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Daily News Digest – December 14, 2018

Presented by the Stop The HIT Coalition


Good morning and Happy Friday! Apologies for my tardiness. Here’s your Daily News for December 14.


1. Bicentennial kicks off today.

  • The state of Alabama is getting ready to celebrate its 200th birthday.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey will join other leaders today at 10:00 Central Time in the Old House Chamber of the Alabama Capitol for an event kicking off a year-long countdown to Alabama’s bicentennial.
  • Bicentennial committees have been formed in each of the state’s 67 counties to plan and coordinate events, and hundreds are planned statewide over the next year.
  • Alabama became the nation’s 22nd state on Dec. 14, 1819. Aside from community events, educators are being offered ideas for including the bicentennial in classroom teaching.
  • The good folks at Tourism and Archives have been working very hard to make this Bicentennial celebration a reality, and I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

2. Schools get a “B”.

  • Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey released the state’s report card Thursday.
  • We got a “B,” which is an improvement from last year’s “C” grade.
  • It’s actually just a one percent climb from 79 to 80. But High School Senior Me would like to remind you that, hey, a grade is a grade.
  • More importantly, news of how Alabama’s schools are performing is being reported statewide today.
  • Letter grades for local schools will be updated next year.
  • That means parents and community leaders can better understand how their schools are performing and engage with educators on how to fix any problems.
  • It wasn’t so long ago that many in the education establishment thought simple letter grades for schools would amount to a travesty for Alabama.
  • “It shows a lot of growth in the state and that’s what we’ve been really focusing on,” Dr. Mackey said.
  • “It is important that we have a report card, and it shows that the state is making progress on the academic side and we still have a long way to go,” said Gov. Kay Ivey.
  • Read more from’s Trish Crain and watch the full story from WSFA’s Lydia Nussbaum.


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. Marshall takes over Galleria shooting cases.

  • Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Thursday that his office will assume the prosecution of the November 22, 2018, shootings of E.J. Bradford, Brian Wilson and Molly Davis at Hoover’s Riverchase Galleria Mall.
  • In a letter to Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr, Marshall said he based his decision to assume prosecution of the cases after District Attorney Carr’s admission of potential conflicts between himself and key parties in the cases.
  • Attorney General Marshall noted that the conflicts warrant recusal under the National District Attorneys Association’s National Prosecution Standards.
  • Carr has been pictured several times with Carlos Chaverest, the lead protester of the Hoover shootings. Chaverest campaigned for Carr in the recent November elections.
  • “I have reviewed your December 11th letter regarding your prosecutorial role in the shooting death of Emantic ‘E.J.’ Bradford, Jr.,” Attorney General Marshall wrote District Attorney Carr.
  • “Based on the information you provided in that letter and our multiple conversations on the subject—particularly your acknowledgement that ‘a fair-minded, objective observer could conclude that a conflict exists’—I have determined that the National Prosecution Standards dictate your recusal from the investigation of each of the shootings that occurred in the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night, not just E.J. Bradford’s.”
  • Sean Ross at YellowHammer had the story first.
  • This is news all over the state, but especially in Birmingham, where efforts to engage the community in protests are ongoing.
  • Chaverest was outside the AG’s office late yesterday attempting to claim that he also had a relationship with Marshall, though that doesn’t seem to hold up.
  • Also, he got arrested for disorderly conduct again.
  • Marshall told media gathered at his office not to expect an immediate release of the video footage from the shooting because such footage is potential evidence in perhaps multiple criminal cases.


4. Jones to Armed Services.

  • Sen. Doug Jones has been appointed to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee when the 116th Congress convenes in January.
  • This is an important apointment for Jones and the State of Alabama because there are five military installations in the state that employ 8,500 active duty service members and more than 23,000 civilians.
  • More than 375,000 veterans, including 65,000 retirees, also live in Alabama, as well as the Department of Defense spending $7.7 billion in contracts in the state.
  • Sen. Jones said he understands his responsibilities to Alabama and to the country and hopes that this appointment will bring economic growth for the armed services and the whole state in general.
  • “Alabama and its citizens have long played a significant role in our national defense, from building or maintaining ships and other vehicles to leading cutting-edge research and development to volunteering to serve in our armed forces,” Jones said in a release.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


5. News Briefs.

Jake Jacobs to VOICES.
  • Jake Jacobs has been hired as the new Governmental Affairs Director at VOICES for Alabama’s Children.
  • He fills the role left by Tara Preyer, who recently took a position with Secretary of the Senate Pat Harris.
  • Jacobs formerly worked in the Governor’s office and did internship stints on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
  • He’s an intelligence officer in the Alabama National Guard based in Hope Hull.
  • Congrats, Jake!
Prison contract held up
  • The Alabama Legislature’s Contract Review Committee has delayed a contract for the Department of Corrections.
  • DOC is contracting with Hoar Program Management for consulting work on plans to build more state prisons.
  • Lawmakers on the committee told Commissioner Jeff Dunn they didn’t like the idea of spending $10 million on consulting when they weren’t confident a bill funding prison construction could make it through the Legislature next year.
  • Read more from Mike Cason HERE.
Russian pleads guilty
  • A Russian national admitted Thursday that she was a secret agent for the Kremlin who tried to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups as Donald Trump rose to power.
  • Maria Butina, 30, agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.
  • “Guilty,” Butina said in a slight accent when asked how she wanted to plead. Dressed in a green jail uniform with her red hair pulled into a long ponytail, Butina spoke softly and mostly kept her eyes on the judge.
  • The Butina case has provided a vivid glimpse into Russia’s influence operations in the United States.
  • Read more HERE.
China playing nice?
  • China announced a 90-day suspension on Friday of tariff hikes on $126 billion of U.S. cars, trucks and auto parts following its cease-fire in a trade battle with Washington that threatens global economic growth.
  • The suspension is China’s first step in response to President Donald Trump’s Dec. 1 agreement to suspend U.S. tariff hikes for a similar 90-day period while the two sides negotiate over American complaints about Beijing’s technology policy and trade surplus.
  • Full story HERE.
Remembering 41
  • Former State Rep. Perry Hooper, Jr. contributes a column today remembering the life and legacy of President George H.W. Bush.
  • His father, Perry Hooper, Sr. was Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in the 1990s and a friend of the former president.
  • Perry writes that Bush kept many friendships in Alabama, a state that voted for him twice despite having mostly Democratic leadership at the time
  • Read his thoughts HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama kicking off bicentennial year
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sen. Doug Jones appointed to Senate Armed Services Committee
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Death row executions remain near historic lows in 2018
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In plea deal, Russian woman admits to being a secret agent
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – China suspends tariff hikes on $126B of US cars, auto parts
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Perry Hooper, Jr.: Remembering “41”
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – At the State House, many new faces and some familiar ones for Legislative Orientation
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – December 13, 2018
AL.COM – Protest organizer Carlos Chaverst Jr. arrested for 2nd time in 48 hours
AL.COM – 78-year-old missing man found in Tennessee, Madison police say
AL.COM – Suspect held on $550,000 bond in deadly Bessemer shooting
AL.COM – Lawmakers put temporary hold on $10 million prison contract
AL.COM – Racist, slave-owning history of Southern Baptists chronicled in new report
AL.COM – Could federal criminal justice reform spur action in Alabama?
AL.COM – Coosa County sawmill gets $18 million upgrade
AL.COM – AG Steve Marshall takes over Galleria shooting case, cites Jeffco DA’s potential conflict of interest
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: One of Alabama’s ‘Sin Twins’ has die
AL.COM – Alabama education officials: Schools earned a ‘B’
AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: Stop hedging bipartisan agreement with disagreement
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Woman dead after South Court Street shooting
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Civil rights groups seek use-of-force, body camera policies from Alabama police
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Public schools systems prepare to monitor juvenile sex offenders
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Trial dates set for pair accused in Prattville barbershop massacre
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Mo Brooks’ bill naming Athens post office successfully passes the Senate
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Watch: Alabama man scolds his dogs for making mess while he was away from home
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Byrne helps spearhead passage of legislation reforming Congress’ sexual harassment policies
DOTHAN EAGLE – Woman gets 30 months for theft from credit union in Enterprise; must repay $1.46 million
DOTHAN EAGLE – Wiregrass Angel House spreads Hope and comfort during annual Christmas Open House
DOTHAN EAGLE – Bond hearing set for father facing capital murder charges in infant death
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Former UA swimmer earns NCAA Top 10 Award
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Kidz Bop concert tickets on go sale Friday for Tuscaloosa show
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alabama AG taking over mall shooting case
DECATUR DAILY – Trustee calls Priceville Partners ‘a Ponzi scheme’ as sheriff settles
DECATUR DAILY – Blood drive honoree: Priceville 10-year-old stays upbeat amid leukemia treatment
DECATUR DAILY – Barley to become Hartselle’s acting police chief
TIMES DAILY – Florence Middle School on track to open mid-February
TIMES DAILY – Judge approves cancer center proposal
TIMES DAILY – Sheffield Council challenges police chief’s hiring
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Woman finds mouse in can of green beans
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – 2nd graders’ project helps teacher’s famil
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – County building evacuated after bomb threat emailed
TROY MESSENGER – Patriots sweep Autauga in Thursday doubleheader
TROY MESSENGER – GALLERY: Santa Claus is coming to town and stopping at TES
TROY MESSENGER – Goshen knocks off Brantley
THE ANNISTON STAR – Anniston, Oxford police check fake threats amid nationwide email hoax
THE ANNISTON STAR – Families brave chill to cheer graduates into post-college life
THE ANNISTON STAR – Commissioners hear concerns over animal control changes
GADSDEN TIMES – GSCC closes campuses after bomb threats
GADSDEN TIMES – GLENDA BYARS: A tale of two heroes
GADSDEN TIMES – EXTENSION CORNER: Planning ahead can keep Santa out of debt
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Auburn woman charged with theft of more than $50,000 from local auto supplier
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Woman charged in Opelika daycare assault case
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Watch Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis receive his Senior Bowl invitation
CULLMAN TIMES – (UPDATE) 2 bomb threats in Cullman reported; also across the nation
CULLMAN TIMES – Arrests, incidents reports for Dec. 12, 2018
CULLMAN TIMES – Losing markets: Tariffs displacing Alabama growers in soybean markets
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Shelby County Schools honors top teachers
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Cops: Woman’s baby tests positive for meth
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – OMIS fourth grader shaves head in support of teacher with cancer
THE MADISON RECORD – Madison school board considers Jacob Kits and therapy dogs at Dec. 11 meeting
THE MADISON RECORD – Nichole Harting Signs Track Scholarship To USA
THE MADISON RECORD – Restoration continues for ‘Jet’ mascot at James Clemens
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Christmas in East Walker County
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Suspects arrested in Jasper armed robbery
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – County, city cooperate to repave Beacon Lane
NEW YORK TIMES – Maria Butina Pleads Guilty to Role in a Russian Effort to Influence Conservatives
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Inaugural Fund and Super PAC Said to Be Scrutinized for Illegal Foreign Donations
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Improvises New Defense in Hush Money Payments
WASHINGTON POST – Russian agent’s guilty plea intensifies spotlight on relationship with NRA
WASHINGTON POST – Mueller’s treatment of cooperating witnesses suggests end of Russia investigation may be near
WASHINGTON POST – 7-year-old migrant girl taken into Border Patrol custody dies of dehydration, exhaustion
USA TODAY – Reports: Trump attended negotiations with National Enquirer about hush money deals
USA TODAY – Trump administration says ‘walls work.’ Here’s what a full view of the border shows
USA TODAY – After losing court battle, DeVos to cancel $150 million in student loan debt
POLITICO – How Jared Kushner worked the media and Senate for his criminal justice bill
POLITICO – GOP infighting continues as criminal justice bill advances
POLITICO – Washington Post to run full-page ad on Khashoggi killing

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