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Daily News Digest – April 19, 2018

Good morning! Don’t miss the Velcro Pygmies on the front page of the Times-Daily. This is your Daily News for Thursday, April 19.

1. GOP Candidates Debate. 

  • GOP candidates for governor had another debate last night.
  • and Birmingham station ABC 33/40 hosted. Roy S. Johnson moderated with Cameron Smith, John Archibald and Lauren Walsh asking the questions.
  • I couldn’t watch the entire thing, but I did see some interesting exchanges over gambling, who will or won’t admit they voted for Roy Moore, and candidate contortions over the nuances of economic development and ethics.
  • Of course, Gov. Kay Ivey’s absence from the debate stage remained a big issue. They even set up a podium for her, which is clever, but also lends credence to her talking point that these things are “stunts” designed to make her look bad.
  • Watch the whole thing via ABC 33/40 HERE.
  • Also read Leada Gore’s take on it HERE.

2. What’s going on at BCA?

  • When you publish a news platform with a focus on political insider talk, one of the worst things that can happen is getting scooped on a big political intrigue story.
  • So I got pretty concerned yesterday when I read Bill Britt’s story in the AL Political Reporter that the board of the Business Council of Alabama had voted to fire its CEO, Billy Canary.
  • That’s a huge story! BCA is one of Alabama’s most influential political players. How could I miss that happening? Particularly since I was in contact with Billy hours earlier trying to get a quote about his knowing Barbara Bush from working in the White House.
  • Turns out there was a good reason: it didn’t happen.
  • I caught up with BCA’s Chairman of the Board Perry Hand at the Manufacturer of the Year awards event yesterday. He said whatever anonymous source told that to Britt “isn’t being truthful.”
  • Good to know I’m not completely out of touch. But, what’s really going on at BCA?
  • Plenty, it seems.
  • Some of the state’s largest and most influential companies want Canary gone and aren’t really being shy about it.
  • But, from listening to Perry Hand, breaking confidence with the board and spreading falsehoods in the political press is “not helpful” to that cause.
  • Read more about what Perry Hand had to say and what it all means HERE.

3. Ready for another fun State Superintendent selection?

The State School Board will select a new State Superintendent of Education TOMORROW.

Candidates set to be interviewed are Jefferson County Superintendent Craig Pouncey, Hoover Superintendent Kathy Murphy, School Superintendents of Alabama Executive Director Eric Mackey, and former Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott.

Here are a few story lines to watch:

  • Pending lawsuit. Remember that Pouncey is currently suing school board member Mary Scott Hunter and a Dept of Education employee claiming they torpedoed his effort to win the job last time. That’s awkward. Trisha Crain wrote about that HERE.
  • Lack of diversity? All of the finalists are white. All of the finalists last time were white. Actually, I can’t find a candidate of color being interviewed for the state superintendent job going back to the early 2000s when Dr. Joe Morton was hired. I’m not saying that should be a thing, but it could be a thing. There are two black members of the state school board.
  • Better pay. Whomever gets the job, the state is prepared to pay them better. Mary Sell reports that the board will pony up more money for compensation. Read her story HERE.
  • A deal on standards? Multiple sources tell me some school board members are eager to re-open the standards/curriculum  debate and are ready to make a deal with candidates who are willing to go along with that. Because if there’s one thing we’ve been missing for the last year or so it is some good ol’ common core bafoonery. 

4. Execution for Judge Vance’s murderer set for tonight. 

  • The man convicted of murdering U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Vance is scheduled to be executed tonight.
  • Walter Leroy Moody Jr. was found guilty of mailing a pipe bomb to Judge Vance’s Birmingham home, killing Vance and injuring his wife.
  • Read more about Moody and the case against him HERE.
  • Vance’s assassination was a major event, not just in Alabama, but nationally. Federal appeals judges are one rung down the ladder from the U.S. Supreme Court and decide cases of tremendous significance.
  • Vance’s son, current state Circuit Court Judge Bob Vance, did an on-camera interview with talking about his father’s killing. It is well done and worth your time this morning.

5. News Briefs. 

  • Former Alabama Mental Health Commissioner and longtime Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue is now working on the staff of U.S. Senator Doug Jones. Sen. Jones brought on Perdue to help manage his in-state efforts. That’s an important job for senators and congressman who need eyes and ears on the ground given the amount of time they have to spend in DC. It’s a plum hire for Jones given Perdue’s many political connections throughout the state, including in Republican circles.
  • The Weekly Standard has a interesting write up on Attorney General Jeff Sessions that is worth your time today. Fred Barnes gets into the various enemies Sessions has made across the political spectrum just by trying to do his job. Read it HERE.
  • Farmers in the midwest aren’t wild about some of the president’s trade policies and worry that it might be a problem for Republicans in this year’s midterm elections. Read more HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Package bomber set to be executed for judge’s murder. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Birmingham awaits ruling on Confederate monument.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Corruption case: lawmaker, lobbyist plead not guilty.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Manufacturers seek relief from steel and aluminum tariffs.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Bureaucrat set to replace Castro as Cuba’s president.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with North Korea.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Excavator blamed for island-wide blackout in Puerto Rico.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What’s going on at BCA?

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Public safety groups plan job fair.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Seven more Dunkin Donuts coming to Montgomery.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – First Class Pre-K named nation’s best for 12th straight year.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Boy with autism builds world’s largest Titanic LEGO replica.

AL.COM – GOP gubernatorial debate goes beyond Kay Ivey’s absence.

AL.COM – Alabama’s second Republican gubernatorial debate: Who won?

AL.COM – ‘Why my dad?’ Judge recalls father’s legacy as bomber’s execution nears.

AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire:  As opponents debate, Kay Ivey dog-whistles ‘Dixie’.

AL.COM – Port of Mobile has partner for planned auto facility.

AL.COM – Coastal Alabama officials want transportation future planned in Alabama, not Florida.

AL.COM – Will Pouncey lawsuit impact Alabama superintendent choice?

AL.COM – Why a lack of GOP enthusiasm could benefit Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s campaign.

AL.COM – Alabama First Class Pre-K tops nation in quality for 12th year.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  The real prize doesn’t come with a medal.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Billy Canary out at BCA, sort of.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Josh Moon:  Alabama remains a safe haven for hate.

DECATUR DAILY – Statewide legislation would change jail food law.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alcohol sales — coming to a stadium near you.

GADSDEN TIMES – JSU President Beeler: Recovery steady but costly.

GADSDEN TIMES – Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

ANNISTON STAR – Alabama’s higher-ed tuition problem.

ANNISTON STAR – Editor Phillip Tutor: Confederates and Gov. Ivey’s dog whistle.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Court rejects Alabama death row inmate’s appeal.

DOTHAN EAGLE – It’s time to deliver justice for a 28-year-old crime.

WASHINGTON POST – Republicans fear political risk in Senate races as House moves to extend tax cuts.

WASHINGTON POST – The staggering environmental footprint of all the food that we just throw in the trash.

NEW YORK TIMES – Across Midwest, Farmers Warn of G.O.P. Losses Over Trump’s Trade Policy

NEW YORK TIMES – Senate Votes to Ease Restrictions on Auto Lending Discrimination

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