Montgomery: A state Senate committee has advanced a bill that would let the governor pick the state’s top public health official. The Senate Health Committee voted 8-3 on Wednesday to advance the bill by Sen. Jim McClendon to the Senate floor. McClendon, an optometrist, said the change would make the position more accountable to elected leaders. But two other doctors on the committee argued it is wrong to interject politics into public health decisions. The state health officer, a position currently held by Dr. Scott Harris, is selected by the state public health committee, which consists of members appointed by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. The bill does away with the position of state health officer and creates the Cabinet post of secretary of health, who would be appointed by the governor. The secretary would then appoint a chief medical officer. McClendon said the bill was not about Harris and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but debate on the bill comes at a time where there has been pushback against business closures and restrictions to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Two doctors on the Senate committee said the change would wrongly interject politics into health decisions.
Anchorage: The city will lift its coronavirus-related capacity restrictions on many businesses and ease limits on other places where people gather under a new emergency order set to take effect Monday. City officials announced the changes…