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Daily News Digest – April 30, 2018

 Good morning! I basically had dinner with Stevie Wonder this weekend. So did Rep. Laura Hall, who was way more chill about the whole thing than me. Here’s your Daily News for Monday, April 30.

1. Alabama Sheriffs have a problem.

  • Ever since reporter Connor Sheets broke the news about Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrikin pocketing more than $672,000 from the jail kitchen fund and purchasing a beach house, the story has unraveled into a mess for Alabama’s sheriffs.
  • Most blame the law. An antiquated 1930s statute allows sheriffs to keep any funds beyond $1.75 per inmate, per day.
  • That’s fair. But just because the law allows something doesn’t make it right.
  • Law enforcement officials personally profiting by skimping on jailhouse meals sounds like something out of Cool Hand Luke or the Shawshank Redemption.
  • So, what we have here is a problem to communicate. How would you like to be a sheriff facing reelection this year and having to answer questions about a jailhouse slush fund?
  • Sen. Arthur Orr wants to fix the law when the Legislature convenes next year. I think he’ll have plenty of support, but the sheriffs might need to get out of their own way first.
  • Read AP reporter Jay Reeves’ full report on the situation HERE.

2. Immigrant caravan arrives at the border. 

  • A group of 200 Central Americans have arrived at the U.S. border crossing near San Diego seeking asylum.
  • Organizers say the immigrants are fleeing violence and oppression in their home countries. Critics, including top U.S. officials, say it’s an organized effort to game American immigration laws.
  • The “caravan” caught the attention of President Donald Trump and administration officials when it departed from southern Mexico a month ago.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called the asylum-seeking caravan “a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system.”
  • U.S. officials say the San Diego facility is already at capacity.
  • Look for this messy problem to dominate news coverage over the next few days.
  • Read more HERE.

Border wars get local

  • Did you know that some cities in the United States have passed or are considering ordinances to “black list” any contractor who does work for U.S. government on the border wall?
  • It started in Austin, Texas and Berkeley, California, and could become a trend outside of liberal academic enclaves.
  • U.S. Rep. Martha Roby and Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed the matter at an appropriations hearing late last week.
  • Sessions said he’s aware of the trend and that the Justice Department is committed to putting a stop to it.
  • Read more and watch their exchange HERE.

3. North Korea promised what? 

  • North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un apparently told South Korean leaders that he would be willing to give up his nuclear weapons and agree to a peace process if the United States would promise not to attack the North.
  • That’s what South Korean officials said Sunday. Read more HERE.
  • If true, wow. I guess those olympics really did the trick.
  • On the other hand, not so fast.
  • North Korea has played games like this before. The three previous administrations have danced around with the North Koreans only to be left disappointed.
  • New National Security Adviser John Bolton expressed healthy skepticism during an appearance on Face the Nation:

“Well, we’ve heard this before. This is — the North Korean propaganda playbook is an infinitely rich resource.

“What we want to see from them is evidence that it’s real and not just rhetoric.”

  • One reason for optimism: in all of our other false starts on North Korean peace talks, none have involved the South Koreans to this extent.
  • South Korea is highly engaged this time and seems to badly want peace with its northern neighbor. That’s important.

4. Programming note: Polls coming this week!

  • When dreaming up the concept of Alabama Daily News, one thing I wanted to do was provide reliable public polling that offers readers a glimpse into how elections are shaping up.
  • I’m pleased to say that has taken shape.
  • I’ve partnered with Leverage Public Strategies to conduct ballot test surveys for the top races in Alabama’s GOP primary election (nothing against Democrats, but that would have doubled the cost, and so first things first, leave me alone).
  • I’ll be reporting the results this week in the following order:
  • Tuesday: Governor. 
  • Wednesday: Lt. Governor.
  • Thursday: Attorney General.
  • Friday: Supreme Court Chief Justice & Associate Justices.
  • ADN Digest subscribers get first dibs on all the polling data, so tell any stragglers out there they had better get signed up.

5. News briefs. 

  • Newly-selected State Superintendent Eric Mackey did a Q & A with’s Trisha Crain that offers some insight into how he will approach the top job at the Department of Education. Read that HERE.
  • The National Republican Campaign Committee is about to spend more than $60 million in a TV ad blitz aimed to protect the GOP House majority. It targets 13 media markets Republicans say will be the swing areas for 2018. Read more from AXIOS’ Alayna Treene.
  • The race for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District has received its first national profile. Buzzfeed reporter Alexis Levinson, who spent time in Alabama covering the Roy Moore/Doug Jones race, is asking all the right questions about how this race shapes up. Read her story HERE.
  • If you’re lucky enough to not be on Twitter, perhaps you have missed all the arguing over comedienne Michele Wolf’sroasting of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. I didn’t like how personal her jokes were, and I say that as someone who generally likes Wolf’s comedy. Still, it was her spot-on critique of the media establishment itself that went largely unnoticed: “You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you used to date him? You act like you hate him, but I think you really love him. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him.” More on that HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Enjoying leftovers: Sheriffs feed inmates, pocket extra cash.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Abortion, Ten Commandments amendments on the Alabama ballot this November.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Power’s solar fees challenged as unfair.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – U.S. says crossing is full before caravan tries to seek asylum.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Convicting America’s Dad: inside the Bill Cosby prosecution.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Joey Logano snaps long losing streak with win at Talladega.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Two North Alabama men indicted for counterfeiting money.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gulf Shores unveils changes to beach area.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Roby, Sessions discuss blacklisting of border contractors.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – North Korea offers to give up nukes if U.S. vows not to attack.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ‘Clearly a sacred place:’ What visitors from across the country said after visiting EJI’s lynching memorial.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – After the opening of the lynching memorial, what comes next?

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Prattville Schools: what will it take?

DOTHAN EAGLE – 25 employed at International Beams as plant gears up for full operation.

ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Prisons top town hall topic.

AL.COM – Alabama teacher says she was sent home for ‘just pray’ shirt.

AL.COM – District attorney warns of predator sending packages to elementary school.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  It had to be Waffle House.

AL.COM – Tuskegee University down to two finalists for president.

AL.COM – Columnist Dana McCain:  Alfie Evans, Life and liberty.

AL.COM – Drugmakers, lawmakers haggle over tax to pay for opioid abuse treatment.

AL.COM – Al Sharpton to hold town hall on controversial Saraland Waffle House arrest.

AL.COM – Alabama joins lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith:  In the era of dog-eat-dog politics, we need more cats.

AL.COM – Contributor Frances Coleman:  When confronting our hateful past, embrace the shame.

AL.COM – Contributor Scott Lloyd:  Judith Ann Neelley should not be paroled.

DECATUR DAILY – Reporter Mary Sell’s Capital Notebook:  Attorney general seeks information on clinic’s failure to report 13-year-old’s abortion.

DECATUR DAILY – Court ruling slams sheriff, deputies.

DECATUR DAILY – With charges dismissed, former warden recalls 18-month ordeal.

DECATUR DAILY – Law enforcement not a political tool.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Brooks High seniors present NASCAR tickets to classmate as early graduation gift.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Census: Shoals is losing residents.

ANNISTON STAR – Democrats seeking to represent eastern Alabama in Congress give primary voters a rare choice.

ANNISTON STAR – Church hopes event commemorating Freedom Riders bus burning will bring unity.

ANNISTON STAR – Thanks for the assistance, Washington.

CULLMAN TIMES – Japanese news targets Cullman to learn about Trump voters.

CULLMAN TIMES – Senate, House candidates cover range of issues at Friday event.

CULLMAN TIMES – Measures must be taken for safety.

CULLMAN TIMES – Gov. Ivey’s campaign needs adjusting.

JASPER MOUNTAIN EAGLE – State candidates speak in Jasper.

WASHINGTON POST – ‘Ready, shoot, aim’: President Trump’s loyalty tests cause hiring headaches.

WASHINGTON POST – Democrats were looking at suburban districts. Now they’re glancing toward rural ones too.

WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Joe Scarborough:  There is no one who can save Trump from himself.

WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Randi Redmond Oster:  Doctors should let dying patients make their own decisions.

NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Allies Brace for Trade War as Tariff Negotiations Stall.

NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Role in Midterm Elections Roils Republicans.

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