to people in line, right?”

4. Kudos to Georgia for pushing back on woke businesses who allow themselves to be bullied 

  • Hollywood, Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta have all spoken out on Georgia’s voter-integrity efforts, which the Biden administration continues to lie about, and the Georgia Legislature has made it clear that they are not going to continue being abused by the mob. They are now striking back by potentially rolling back tax cuts on jet fuel.
  • This is widely symbolic but could signal changes in the future as the State Senate did not pursue this legislation in the last hours of the session but it did pass the State House. If passed eventually, it will lead to higher costs for consumers because they will pass this cost on, like all taxes.

3. Another Hoover Jihadi 

  • A Hoover family that already had one daughter join ISIS just had another try to do the same, but it didn’t work this time. The 29-year-old sister of three-time terrorist bride Hoda Muthana was arrested trying to board a cargo ship in New York headed to Yemen to fight the United States in the Middle East.
  • After being arrested, Arwa Muthana explained that she had plans to join ISIS, and if that had failed, she was planning on carrying out terrorist attacks in the United States. She specifically mentioned using a car to attack cadets at U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

2. Coronavirus was the third leading cause of death 

  • In 2020, the coronavirus increased the death rate in the United States by 15.9%, making it the third leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • There were 377,883 coronavirus-related deaths in the year. The CDC also determined that heart disease and cancer were the only things deadlier than the coronavirus in 2020.

1. Keep businesses and churches open during pandemics 

  • While the Alabama Senate Minority Leader calls for the state to limit religious services, arguing that worshippers can “have Jesus at their house,” legislation brought forward by State Representative Jamie Kiel (R-Russellville) that would limit how businesses and churches can be closed during a pandemic-caused state of emergency has passed the State Senate. It now goes back to the State House.
  • The bill has to be passed by the House again, since an amendment was added that requires the State House remain open, as well. This is to prevent situations seen early in the coronavirus pandemic that disproportionately impacted small and locally-owned businesses.

1 week ago

Democrats want to ease the burden on repeat offender felons

(Pixabay, Dale Jackson/Facebook, YHN)

When Alabama Democrats aren’t proposing allowing people to vote in multiple elections, advocating for men playing women’s basketball or defending rioters who destroy property, they are all out advocating for felons.

Not just any felons — repeat felons.

State Rep. Christopher England (D-Tuscaloosa), head of the Alabama Democratic Party, has proposed a bill that would repeal Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act. The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday advanced this bill.

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The Habitual Felony Offender Act requires repeat offenders to be locked up longer, which is a completely appropriate use of state power.

State Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne) is correct when he makes the point that this bill would limit the ability of prosecutors and judges to punish criminals after multiple felonies.

Could they still punish them harshly? Yes.

Would they have to? No.

The argument that this is about prison over-crowding is silly.

These are the people you want in prison: Repeat. Felony. Offenders.

The people who support the bill act as if these are people who just made a mistake and got locked up forever.

This, of course, is not true.

If these leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, think the prison population is too large, then let some people out.

Repeat felons should not be on the list of people we should be opening the prison doors for.

They will offend again. That is what put them in prison in the first, second, third and fourth place.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

1 week ago

7 Things: Biden’s tax-and-spend infrastructure bill unveiled, bill to limit the ability to punish repeat offenders in Alabama moves forward, nursing homes and hospitals will require masks and more …

7. Alabama is suing Biden so we can still cut taxes

  • Included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was a provision that prevents states from using funds given through the legislation to “offset a reduction in the net tax revenue.” Marshall has said that this language “bans states from cutting taxes for several years.”
  • Due to this, Marshall has joined with attorneys general from West Virginia, Alaska, Florida, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and New Hampshire in suing President Joe Biden’s administration.  

6. Bill requiring student athletes compete in sports according to birth certificate passes committee

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  • Legislation sponsored by State Representative Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) that requires youth athletes to compete with the gender listed on their birth certificate has been approved 9-0 by the Senate Committee on Education Policy. 
  • Stadthagen emphasized that the bill is about protecting women’s sports and is just meant to promote fairness. “Transgender” isn’t mentioned in the bill, since Stadthagen wanted the focus to just be on protecting women’s sports. 

5. Overturning an election is now OK, apparently

  • In the 2020 general election, Iowa’s Second Congressional District elected Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, over Democrat candidate Rita Hart. Miller-Meeks only won by six votes, but the results were certified by the state and recounted multiple times. Now, Hart is pushing to have the results changed. 
  • Secretary of State John Merrill and U.S. Representatives Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), Jerry Carl (R-Enterprise), Gary Palmer (R-Hoover), and Barry Moore (R-Mobile) have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) saying, “[W]e believe that removing a sitting Congresswoman and replacing her through a purely political process would create a dangerous precedent with disastrous long-term results.”

4. Senate committee passes bill that bans voting multiple times

  • The bill sponsored by State Representative Chris Blackshear (R-Phenix City) that would prohibit people from voting in Alabama while also voting in other states for the same election has passed the Senate Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development. 
  • State Senator Vivian Figures (D-Mobile) was the only one to vote “nay” on the legislation, making the final committee vote 9-1. Blackshear said that in 2018 there were at least six people in Alabama who also voted in other states. 

3. Masks will still be required at hospitals and nursing homes

  • The Alabama Nursing Home Association and Alabama Hospital Association have declared that they will still be requiring masks at facilities across the state after the statewide mask mandate ends on April 9.
  • Alabama Hospital Association President Dr. Don Williamson explained that to continue having visitors and “prevent further spread of the virus, our facilities are required to take additional precautions and to limit visitation when certain conditions exist.”

2. Yoga and medical marijuana bills stall in Alabama; A bill to lessen criminal penalties for repeat offenders proceeds

  • The media in Alabama love to talk about bills that focus on yoga and pet projects like medical marijuana, but while those bills seem imperiled, a bill proposed by State Rep. Christopher England (D-Tuscaloosa) that would stop the practice of increasing penalties for repeated felonious offenders has moved forward.
  • The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill out of committee that would repeal Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act. State Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne) says the bill would limit the ability of prosecutors and judges to punish criminals after multiple felonies.

1. Biden has big plans and big taxes to pay for them

  • President Joe Biden went to Pittsburgh to unveil his latest big-government program, and it is a huge “infrastructure” spending program. Biden also announced how he was going to pay for this plan — a 33% increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, which will clearly impact employment but the media and their Democrats are still referring to this as something that will create “good-paying jobs.”
  • If Biden is looking for Republican support, he is not going to get it. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says this plan isn’t even about infrastructure. He advised, “This plan is not about rebuilding America’s backbone. Less than 6% of this massive proposal goes to roads and bridges. It would spend more money just on electric cars than on America’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, and waterways combine.”

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Alabama is last in vaccinations, vaccine passports getting backlash, CDC data shows vaccinated people don’t need masks and more …

7. Economic impact study needed

  • With the effort to get an Amtrak Gulf Coast Passenger Rail, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has reinforced the importance of an impact study. This would have to be done before the project moves forward more.
  • Previously, the impact study was ended prematurely, and it was announced that operation of the rail service from Mobile to New Orleans would start next year. Shelby noted that for the growth of the Port of Mobile, “it is essential that a comprehensive analysis be completed that definitively determines the impact such service would have on existing freight rail service and the Port of Mobile.”

6. Lift the ban on cruises

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  • As more places are reopening and Alabama is nearing the end of the statewide mask mandate, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson is now asking that the federal government remove the No Sail Order, which was issued on April 14, 2020, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Stimpson mentioned how the ban on cruises “has had a severe and detrimental impact on the City of Mobile’s economy,” as the Port of Mobile usually sees about 200,000 cruise passengers every year. He added this creates a “generation of gross expenditures…totaling over $12 million.”

5. Senators unnecessarily question Space Command move

  • Despite previous statements from officials, a group of U.S. Senators wrote a letter to the Defense Department Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell to question if the decision to permanently locate the U.S. Space Command in Huntsville wasn’t political.
  • U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) were also joined on the letter by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE). After Huntsville was announced for the new location, Hickenlooper and Bennet were quick to say that the decision was political, despite no evidence of that.

4. No coronavirus vaccination requirements for colleges

  • The Alabama Community College System joined many colleges around the country and state that have said that they will not require vaccinations for those who will attend community colleges in the state. They do not expect to implement a vaccination requirement for those who attend community colleges in the state. Some four-year schools have announced they will not require the vaccines, but not all of them have made that clear. Some private schools like Oakwood University have not announced decisions yet.
  • All of this follows Rutgers University in New Jersey, which announced that any students registered for classes in the fall will have to have received the coronavirus vaccine. The school will only exempt students for religious or medical concerns.

3. Vaccines work, which means no more masks

  • As President Joe Biden demands Americans wear masks even after being vaccinated, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has finally admitted that those who have been fully vaccinated do not carry the virus, according to the data the CDC has available.
  • This news was buried behind the far more media and big government-friendly narrative that this same official suggested she feels an “impending doom” and a new surge of coronavirus cases is coming. But Walensky said, “Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.” If framed correctly, this could convince people to get the vaccine, but fear seems to be the long-game here.

2. Vaccine passports catching heat

  • President Joe Biden has presented the idea of requiring a vaccine passport for people to travel, work in-person, event entry and restaurants, proving that they’ve received a full round of the coronavirus vaccine. This has caused an understandable backlash.
  • Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) has spoken out against the idea, saying, “This is expected in Socialist and totalitarian countries, but they must not stand in a nation founded upon freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility.” State Senator Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) also said, “[T]hat dog won’t hunt in Alabama.” He expects Governor Kay Ivey (R) to act.

1. Alabama is last in vaccinations

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alabama has administered the least amount of coronavirus vaccine doses per 100,000 people in the country. In Alabama, it’s a rate of 34.6 people per 100 residents, while Mississippi is barely ahead at 35.6 people.
  • Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers said that the state “had a limited amount of providers, a limited amount of product” early on. She added, “Our trajectory has gone up steadily.” It’s also been noted that reporting to the CDC can be slow, so the way the state is ranked isn’t always accurate to how the state is actually vaccinating.

2 weeks ago

Dale Jackson: We did your masks, but Alabamians will not do vaccine passports

(Pixabay. Jon Tyson/Unsplash, YHN)

When all is said and done, the story of the coronavirus pandemic may be how far some people were willing to go to control people’s behavior through the power of government and how unwilling they were to give up that power.

In Alabama, we saw stay-at-home orders and mask mandates; we saw businesses shut down unless they were big box stores, and we saw all sorts of actions taken by average Alabamians that would shock our 2019 selves to our cores.

But we went along.

We stopped visiting our friends and family. We worked from home. We home-schooled (or no-schooled) our kids. And all of this was done solely for the reason to “slow the spread.” Little did we know that slowing the spread for 15 days would take well over a year.

But, like Americans from other states, Alabamians did exactly what they were supposed to do, and the understanding was once we got this behind us, we would go back to our normal lives.

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But a lot of people have very different designs for the new normal.

Yes, you have been told that going to get a vaccine is for the greater good, but then you were also told you still have to wear a mask afterwards. And now, some of these same people want you to carry around proof that you got it.

I got the vaccine, but I am not doing this other stuff.

I wore my mask like a good boy. I got my vaccine like a good boy. I followed the rules of the State, and now I am done.

I was a good boy.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw the CDC director making the argument that we were facing “impending doom” in the days ahead.

This came, of course, after Governor Kay Ivey rejected an appeal by President Joe Biden and his administration to force Alabamians to wear masks far beyond the April 9 date given by the governor as the final day of the mask mandate.

But, “impending doom” and more masking are hardly the end game for the Biden administration. They apparently want us all to download a vaccination passport. And much to the surprise of no one, the Biden administration has been testing a system that would be like the system China used in 2020.

This will not fly among your average American citizens, and many Alabama legislators and leaders have spoken out against this.

Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) says that this is a fast-track to totalitarianism.

State Senator Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) appeared on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” and made it perfectly and precisely clear “that dog don’t hunt in Alabama.”

He added that he believes Ivey can, and will, shut this down quickly.

“I don’t think it has to be from the legislature, I think the executive can handle that,” Givhan advised.

My takeaway:

And that’s with most things that have happened during this pandemic. The American media is taking the side of the bad guys. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has decided he is all in on the vaccination passports while Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is saying absolutely not to this wholly un-American exercise.

But who do the media choose to demonize? DeSantis, the same person they’ve been demonizing this entire time, while they let Cuomo off the hook.

After all, Cuomo is an Emmy award-winning alleged serial sexual harasser who is apparently responsible for thousands upon thousands of deaths at nursing homes in New York, a locked-down city, collapsing businesses, a still-high unemployment rate and just general terribleness wrecking his state, while Florida has been open for months and the impending calamity never comes.

The playbook here is pretty easy to understand. More restrictions are good, and there can be no lessening of those restrictions or it will prove the experts got it wrong again. Anyone advocating for or exhibiting freedoms and personal choice is bad and possibly a mass murderer. If you do not submit to the media and their Democrats and their overarching goals of total government control of every aspect of your life then you want people to die.

It is quite amazing to watch as the media and their Democrats, public health officials, and everybody on the planet repeatedly demand that they get to decide what is best for your life while it has become glaringly obvious that they’ve gotten almost every aspect of this pandemic wrong.

Those who want government control over your life have been wrong this whole time. They know it, and they don’t care. The only real success here is “Operation Warp Speed,” and that program is predicated on the idea that the government needed to get out of the way and let private companies go to work without a ton of red tape slowing them down. Yes, it worked.

The most astonishing part of all of this is that President Joe Biden and his party are apparently the authoritarian wannabe dictators that they always allege President Donald Trump wanted to be.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Ivey rebukes Biden on mask mandates, CDC warns another big spike in coronavirus cases is coming, elected officials tour area devastated by tornadoes and more …

7. Million dollar ad buy targets Mo Brooks and other congressmen

  • In a $1 million television and digital ad buy, the Republican Accountability Project is targeting six Republican U.S. Representatives, including U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), that they claim “encouraged a deadly attack” at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Others also targeted in these ads are U.S. Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC). The ad claims these representatives “lied” that the election was stolen and “voted to overturn the will of American voters.”

6. Hollywood is targeting another red state … again

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  • Georgia has been called Hollywood’s “southern campus,” and that has caused multiple attempts to interfere in the state’s politics by California’s liberals. The latest attempt comes as media misinformation fuels the narrative that voter suppression is rampant in the Peach State. For context, 75% of Americans favor voter ID and 69% of black voters do as well.
  • This is hardly the first time that liberals have decided that red states are doing things they deem unacceptable. Previous incursions into Georgia from Hollywood on gay marriage, Confederate flags, transgender issues and more have been relatively fruitless, but the elections of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock might have given them new life.

5. The green new deal will dictate infrastructure decisions

  • U.S. Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) is speaking out about what’s happening in Washington, D.C., saying, “The Republic is in great danger.” He added that Democrats “are doing things that will gut the Constitution.”
  • Palmer also touched on issues surrounding infrastructure legislation, mentioning the $3 trillion infrastructure plan that he said “will be largely dictated by the Green New Deal ideas that Democrats have been pushing.” Palmer also said that he’s “anticipating some energy taxes as they continue their all-out assault on fossil fuels.” He also focused on how this just further increases cost for those “who already pay a disproportionate percentage of their disposable income on just heating and cooling their homes, keeping the lights on.”

4. Amazon union vote to be announced today

  • On Monday, workers at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, voted on whether to join a union, and the final decision through the vote is expected to be announced today. A majority of workers have to vote “yes” for them to try and form a union.
  • The push to unionize in Bessemer has gained national attention as politicians like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have supported the movement.

3. Elected officials visit tornado-devastated areas

  • Recently, tornadoes have caused significant damage in areas in Alabama, and on Monday Governor Kay Ivey, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) toured the devastated areas.
  • Ivey visited Shelby, Hale, and Calhoun Counties, while Tuberville and Rogers visited Calhoun County. Ivey said, “While our state took a punch, a bad punch, and mourns those lost, this is a time when Alabamians show what we’re made of.”

2. Hospitals will be totally overwhelmed this time, for real

  • Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky is warning people not to let up on coronavirus precautions yet, saying at a White House briefing that she has a “recurring feeling of impending doom.”
  • Walensky’s warning is about the threat of another coronavirus spike as vaccine numbers increase and some states have started to relax government-mandated precautions. However, as vaccine supply has increased, most states are expected to be able to expand eligibility by or before May 1, as President Joe Biden has requested.

1. Ivey isn’t changing her mind on the mask mandate

  • While President Joe Biden has been calling for Alabama “to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate,” Governor Kay Ivey has insisted that the statewide mask mandate will end permanently on April 9. 
  • Ivey’s press secretary Gina Maiola said, “We have made progress, and we are moving towards personal responsibility and common sense, not endless government mandates.”

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Vaccine eligibility for everyone soon, Alabama unemployment rate continues to fall, the race to replace Brooks has started and more …

7. Apparently $1.9 trillion just wasn’t enough

  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that President Joe Biden is looking to pass another coronavirus stimulus package soon, saying that this week he’ll introduce the second part of his “recovery” plan, “which will include an investment in infrastructure.”
  • Psaki also said that Biden will share more details throughout the month and is expected to include areas of “health care, child care.” She added, “It’s a crisis right now, the number of women who have left the workplace.” But she did confirm that the full details aren’t entirely worked out.

6. Tuberville: Alabama is paying for relief for larger cities

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  • U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) recently criticized the coronavirus relief package that totaled $1.9 trillion, saying this legislation is basically “theft.”
  • Tuberville went on to say that “Alabama taxpayers are paying off the bills for San Francisco, Chicago and New York.” He warned with the new $3 trillion infrastructure bill, “We better be accountable. But get ready. Here come the taxes.”

5. Border facilities operating in inhumane conditions

  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently visited the southern border and is now calling for President Joe Biden to allow media access to the facilities. Cruz said in a letter to Biden, “[T]he American people are unable to see it because you remain intent on keeping the media from shining a light on your administration’s failures.”
  • Cruz called the situation at these border facilities are “inhumane” and “wrong.” He also said that there were as many as 4,200 migrants housed in a facility meant for only 250. 

4. Brooks doesn’t want people to give up after 2020

  • U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) was the keynote speaker for the “Stand Up, Alabama!” event in South Alabama over the weekend where he raised concerns over the agenda and strategy of Democrats. 
  • Brooks said, “One of the things that the opposition wants to do is depress us.” He added, “We can either fight and beat them at the ballot box or surrender. I want us to fight. Don’t get depressed. Get angry. Do what is necessary to win these elections in the state of Alabama in other states across the union.”

3. Madison County Commission chairman is the first to announce run for AL-05

  • Madison County Commission Chair Dale Strong is apparently ready to announce that he will be running for Congress in 2022. Strong is the first candidate to emerge in a race for the U.S. House seat being vacated by U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who has announced he is running for U.S. Senate.
  • Strong told aldotcom that he is ready to “represent the voice of the people here in north Alabama” and he believes that “we can carry on the fight that Donald Trump started and that’s what I’m wanting to do.” The media outlet tried to turn that into an anti-Mo Brooks and anti-Donald Trump comment somehow.

2. Unemployment continues to fall

  • The Alabama Department of Labor has reported that for the month of February, the unemployment rate fell to 4.0%. This is down from 4.3% in January. 
  • Before the coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment rate in February 2020 was at 2.6%. In February 2021, there were 91,065 unemployed people in the state. 

1. Vaccine eligibility expanding before May 1

  • State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said at his weekly coronavirus briefing that all adults in Alabama will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine “well before May 1.”
  • Alabama has already administered around one million vaccines; just over half of those who have received the vaccine are fully vaccinated. Harris also advised that the state has started receiving about 110,000 doses of the vaccine per week.

2 weeks ago

VIDEO: Brooks ‘substantially the frontrunner’ for Senate seat, Sewell passes on running as Democrats seek their candidate, Ivey to lean on businesses for masking and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Is political analyst Dr. Jess Brown correct in declaring U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) “substantially the frontrunner?”

— With U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) and former U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) saying they won’t run for U.S. Senate, is there anyone left in the Alabama Democratic Party who can take on the fight?

— Will Alabama businesses take tell citizens to “mask up” as statewide and local mandates go away?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by political consultant, and former APTW host, Lisa Handback to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at people who continue to push for remote learning after we have learned that in-person schooling is safe and those being harmed by keeping students can least afford to lose ground.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Severe weather rocks Alabama, Biden holds first press conference, Shelby and Manchin say no national voting overhaul and more …

7. The spending binge is not over

  • People who love spending taxpayer dollars never ever let a crisis go to waste. The “climate change crisis” is a never-ending piggybank of opportunity, and they now want to use it to spend an additional $3 trillion over the next decade, but it could be up to $10 trillion.
  • Progressives in Congress want to see more spending, higher taxes and a long commitment to spending this money long after President Joe Biden leaves the White House, but they need the filibuster gone to pull most of it off.

6. Tuberville continues work on southern border crisis

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  • New legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) would require immigrants coming to the southern border illegally at least receive a court date before they’re released into the United States.
  • This is in response to reports that many illegal immigrants are being released regularly without court dates. This legislation requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) give people a Notice to Appear in court. Tuberville has pointed out that releasing people without court dates means that there’s very little way to actually know who is being released into the country.

5. Amazon has finally responded to Sanders ahead of his Alabama visit

  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is set to visit employees at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama today, and just ahead of his trip, Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, has responded to some of the criticisms from Sanders.
  • Clark did say that he appreciates Sanders’ “push for a progressive workplace,” but added, “I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace.” He went on to point out of Amazon has a $15 minimum wage and numerous benefits that Sanders pushes for but has been unable to deliver on.

4. Georgia becomes one of the first states to change election laws after 2020 election

  • A new law in Georgia has just been signed by Governor Brian Kemp that will put some restrictions on voting by mail. Despite protests from voter rights groups, the legislation is meant to secure the election process and avoid issues that were seen in the 2020 general election.
  • Protesters, including State Representatives Park Cannon (D-GA) and Erica Thomas (D-GA), came to Kemp’s office after he signed the bill. There have been claims that this legislation will impact voters of color more than their white counterparts, and Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler (D-GA) stated, “We are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights unlike anything we’ve seen since the Jim Crow era.”

3. Shelby won’t be supporting HR1, nor will Manchin

  • In the House, H.R. 1, the so-called “For the People Act,” received no Republican support, and even now U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has shown opposition to the legislation. He said, “Pushing through legislation of this magnitude on a partisan basis may garner short-term benefits, but will inevitably only exacerbate the distrust that millions of Americans harbor against the U.S. government.”
  • U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has released a statement on the legislation, calling it “a blatant power grab in an effort to force a federalized election system on the entire country.”

2. Biden stays upright but struggles to talk filibuster, border crisis, reelection

  • President Joe Biden used cheat sheets and looked pretty bad, but held his first press conference with a very friendly media on Thursday. He covered a range of issues, including supporting changes for the filibuster. Biden said that he believes “we should go back to a position of a filibuster that existed just when I came to the United States Senate 120 years ago.” He also said that “it used to be that from between 1917 and 1971 the filibuster existed, there were a total of 58 motions to break a filibuster. … Last year alone, there were five times that many. So, it’s being abused in a gigantic way.”
  • When discussing the immigration crisis at the southern border, Biden said that the Trump era “policies that were underway were not helping at all, did not slow the amount of immigration. Rolling back the policies of separating children from their mothers? Make no apology for that.” Later in the press conference, Biden said that it was his “expectation” to run for reelection in 2024 with Vice President Kamala Harris. When asked if he thought former President Donald Trump would run as a Republican, Biden said, “I have no idea … I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party.”

1. At least 5 dead in severe weather outbreak

  • A severe weather system spawned tornados, heavy rains and floods from the Black Belt, across the Birmingham metro and into North Alabama dealing out property damage, power outages and death. Five people are confirmed dead in Calhoun County’s Ohatchee.
  • Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement noting the severity of this destruction. She said, “Significant and dangerous weather continues to impact portions of Alabama, and I urge all folks in the path of these tornadoes and storm systems to remain on high alert. Tragically, we are receiving reports of loss of life.” Even famed meteorologist James Spann’s house was hit while he was on the air.

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Alabama’s poor in-person schooling numbers, Kamala Harris now overseeing an immigration process she wants destroyed, Shelby won’t be endorsing his replacement and more …

7. Democrats do not have the votes they need to pass the House’s gun control

  • The Democrats and their media will make a lot of noise about gun control that has been passed in the U.S. House, but the fact that they don’t have everyone in their caucus on board makes that all but impossible in the U.S. Senate, filibuster or not.
  • U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has made it clear that he is not in support of the Democratic bills. Republicans like U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) believe some compromise is still possible. Portman stated, “Tightening the background check system is possible. The House bill is too broad and goes too far for the Senate.”

6. Another executive order already being challenged

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  • President Joe Biden signed an executive order to halt all drilling permits on federal lands and waters, and now Alabama has joined a lawsuit to challenge this decision. The lawsuit currently includes 12 other states.
  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Biden’s order is a “direct affront to American families’ livelihoods and our national security.” Marshall added that this goes against “the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA).”

5. Bernie Sanders is coming to Bessemer

  • To help advocate for unionization, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will be visiting Bessemer, Alabama, on Friday to talk with Amazon employees. Previously, Sanders had said that he wanted to end Alabama’s right-to-work law.
  • Actor Danny Glover and activist/rapper Killer Mike will also join Sanders on Friday. Votes will be counted on Tuesday next week to decide if Amazon workers in Bessemer will join the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union.

4. Expanding vaccine access to veterans

  • The Strengthen and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize All Veterans and Every Spouse legislation that will allow more military veterans access to the coronavirus vaccine has been signed into law. U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) was an original cosponsor of the legislation.
  • This law will expand which veterans can get the vaccine at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. Tuberville said that he’s “proud to support a bill that increases accessibility to the vaccine for our service members and their spouses.”

3. Shelby won’t be making an endorsement for his replacement

  • As expected, U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) has announced that she won’t be running for U.S. Senate as the current officeholder U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) states that he has no plans to make an endorsement in the race. It’s still early in the race, but two candidates have already announced.
  • U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) announced this week that he’s running for Shelby’s seat, and former U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard has also announced. Shelby did say that if President Donald Trump “put his stamp on anybody, it would help them right now.”

2. Kamala Harris will oversee border crisis, which is odd

  • President Joe Biden has announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will oversee the response to issues at the southern border as it’s anticipated a record number of migrants will come to the area in the upcoming months.
  • Previously, Harris has supported decriminalizing crossing the border, and she’s compared Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Ku Klux Klan. In the announcement, Biden said, “When she speaks, she speaks for me.”

1. Alabama’s education is still not great for minorities in the COVID-19 era

  • The U.S. Department of Education has released data on schools across the country, showing how many students are still virtual and how many are back in the classroom. In Alabama, 58% of fourth-graders are back in the classroom full time, 17% are on a hybrid schedule and 22% are learning remotely. But the racial disparity is really shocking, as only 10% of white students are learning remotely while 47% of black students, 32% of Asian students, 29% of economically disadvantaged students, 19% of students with disabilities and 16% of Hispanic students are doing the same.
  • For those learning remotely, 27% have no live instruction from their teachers. The president of A+ Education Partnership Mark Dixon said this lack of live instruction “is only going to exacerbate some existing concerns for students,” including learning gaps.

2 weeks ago

Terri Sewell was never running for Senate — Here’s who the Democrats should feed into the woodchipper

(Dale Jackson/Facebook, Pixabay, Wikicommons, YHN)

The most obvious political question of the 2022 election has finally been answered.

U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) is not running for the United States Senate. She never was going to.

Trust me, I get it.

Doug Jones is out as well, so who’s up? Aldotcom’s Kent Faulk asked that question today:

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The word viable is quite the stickler here because Doug Jones wasn’t viable until the Washington Post decided allegations are convictions and declared that Roy Moore was the Gadsden Mall creeper decades ago. Faulk’s outlet ran with that ball, but they were merely errand boys.

So, let’s talk about those “viable candidates” for the Alabama Democratic Party.

They will have to be well-known amongst power-brokers, connected and alive.

How about Parker Griffith? He’s been a member of every political party (even independent) and chased multiple offices. He has quite the record so far. He ran for mayor of Huntsville (lost), Alabama State Senate (won), U.S. House (won and then lost twice) and lost a race for governor, too. That’s a lot of big losses. There’s no benefit to the 78-year-old Griffith getting beat again.

A possible choice is House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville), but he’s not going to give up his safe seat and leadership position in the House Democratic Caucus to jump in and get crushed in 2022.

Alabama Democratic Party Chairman and State Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) faces the same issue.

So now we are left with non-State House or State Senate Democrats, and there are two that come to mind.

Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa and Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham.

Maddox already faced a statewide election and a weaker candidate in Kay Ivey than he would face in a U.S. Senate race, and he got destroyed, even with a sycophantic and hopeful media selling his positives and false hope.

Woodfin is the guy, if I were an Alabama Democrat. If I were Woodfin, I would be all over this — even knowing that I was going to lose badly. The Senate election does not coincide with the Birmingham mayoral election cycle, so Woodfin would not have to forgo reelection to run in 2022.

He could be this cycle’s Jamie Harrison — completely unknown outside of the state but an attractive candidate for MSNBC hits and “here is the guy going against Mo Brooks” stories that will bring in big money.

Harrison was a complete nobody. He raised over $100 million and got obliterated by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Graham was straight-up rooted against by the media. They wanted him to lose to punish him for supporting former President Donald Trump.

He didn’t. Graham won 54.2 to 44.2.

Harrison was assisted, carried, promoted and protected, and still lost. That will all probably happen here.

But look where Harrison is now — the head of the Democratic National Committee.

Woodfin has nothing to lose by doing this and everything to gain.

Show up, get beat, raise your profile and go home a net-winner.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Biden says executive orders are coming on guns, Trump could endorse in Alabama Senate race, more Pre-K in Alabama and more …

7. Carl: Reimburse coastal areas

  • New legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) would require that coastal regions be reimbursed due to executive orders by President Joe Biden to stop new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and waters.
  • Carl said that this decision “is particularly devastating to south Alabama and the Gulf Coast region.” Through the Gulf of Mexico Security Energy Act (GOMESA), Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama all receive funds through permits to drill from the federal government. Carl is proposing that while restrictions are in place, the states should be paid “any difference between what collected in normal GOMESA revenues that fiscal year and the average revenues collected between fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020.”

6. Democrats value diversity over everything else

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  • Two Democrat U.S. Senators have declared that they will not support any white nominees that are proposed by President Joe Biden over the fact that there have no been enough Asian nominees. U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said, “I am a no vote on the floor, on all non-diversity nominees.”
  • Duckworth and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) could block every Biden nominee moving forward if they wanted to, but they do appear to be ready to vote for some nominees. According to Duckworth, “You know, I will vote for racial minorities and I will vote for LGBTQ, but anybody else I’m not voting for.”

5. Census delay will affect Alabama elections and redistricting

  • During a Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee hearing, Census Bureau director Ron Jarmin was told that the delay in releasing complete 2020 U.S. Census data until at least August or September 2021 only further delays redistricting plans.
  • The data is supposed to be made available to states by March 31, but the Bureau has said it has to be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. While many U.S. Senators voiced their concerns during the hearing, the State of Alabama has also joined a lawsuit to sue the Census Bureau and get data released sooner.

4. Frustration with border is boiling over

  • The crisis at the border is getting worse, everyone knows this, including Mexico’s president. But the Biden administration and the media continue to suggest that it has the problem under control in spite of copious evidence to the contrary. Reports have shown that about one-third of people coming across the southern border are sexually assaulted, and many are forced into trafficking with traffickers making about $14 million weekly bringing people into the United States.
  • U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), joined by cosponsors Senators Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) proposed The Stopping Border Surges Act that would seek to close loopholes in the immigration system that have been seen to encourage dangerous behavior. Tuberville said, “President Biden has sent a ‘come one, come all’ signal to immigrants. Not only has this created a surge of illegal immigrants coming across the border, but it also created an environment that is ripe for abuse.”

3. More Pre-K for Alabama

  • With COVID-19 causing an education crisis across the board, Alabama is expanding its opportunities. For the next school year, there will be 34 new classrooms funded through the Pre-K through 3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning (P-3) program, which will be a total of 208 classrooms across the state in the program.
  • Governor Kay Ivey said that expanding this early education program is “an intentional effort to give Alabama’s children a strong start towards a successful educational career.” Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Barbara Cooper also noted that students enrolled in this program “are more likely to be proficient in reading and math and less likely to have disciplinary issues or be retained in a grade.”

2. Lindsey Graham should sit this out — Trump won’t

  • There will be U.S. Senate primaries in both Alabama and Missouri in 2022, and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has already said that President Donald Trump “should just let it play out” instead of making any endorsements.
  • Graham didn’t say that Trump getting involved would hurt Republican chances of winning, but rather said “it’d be in his interest to see how, you know, who can give a punch, take a punch and that kind of stuff.” Graham added that he told Trump that he is “the leader of the party, whether we win or not, and 2022 matters to you. If we come back, you’ll get your fair share of credit.”

1. Gun control through executive order is coming

  • President Joe Biden called for a ban on “assault weapons” in the wake of the shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. Biden said that we should “increase the background checks like they’re supposed to occur, and eliminate assault weapons, and [restricting] size of magazines.”
  • Despite Biden calling on the U.S. Senate to pass the ban, White House press secretary Jen Psaki later stated that Biden is “considering a range of levers, including working through legislation,” but added that using executive action “has been under discussion and will continue to be under discussion.”

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Mo Brooks running for Senate, Ivey wants you to stay masked up, 3 feet of distancing the new rule in Alabama schools and more …

7. Jill Biden is coming to Birmingham

  • On Friday, first lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden will be visiting Birmingham to promote the projects the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan funded. This will be part of the “Help is Here” tour FLOTUS is going on across the country.
  • The office of the first lady did release a statement on the tour, saying it’s meant “to amplify how the American Rescue plan addresses childhood poverty.”

6. Another toll road proposal

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  • Roughly two years ago, Gov. Kay Ivey proposed the Interstate 10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project that would have cost over $1 billion but went nowhere after a massive outcry in the Mobile region and across the state. Now, another proposal is on the table, and it only costs $725 million dollars.
  • The new plan would include a “truck-only” bridge that will charge $10-$15 on commercial trucks 46 feet or longer and utilize a $125 million federal grant before it expires. Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson released a statement saying these federal funds could be lost. He outlined, “We must demonstrate to the federal government that there is local support for moving forward. Failure to do so would cause the federal government to possibly redirect these funds.” U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), who supports the plan, added, “It’s more important now than ever for local, state, and federal leaders to continue working together to make this effort a reality.”

5. Alabama has the highest graduation rate in the country

  • The graduation rate for all students in Alabama was at 91.7% for the 2019 school year, according to a report released by the National Center for Education Statistics. This is the highest graduation rate in the country. This all sounds great, but the percentage of students enrolling in a two- or four-year college in 2019 is actually declining to the lowest reported since 2014.
  • The graduation rate across the country is only at 85.8%. This success has been celebrated, but Gov. Kay Ivey acknowledged, “We also must ensure we close whatever gap appears from the COVID-19 slide.”

4. Kids are still in cages — it’s just a different administration

  • In Donna, Texas, a migrant facility is clearly overcrowded, as new pictures released by U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) show. President Joe Biden and his administration have limited media access to these facilities, and they’ve repeatedly denied that there’s an immediate crisis at the southern border.  
  • While most people in the pictures are wearing masks, they are crammed together with plastic curtains between groups and aluminum blankets distributed. The White House claims that limited media access is due to the coronavirus, and even after the pictures were released, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that this is a “circumstance” rather than a crisis.

3. Another step to getting back to normal in Alabama schools

  • Gov. Kay Ivey has decided to decrease the social distancing rule in K-12 schools from six feet to three feet, which was anticipated as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed their recommendation last week.
  • Ivey said that the situation of the coronavirus pandemic in Alabama “continues moving in the right direction, and we feel very optimistic that COVID-19 will soon be in our rearview mirrors.”

2. Keep wearing your mask if you want to

  • The mask mandate across Alabama will be ending permanently on April 9, but Gov. Kay Ivey has reminded people that just because the mandate is ending doesn’t mean people shouldn’t still wear a mask in public.
  • In a press release, Ivey encouraged the use of masks after the mandate and also released signage that businesses can use if they want to continue requiring masks or at least encouraging masks. Ivey said she hopes the signage is “helpful to businesses around the state as they set their own protocols to operate safely.”

1. Mo Brooks is running for U.S. Senate

  • U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has officially announced that he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2022. Brooks announced this at a campaign event with a former advisor for President Donald Trump Stephen Miller on Monday night. Miller used his time introducing Brooks to explain what is happening in Washington, D.C. and why he believes Brooks is what is needed in the U.S. Senate. Miller cited Brooks’ integrity and work on illegal immigration issues.
  • Just before Brooks announced, he filed with the Federal Election Commission for a Senate campaign. MoBrooks.com has also been established as his website. The filing specifically says “Mo Brooks for Senate” with Martha Brooks, his wife, as the committee’s chairman.

3 weeks ago

OK, fine, maybe the lottery isn’t dead

(Dale Jackson/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

Maybe a comprehensive gambling bill with a lottery, table games and sports betting is dead, but a “plain and simple lottery” might still be in play.

This bill allegedly allows a lottery and nothing else.

Per Yellowhammer News’ reporting:

The bill would see a lottery administered by a newly created Alabama Lottery Corporation, which would be overseen and regulated by a newly created Alabama Lottery Commission.

“The corporation may allow lottery games of all types,” the legislation reads. “Games may include, but are not limited to, new games, draw lotteries of various types, interstate lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions, instant winners such as scratch-offs, Keno, and iLottery, or any other lottery offered in another state.

So, can it overcome the two votes the most recent lottery bill failed by?

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State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) is one of those previous “no” votes. He believes this now gives him something he can say yes to.

“As I understand, the bill as it is now, I think I can support it to put it on the ballot for people to vote on,” Orr said Friday on Huntsville WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show.”

For Orr, the difference in this appears to be the stroke special interests might wield in some of the other bills proposed on this matter, and for that reason, he sees it passing the Alabama State Senate.

He advised, “I think this particular vote, unless one is tied to the Indian casinos or the old McGregor casinos or any of those other operations, then I think it will by and large get support across the board in the Senate.”

My takeaway:

What happens in the Alabama State House if this were to pass is anyone’s guess, but this is not as dead as some thought it was two weeks ago.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Vaccine eligibility expands, mask mandate upheld 3 weeks before it ends, SPLC reaches to find ‘voter intimidation’ in Alabama and more …

7. Shelby and Tuberville support repealing the Death Tax

  • Both U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) have cosponsored the Death Tax Repeal Act, which would eliminate the federal estate and generation-skipping transfer tax.
  • Shelby said that this is “an unfair tax that makes it more difficult for hardworking farms & small businesses to stay in the family. He added, “It’s important that we ease the burden on these family businesses, not exacerbate it.”

6. Over $1 billion economic activity in Alabama through Google

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  • Google has released its economic impact report, and it showed that they generated $1.17 billion in economic activity in Alabama. This was done by 17,700 businesses, publishers, nonprofits and creators using Google products to help their business.
  • Most of this was done through advertising on Google, YouTube, Google Search and Google Play. Google has also announced that it will be creating 10,000 more full-time jobs nationwide in 2021.

5. Too much special interest influence on lottery

  • It’s expected that the Alabama Legislature will consider a lottery bill when they return from spring break, but there are still issues surrounding legalizing a lottery or gambling in the state. State Senator Chris Elliot (R-Daphne) has explained why he’s voted no in the past and still has concerns over the issue.
  • Elliot said that he’s “frustrated by the special interests’ influence on this entire issue.” He added that while a “lottery is simple,” having to add gaming to legislation isn’t what people are looking for. He also mentioned that Governor Kay Ivey calling a special session to deal with the lottery and gaming “may be the only way to get the House to really focus on and come to the table” on the issue.

4. Illegal immigrants released without so much as a court date

  • In the Rio Grande Valley Sector, Border Patrol agents have been releasing illegal immigrants without even issuing a Notice to Appear (NTA), which is just a court date, so now it is up to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to schedule and enforce hearings.
  • The decision to no longer issue NTA is due to the number of illegal immigrants coming to the border and the inability to quickly process everyone for court dates. It’s been reported that there’s no space to hold people, so release into the United States is almost immediate for those coming to the border.

3. There is no voter intimidation in Alabama

  • The Southern Poverty Law Center released a review of the 2020 general elections in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgi  and Louisiana, and through this report, they allege that there was voter intimidation in areas of Alabama.
  • The claim is that there was a “Blue Lives Matter” sign inside a polling location in Pike County, and in Autauga County, there was a law enforcement officer who acted in a hostile manner toward a poll worker who was assisting voters.

2. Mask mandate upheld by Supreme Court

  • A ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court further supports that Governor Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris acted lawfully in enforcing the statewide mask mandate, which is set to permanently expire on April 9.
  • This particular lawsuit was brought by Jackson County residents alleging that the mask mandate caused injury, but they failed to prove their case. The ruling also says that there weren’t even “allegations about how facial-covering requirement is being enforced, to the extent that the requirement is being enforced at all.”

1. 18% of Alabamians have the vaccine

  • State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has said that so far, 877,815 people in Alabama had at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which makes up about 18% of the state. Starting today, two-thirds of adults in the state will be eligible for the vaccine.
  • Harris has also said that the state is expected to open eligibility to all adults in Alabama by May 1 or “much earlier.” Of those vaccinated, 529,402 are fully vaccinated, which is two weeks after receiving the second shot of the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine or the same amount of time after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Alabama passes another historically large budget, hot-button bills advance, Alabama vs. Biden and more …

7. Hot fire test successful

  • The Space Launch System (SLS) had a successful hot fire test for the core stage. This is one step closer to going back to the moon as the rocket for Artemis 1 is scheduled to launch later this year. 
  • The hot fire test is the final stage in the Green Run, and the SLS program is managed through NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said this is “another important milestone in our return to the moon.”

6. Lawsuit to prevent Biden from killing jobs

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  • President Joe Biden has taken action to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline, but now Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined a lawsuit with 20 other states that seeks to block this action by Biden. 
  • Marshall argued that Biden “is not constitutionally empowered to cancel the international contract,” noting the jobs Alabama and the United States will lose. The lawsuit clearly argues that shutting down the Keystone pipeline must be done through Congress, rather than an executive order. 

5. Born alive bill passes

  • The legislation sponsored by State Representative Ginny Shaver (R-Leesburg) requires proper medical attention be given to babies born alive after an attempted abortion has passed the State House. 
  • Some have argued that the practice of neglecting a baby born alive is already illegal, as stated by State Representative Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham). 

4. Female sports need to be played by female athletes

  • In response to the concern over male-to-female athletes dominating female sports, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill that would require athletes to play sports in the division that suits their biological gender listed on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.
  • All Republican members voted in favor of the legislation, and Rep. Dexter Grimsley (D-Newville) joined the majority in supporting the bill. Other Democrats, like State Representative Laura Hall (D-Huntsville) and Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham) disingenuously tried (and failed) to argue that such a ban would hurt Alabama’s economy because tournaments won’t come to Alabama as a result of the law.

3. Anti-rioting bill is through the House

  • The anti-rioting bill sponsored by State Representative Allen Treadaway (R-Morris) that’s seen pushback from Democrats has officially passed the State House and will go to the State Senate for a vote. 
  • The bill would increase the penalties for rioting, inciting a riot, looting and attacking first responders. It was revealed that State Representative Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) called Treadaway a racist and white supremacist in the State House hallways over this legislation. 

2. Ban curbside voting

  • The Alabama House of Representatives has voted to ban curbside voting throughout the state; the vote followed party lines 74-25. 
  • The purpose of the bill is to prevent voter fraud since with curbside voting there’s an issue of the chain of custody with the ballot being broken. The arguments for curbside voting were mostly centered around making voting more accessible to those with disabilities. 

1. Alabama seems to be OK financially

  • A week after the Alabama House of Representatives passed the largest General Fund budget in Alabama history, the Alabama State Senate followed up with the largest Education Trust Fund budget ever, at $7.67 billion. The bill passed unanimously.
  • State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) said a focus of the budget was keeping good teachers, adding that “over $200 million is being allocated toward salary increases.” He stated, “[S]ubstantial step raise increases are being provided for educators in order to retain these individuals in their midyears. Our greatest priority right now is to attract and keep quality educators.”

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Severe weather hits Alabama, lottery bill lives, lack of racial motive in Atlanta shootings doesn’t deter the media and more …

7. Bessemer Amazon employee gets a national stage

  • The U.S. Senate Budget Committee held a hearing over the Bessemer Amazon employees wanting to unionize, and an employee from the fulfillment center testified at the hearing, saying that unionizing would help employees be “more comfortable.”
  • The hearing also related to overall topics of wages and large corporations, but U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) did say that he wants to ask Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “Why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers in Bessemer, Ala., from joining a union so they can negotiate for better wages, better benefits and better working conditions?”

6. Biden taking shots at Putin

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  • President Joe Biden is assisting in reviving the Russian interference in elections narrative, as declassified information has shown that Russia and Iran may have tried to influence the 2020 presidential election. According to a report, Iran was trying to harm President Donald Trump’s reelection, while Russia was trying to prevent Biden from being elected.
  • In a recent interview, Biden discussed the issue and specifically spoke about what repercussions Russia and President Vladimir Putin could face. He said, “The price he’s going to pay, you’ll see shortly.” Biden also said that he thinks Putin is a killer.

5. Democrats want to increase taxes on families and employers

  • It’s been revealed that President Joe Biden is planning one of the largest tax increases in decades, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki has clarified that this tax increase will be focused on families making more than $400,000.
  • Biden described this tax increase as “significant,” but Psaki failed to clarify what the threshold for increased taxes would be for individuals. Biden is already aware that it’s unlikely he’ll get any support from Republicans on this plan.

4. McConnell could go ‘scorched earth’

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is preparing for the event that Democrats look to end the filibuster, saying that could result in a “scorched earth” approach where they stall any and all normal operations.
  • If Democrats successfully end the filibuster, their majority power would only become more significant. McConnell also said that the legislative conflict seen during President Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s terms would just be “child’s play” in comparison.

3. Even without a racial motive, shooting at massage parlors sparks racial uproar

  • On Tuesday, Robert Aaron Long killed eight people in a series of shootings in Georgia, and law enforcement has determined the shootings were not racially-motivated, but the American media have decided they know better, saying — without evidence — that the attack is actually about anti-Asian hatred.
  • Jay Baker, a spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, said Long had visited these establishments in the past, struggled with sex addiction, and that they were “targets of opportunity” to “eliminate the temptation” he was feeling. This, of course, has made him a target of the media as well.

2. Lottery bill passes committee

  • A lottery bill by State Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) has been passed by the Alabama Senate Tourism Committee. This bill is similar to State Senator Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) in the way that it’s proposed as a constitutional amendment.
  • McClendon says this is just “a plain and simple lottery.” The committee took a voice vote, and no one voted against the bill. There would be an Alabama Lottery Corporation and Alabama Lottery Commission created. Gaming is still not allowed within the bill, which explicitly states “video lottery terminals or any casino or similar gaming establishment” can’t be approved to operate.

1. Alabama weathers the storm

  • Severe weather led to multiple tornadoes, flooding, a lot of damage and power outages across the state of Alabama, but it appears large-scale destruction was avoided.
  • Some schools, daycares and businesses across the state saw delays on Thursday morning, but the severe weather event has passed.