Presented by the Stop The HIT Coalition
Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, December 12.
1. That was really quite something.
- Did you watch the Oval Office exchange between President Trump and Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer yesterday?
- If not, you really should.
- “Chuck and Nancy” were there for negotiations on an appropriations deal to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. They let the press in for a “spray,” which generally just includes a few minutes of smiling and pleasantries about how they hope to work together.
- Somewhere along the way, President Trump decided to go ahead and have the meeting with the press in the room, and it was great. Awkward and cringeworthy at times, but great.
- It’s an eye of the beholder thing. Those who don’t like Trump saw it as boorish. Those who like Trump saw exactly why they supported a “fighter” in the first place.
- The bottom line is the president said he was not scared to shut down the government if Democrats block border wall funding from getting a vote. He even said he would take responsibility for it.
- “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down,” Trump said.
- Normally in Washington, the one who gets blamed for the shutdown usually blinks first. But this doesn’t seem like any other negotiation.
- And Trump is going further than any other Republican has to call the Democrats’ bluff. He just had better hope they are bluffing.
- Read more and watch the full exchange HERE.
2. “Chill out a little.”
- Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was happy to be home.
- Speaking to about 900 gathered for the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, Sessions was in good humor, joking about being the subject of presidential tweets, highlighting his accomplishments as AG, and even quoting Kanye West.
- He said he’s had a chance to “chill out a little” and doesn’t follow the tweets as much.
- You can read more in Jay Reeves’ story HERE, or in Brian Lyman’s story HERE, or in Mike Cason’s story HERE, or in Sean Ross’ story HERE. Brian’s and Mike’s include video of the speech.
- Watch Jenn Horton’s story for WSFA HERE and watch Reshad Hudson’s story for WIAT HERE.
- No, Sessions didn’t say anything about running for his old seat. Plenty of well-wishers brought it up when visiting with him afterward, though.
- My takeaway? Sessions seemed like someone who is enjoying a little down time and private life for a change; like someone who isn’t really bothered by the questions of “will he?” or “won’t he?,” perhaps partly because of the confidence that, if he does decide to run for Senate again, it’s his to lose.
A Message from the Stop The HIT Coalition
- The Stop The HIT Coalition thanks Senator Doug Jones for protecting Alabama small businesses, middle-class families and seniors from the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.
- This costly, unfair and hidden tax increases the cost of health insurance in the small business market, needlessly stifles economic growth and should be repealed.
- Senator Jones joined a bipartisan group in urging Senate leadership to prioritize urgent cost savings for hardworking Alabamians before the tax returns.
- Thank Senator Jones for working for Alabama small businesses and families by supporting efforts to stop the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.
3. EPA kills WOTUS rule.
- The Environmental Protection Agency is officially proposing a withdrawal of the Obama-era “Waters of the United States” rule that made small rivers, streams, and even ponds subject to the jurisdiction of the federal government under the Clean Water Act.
- The rule had long angered farmers, ranchers, and other property owners who argue it’s burdensome and costly to force people to comply with federal water restrictions for small bodies of water that don’t impact drinking water.
- Republicans celebrated the move, including those from Alabama.
- Sen. Richard Shelby said doing away with the WOTUS rule would “provide long-overdue, much-needed clarity for American farmers and small businesses, while maintaining well-established protections for lakes and rivers.”
- Rep. Bradley Byrne echoed the Alabama Farmers Federation in saying the move “restores common sense to Clean Water Act enforcement.”
- Critics, including Democrats and many environmental groups, fear loosening restrictions will lead to greater pollution and less safe drinking water.
- Senator Tom Caper of Delaware called the EPA’s move “nothing short of senseless.”
- Read more HERE.
4. Lead Hoover protester arrested.
- Carols Chaverst, Jr., the lead organizer for protests over the police shooting in Hoover Thanksgiving night, has been arrested.
- He is charged with disorderly conduct and loitering, according to AL.com’s Carol Robinson.
- At least one of the charges stemmed from a protest at the Ross Bridge hotel where police say two officers were injured during the confrontation.
- Chaverst himself said he was being charged with felony assault, but later said the district attorney wouldn’t sign off on those charges. That’s according to Sean Ross at YellowHammer.
- Meanwhile, the protesters are taking their case to Montgomery and utilizing the State House media platform to call for nationwide boycotts of retailers who have shops in Riverchase Galleria, where the shooting took place.
5. Here’s a picture…
- That’s your state leadership team for the 2019 Regular Session.
- From left to right, House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Gov. Kay Ivey, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Lt. Gov-elect Will Ainsworth are pictured during a reception last night.
- Ainsworth shared the photo via Twitter and thanked Marsh for hosting the event.
- Everybody is in town for legislative orientation, which continues today at the State House.
- New lawmakers will be sworn into office inside the chambers, though many have already been through various swearing-in events.
- Speaking of Marsh, he was making the rounds in South Alabama this week and offering a preview of what he saw coming in 2019 agenda wise.
- Infrastructure was on his mind, of course, but so was continuing education reforms. That will be interesting to watch. Read more in the Gulf Coast News.
Jones joining AP political forum today
- Alabama Sen. Doug Jones will be joining the Associated Press in Washington for its latest Newsmakers online program.
- Jones will discuss lessons he believes Democrats can take away from his 2017 upset win over Roy Moore and the legislative agenda for the end of the year.
- It’s starts at 9:00 Eastern, 8:00 Central, so right now.
- You can submit questions via Facebook.
- Find out how to watch and interact HERE.
Farm Bill one step closer
- The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to pass the Farm Bill, which will fund key farm safety net programs and the food stamp program.
- The vote was 87-13. The House is expected to pass the measure this and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature.
- Alabama Senators Richard Shelby and Doug Jones both supported the measure and praised different aspects of the bill.
- In the House, most of the delegation appears to be on board. They’ll vote today or tomorrow.
- Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama’s lead on the House Agriculture Committee, showed his support via Instagram Tuesday.
- All of that and more in the full story HERE.
Google hearing gets testy
- Congress’ grilling of Google CEO Sundar Pichai amplified the prickly issues facing tech companies, especially given increased concerns about privacy.
- The 3 1/2-hour House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday hit upon familiar themes — online privacy, data protection and the danger of digital monopolies — that are poised to come into even sharper focus next year when Democrats take control of the House.
- Alabama’s Rep. Martha Roby, who serves on House Judiciary, summed up the trouble of balancing personal and corporate responsibilities in the age of click-through privacy agreements.
- In an exchange with Pichai, Roby said: “I understand there’s a personal responsibility as a consumer to do my part to try and understand this, but it’s also very complicated stuff.”
- See that, read more, and watch the full hearing for yourself HERE.
Criminal justice reform set for vote
- Under pressure from President Donald Trump and many of his Republican colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he will bring legislation to the floor to overhaul the nation’s federal sentencing laws.
- McConnell’s decision comes after more than three years of overtures from a large, bipartisan group of senators who support the criminal justice bill.
- Trump announced his support for the legislation last month, but McConnell treaded cautiously as a handful of members in his caucus voiced concerns that it would be too soft on violent criminals.
- Should it pass (and it probably will), it would be a major bipartisan policy achievement for this Congress and the largest sentencing overhaul in decades.
- Critics – chief among them former Attorney General Jeff Sessions – have argued the reforms gut “tough on crime” policies and let too many criminals out of jail.
- Read more HERE.
POTUS asks SCOTUS to rule on asylum ban
- The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow enforcement of a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
- Two federal courts have temporarily blocked the policy President Donald Trump announced in November in response to caravans of migrants that were approaching the border.
- Last week, the federal appeals court in San Francisco said the ban is inconsistent with federal law and an attempted end-run around Congress.
- The administration said in court papers filed Tuesday that the nationwide order preventing the policy from taking effect “is deeply flawed” and should be lifted pending an appeal that could reach the high court.
- Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in his Supreme Court filing that Trump’s immigration measures “are designed to channel asylum seekers to ports of entry, where their claims can be processed in an orderly manner; deter unlawful and dangerous border crossings; and reduce the backlog of meritless asylum claims.”
- Full story HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sessions: “I don’t follow tweets as closely as I used to”
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Farm Bill: Senate passes overwhelmingly; House vote to come
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Google grilled in Congress: What’s ahead for tech companies
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Organizers seek expanded boycott following Galleria shooting
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sen. Doug Jones joining AP Newsmakers Wednesday
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump administration proposes major rollback of water rules
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Facing pressure, McConnell agrees to criminal justice vote
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump administration asks Supreme Court to allow asylum ban
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – With eyes on House majority, Dems cautious about impeachment
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump threatens shutdown in wild encounter with Democrats
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – December 11, 2018
AL.COM – Alabama ranks 10th nationally in board certified teachers
AL.COM – Alabama farmers, environmental groups divided on Trump waters proposal
AL.COM – A look at how Mazda-Toyota is coming together
AL.COM – Activists want to expand boycott after Galleria shooting
AL.COM – Back in Alabama, Jeff Sessions praises Trump, stays mum on future
AL.COM – Alabama activists host protest training after Galleria shooting
AL.COM – Alabama-made SM-3 missile successfully shoots down target
AL.COM – Jeff Sessions’ career almost died in 1986. A new podcast explains why
AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: What’s left for a lame duck Republican Congress?
AL.COM – Contributor John Meredith: Is President Trump above the law?
AL.COM – Who is Carlos Chaverst? Hoover mall protest leader wants to be voice for E.J. Bradford
AL.COM – Protest leader Carlos Chaverst Jr. arrested on 4 warrants during demonstration outside Hoover jail
AL.COM – 3 killed, 12 more wounded in shooting at Christmas market in France
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – State superintendent Mackey: MPS intervention could end year early
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Two Alabama inmates hospitalized following fight, state officials say
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Testimony continues in hearing for Alabama prison staffing deadline
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Carver High senior charged with reckless murder in death of schoolmate
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mississippi teen charged in Park Place robbery
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Hayneville men indicted in sex abuse cases
DOTHAN EAGLE – Editorial: Jeff Sessions takes the high road
DOTHAN EAGLE – Juvenile charged for making threats towards Rehobeth schools
DOTHAN EAGLE – Arraignment scheduled for Dothan man charged with child abuse
DOTHAN EAGLE – Houston County Commission offers chief administrative officer position to Peter Covert
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Hoover protest leader calls for nationwide boycott of all stores, restaurants with locations at Riverchase Galleria
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Proposed Waters of the United States guidelines praised as good for Alabama farmers, landowners
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Greg Reed: A Medicaid program built around families and communities
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Protesters try to expand boycott after Alabama mall shooting
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – 1 women killed, 2 others hurt in Birmingham shooting
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Hillcrest’s JaLon Johnson scores 1,000th point of career in win against Northridge
DECATUR DAILY – No immunity from lawsuit for Morgan sheriff
DECATUR DAILY – Trial scheduled for Decatur doctor charged with sexual harassment
DECATUR DAILY – Mayor says council ‘micromanaging’ on travel issue
DECATUR DAILY – 2nd truck accident in 3 weeks snarls traffic at intersection
TIMES DAILY – Kitts: First Amendment is ‘alive and well at UNA’
TIMES DAILY – Loretto receives grant to expand water service
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Colbert County High School students wow Toyota officials with presentation
TIMES DAILY – Muscle Shoals Christmas Parade
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Duck hunters rescued from river Saturday
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – County buys land for project
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Williams to lead SHS football
TROY MESSENGER – OFF TO OZ: Shebang performs Wizard of Oz at Troy University
TROY MESSENGER – Troy Eye Care collecting gifts for group homes
TROY MESSENGER – Council approves abatements for Golden Boy expansion
THE ANNISTON STAR – City Council views beer tent a potential compromise at downtown events
THE ANNISTON STAR – Relaxed school lunch rules may mean fewer whole grains, more milk fat
THE ANNISTON STAR – Cable One rebranding as Sparklight in summer 2019
ANNISTON STAR – Editorial: In defense of small towns in Alabama
GADSDEN TIMES – FLEUR DE LOLLY: Stuffed pork chops are ‘company worthy’ dish
GADSDEN TIMES – Officers pull woman from submerged car
GADSDEN TIMES – Etowah County Commission sets Sunday sales hours
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Portion of East Glenn Avenue to temporarily close tonight for crane removal
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – GUEST COLUMN: General aviation at small and mid-size airports is saving lives in Alabama
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Police reports from Dec. 11
CULLMAN TIMES – Nesmith Park on target or major upgrade
CULLMAN TIMES – Police identify 2 injured in Monday wreck; investigation continues
CULLMAN TIMES – Arrests, incidents reports for Dec. 10, 2018
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Texas Roadhouse continues fundraising for military personnel, veterans
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – New cardiac technology at Shelby Baptist can view details of the heart
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Tagovailoa, Kight, Conner honored as early enrollees
THE MADISON RECORD – Madison Academy Dominates Class 5A Region 8 All-Region Football Team
THE MADISON RECORD – Mustangs’ Rachel Baker Signs Softball Scholarship
THE MADISON RECORD – City of Madison to hold public meeting Dec. 12 for road improvement projects
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Jack’s in Dora to be remodeled
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Smith will use 10-hour, overlapping shifts
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Chamber elects officers, board members
NEW YORK TIMES – Playing by His Own Rules, Trump Flips the Shutdown Script
NEW YORK TIMES – Pelosi vs. Trump: ‘Don’t Characterize the Strength That I Bring,’ She Says
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Threatens Shutdown in Combative Appearance With Democrats
WASHINGTON POST – ‘This has spiraled downward’: Democrats introduce Trump to divided government
WASHINGTON POST – Conservative Party calls for vote of no confidence to oust Prime Minister Theresa May
WASHINGTON POST – Trump has blasted Mueller’s team for political donations. But attorney general nominee William P. Barr has given more than $500,000.
USA TODAY – 5 held in Strasbourg Christmas market attack, gunman remains at large
USA TODAY – Britain’s leader Theresa May to face no-confidence vote amid Brexit turmoil
USA TODAY – Some Americans are being denied ‘life-saving’ health care. It’s because they are transgender
POLITICO – Sprawling 2020 field creates wild early-state scramble
POLITICO – Trump says he could weigh in on Huawei CFO case
POLITICO – Trump jams Republicans with shutdown vow