PRESENTED BY LEVERAGE PUBLIC STRATEGIES
Good morning! My apologies for the tardiness. This is your Daily News Digest for Thursday, March 1.
1. Sessions on the brink
Two years ago yesterday, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions publicly endorsed Donald Trump for President of the United States.
Yesterday, President Donald Trump took his public barrage against Attorney General Jeff Sessions to a whole new level.
This time, Sessions defended himself.
“As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution,” he said in response.
WHAT IS GOING ON
- This comes during a tumultuous 24 hours at the White House: the president’s son-in-law lost his security clearance, Communications Director Hope Hicks resigned, and a big war is brewing between the chief of staff and the president’s family.
- The most significant thing about the Trump tirade is that there seems to be no end game to it.
- Trump knows Sessions isn’t going to resign any time soon. He also knows the consequences of firing Sessions.
- So, what is this? Just blowing off steam during executive time?
- The most logical explanation is that he wants the MAGA crowd to be mad at Sessions and blame him for any trouble that comes of the Mueller probe. That will probably work for MAGAers outside of Alabama (and some inside).
- But, what the president has also done is cause Sessions and his team at DOJ to dig in and renew their commitment to standing in the breach against attacks on Justice.
- In a show of solidarity last night, Sessions went to dinner with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
- If there’s a method to the madness, I’m not seeing it.
2. Legislative briefs
- A bill to get Alabama into the “Mega Millions” lottery game passed a Senate Committee. Before you get excited, understand that it’s is not likely going anywhere. It only passed 3-2, and one of the “no” votes was Senate President Del Marsh. Read more about it from Associated Press reporter Kim Chandler on ALDailyNews.com.
- The Data Breach Prevention bill written by the Attorney General’s office and sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr is expected to be on the Senate floor today. That’s significant progress for a bill that has seen lots of trouble in recent years. In an encouraging sign for its progress in the House, the bill has been assigned to the Technology and Research Committee and not the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee as it had in previous years. Read Mary Sell’s story in the Times-Daily to understand more about the bill.
- Alabama’s District Attorneys are running dangerously low on funding. WSFA’s Morgan Young did a good job of explaining the problem and her report is worth your time this morning. Ways and Means Chairman Steve Clouse spoke on camera about how the General Fund budget is facing many challenges in the years ahead.
- A bill to allow fantasy sports gambling in Alabama advanced through committee. Read Mike Cason’s story to understand more.
A MESSAGE FROM LEVERAGE PUBLIC STRATEGIES
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3. Ethics bill presser
- Attorney General Steve Marshall,Senate President Del Marsh, Senator Arthur Orr and Alabama Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton are holding a press conference RIGHT NOW about the AG’s ethics bill.
- This is going to be interesting because Albritton has already gone on record being critical of the economic development portions of AG’s bill.
- Expect them to announce a legislative task force to handle the issue for the remainder of the session, but don’t expect the bill to really go anywhere this year.
4. AG Candidate Forum
- Some of those running for Attorney General participated in a candidate forum yesterday at Cumberland School of Law, and there’s video.
- Republicans Chess Bedsole and Alice Martin spoke and so did Democrat Chris Christie. This is the first I have heard from Christie.
- Thank you to the go-getters at Young Alabama for posting this video and letting me run it.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Spokesman: Ivey willing to debate in governor’s race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Senate committee approves lottery bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In public spat, Trump taunts Sessions; AG doesn’t keep quiet
AL.COM – Gardendale will cease efforts to create new school system.
AL.COM – Shelby says he’d leave Trump if he were Sessions: ‘I wouldn’t be anybody’s whipping boy’.
AL.COM – Tommy Battle clarifies Kay Ivey ‘cocktail parties’ comments.
AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: Holtzclaw closing the lid on the ABC’s liquor markup dumpster fire.
AL.COM – ALDOT: I-10 bridge designers must consider bike/pedestrian options.
AL.COM – Alabama lawmakers to join John Lewis this weekend for civil rights pilgrimage.
AL.COM – Alabama’s yearly unemployment drop is biggest in the nation.
AL.COM – Alabama crop values up by almost $100 million in 2017.
AL.COM – Bill to allow fantasy sports in Alabama advances.
AL.COM – Sessions responds to Trump’s latest comments, president refers to ‘disgraceful’ actions.
AL.COM – Teen apprehended in Jackson County; School threat has been ‘eliminated,’ sheriff says.
AL.COM – How long should Alabama schools be out for summer? Lawmakers want to take up debate.
AL.COM – Alabama Lottery bill clears first step, but approval a poor bet.
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Alabama ethics: Talk loud and lose the stick.
AL.COM – Hyundai issues recall on 43,900 Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport SUVs.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Talladega Superspeedway to seek legislature’s help on expansion — Touts a $1.8 billion economic impact over four years.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Report: Alabama sees billions of dollars in economic activity from physicians in the state.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Bill: Data breaches must be revealed.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Senate District 26 candidates look ahead after Burkette upsets Knight.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Parents watch in hope that lawmakers will take action on daycare centers.
WASHINGTON POST – Mueller investigation examining Trump’s apparent efforts to oust Sessions in July.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump surprises lawmakers in backing some tougher gun controls.
WASHINGTON POST – For many Republicans, Trump’s offshore drilling plan and beaches don’t mix.
NEW YORK TIMES – A Big Divergence Is Coming in Health Care Among States