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Daily News Digest – December 20, 2022

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, December 20.

1. New member profile: Sen. Robert Stewart

  • Many in Alabama politics knew Robert Stewart from his time working for Congresswoman Terri Sewell as a staffer.
  • But even with that status, few gave him a chance running against a political institution in Hank Sanders.
  • But with a lot of hard work and the help of some key backers, Stewart defeated Sanders in the Democratic primary and went on to win the general election in a race that garnered more votes than any other Senate race.
  • Now, entering his first elected position, Stewart is prioritizing economic development, health care, education and infrastructure in his Black Belt district.
  • Read more from Ainsley Platt in her latest new member profile HERE.

2. $1.7T omnibus unveiled

  • If you read Stephen Boyd’s Monday Brief, you know that top Congressional leaders have been getting closer to finalizing a spending package to fully fund the government and avoid a shutdown.
  • That $1.7 trillion package was unveiled early this morning and includes another large round of aid to Ukraine, a nearly 10% boost in defense spending and roughly $40 billion to assist communities across the country recovering from drought, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
  • The bill, which runs for 4,155 pages, includes about $772.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programs and $858 billion in defense funding and would last through the end of the fiscal year in September.
  • The Senate is expected to vote on the spending bill first where support from at least 10 Republican senators will be needed to pass it before the measure is considered by the House.
  • Sen. Richard Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, noted that the final bill increases defense spending by 10%, while non-defense programs received only a 5.5% increase – less than half of what the Biden administration requested.
  • “This process was far from perfect, but ultimately it allowed Republican redlines to be adhered to and because of that I will urge my colleagues to support this package. We need to do our job and fund the government.”
  • Read more HERE.



3. Jan. 6 panel urges Trump prosecution with criminal referral

  • The House Jan. 6 committee urged the Justice Department on Monday to bring criminal charges against Donald Trump for the violent 2021 attack on the Capitol, calling for accountability for the former president and “a time of reflection and reckoning.”
  • After one of the most exhaustive and aggressive congressional probes in memory, the panel’s seven Democrats and two Republicans are recommending criminal charges against Trump and associates who helped him launch a wide-ranging pressure campaign to try to overturn his 2020 election loss. The panel also released a lengthy summary of its final report, with findings that Trump engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to thwart the will of voters.
  • At a final meeting Monday, the committee alleged violations of four criminal statutes by Trump, in both the run-up to the riot and during the insurrection itself, as it recommended the former president for prosecution to the Justice Department. Among the charges they recommend for prosecution is aiding an insurrection — an effort to hold him directly accountable for his supporters who stormed the Capitol that day.
  • The committee also voted to refer conservative lawyer John Eastman, who devised dubious legal maneuvers aimed at keeping Trump in power, for prosecution on two of the same statutes as Trump: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstructing an official proceeding.
  • Read more HERE.

4. GOP’s usual embrace of Trump muted after criminal referral

  • The Republican Party quickly and forcefully rallied behind Donald Trump in the hours after federal agents seized classified documents from his Florida estate this summer.
  • Four months later, that sense of intensity and urgency was missing — at least for now — after the Jan. 6 House committee voted to recommend the Justice Department bring criminal charges against him. Leading Republicans largely avoided the historic criminal referral Monday, while others pressed to weigh in offered muted defenses — or none at all.
  • The divergent responses are a sign of how quickly the political landscape has shifted for Trump as he faces a new legal threat and mounts a third bid for the presidency. It’s a marked change for a party that has been defined, above all, by its unconditional loyalty to Trump under any and all circumstances for the last six years.
  • Already weakened, Trump is also bracing for the potential release of his tax returns, which he has worked for years to keep out of the public eye. The House Ways and Means Committee today is scheduled to consider the release of six years of Trump’s taxes, as well as those related to his businesses, although it wasn’t immediately clear when any documents might be available to the public.
  • Read more HERE.

5. High court temporarily blocks lifting of asylum restrictions

  • The Supreme Court is temporarily blocking an order that would lift pandemic-era restrictions on asylum seekers but the brief order leaves open the prospect that the restrictions in place since the coronavirus pandemic began and have been used to turn back hundreds of thousands of prospective asylum seekers could still expire on Wednesday.
  • The court’s decision comes as officials and aid groups along the border are trying to prepare for whatever changes may or may not come Wednesday.
  • In the city of El Paso, Mayor Oscar Leeser said they’ve received information from Border Patrol and shelters just across the border in Mexico indicating that up to 20,000 migrants might be waiting to cross into El Paso. The Red Cross has brought 10,000 cots to help with the increase, he said.
  • The order Monday by Chief Justice John Roberts — who handles emergency matters that come from federal courts in the nation’s capital — comes as conservative states are pushing to keep the limits on asylum seekers that were put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19. The states appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in a last-ditch effort before the restrictions are set to expire Wednesday, saying that lifting the limits on asylum seekers would cause irreparable harm to their states.
  • In the one-page order, Roberts granted a stay pending further order and asked the government to respond by 5 p.m. Tuesday. That is just hours before the restrictions are slated to expire on Wednesday.
  • Read more HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In first public office, Stewart prioritizing development in Black Belt district
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers unveil $1.7T bill to avoid shutdown, boost Ukraine
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jan. 6 panel urges Trump prosecution with criminal referral
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP’s usual embrace of Trump muted after criminal referral
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – High court temporarily blocks lifting of asylum restrictions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Starnes brings law enforcement, city council perspectives to HD88
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama closes some oystering areas, sparking complaints
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – McCarthy’s race for speaker risks upending House on Day One
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Final Jan. 6 panel meeting: What to watch
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Capitol Journal – December 16, 2022
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Supreme Court denies new trial for death row inmate
AL.COM – Alabama faces wind chill, freeze watches: Christmas temperatures could drop into single digits
AL.COM – Could Alabama model its execution laws after states that don’t have executions?
AL.COM – Losing Birmingham-Southern College ‘would be a travesty,’ lawmakers say in call for $30 million bailout
Montgomery Advertiser – Is Montgomery in for a snowy Christmas? Here’s what to expect.
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man gets 20 years for 2016 shooting death of Darnell Bush
Montgomery Advertiser – Generations honor longtime Montgomery leader Chester Mallory
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham PD: Investigation underway after 3 people shot downtown
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – APT brings new Shuttlesworth documentary to the screen
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Economic Impact Report shows World Games brought in $165 million dollars; lower than original projections
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama Supreme Court denies retrial for man former AG says is ‘trapped on death row’
Tuscaloosa News – Ice-skating rink up and gliding; week leading up to Christmas may be chilly
Tuscaloosa News – ‘Newspapers are not dead’ : Podcast highlights rural Alabamians fighting for their community news
Decatur Daily – Investigation stretching to Mobile identifies body found in 2020 at Decatur as Courtland woman
Decatur Daily – Area braces for extreme cold and travel complications; officials advise being prepared
Decatur Daily – Salvation Army donor matches Saturday donations for a total of $9,426 raised
Times Daily – Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley rides for kids are Thursday
Times Daily – NWSCC dean receives 2022 Meritorious Service Award
Times Daily – Zip City man faces drug and child porn charges
Anniston Star – Anniston woman charged with killing boyfriend during argument
Anniston Star – Date revised on Anniston’s planed railroad track repairs
YellowHammer News – USDA bringing clean drinking water to rural Alabama
YellowHammer News – Incoming General Fund chair cautions on tax rebate
Gadsden Times – Alabama Supreme Court denies retrial for man former AG says is ‘trapped on death row’
Gadsden Times – Southside garbage change approaches; new cans to be used starting Jan. 3
Dothan Eagle – Lawmakers unveil bill to avoid gov’t shutdown, boost Ukraine
Dothan Eagle – Trump referral: What laws the Jan. 6 panel says were broken
Dothan Eagle – Trump’s tax returns to be discussed by congressional panel
Opelika-Auburn News – Arctic air will blast much of U.S.; Jan. 6 panel pushes Trump’s prosecution; sports, entertainment highlights | Hot off the Wire podcast
Opelika-Auburn News – ‘We’re so proud that we’re able to help other people’: Six bakers at Auburn church have raised and donated thousands to charities
Opelika-Auburn News – Too little in L.A.: Fouls, turnover trouble sink No. 19 Auburn in loss to USC
WSFA Montgomery – Community organizations donate gifts to west Montgomery neighborhood
WSFA Montgomery – HVAC, plumbing business shares tips on preparing pipes for freezing temperatures
WSFA Montgomery – Prattville kidnapping suspect denied bail under ‘Aniah’s Law’
WAFF Huntsville – Cybercrime experts, law enforcement break down how an Indiana man was extradited to Alabama for sending inappropriate images to minor
WAFF Huntsville – Authorities, store owners on the lookout for thieves during holiday season
WAFF Huntsville – Start thinking about winterizing your vehicle now
WKRG Mobile – US Olympic and Paralympic Committee pushes category qualifiers for sport transgender issue
WKRG Mobile – FTX founder agrees to extradition to US, attorney says
WKRG Mobile – Trump responds to Jan. 6 criminal referrals: ‘It strengthens me’
WTVY Dothan – HVAC, plumbing business shares tips on preparing pipes for freezing temperatures
WTVY Dothan – Start thinking about winterizing your vehicle now
WTVY Dothan – Boil water notice for Cottondale Monday
WASHINGTON POST – U.K. nurses strike over pay, testing a health-care system in crisis
WASHINGTON POST – How a 1987 Christmas album changed the way the holiday sounds
WASHINGTON POST – Congress unveils $1.7 trillion deal to fund government, avert shutdown
NEW YORK TIMES – One Day With an Ambulance in Britain: Long Waits, Rising Frustration
NEW YORK TIMES – Release of Trump Tax Returns Could Herald New Era for Taxpayer Privacy
NEW YORK TIMES – China’s Abrupt Covid Pivot Leaves Many Without Medicines
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Palantir’s SPAC Bets Backfire, Hitting Company’s Growth
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Flu, RSV and Covid Drive Demand for Children’s Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Epic Games, Maker of ‘Fortnite,’ to Pay $520 Million to Resolve FTC Allegations

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