Presented by Alabama’s Locally-Owned
Health Mart Community Pharmacies
Good morning!

I hope you had a fun and relaxing Labor Day weekend.

Here's your Daily News for Tuesday, September 8.
1. Hopes fading for coronavirus deal as Congress returns
  • As lawmakers straggle back to Washington for an abbreviated pre-election session, hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill — or much else.
  • Talks between top Democrats and the Trump administration broke off last month and remain off track, with the bipartisan unity that drove almost $3 trillion in COVID-19 rescue legislation into law this spring replaced by toxic partisanship and a return to Washington dysfunction.
  • Expectations in July and August that a fifth bipartisan pandemic response bill would eventually be birthed despite increased obstacles has been replaced by genuine pessimism. Recent COVID-related conversations among key players have led to nothing.
  • Democrats seem secure in their political position, with President Donald Trump and several Senate GOP incumbents lagging in the polls. Trump is seeking to sideline the pandemic as a campaign issue, and Republicans aren't interested in a deal on Democratic terms — even as needs like school aid enjoy widespread support.
  • Poisonous relationships among key leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows give little reason for confidence about overcoming obstacles on the cost, scope and details of a potential relief bill. Pelosi recently referred to Meadows as “whatever his name is," while the Meadows-run White House during a press briefing ran a video loop of Pelosi's controversial visit to a San Francisco hair salon.
  • Trump said Monday that Democrats “don’t want to make a deal because they think that if the country does as badly as possible ... that’s good for the Democrats.”
  • The good news? It looks like Congress will avoid a government shutdown. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are negotiating a stop-gap spending bill free of controversy. That measure is likely to keep the government running into December.
  • Full story from Andrew Taylor in Washington HERE.
2. In battlegrounds, absentee ballot rejections could triple
  • Thousands of absentee ballots get rejected in every presidential election. This year, that problem could be much worse and potentially pivotal in hotly contested battleground states.
  • With the coronavirus creating a surge in mail-in balloting and postal delays reported across the country, the number of rejected ballots in November is projected to be significantly higher than previous elections.
  • Ballot rejections occur even under the best of circumstances. They go uncounted because they arrived too late in the mail, voters forgot to sign them or signatures didn't match the one on file at local election offices.
  • In all, 22 states are going from absentee ballots comprising less than 10% of all ballots four years ago to perhaps half or more this November. Pennsylvania is among them: Nearly 51% of all votes cast during its June primary were mail-in.
  • If voter turnout is the same as 2016 and the ballot rejection rate equals the 1.4% from this year’s primary, nearly 43,000 Pennsylvania ballots could be rejected this fall. That's almost the same number of votes by which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state four years ago, when some 2,100 ballots were rejected.
  • Think Bush-Gore 2000, except instead of hanging chads under the microscope it could be postmarks and signatures.
  • Read more HERE.
A message from Alabama’s Locally-Owned
Health Mart Community Pharmacies
  • Alabama’s community pharmacists are more than just the friendly faces that fill your prescriptions every month; they are an essential link in the healthcare chain.

  • In rural areas, community pharmacists are often the first – and sometimes the only – healthcare contact for residents in a community.

  • In addition to keeping Alabama communities healthy by filling prescriptions, most of the APCI network of community pharmacies provide vital healthcare services such as immunizations, clinical testing, and medication counseling.

  • We appreciate the pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy staff members – your friends and neighbors – in our locally-owned pharmacies who go above and beyond to safely meet the healthcare needs of Alabamians.

  • Find your locally-owned community Health Mart pharmacy HERE.
3. Effort to get those with mental illness out of jails expands
  • In fiscal year 2021, 17 additional Alabama counties will participate in the Stepping Up Initiative, which aims to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails by developing mental health referral and case-management systems, the Alabama Department of Mental Health said.
  • According to the Stepping Up website, the program is currently operational in 19 Alabama counties. 
  • An increase in state funding to ADMH is allowing for the expansion, said ADMH spokeswoman Malissa Valdes-Hubert. The names of the additional counties were not available this week. The department will request funding in the FY2022 budget to expand Stepping Up to the remainder of the counties in the state, Valdes-Hubert said. 
  • Earlier this year, the Legislature approved a resolution from Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, encouraging Alabama’s 67 counties to implement the national Stepping Up Initiative. Expanding the program has also been a priority of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.
  • Full story from ADN's Mary Sell HERE.
4. Dems cast doubts about vaccine, Trump responds
  • The prospect of a vaccine to shield Americans from coronavirus infection emerged as a point of contention in the White House race as President Donald Trump accused Democrats of “disparaging” for political gain a vaccine he repeatedly has said could be available before the election.
  • “It's so dangerous for our country, what they say, but the vaccine will be very safe and very effective,” the president pledged Monday at a White House news conference.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, said in a CNN interview broadcast Sunday that she would not trust a coronavirus vaccine if one were ready at the end of the year because “there's very little that we can trust that ... comes out of Donald Trump's mouth.” She argued that scientists would be “muzzled” because Trump is focused on getting reelected.
  • Trump dismissed her comments as “reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric" designed to detract from the effort to quickly ready a vaccine for a disease that has killed about 190,000 Americans and infected more than 6 million others, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden echoed some of Harris' rhetoric, saying he was worried some would be "reluctant" to take a vaccine, but conceded he would take it himself.
  • “If I could get a vaccine tomorrow I’d do it, if it would cost me the election I’d do it. We need a vaccine and we need it now.”
  • Read more HERE.
5. Leah Nelson: Worsley case shows how we have failed
  • Last week, Sean Worsley, the Iraq war veteran who was arrested in Pickens County in 2016 for possession of his legally-prescribed medical marijuana, was denied the opportunity to serve his sentence in the state's Community Corrections program.
  • Now he'll report to state prison, which advocates say is more than a miscarriage of justice, it's proof that the state's criminal justice system at large is in need of reform.
  • Worsley's case has become high profile due to the unique circumstances of his arrest, extradition and failed attempts at compliance, as well as the disparate groups advocating on his behalf.
  • Leah Nelson with the Appleseed Center for Law and Justice tells the full story in a new piece for Alabama Daily News.
  • Read it in full HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Hopes fading for coronavirus deal as Congress returns

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - In battlegrounds, absentee ballot rejections could triple

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Effort to get those with mental illnesses out of jails expands

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Dems cast doubts about vaccine, Trump responds

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Leah Nelson: Worsley case shows how system fails

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Henry’s federal lawsuit against AG enters fourth year

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Clanton still reeling after death of longtime mayor

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Montgomery considering citizen board to review police

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Colleges using COVID dorms, quarantines to keep virus at bay

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Chief: Store shooting could have been a tragedy

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Daily News Digest – September 7, 2020
AL.COM - Alabama adds 659 new coronavirus cases
AL.COM - The Summer of COVID-19 ends with health officials worried

AL.COM - School systems moving to in-person classes, some earlier than expected
AL.COM - Alabama lawmakers concerned about risk, cost of private prisons
AL.COM - Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Saban leverages his influence
Montgomery Advertiser - Firefighters battle second-alarm fire at Virginia Downs apartments

Montgomery Advertiser - Autauga's 9,200 students head back to school Tuesday

Montgomery Advertiser - Destiny calls: Montgomery woman uses personal tragedy to forge her career path

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham - State prepares for surge in COVID-19 cases after Labor Day celebrations

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham - 34-year-old man shot and killed after altercation outside club in Birmingham

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham - 15-year-old girl drowns while swimming at Oak Mountain State Park

Tuscaloosa News - Divided council hesitates on $60M bond plan for road, recreation projects

Tuscaloosa News - Annual Moundville Native American Festival will switch to online format

Tuscaloosa News - Bar 17 building demolished in sign of 'rebirth' for west Tuscaloosa

Decatur Daily - Greece to boost military amid tension with neighbor Turkey

Decatur Daily - Serbia, Kosovo commit to EU talks on normalizing ties

Decatur Daily - Journalists for US media face possible expulsion from China

Times Daily - Aerotek hiring event scheduled for Thursday

Times Daily - Contractor has begun expansion of Wilson Dam Road retention pond

Times Daily - TVA prepares to transfer remains to Chickasaws

Anniston Star - Cooks, boaters bid farewell to summer at Ten Island park

YellowHammer News - OnBoard Birmingham seeks to sell the Magic City to job seekers, placement pros

YellowHammer News - Bobbie Knight is a 2020 Woman of Impact

YellowHammer News - Dates set for Alabama Senate District 26 special election in Montgomery County

Gadsden Times - Etowah County Democrats hold ribbon cutting, opening for campaign headquarters

Dothan Eagle - EU names Dombrovskis as its new trade chief

Dothan Eagle - The Latest: Pakistan to start opening schools as cases fall

Dothan Eagle - Journalists for US media face possible expulsion from China

Opelika-Auburn News - Man dies after jumping out of car on Florida interstate

Opelika-Auburn News - The Latest: New Mexico sees lowest new case number in months

Opelika-Auburn News - German industrial production up for 3rd consecutive month

WSFA Montgomery - VOTE HERE: Fever Star Athlete of the Week nominees announced

WSFA Montgomery - Colleges and universities trying to manage COVID-19 on campuses

WSFA Montgomery - Montgomery police searching for vehicles from July murder investigation

WAFF Huntsville - State prepares for surge in COVID-19 cases after Labor Day celebrations

WAFF Huntsville - Interim Scottsboro Police Chief on administrative leave following DUI

WAFF Huntsville - Marshall County Democratic Party host 8 voter drive-thru clinics

WKRG Mobile - Auburn campus to highlight historically Black Greek groups

WKRG Mobile - Free meals for all Baldwin County Public school students start Tuesday

WKRG Mobile - FDOT proposes more widening of Nine Mile Rd. after current project wraps up in 2021

WTVY Dothan - Protesters rally against mask mandate, restrictions outside Ala. Capitol

WTVY Dothan - Bonifay pastor dies while on the way to help hurricane victims

WTVY Dothan - Doctor explains how to tell allergies and COVID-19 symptoms apart

WASHINGTON POST - Right-wing protesters gather outside Portland, adding to tensions

WASHINGTON POST - Vaccine CEOs issue safety pledge amid Trump’s quest for pre-election approval

WASHINGTON POST - House Oversight Committee will investigate Louis DeJoy following claims he pressured employees to make campaign donations

NEW YORK TIMES - Pence and Harris Vie for Wisconsin as Trump Vents From the White House

NEW YORK TIMES - ‘The Lockdown Killed My Father’: Farmer Suicides Add to India’s Virus Misery

NEW YORK TIMES - A Weapon for Extortion Long Ignored in Alabama Prisons: Cellphones

WALL STREET JOURNAL - Mortgage Refinancings Boom, Even as Coronavirus Hits Economy

WALL STREET JOURNAL - Production Problems Spur Broad FAA Review of Boeing Dreamliner Lapses

WALL STREET JOURNAL - U.S. Stock Futures Decline Following Tech Slide
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