Good morning!

It seems we've officially made it to summer.

Here's your Daily News for Tuesday, June 1.
1. Medical marijuana: how it happened and what's next
  • Going into this year’s legislative session, Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, said he knew the Senate would pass the medical marijuana bill he sponsored. It was the House where the bill would face a tougher vote. But when some “solid legislators” in the House said they’d vote for his bill, Melson got hopeful.
  • “I'm not gonna say solid conservatives or liberals or whatever, but guys who are solid legislators," Melson said, mentioning specifically Reps. Allen Treadaway, R-Birmingham, and Allen Farley, R-McCalla, both former law enforcement leaders, and Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, the pragmatic House budget committee chairman.
  • "When they realized that this wasn’t about Republican or Democrat issues, it was about taking care of people, I thought we had a good chance,” Melson said.
  • Medical marijuana bills have been filed in the Alabama Legislature for years, first by Democrats. The bill to allow people with certain medical conditions access to forms of medical marijuana cleared the House on one of the final nights of the legislative session and Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law the next week. 
  • Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, said the passage of the medical marijuana bill was mostly about "hearts and minds" slowly changing on the issue.
  • Read more about how the bill was passed and the next steps for setting up the regulatory commission from Caroline Beck and Mary Sell HERE.
2. Lawmakers considering federal Covid relief money for prison fix
  • As the clock runs down on Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to lease new prisons, several lawmakers say they want to consider using some of the more than $2 billion in new federal Coronavirus relief money on improved prison infrastructure.
  • Earlier this year, Ivey signed lease agreements with Tennessee-based CoreCivic to build two large men’s prisons. Today is the deadline for those agreements to be final, but CoreCivic’s funding has been in jeopardy as support from potential underwriters has fallen away.
  • Meanwhile, lawmakers have signaled to Ivey they want another crack at a state-funded prison plan. 
  • Alabama budget makers and leaders are continuing to lay the groundwork for the distribution and spending of Rescue Plan funds. The state this summer will start seeing some of the more than $4 billion allocated to it and local governments in the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act. Separately, there is nearly $2 billion going to K-12 schools in the Rescue Plan.
  • State government’s Rescue Plan funding includes $2.1 billion earmarked for state relief and $192 million for state capital projects fund.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
3. Alabama clinics offer free vision screening for rural areas
  • A program meant to prevent vision loss among some of Alabama's most vulnerable residents will provide free vision screening and testing in rural communities.
  • Offered as part of a study by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers, the program already has treated more than 100 people at Cahaba Medical Care clinics in Maplesville and Marion, UAB said in an announcement, and it will expand to include a clinic in Centreville.
  • Studies have shown that poor, Black and Hispanic people are disproportionately at risk for problems that can cause blindness. In rural areas where few eye care providers work, many people delay getting eye exams, said Dr. Lindsay A. Rhodes.
  • Screening results and images gathered at the rural sites are sent electronically to researchers at UAB, who review them for any problems.
  • Read more HERE.
4.Lawsuit filed over Alabama dock fire that killed 8 in 2020
  • A lawsuit filed over a dock fire that killed eight people at a county marina in north Alabama last year contends officials failed to ensure the safety of the structure.
  • The wrongful death suit names Jackson County commissioners at the time of the blaze; the city of Scottsboro; insurers and others. Fire, electrical and safety codes weren't followed at Jackson County Park, where the marina was located on a wide creek off the Tennessee River, it claims.
  • Combustible materials on the dock increased the danger, the suit contends, and officials failed to perform annual inspections, fire response training, fire drills or develop a plan for dealing with a blaze.
  • The suit was filed Tuesday by the families of two of the fire victims, Amanda Nicole Foster and Yancy Tyler Roper. It seeks an unspecified amount of money to both compensate estates of the dead and punish the plaintiffs.
  • Read more HERE.
5. What would it take to solve the student debt crisis?
  • The possibility of federal student loan forgiveness grabs all the headlines. But experts say no single policy — not even wiping the slate clean for millions of borrowers — solves the root causes of the nation’s $1.74 trillion student loan debt crisis. 
  • That debt has been fueled by decades of wages not keeping up with the rising cost of college. And unless wages increase and college costs decrease, students will still need to take on debt to complete degrees, and they’ll face greater difficulty repaying loans. 
  • “There are no $1.7 trillion silver bullets,” says Seth Frotman, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization. 
  • So what could work? It’ll take more than a headline-grabbing wipeout of student debt.
  • Read more from NerdWallet's Anna Helhoski HERE.
Headlines
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS - May 28, 2021

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Medical marijuana: how it happened and what’s next

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Lawmakers considering federal Covid relief money for prison fix

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Alabama clinics offer free vision screening for rural areas

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Lawsuit filed over Alabama dock fire that killed 8 in 2020

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - What would it take to solve the student debt crisis?

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Biden commemorates war dead at Arlington National Cemetery

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Most inmates excluded from new sentence reduction incentive

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Orr not running for Congress, seeks to stay in State House

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Supreme court rejects Mobile County claims over opioid crisis

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - White House: one more week for infrastructure talks

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Daily News Digest – May 31, 2021
 
AL.COM - Huntsville police investigate after video shows officer stomp on man’s leg
 
AL.COM - Mayor recalls Confederate monument removal, turmoil in Linn Park
 
AL.COM - Columnist Roy S. Johnson: The true legacy of Black Wall Street? I lived it; my father, a massacre witness, embodied it
 
Montgomery Advertiser - Remembering the fallen: American Legion salutes those who gave all at Memorial Day ceremony

Montgomery Advertiser - Memorial Day wreath laying in Prattville

Montgomery Advertiser - Here's why the Pa. House Democratic leader wants to end prison gerrymandering

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham - Talladega College to provide COVID vaccines for community

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham - Friends mourn 18-year-old girl who tragically died over the weekend

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham - Separated since birth, mother and son make Memorial Day meeting in Cincinnati

Tuscaloosa News - Denny Chimes Memorial Day Concert

Tuscaloosa News - Gwen Shamblin Lara, other leaders of controversial church presumed dead after plane crash

YellowHammer News - U.S. Rep. Palmer: ‘Democrats want to use earmarks to try to buy votes’

Gadsden Times - PHOTOS: Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association's Memorial Day Program

Gadsden Times - Gwen Shamblin Lara, other leaders of controversial church presumed dead after plane crash

Gadsden Times - WHEN HARRY MET ... Lesa Carnes Shaul (and the tale of a Sand Mountain shootout)

Dothan Eagle - Australian softball squad flies to Japan for Olympic camp

Dothan Eagle - Dems walk, stop Texas GOP's sweeping voting restrictions

Dothan Eagle - Asia Today: Vietnam to test all 9M residents in largest city

Opelika-Auburn News - Poland: Huawei ex-exec, expert accused of spying for China

Opelika-Auburn News - JBS cyberattack disrupts Australian meat production

Opelika-Auburn News - Biden to honor forgotten victims of Tulsa race massacre

WSFA Montgomery - Memorial Day bike ride honors fallen Tuskegee Airmen

WSFA Montgomery - Police: Woman critically injured in Montgomery Sunday night shooting

WSFA Montgomery - Campers return to Gunter Hill Park this Memorial Day weekend

WAFF Huntsville - Customer daily limit for brewery to-go sales to triple in August

WAFF Huntsville - Tennessee RiverLine Program launches kayak fleets for Bridgeport community

WAFF Huntsville - Limestone County NAACP offering walk-up vaccinations

WKRG Mobile - Police encourage ‘zipper merge’ to ease congestion on newly reopened bridge

WKRG Mobile - Alabama clinics offer free vision screening for rural areas

WKRG Mobile - UPDATE: One-shot with life-threatening injuries on Nicholas Lane

WTVY Dothan - Remembering the stories of the fallen

WTVY Dothan - Taps Across America: Dothan

WTVY Dothan - Enterprise honors Navy Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson on Memorial Day

WASHINGTON POST - After defeating restrictive voting bill, Texas Democrats send loud message: ‘We need Congress to do their part’

WASHINGTON POST - Biden set for G-7 boost in bid for all nations to impose minimum global corporate tax

WASHINGTON POST - Ahead of Tulsa trip, Biden to unveil plans to reduce Black-White wealth gap

NEW YORK TIMES - After Dramatic Walkout, a New Fight Looms Over Voting Rights in Texas

NEW YORK TIMES - How the World Ran Out of Everything

NEW YORK TIMES - Disputing Racism’s Reach, Republicans Rattle American Schools

WALL STREET JOURNAL - China Three-Child Policy Aims to Rejuvenate Aging Population

WALL STREET JOURNAL - The Wall Street Players Who Worry Inflation Heralds Wild Markets

WALL STREET JOURNAL - Stocks of Covid-19 Vaccine Makers Need a Fresh Push


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