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Daily News – December 5, 2019

Good morning!
Todd’s feeling under the weather so I’m filling in for him today.
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, December 5.

1. McCutcheon lays out 2020 legislative priorities

  • During Wednesday’s Association of County Commissions of Alabama legislative conference, House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said prisons, rural health care, broadband access and a statewide lottery will likely be legislative priorities in the 2020 session.
  • McCutcheon says state leaders need to approach the issues plaguing prisons, including staffing shortages and decaying facilities, like it did the state’s roads.
  • “I told (Gov. Kay Ivey) that we need to be working on this just like we did with the Rebuild Alabama Act,” McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said. “We need a comprehensive approach to this that brings all of leadership to the table so we’re all on the same page.”
  • McCutcheon told the county leaders that no matter what the issue is, he would be sure to consider their concerns within the negotiating.
  • You can read my full write up of the event HERE.

2. Panel hears families’ concerns

  • Family members and advocates of Alabama inmates crowded into a state task force meeting Wednesday to plead for changes to the state’s criminal justice system and in state prisons that have come under national scrutiny for violent and crowded conditions.
  • The Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice heard from family members, attorneys and advocacy groups at the meeting.
  • Speakers urged an overhaul of conditions, medical care and current sentencing laws and described their fears for loved ones who are incarcerated.
  • Sandy Ray showed the panel a photo of the battered face of her son, Steven Davis, who died in October after an altercation with corrections officers at William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility where he was incarcerated after a murder conviction.
  • You can read more about the meeting from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • We’ve also updated our story from Wednesday about the most recent staffing numbers released by ADOC to now include staffing through September.
  • You can read that full story from Mary Sell and I HERE.
A message from
The Boeing Company
  • Huntsville is shaping the next stage of America’s Moon rocket.
  • While the first Space Launch System (SLS) core stage is nearing completion for the Artemis I mission around the moon, and the Artemis II second core stage assembly is well underway, Boeing’s Huntsville team is now accelerating work on a powerful new upper stage that will boost the rocket’s performance for future Artemis missions.
  • Starting in 2024, the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) will be able to power NASA missions that carry crew and heavy cargo deeper into space.
  • Designed in Huntsville, the EUS can be used for both crew and cargo missions, launching large telescopes and planetary spacecraft in a single launch, and at a speed that cuts down interplanetary travel time by two-thirds.

3. Pelosi OKs articles of impeachment

  • Some big breaking news this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
  • “Our democracy is what is at stake,” Pelosi said. “The president leaves us no choice but to act.”
  • Pelosi delivered the historic announcement as Democrats push toward a vote, possibly by Christmas.
  • The Democratic leader drew from the constitution and the intent of the Founding Fathers. She made the morning statement from the speaker’s offices at the Capitol, the same location where she declared the formal launch of the House investigation into Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.
  • Trump tweeted that if Democrats “are going to impeach me, do it now, fast.” He said he wants to get on to a “fair trial” in the Senate. The president also said that Democrats have “gone crazy.”
  • Read the full report from the AP HERE.

4. Huffaker confirmed to federal judgeship

  • Montgomery attorney R. Austin Huffaker Jr. was confirmed as a U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Alabama Wednesday in a 89-4 vote by the U.S. Senate.
  • Alabama senators Doug Jones and Richard Shelby supported the nomination by President Donald Trump in July.
  • “Austin is well respected in the community, and I know that he will uphold the rule of law with the utmost integrity and honor,” Shelby said in a written statement. “I was proud to support his nomination and believe that he is the ideal candidate to serve in this prestigious position.”
  • He was appointed in 2016 by the Alabama governor to a term on the Alabama Securities Commission and was appointed by the Alabama Supreme Court to the Alabama Civil Jury Charge Committee.
  • “Mr. Huffaker has an excellent reputation within the legal profession for his fairness, temperament and thoughtfulness,” Jones said in a written statement. “I believe he will serve with the utmost integrity on the bench and will represent Alabama with distinction.”
  • Read the full report from Mary Sell HERE.

5. News Briefs

Nearly $9M of Mississippi Lottery tickets sold in 1st days
  • JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Lottery sold nearly $9 million in tickets during its first six days of operation.
  • About $3.8 million of the money was awarded in prizes, and nearly $2 million of it will go into the state budget to help pay for roads and bridges.
  • The Mississippi Lottery Corporation started selling tickets Nov. 25, and it announced the initial sales figures in a news release Wednesday.
  • The corporation says the largest prize awarded has been $15,000. It says most people who are collecting money so far are choosing to remain anonymous.
  • Mississippi had been one of six states without a lottery, but people from the state were driving to Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee to buy tickets. Mississippi legislators voted in 2018 to create the games of chance as a way to generate money for infrastructure. Hiring staff, vetting retailers and starting games took more than a year.
  • For now, only single-state games are available in Mississippi. The multistate games Powerball and Mega Millions will be available in Mississippi starting in late January.
Police: Slain Alabama teen tried to grab kidnapper’s gun
  • AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Police wrote in a court record filed Wednesday that they believe the slain daughter of a well-known UFC fighter fought back against her assailant.
  • Twenty-nine-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed faces capital murder charges in the death of Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old Alabama college student.
  • In a charging document filed with the court, authorities wrote that Yazeed told someone that he had shot a woman and she “went for the gun.” Police did not identify the person.
  • Blanchard was last seen Oct. 23 at a gas station in Auburn, Alabama. Her remains were discovered weeks later in a wooded area.
  • She was the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris.
  • Prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty if Yazeed is convicted.
Alabama beach town reconsidering Hangout music festival
  • GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama town is reconsidering whether to allow a beachfront music festival that has become a staple on the northern Gulf Coast.
  • WPMI-TV reported Wednesday that officials in Gulf Shores say citizen complaints may result in them not renewing a permit for the Hangout Fest in 2020.
  • The weekend festival draws tens of thousands of people to the municipal beach each spring, but city spokesman Grant Brown said officials have gotten multiple complaints about the event. Those include festival-goers roaming the streets, parking and sleeping on private property, he said.
  • The four-day event is under contract in Gulf Shores through 2025, but city officials said the owner needs to make changes.
  • “We, as the city, have to react to those problems that occur. So we’re requiring the festival to mitigate as many of those problems as they can,” said Brown.
  • Next year’s festival is set for mid-May with acts including Billie Eilish, Post Malone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • City officials said Hangout owner Shaul Zislin is working on a solution, and a meeting is set for Thursday night. The festival began in 2010 as a way to draw tourists back to the beach after the Gulf oil spill.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – McCutcheon: Prisons, rural healthcare, lottery priorities in 2020 legislative session

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS –  Families of inmates describe violent conditions to panel
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  –  Montgomery attorney confirmed to federal judgeship
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – ADOC graduates 405 correctional officers, huge vacancies remain
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Profs make impeachment case; Democrats say they’re all in
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – December 3, 2019
Montgomery Advertiser – 2 killed, 2 injured in Montgomery shooting police call ‘drug related’
Montgomery Advertiser – Garden District residents protest historic Perry Street home conversion to event center
Montgomery Advertiser – Aniah Blanchard fought back and ‘went for the gun,’ according to court records
YellowHammer News – Brooks applauds Trump administration’s new rule tightening work requirements for food stamp recipients
YellowHammer News – Huntsville named nation’s best-paying city for software developers
YellowHammer News – Sessions hits back at Kamala Harris after her presidential bid ends — ‘She’s 0 for 4’
Dothan Eagle – Photos: Multiple people wounded in Pearl Harbor shooting
Dothan Eagle – Two killed, shooter dead in Pearl Harbor gun attack
Dothan Eagle – Wiregrass swimmers will compete at state meet in Auburn this weekend
Tuscaloosa News – Families of inmates describe violent conditions to panel
Tuscaloosa News – Livingston man killed in interstate crash
Tuscaloosa News – Police: Slain Alabama teen tried to grab kidnapper’s gun
Decatur Daily – Spring Avenue almost complete, I-565 widening to start in spring
Decatur Daily – Carpenter opens Emerging Technology Center in former Delphi building
Decatur Daily – Council meets with attorneys on Voketz lawsuit
Times Daily – Vacancies grow to 8 in Lauderdale County schools
Times Daily – Sheffield High moves to STEM contest finals
Times Daily – Fire causes heavy damage to Colbert County home
Gadsden Times – Altoona man charged with child sex abuse
Gadsden Times – Dale County man faces child porn, sex abuse, bestiality charges
Gadsden Times – Deadly defect found in another version of Takata airbags
Anniston Star – Sharp words exchanged as Anniston council rejects Glen Addie land buy
Anniston Star – An early morning email from Ben Little
Anniston Star – Jacksonville man charged with trafficking meth
Troy Messenger – A BLESSING IN THE FIRE: Ward thankful for life after house fire
Troy Messenger – Pike County Schools awarded grant to upgrade technology
Troy Messenger – Troy’s ‘Sounds of the Season’ a traditional holiday celebration
Andalusia Star News – City OKs $55K for Coleman Center upgrades
Andalusia Star News – OCS responds to fake messages
Andalusia Star News – Apollo Edgar to be Grand Marshal of Andalusia Christmas Parade
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn City Council votes no on more student housing
Opelika-Auburn News – Southern Perspectives on display in Auburn
Opelika-Auburn News – Holiday celebrations kickoff with inaugural Sno*pelika event
Daily Mountain Eagle – Carbon Hill finds money missing from books
Daily Mountain Eagle – Students decorate ornaments for town Christmas tree
Daily Mountain Eagle – County picks Ingenuity for tag renewal software
Trussville Tribune – BREAKING: Brewster Road closed, power lines down after crash
Trussville Tribune – Birmingham teen facing capital murder charge in fatal drive-by shooting also awaiting trial for 2017 Center Point church carnival shooting
Trussville Tribune – UPDATE: Former Hoover police officer accused in wife’s death booked in Jefferson County Jail
Athens News Courier – 2nd round of leaf collection underway
Athens News Courier – Man ‘stable’ after fall from truck at Limestone cotton gin
Athens News Courier – Infant murder case waived to grand jury
Sand Mountain Reporter – Sardis City kicks off holiday season with tree lighting, carols
Sand Mountain Reporter – Multiple fires break out in Boaz during Thanksgiving
Sand Mountain Reporter – Albertville Museum hosting Christmas craft events

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