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Daily News Digest – April 3, 2018

Good morning! GIFs today are themed on NBC’s superb performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. Don’t read too much into them, I just liked the show. Here’s your Daily News.

1. Lawmaker, lobbyist arrested in alleged bribery scheme.

  • Pretty big, pretty shocking: State Rep. Jack Williams andMarty Conners, a lobbyist who was ALGOP chairman 15 years ago, have been charged by federal prosecutors in an alleged State House bribery scheme.
  • G. Ford Gilbert, a California-based medical executive, was also arrested.
  • Read the full AP story HERE.
  • This seems to be the first upshot of former State Rep. Micky Hammon’s guilty plea for misuse of campaign funds and mail fraud some months back.
  • Hammon is the alleged beneficiary here. Prosecutors say Gilbert paid Hammon to promote legislation that would require Blue Cross insurance to cover diabetes treatments that his Triana clinic offered.
  • Williams is accused of knowing about Hammon’s interest in the clinic and helping the bill along in the legislative process.
  • Here’s the thing: the bill in question never passed. It didn’t really come close to passing. So, prosecutors are saying that calling a public hearing on the bill was “official action” enough to charge Williams on honest services fraud.
  • At least some are questioning whether that’s a solid case.
  • In any case, it’s a political dagger to Williams, who is retiring from the Legislature to run for Jefferson County Commission.

2. Kay Ivey had a good day. 

  • Incumbency has its advantages.
  • When you’re the governor, one of those is being able to sign popular pieces of legislation into law to lots of applause and media coverage.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey took that advantage Monday, heading to Huntsville of all places to sign the Education Trust Fund budget and a bill creating a new technology school in North Alabama.
  • It got a lot of media coverage in the back – heck – the front yard of her most serious challenger, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
  • As for the election, Ivey kind of dismissed the campaign and focused instead on governing, according to’s Paul Gattis.
  • Later, in an interview with WHNT’s Brian Lawson, Ivey said she probably couldn’t make one debate they are trying to schedule, but is open to others.
  • Read more from WHNT, WAFF, & WAAY.

3. Steve Marshall had a good day, too.

  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall had a pretty good Monday, too, though I’m not sure what factor his incumbency played.
  • Marshall posted an impressive $374,000 raised in the month of March. He now has $795,000 cash on hand with two months to go until the June primary.
  • Marshall also received the endorsement of the Business Council of Alabama’s Progress PAC – a coveted nod to say the least.
  • Clearly proud of their numbers and wanting to make a splash, Marshall’s team got their fundraising report out early. The other candidates – Alice Martin, Troy King and Chess Bedsole – should report on the regular timeline, so we should know more about their numbers within 24 hours.
  • Read more HERE.

4. Young Farm Leaders make a splash in DC.

  • Young leaders from the Alabama Farmers Federationtravelled to Washington, D.C. recently for a whirlwind of visits with key leaders, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and every member of Alabama’s Congressional Delegation.
  • I can tell you that going 9-for-9 with the Alabama delegation IN ONE DAY is not an easy feat. Throw in the EPA Administrator, plus officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative, and that’s really an impressive DC visit.
  • The Agricultural Leaders For Alabama program is a two-year leadership and training initiative for 25-45 year-old farmers from across the state.
  • Check out some cool photos from their visit along with some quotes from those who hosted the group HERE.
  • Also, I’m entertaining guesses as to what joke Sen. Shelby is telling in the above pic.

5. News briefs.

  • Moving on from their Tide Pod fetish, the kids are apparently doing something called the “condom snorting challenge” in which they… well, I’m not going to type any more words about this but here’s the story.
  • Pretty big news for ‘cord cutters’ or those who are considering it: ESPN is planning a live streaming service. Sounds pretty cheap, too. Read more from USA Today.
  • A prescient lesson from Indiana: bitter GOP primary battles have Republican officials worried about their general election prospects. Read more from The New York Times.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice are pretty serious about federal immigration judges clearing their case load. DOJ will soon start requiring judges to clear as many as 700 cases a year, according to The Wall Street Journal.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – U.S. opens door to possible Trump-Putin meeting.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge won’t dismiss suit against ex-Senate candidate Roy Moore.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Apple CEO Tim Cook to receive human rights award in Birmingham.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lawmaker, lobbyist charged in alleged State House bribery scheme.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – STACY COLUMN: Session over, campaign begins.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump Administration seeks to close immigration loopholes.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Young Farm Leaders Visit Washington

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – State rep, former ALGOP chairman arrested on bribery charges.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Man kills roommate he met at VA hospital, then shoots himself, Elmore County Sheriff says.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ‘Condom snorting challenge’ is every parent’s worst nightmare.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ASU symposium to commemorate King assassination.

DOTHAN EAGLE – 19-year old Newton resident victim of apparent drowning.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Will an unintended consequence set a convicted killer free?

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – BCA’s political arm endorses Steve Marshall for Attorney General.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Visitors to downtown Montevallo will soon have access to free public wifi.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – North Texas company recalls nearly four tons of raw beef items.  

AL.COM – Alabama Brewers Guild urging Ivey to sign tasting rooms bill.

AL.COM – Jack Williams, ex-GOP chief Marty Connors, medical exec arrested on corruption charges.

AL.COM – Who is Jack Williams? Alabama representative arrested on federal bribery charges.

AL.COM – Who is Marty Connors? Lobbyist, ex-chief of Alabama GOP faces bribery charges; bond set at $25,000.

AL.COM – Who is G. Ford Gilbert? California health exec arrested on bribery charges.

AL.COM – Erwin Brothers film tops $55 million at box office.

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith:  As David Hogg picks fights, respond like an adult on gun policy.

AL.COM – Drivers could soon see changes to Alabama’s ‘move over’ law.

AL.COM – Dean Young resurfaces to tout Ten Commandments ballot initiative.

AL.COM – Trump calls Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department’s actions ’embarrassment to our country’.

AL.COM – U.S. Supreme Court won’t review cases of two Alabama death row inmates.

AL.COM – Mazda rolling out redesigns ahead of crossover from Huntsville plant.

AL.COM – Proposed Mobile plant puts Alabama at heart of Boeing-Airbus rivalry.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – A right to speak; a right to ignore the speaker.

ANNISTON STAR – Consumer advocates launch campaign against ‘predatory’ payday lending.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Leath’s 500 plan is an impressive goal if Auburn can achieve it.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Officials: Case of TB at Alabama school, no risk of exposure.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump heats up rhetoric on border, immigration as some supporters grow impatient.

WASHINGTON POST – Pentagon can’t transfer funding to Trump’s border wall, Democratic senators say.

THE NEW YORK TIMES – Looming China Trade Action Divides Industry and Roils Markets

THE NEW YORK TIMES – Calling Car Pollution Standards ‘Too High,’ E.P.A. Sets Up Fight With California

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