Jeffco/UAB Health Care Authority
Calming Fears: Jefferson County and UAB Officials Work to Dispel Rumors About New Health Care Authority
The due diligence phase of Jefferson County’s move toward a health care authority was fraught with misinformation, including the rumor that current employees were going to be let go.
“The staff there is doing such a great job, but we need more,” said David Randall, president of the Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority. “I think the initial panic was, ‘We’re going to get fired.’”
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
“No, please stay because we need you,” said Randall, a senior vice president of strategic planning and business development at UAB. “I think if anything there was a gap in that we need to add more individuals. (Cooper Green staffers are) doing a great job, lifting a heavy load with the staff that they have. I mean amazing.”
Leaders from UAB and Jefferson County met with media Wednesday to provide an update on the move toward a university health care authority, including trying to dispel misinformation about the action.
County manager Tony Petelos repeated his point that the county is not getting out of the business of health care for its poor population. Rather, he said, the day-to-day operation of the hospital-turned-clinic is being handed over to medical professionals who are better suited for the task. Read more.
Birmingham City Council
When the World Games comes to Birmingham in 2021, it’s projected to bring with it $256 million in economic impact, thanks to an estimated influx of 100,000 athletes and sports fans. But at Tuesday’s meeting of the Birmingham City Council, officials said they were working to prevent a potential unintended consequence of that influx: an uptick in human trafficking.
The council voted Tuesday to pass a resolution calling for a communitywide awareness campaign against human trafficking. The measure, spearheaded by District 6 Councilor Crystal Smitherman and Mayor Randall Woodfin, calls for “comprehensive education of (city) staff and the implementation and enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy of any act that may support human trafficking.” Read more.
Congress Finalizes Bill, Co-Sponsored by Doug Jones, Restoring Black College Funding (Associated Press)
Donald Trump's Top Donors in Birmingham (Birmingham Business Journal)
Daughter of George Wallace Writes Memoir on Life With Alabama Governor (CBS42)
Prosecutors: Alabama Man Threatened Trump, Putin, Vowed to Kill Kids (Associated Press News)
$18.3 Million in Tax Credits for Scholarship Program Unclaimed (AL.com)
WATCH LIVE: Justice Department Inspector General Testifies Before Senate Judiciary (WBHM)
Jefferson County Commission
Commissioner Steve Ammons could have been humming the country song ‘Dance With Who Brung You’ as he talked about Jefferson County working to hold onto businesses while striving to add new businesses to its dance card.
The subject came up after the Jefferson County Commission today approved an incentive package to keep Samuel Associated Tube Group of Birmingham from leaving the county.
Instead, the manufacturer of small diameter electric-resistance-welded and fabricated carbon steel tubing is moving just a few miles away, remaining in the Pinson area.
Mississippi-based internet service provider C Spire announced it will expand current broadband infrastructure throughout Alabama to improve access to rural areas and faster fiber optic cables. Read more.
On the third floor of the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Dothan Pastor Kenneth Glasgow read aloud the names of 21 men who have died in Alabama prisons this year. Sandy Ray then showed a photo of her son Steven Davis, who was beaten to death two months ago by correctional officers at Donaldson Correctional facility.
“My son was beat,” Ray said. “We don’t do our dogs this way. Please, please, we have to have change.”
Glasgow and Ray were among several prison reform advocates who gathered Wednesday ahead of a meeting of Gov. Kay Ivey’s study group on criminal justice policy. Read more.
WASHINGTON – Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Dec. 6.
Restoring Key Part of Voting Rights Act:
The House on Dec. 6 voted, 228 for and 187 against, a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, to restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s “preclearance” requirements, which were invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2013. Preclearance under Section 5 of the law requires states and localities with histories of systemic voting discrimination to obtain advance approval of proposed changes in voting laws from the Department of Justice or a District of Columbia federal court. Read more.
Jefferson County Commission
Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens used the commission’s committee meeting today as a platform to dispel the misconception that county government is raising property taxes through reappraisals.
“There’s a misconception that the county commission is responsible for this and I want everyone to be clear that the county commission is not responsible for this,” Stephens said. “This is a state function.”
However, county employees do conduct the property appraisals, Stephens said. Property values assigned by the county’s Board of Equalization reflect property sales activity in the market, the chairwoman of the board said. Read more.
Birmingham Water Works customers will have slightly higher monthly water bills starting in January 2020. The Birmingham Water Works Board voted 5-1 Tuesday in favor of a 3.9% rate increase. Rick Jackson, spokesman for the Water Works Board, says the increase is necessary to maintain a viable water system and replace 100-year-old water mains. Read more.
Crime and Justice
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced a new initiative Monday to pardon those who have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession. Read more.
Advisory Panel Majority, Including JeffCo’s Masuca, Recommend That Air Pollution Standards Not Be Strengthened
A federal advisory group recently voted in a split decision against strengthening the current standard for fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5. Corey Masuca, an environmental health scientist with the Jefferson County Department of Health and one of the six members of the panel, sided with the majority.
The 4-2 decision during a contentious meeting of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee last month pitted Masuca and three other members against Environmental Protection Agency scientific staff and an independent panel of scientists. Read more.
Eleven federal Superfund sites in Alabama — including two near Birmingham — are at greater risk from disasters such as flooding, hurricanes and wildfires due to the possible consequences of climate change, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Government Accounting Office.
Nationwide, at least 60 percent — 945 of 1,571 — of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund locations nationwide are threatened by warmer temperatures, rising seas and more intense storms expected from the changing climate, according to the “EPA Should Take Additional Actions to Manage Risks from Climate Change” report. Read more.
It’s been one year since a Hoover police officer shot and killed a young black man in a crowded mall on Thanksgiving night. The shooting of 21-year-old Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. happened at the Riverchase Galleria Mall after officers wrongly thought he was the person who fired a gun in the mall. The incident led to several protests and calls for justice. Read more.
2020 U.S. Senate Race
Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council Appoints New Design Review Committee Members After Tiff Over Vetting Candidates
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to appoint three new members – Willie Oliver, Abra Barnes and Scott Burnett – to the city’s Design Review Committee, glossing over concerns that the appointees had not been properly vetted by the council’s Planning and Zoning Committee.
It was the apparent end of a weeks-long, often confusing discussion that started Oct. 22, when the council initially approved appointments to all 11 seats of the DRC. Read more.
The Jefferson County Commission announced today its annual $18 million allocation to local boards of education. These are residents’ tax dollars going back to the community to improve education. Allotments range from $298K for Fairfield schools to $6.6M for Jefferson County schools. Read more.