Newswire : Sudanese demands for a civilian government remain firm

Sudanese women celebrate the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir

Apr. 15, 2019 (GIN) – Protests that began over the skyrocketing price of bread and shortages of food and fuel have accomplished what few people believed was possible in a country ruled by a leader with an iron fist.

A Sudanese people’s movement was born on the streets of Khartoum. Hundreds of thousands of women and men hunkered down and braved attacks by anti-riot police.

“The scale of the protests is unprecedented,” Shawgi Mahadi Mustafa, a Sudanese journalist based in Qatar, marveled. Troops that once turned back opponents with ease were unable to clear a sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum.

This month, the hardline president, Omar al-Bashir, was forced to step down after three decades in power but a tough military man was put in his place. Demonstrators held the line, saying they would continue the rallies until a civilian leadership was installed.

The protesters are demanding a quicker move than the military’s announced two-year transition to an elected government.

One demonstrator, Ala’a Salah, told the Voice of America she was skeptical that the military would hand over power.

When Bashir’s regime came to power, she recalled, it was under similar circumstances. “They gave promises that they didn’t fulfill,” she said. “We need proof, not only talk, and we’re staying until our demands are fulfilled.”

The military’s transitional leadership has changed twice since it said Bashir had been placed under house arrest. Among those detained are his former interior minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, and former head of the ruling party Ahmed Haroun. The three men are all wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes related to atrocities in Darfur.

Last week, the military council appointed Hashem Abdel Muttalib as army chief of staff, and said the move was aimed at changing the military. Hashem was appointed by Bashir in February as vice-chief of army staff.

But the protesters appear determined to remain in the streets, unconvinced that the military is fully on their side.

The main protest organizer, the Sudanese Professionals Association, has called for more people to join the demonstrations and the demands for civilian rule.

Newswire : Suspect arrested in case of three church fires in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Louisiana Black church burning

A man arrested in connection with the Louisiana Black church fires is a law enforcement official’s son, reports say. When he was arraigned this past week, the judge denied his request for bail based on the severity and impact of his crimes.
A 21-year-old named Holden Matthews has been arrested in connection with fires at three predominantly Black churches in Louisiana. All three churches were destroyed. Matthews’ social media accounts evidenced loose connections with white supremacy.
St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre burned down on March 26. On April 2, the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, Louisiana was burned down. Two days after that fire on April 4, the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was also burned in the same town. Authorities are confident that the fires were all intentionally set.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus asked for the FBI to investigate the arsons as a hate crime.
“Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, and Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana’s Second Congressional District call on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and all federal law enforcement agencies to investigate the possible hate crime that resulted in the recent burning of the three historically Black churches in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. All three fires may be the product of domestic terrorism, and places of worship should be protected and safe at all times. It is our expectation that the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies work expeditiously to resolve this matter to restore faith and normalcy among the residents of St. Landry Parish,” the CBC members stated in a statement on April 11.
On April 9, NAACP President Derrick Johnson commented on the church fires saying, “What is happening in Tennessee and Louisiana is domestic terrorism and we must not turn a blind eye to any incident where people are targeted because of the color of their skin and their faith.”
“The spike in church burnings in the Southern states is a reflection of emboldened racial rhetoric and tension spreading across the country,” Johnson added.
Johnson and other civil rights leaders have pointed out that President Trump has been silent on these Louisiana church burnings and other ‘hate crimes’.
Several black churches were burned in 2015 after the nine people were murdered by Dylan Roof at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1995, three Black churches in Greene County, Alabama were burned and subsequently rebuilt.
Holden Matthews was taken into custody on the evening of April 10, according to Louisiana TV station KATC. The station also reported that Matthews is the son of a St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputy but did not name who the deputy was.
At the time the fires were set at the churches they were empty.
Matthews’ social media indicated an interest in heavy metal music and that he is the lead singer of a band called Vodka Vultures. Reports from local news reveal Matthews lives in Saint Landry Parish.

Greene County Commission clarifies renewal of sales tax for education until 2040

At their regular meeting on Monday April 8, 2019, the Greene County Commission took action to clarify the renewals of two one-cent sales taxes for the Board of Education to 2040.
The County Commission approved two one cent sales taxes for education, one in 1986 and 1993, for a total of two cents out of the three cents of sales tax that comes to the Greene County Commission. One of these taxes was extended for thirty years in 2009 but it was unclear which tax had been extended.
Monday’s action by the Commission, extended both one-cent taxes, for a total of two cents, to 2040 for education of Greene County students. This is not a change or an increase just a change in the confirmation that both education taxes will run together until 2040.
The remaining one-cent of the three-cent sales tax goes to the Greene County Hospital. That tax runs through 2027 and is pledged to pay for a bond issue that the facility used to pay debts and continue operations.
Paula Bird, CFO of the County gave the monthly financial report for March 31, 2019, the half way point of the fiscal year. She indicated that the Commission had $5,661,662 in various funds in local banks and an additional $1.3 million in banks to cover bond issues.
She also reported that revenues and expenditures for the various funds were in line with the budget and were at or close to the 50% mark puts them in comp-liance with the half-year mark of the budget.
The Commission approved payment of $657,000 of claims for the month, including $212,300 from the General Fund. $102,700 in amendments to the budget were approved. These changes were internal rearrangements of funds not an increase.
In other actions, the Greene County Commission:
• Approved a Sales Tax Holiday for back-to-school supplies and clothing scheduled for July 19-21, 2019
• Approved liquor licenses for DOCS Bar and Lounge on the Lower Gainesville Road
• Approved advertising to hire a Clerk for the Judge of Probate; and a Van Driver for the senior nutrition sites.
After an Executive Session to consider legal matters, the Commission returned and voted to support the Sheriff in settling a claim with Great Western Development Corporation.
More details on this legal settlement will be available once the full settlement is reached with all involved parties.

Newswire : .Clyburn and Booker introduce sweeping Anti-Poverty Bill

James Clyburn and Cory Booker

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today introduced a sweeping anti-poverty bill to better target federal grant dollars to high-poverty urban, rural, and tribal communities. The bill, titled An Act Targeting Resources into Communities in Need, expands the successful 10-20-30 anti-poverty formula, including a significantly larger group of struggling communities and broader universe of federal accounts by targeting funding into high-poverty census tracts.
“While genius is spread equally across zip codes, opportunity is not,” said Senator Booker. “This bill more strategically targets federal resources to where they are needed most, ensuring that families and communities long left behind are given a fair shot. In doing so, we can move to a smarter, more responsive government.”
“For far too long, persistent poverty communities have suffered from neglect and indifference, leading to a lack of access to quality schools, affordable quality health care, and adequate job opportunities,” said Majority Whip Clyburn. “This legislation seeks to right this wrong by targeting much needed federal investments to areas that need them the most.”
“The quality of life in our urban counterparts is directly linked to the health and vitality of rural America….the majority of our food, fiber and fuel are produced in these areas….this legislation continues to strengthen that link,” said Sam Wade, CEO of the National Rural Water Association. “We would also like to commend our partners at Rural Development, and we believe they are uniquely qualified and experienced to assist these communities, many of which, unfortunately, lack the human capacity and financial resources to move ahead without some assistance. We at NRWA stand ready and able to work with Congress and our partners at Rural Development to further the health and prosperity in these rural communities.”
“In the United States, poverty is not equally distributed. It clusters in specific regions, states, towns, and even neighborhoods,” said Minor Sinclair, Director of Oxfam America’s U.S. Domestic Program. “At Oxfam, we’ve seen states in the Gulf Coast working to pull people out of poverty, but struggling against formidable barriers, including a legacy of racism with roots in slavery, exacerbated incarceration rates, and elevated exposure to climate hazards such as hurricanes. The Clyburn-Booker bill is a critical step to ending the injustice of poverty. This bill would target resources in the communities that need it most, helping to mitigate the historical, social, and environmental factors that inhibit communities’ abilities to thrive.”
“The Housing Assistance Council has almost 50 years of experience working in persistently poor rural communities across the country,” said David Lipsetz, CEO of the Housing Assistance Council. “We know how challenging it is to direct federal funds to these high-need places. Without increased federal investment in capacity on the ground, high-poverty communities will continue to fall behind. We applaud Congressman Clyburn and Senator Booker for addressing this challenge with An Act Targeting Resources to Communities in Need, which will direct important federal funding and programs – like those of USDA’s Rural Development and the CDFI Fund – to the nation’s most persistently poor communities.”

“In 2017, over 12.8 million children in America lived below the official poverty level — $25,094 for a family of four, and nearly half lived in extreme poverty at below half the poverty level,” said MaryLee Allen, Director of Policy at the Children’s Defense Fund. “More than one in ten children spend at least half their childhoods in poverty and the longer a child is poor, the greater their risk of becoming a poor adult. An Act Targeting Resources to Communities in Need is an important step toward badly-needed investment in the persistently poor areas so many of our most vulnerable children and families call home.”
“Confronting and eradicating areas of persistent poverty will address educational imbalances, health disparities and economic inequities,” said Lou Tisler, Executive Director of National NeighborWorks Association. “National NeighborWorks Association supports instituting the 10-20-30 plan more broadly, as proposed by the Clyburn-Booker Act, which will prioritize and provide necessary resources, while creating impactful leverage and enduring strength in neighborhoods and communities across the country, as NeighborWorks organizations do every day.”
“Child poverty is not inevitable – we know firsthand from our work in rural communities across the country that investing in families and community supports can help break the pervasive cycle of poverty and ensure equal opportunity for all,” said Mark Shriver, senior vice president for Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and Advocacy. “Recently, the National Academy of Sciences released a landmark study confirming child poverty in the United States is a solvable problem if there is the political will to address it. I want to thank Congressman Clyburn and Senator Booker for focusing on one of the most pressing issues facing our country today.”
“Poverty is deeply related to place,” said Professor Trevon Logan, Economics professor at the Ohio State University. “That means we need solutions that target areas where poverty is entrenched and persistent. This bill expands on a proven policy of targeting federal expenditures to make sure that we do not overlook areas beset by persistent poverty. Bills such as this can move Americans out of poverty and move all of us towards economic prosperity.”
The 10-20-30 formula requires that a minimum of ten percent of federal funds of a particular federal program go to communities with “persistent” poverty, defined as a county where the poverty level has been 20 percent or higher over the past thirty years. This formula was successfully applied to three accounts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, 15 accounts in the omnibus appropriations law of 2017, and 14 accounts in the omnibus appropriations law for 2018. This new bill expands this formula so that it applies to a larger universe of federal programs, ensuring that more high poverty communities are reached.
In order to ensure federal investment reaches all high-need communities, including pockets of deep poverty and those communities experiencing more recent economic downturns, preventing them from being defined as persistent, the bill would also require certain federal agencies and programs target resources to census tracts with poverty rates currently exceeding 20 percent.

Bingo entities provide $372,455 to county recipients for February

Shown above Bingo Clerk Minnie Byrd, Forkland Clerk Kinya Isaac, Union Councilwoman Rosie Davis, Greene County Heath System CEO Dr. Marcia Pugh, Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Brenda Burke representing Greene County Commission, Assistant Chief of Police Walter Beck representing the City of Eutaw, Boligee City Councilwoman Ernestine Wade and Bingo Clerk Emma Jackson

Thursday, March 21, 2019 the Greene County Sheriff Department reported a total distribution of $372,455 for the month of February, 2019 from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $65,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $5,000.

Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, Greene County Health System, $7,500.
River’s Edge (NNL – Next Level Leaders and TCCTP – Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $73,125 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, and the Greene County Health System, $13,125.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $99,330 to the following: Greene County Commission, $4,620; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $36,960; City of Eutaw, $27,720; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,620; Greene County Board of Education, $4,620 and the Greene County Health System, $11,550.

Eutaw Mayor and City Council in disagreement on major issues

By: John Zippert,
Co-Publisher

At Tuesday night’s meeting on March 26, 2019, Mayor Raymond Steele and the Eutaw City Council remain divided over major issues.
In response to the written agenda passed out for the meeting, Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter asked to place two additional items on the agenda, including a request for an Executive Session on a personnel issue and a follow-up to the council’s resolution on check signing.
Mayor Steele was visibly distressed and said that council members should bring their agenda suggestions to him before the meeting so that they can be reviewed and the staff can prepare a response and provide information that is needed. The Council added these items to the agenda over the Mayor’s objections.
After a short eight minute Executive Session, the Council reconvened and asked the Mayor if he had implemented a resolution they passed at the January 22, 2019 meeting, which removed the Mayor as the signatory on most city bank accounts and made Councilmembers Joe Lee Powell and LaJeffrey Carpenter along with City Clerk, Kathy Bir as the designated signatories on these accounts.
Mayor Steele said he had not implemented the change because he had not been given reasons for changing the signatories. “ I am in charge of the day to day business of the City, it is critical that the Mayor be able to sign checks. I do not have any problem with adding other signatories to the accounts. You will not tell me why you don’t want me to sign –
This is not right.”
Councilwoman Latasha Johnson asked City Attorney, Zane Willingham, to prepare written instructions for the City Council as to “what to do when the Mayor does not implement policies and actions decided and approved by the Council.” The Council in a resolution approved these instructions.
Councilwoman Latasha Johnson also indicated that the Mayor had not implemented the policy, also adopted in the January 22, 2019 meeting, that cash would not be accepted to pay water bills and other obligations to the City. Johnson said,
“Cash is still being accepted, no signs have been posted as we requested. The Mayor has decided on his own not to implement this policy on taking cash approved by the City Council.”
Councilwoman Sheila Smith questioned the Mayor about problems with the water bills. “Too many residents are paying the minimum water bill of $38.58 for residences and $58.38 for businesses. The water meters or the water meter reading system is not working properly and we are loosing money we need to pay for the water system and operate the city.”
Mayor Steele said that all of the new meters have been checked and are working properly. He said that he would review this problem again and try to find a solution.

The Council was given a detailed report on bills to be paid for the month of March. Several Councilmembers objected that they we given the information about the bills late and did not have time to study the expenditures. Payment of the bills was tabled until the next meeting to give the Council members time to review.
LaJeffrey Carpenter asked Mayor Steele why he had only re-paved the roads in Branch Heights, while the roads in King Village, Carver Circle and other parts city also needed similar repairs. The mayor in exasperation answered, “ You know we agreed to the roads in Branch Heights as a special project. We do not have enough money at this time to do all of the roads or make all of the repairs that the Council is requesting.”

The Mayor indicated that he was trying to get some disaster relief funds allocated to the City of Eutaw for street repairs since the recent rains had eroded some of the streets.

Mayor Steele said he was still working on an audit which was necessary to secure funding for new police cars and construction equipment from USDA Rural Development.
“The equipment we have is worn out and more than ten years old. We have no new tax base and limited funds to pay for needed improvements to the City. When we start earning new taxes from the Love’s Truck Stop, then we may be able to afford the repairs and improvements needed by the City,” said Mayor Steele.
Councilmembers responded that this was why they were asking for a budget and audit so they could understand and project the City’s finances to pay current obligations and plan for future expenditures.
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council approved a retail beer and wine license for Love’s truck Stop and publication for four week’s of the City’s request for Sunday alcohol sales, which will generate some additional revenues.

Newswire : Pfizer, Sickle Cell advocates address disease during Black Press Week

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Panel on Sickle Cell Disease


National Sickle Cell Advocacy Day 2019 is a great time to focus on key legislative issues that are important to individuals and their families who are living with the blood cell disorder, including promoting stable funding for research, better healthcare access, expanded programs and increased education and awareness for the Sickle Cell Disease community and programs throughout the country.
Lori Luck, the global medical director for Pfizer Rare Disease, joined Beverley Frances-Gibson, the president and CEO of the SCD Association of America; and Angie Snyder, a professor at Georgia State University, to discuss the latest in Sickle Cell Disease advocacy during Black Press Week in Washington, D.C.
The discussion came ahead of National Sickle Cell Advocacy Day, which is actually held over two days on April 8 and April 9 at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington.
The event features advocacy training and meetings with legislative champions and a collaboration of federal partners, as advocates attempt to raise awareness to the disease which affects about 100,000 Americans and occurs among nearly 1 out of every 365 black or African American births.
According to researchers, the illness occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic American births and about 1 in 13 black or African American babies are born with sickle cell trait, meaning that the individual has inherited the sickle cell gene from one of his or her parents.
“We’re educators and we’re not only educating internal clients but external as well,” said Luck, who noted that Pfizer has partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other organizations.
The company also has a partnership with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a trade association of more than 200 African-American–owned community newspapers from around the United States.
The partnership is a collaboration to raise awareness of sickle cell disease, a lifelong and debilitating genetic disorder that affects red blood cells.
People with rare diseases, like sickle cell disease, have unique and complex challenges and the Pfizer partnership provides an opportunity for NNPA to inform and educate readers of Black-owned newspapers in more than 70 markets across the country on sickle cell disease, which NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., said is an often misunderstood disease that has a profound impact on the health and well-being of those affected.
“Together with Pfizer, we look forward to providing sickle cell disease education that can underscore the importance of improving quality of care in the community,” Chavis said.
Snyder, whose work at Georgia State University includes researching and advocating for the sickle cell disease community, said it’s important that everyone is educated.
“We have to continue to study on what works and doesn’t work for people,” she said.
Francis-Gibson said conversations must take place in and outside the home. “Sickle Cell Disease is personal for me because I have a family member who died from sickle cell disease when I was in high school,” Francis-Gibson said.
“We never discussed it and when I was offered my current position I knew it was my calling because if my own family isn’t discussing sickle cell disease, I knew that other families weren’t discussing it either,” she said.
In December, a bi-partisan bill aimed at fighting sickle disease was signed into law by President Donald Trump.
The Sickle Cell Disease and Other Heritable Blood Disorders Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act of 2018 was introduced by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., in February 2018 and passed in the Senate in October.
The bill also reauthorizes a current sickle cell disease prevention and treatment program for nearly $5 million each year over the next five years.
“Even though sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in our country, research and treatment lags behind that of other chronic illnesses,” Booker said in a statement.
“Our legislation will help find new ways to improve the lives of people suffering from sickle cell disease. It’s time we start treating sickle cell disease as a serious and debilitating illness and allocate adequate resources to monitoring, researching, and treating it,” he said.
Francis-Gibson said advocacy for funding the bill is still needed.
“It’s important everyone comes out during National Sickle Cell Advocacy Day and join me on Capitol Hill because when I’m speaking to the legislators, it’s much better when they look and see all of the people behind me,” she said.
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Newswire: Rep. Bennie Thompson wins efforts to make Medgar Evers Home National Monument

Meager Evers

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

On June 12, 1963, voting rights activist Medgar Evers was shot dead outside his home in Jackson Mississippi. Evers, who was a World War II veteran, was the NAACP field secretary in Mississippi.

He was murdered by Byron de la Beckwith, a white supremacist, Klansman and member of the White Citizens’ Council. Evers’ killer would not be convicted until 1994, after an all-white jury deadlocked in 1964 allowing de la Beckwith to roam unpunished for Evers’ murder for three decades.
Because of the work of Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the Evers’ house at 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive in Jackson, will now become a national historic landmark. The house where Medgar Evers’ was fatally shot was built in the first planned middle-class subdivision for African-Americans in Mississippi after World War II. Thompson has been working on the honor for Evers for over ten years.

The home was owned by Tougaloo College and later restored for tours. In 2017, Edgars’ home was designated a National Historic Landmark. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed March 12, 2019, included language that designates Evers’ home as a national monument.

On January 14, Rep. Thompson reintroduced the Medgar Evers Home National Monument Act. “In my capacity as Congressman of the Second Congressional District of Mississippi, to author this legislation to honor the sacrifice of Civil Rights Icon Medgar Evers and his widow, Myrlie, by designating their home as
a National Monument. This legislation is of great personal importance to me. I, like many others, was inspired by the magnitude of determination Mr. Evers showed by dedicating himself to others and fighting against adversity. The designation of his home is an everlasting tribute to his legacy.”

Evers worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi and end the segregation of public places. Ironically, the hospital that Evers was admitted to, after a delay, was the first time that an all-white hospital in Mississippi admitted an African American.

In October 2009, then Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former Mississippi governor, announced that USNS Medgar Evers, a cargo ship, would be named in his honor. The ship was christened by his wife, Myrlie Evers-Williams on November 12, 2011.
Medgar Evers, who served in the U.S. Army, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

School board into superintendent search; begins interviews with AASB consultant

At its monthly meeting held Monday, March 11, 2019, the Greene County Board of Education continued its preparations in search of a new school superintendent. At its February meeting, the board engaged the Alabama Association of School Boards to assist in its superintendent search.
To move the process forward, the board approved the following: Contract between Board and AASB; Set Superintendent’s Minimum Salary; Qualifications for Superintendent; Board Members one on one meeting with Dr. Linda Ingram; Superintendent Search Timeline and Superintendent Search Survey.
Dr. Linda Ingram, representing the AASB, was present to begin individual interviews of each board member. Dr. Ingram will also conduct surveys and interviews in the local community. According to AASB, “The purpose of these interviews is to allow the consultant to gather information from the community on what it believes to be the strengths of the system, the challenges a new superintendent will face coming into that system and the qualifications and characteristics the community expects in a new superintendent.”
In other business the board approved the following personnel items:

  • Reassignment – Maintenance Staff: Jerome Jackson from Robert Brown Middle School to Eutaw Primary School; Jamar Jackson, from Greene County High School to Robert Brown Middle School; Samuel Newton, from Eutaw Primary School to Greene County Career Center.
    Supplemental contracts – Greene County High School – These contracts will conclude at the end of this school year: Karon Coleman, Head Football Coach; Corey Cockrell, Assistant Head Football Coach; Russell Rivers, Defense Coordinator; Justin Booth, Assistant Football Coach; Jocephus Patrick, Assistant Football Coach; Jacob Sullivan, Assistant Baseball Coach.
    Termination: Latoya Consentine, School Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
    The board approved the following Administrative Services recommended by the superintendent.
  • First reading for Greene County School System Medication Policy; Automated External Defibrillator Policy and Health Policy.
  • School calendar for 2019-2020 school year.
  • Payment of all bills and payroll.

Senator Doug Jones and Terri Sewell introduce bills to incentivize Alabama, 13 other states to expand Medicaid

Birmingham, Ala. – U.S. Senator Doug Jones last week led a press conference with Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07) and community health care leaders to discuss their Medicaid expansion legislation, the States Achieve Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act of 2019, and to call on leaders in Alabama to take action to expand Medicaid. 
This legislation would ensure that states that chose to expand Medicaid after 2014 are eligible for the same level of federal matching funds as states that expanded Medicaid earlier. Alabama, along with 13 other states, has yet to expand Medicaid.
 “I’m not sure that there is anything more important to the future of Alabama than the expansion of Medicaid. We’re losing dollars, and we’re seeing rural hospitals closing year after year, and other hospitals are struggling. This should be a non-partisan issue. Fourteen states with Republican governors have expanded Medicaid, including the state of Indiana under our Vice President, then-Governor Mike Pence,” Senator Jones said.
Senator Jones continued, “Now, we have the evidence that states that expanded Medicaid had better health outcomes, and was a boon to those states’ economies. We can grow the economies of those communities, and grow the economy of Alabama. We really just can’t afford to let another hospital shutter its doors because of this issue…. It is a no-brainer for the state of Alabama.” 
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07) said,  “I want to stand with Senator Jones and these folks on the front lines to try to get Alabama to expand Medicaid. I think it’s critically important that state and federal officials work together, and with this bill we have a chance to do that. I can’t tell you of a more critical problem that we have in Alabama than our rural hospital situation. It’s dire straits in the Black Belt. I stand with Doug Jones today, and I stand with practitioners and other officials who are just asking the state to do the right thing and expand Medicaid. I beg Governor Ivey to take a look at this bill.”

Rural Hospitals issue warnings

For years, leaders at Alabama’s rural hospitals have been warning public officials about the financial cliff they are facing, in large part as a result of the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid. Since 2011, 13 hospitals have closed in Alabama, and seven of those hospitals have been in rural areas. Even now, approximately 88 percent of rural Alabama hospitals are operating in the red. The Alabama Hospital Association estimates that some 326,000 Alabamians would gain health care coverage if Medicaid were expanded in the state.

 “By refusing to expand Medicaid, Alabama has turned away $14 billion of our own taxpayer dollars. For years, those dollars could have helped keep our hospitals open, support good jobs in our communities, and provide health coverage for hundreds of thousands of Alabamians. This isn’t a partisan issue – expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do,” Senator Jones said. “Alabama can no longer afford not to expand, and our SAME Act legislation would ensure that states will get a fair deal when they do. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and on both sides of Capitol Hill, to support this common sense bill.”
Numerous studies have shown that expanding Medicaid benefits states economically by increasing jobs and earnings growth, generating federal revenue, increasing Gross State Product, increasing state and local revenues and reducing uncompensated care and hospital costs. If Alabama had expanded Medicaid five years ago, it could have yielded a $935 million net increase in tax revenue for the state, and could have led to approximately 12,000 new jobs across all sectors of Alabama’s economy in 2016 alone.
 “It’s crazy that for so many years, Virginia taxpayers were footing the bill for states that had already expanded Medicaid. Today, Medicaid expansion is bringing billions of tax dollars back home to Virginia, and more than 400,000 Virginians have gained access to quality, low-cost or no-cost Medicaid coverage,” said Senator Warner, a former Governor of Virginia. “This bill will bring even more federal dollars back to Virginia by making sure that we get the same deal from the federal government as states that expanded back in 2014.”
 The States Achieve Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act of 2019 is co-sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). The bill was recently re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and co-sponsored by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07). This bill may be combined with others seeking to improve and reorganize the Affordable Care Act.
 
Background
 
Medicaid is a joint federal and state insurance program that covers medical costs for eligible low-income Americans. In 2010, states were given the option to expand their Medicaid programs to cover people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Under this deal, the federal government would cover the full cost of the expansion for the first three years, and gradually step down to cover 90 percent permanently. 
 The SAME Act would ensure that any states that choose to expand Medicaid get a second chance to receive these same levels of federal funding. Under this bill, a state would receive three years of full federal funding, phasing down to a 95 percent Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) in Year 4; a 94 percent federal contribution in Year 5; 93 percent in Year 6; and, 90 percent for each year thereafter. Alabama alone would receive $2 billion in federal dollars the first year after expansion.
 Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have already expanded eligibility for Medicaid, and three more states – Idaho, Utah and Nebraska – have passed ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid. Fourteen states, including Alabama, have not yet expanded their programs. In states that have failed to expand Medicaid, more than 2 million low-income adults fall into a “coverage gap,” due to incomes that are too high to be eligible for Medicaid, but are too low to meet the limit that would allow them to receive tax credits to purchase affordable coverage in the health care marketplace. Without Medicaid expansion, most of these individuals are likely to remain uninsured, as they have limited access to employer coverage and frequently find the cost of unsubsidized marketplace coverage to be prohibitively expensive.