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Daily News Digest – April 11, 2018

 Good morning! That sound you hear is my Auburn brethren choking on their coffee. Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, April 11.

1. Trump’s got nothin on the Bear, Paul. 

  • The Alabama Crimson Tide football team had its big day at the White House yesterday.
  • Having perhaps a bigger day were the scores of Alabama politicians and politicos who live in Washington D.C. or who traveled up to take part in the festivities.
  • The event lit up social media with images like the one above. So, I captured a lot of them and put them in a story. Check out photos galore from Alabama’s visit to the White House HERE.
  • A big credit to Head Coach Nick Saban, who reportedly told his players it was an honor to visit the White House no matter who is occupying it.
  • Also credit to punter J.K Scott, who was seen gathering players around the president to offer a word of prayer. It sure seemed like they were praying for/over the commander-in-chief, which… wow. How many faithful grown ups would take it upon ourselves to do that?
  • Anyway, check out the photos HERE. Yours just might be in there!
  • Don’t worry, Auburn folks. We’ll get ’em next year. Wait, didn’t we get them last year?

2. “Congrats Shelby… now fix our mess” 

  • Alabama Senator Richard Shelby is officially the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee – making him without question one of the most powerful men in Washington.
  • Controlling the nation’s pursestrings comes with a lot of responsibility and some headaches.
  • One headache Shelby seems to have inherited even before taking the gavel is grumbling from within Republican ranks about the recently-enacted omnibus spending bill.
  • Some are having buyer’s remorse about the $1.2 trillion price tag, or at least pretending to.
  • This week the House is passing a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment to show how serious they are about reining in spending.
  • More seriously, the White House is signaling that the president might want to reopen the omnibus and cut out some spending, and then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he’s not opposed tothe idea.
  • Yeah, that’d be a headache for Shelby and his team of appropriations staff, who would much rather continue working on NEXT YEAR’S spending bills than reopen the can of worms that took the better part of two years to close in the first place.
  • No good deed goes unpunished? No rest for the weary? What’s the appropriate cliche here?
  • For his part, Shelby told the Associated Press “it might be that Congress is going to stay where they are.”
  • Sounds to me like we’re not going to get into last year’s spending bill, amirite?
  • Read more in Roll Call.

3. State stagnant in education test scores.

  • Well, at least we didn’t go backward, right?
  • The National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP, scores are in. Known as the nation’s report card, NAEP periodically measures reading and math proficiency for 4th and 8th graders.
  • Alabama scores remained pretty much unchanged since the last time they were measured.
  •’s Trish Crain breaks down the numbers HERE
  • This is not really a national ranking. If it were, Alabama would be toward but not at the bottom.
  • Rather, it’s an indicator of whether or not progress is being made.
  • Back in the 2000s, Alabama repeatedly led the nation in gains made in reading and math. But, that momentum has waned in recent years.
  • Expect this to be discussed more as the State School Board prepares to hire a new state superintendent.

4. What’s next for Montgomery schools?

  • Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Interim State Superintendent of Education Ed Richardson are holding a news conference today.
  • Presumably, they will discuss next steps for Montgomery Public Schools, perhaps the state’s most troubled system.
  • Strange and Richardson have attempted to implement sweeping education and financial reforms to help save the system, but have been stymied by lawsuits from the Alabama Education Association.
  • Most recently, AEA sued to block Montgomery from selling underpopulated Georgia Washington High School to Pike Road – a deal that would have netted about $9 million to help keep the school system financially afloat.
  • Read Andrew Yawn’s report in The Montgomery Advertiser about how the intervention team’s financial reforms helped the system irk by late last year.
  • Expect to hear more from Strange and Richardson about what’s next for the system given the recent legal hurdles to implement their turnaround plans.
  • Money to keep the system afloat has to come from somewhere. While AEA might not like the sale of a school building, the teachers’ union and its membership might like the other options far less.

5. Brasher nominated for federal bench.

  • President Trump has nominated Andrew Brasher for the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Alabama.
  • Brasher has been serving as Solicitor General in the Alabama Attorney General’s office for the last four years.
  • If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Brasher would fill the seat vacated by Judge Mark Fuller, who was pressured to resign after instances of domestic abuse surfaced.
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a statement supporting Brasher’s nomination saying…

“From cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School to successfully arguing cases before judges from Alabama’s Supreme Court to the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Brasher’s experience would be an asset to the bench.”

  • Congrats, Andrew!
  • Read more HERE.

5. News briefs.

  • Facebook was the focus of A TON of national media attention yesterday as CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified on Capitol Hill. I didn’t find much of it very enlightening, but it was a good chance for Senators to get on the teevee. One bit of news is that Facebook is cooperating with the Mueller probe into Russia’s attempts to influence the election. That could matter. Read more HERE.
  • Governor Kay Ivey contributed an Op-Ed reflecting on the past year in the state’s top job after unexpectedly taking office one year ago yesterday. Read that HERE.
  • is pretty serious about getting the governor to debate. I think I’ve counted five opinion pieces and/or videos on the subject so far, this from Kyle Whitmire being the latest.
  • Congratulations, Birmingham. You’re now free to enjoy Bloody Marys and mimosas for brunch on Sundays as the city has loosened its alcohol policies. In other news: Montgomery, we need to talk.
  • There was a “drunken brawl” at the Ohatchee town council. But don’t worry, the council member was found not guilty of assault. Read more in The Anniston Star.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Roy Moore countersues accuser.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sen. Doug Jones working on a book set for release in January.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In U.S. – China trade fight, German autos are the unlikely victim.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – McConnell says he’s open to paring back spending bill.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Kay Ivey: One year in, serving Alabama.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Study: South should spend on schools, train homegrown talent.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Report: intervention team’s financial reforms helped schools make December payroll.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Downtown brewery and pizzeria ready for debut.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Columnist Alvin Benn:  Holocaust speaker describes mass murders.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Gibson Distilling, a whiskey distillery, is opening in Headland.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Columnist Steve Flowers’ Inside the Statehouse:  A review of Alabama’s representation in the U.S. House.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Roy Moore controversy is in the courts — where it belongs.

AL.COM – Alabama’s national test scores still low, but not last.

AL.COM – Bill Hightower cites sheriff’s inmate-feeding practices for budget reform.

AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire:  Somebody please show this column to Kay Ivey.

AL.COM – Alabama fighting for law restricting abortions for teens.

AL.COM – Roy Moore files counterclaim against accuser Leigh Corfman.

AL.COM – Walmart could see huge hit from food stamp cuts.

AL.COM – Alabama auditor requests probe of Etowah County sheriff’s finances.

AL.COM – Debate or not? Gov. Kay Ivey says she can’t say for sure.

AL.COM – Alabama, Saban visit White House: What AG Jeff Sessions told reporters.

AL.COM – Trump nominates Alabama solicitor general for federal judgeship.

AL.COM – Alabama 6th in nation for federal defense spending per capita.

AL.COM – Alabama’s children pay when insurers cut diabetes coverage.

AL.COM – Alabama city 7th best place to live in America, according to US News.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Josh Moon:  The Alabamization of America is complete.

DECATUR DAILY – Gov. Ivey owes it to voters to debate.

DECATUR DAILY – State superintendent selection process begins this week.

ANNISTON STAR – Sessions was right to step away

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – The Opelika-Auburn News:  Ivey and Battle both headline an interesting race for governor.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Study: South should spend on schools, train homegrown talent.

WASHINGTON POST – Federal probe into Trump’s lawyer seeks records about two women who alleged affairs with the president.

NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Signs Order to Require Recipients of Federal Aid Programs to Work.

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