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Daily News Digest – February 17, 2019

Good morning and Happy Presidents Day! Hope you get to enjoy a three day weekend.
Here is your Weekend Digest for Monday, February 17!



1. Bills seek transparency from state boards, AHSAA

  • An Alabama lawmaker wants the state’s more than 100 licensing boards – the groups that regulate professionals from contractors to medical personnel – to provide public accountings of their revenue and spending.
  • A separate bill would require regular audits of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
  • Rep. Chris Pringle’s House Bill 61 would require boards’ expenditures, including contracts and grants, be published on their websites.
  • Pringle, R-Mobile, said his bill originated from his work a few years ago on a budget reform task force. He said he found out many licensure boards don’t deposit the fees they collect into the state treasury, but have private bank accounts.
  • “They answer to no one,” Pringle said.
  • An 2018 Alabama Policy Institute report said there are licensing boards for 151 occupations, covering more than 432,000 Alabama workers, more than 21% of the state’s labor force. The institute estimated the initial costs to be $122 million and annual license renewals to be $45 million.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



2. New ads

We are 15 days out from the March 3rd primary elections. That means we’re about to see the full deluge of campaign advertising as candidates try to get their message out via ads on TV and radio, in the mail and in newspapers, plus digital platforms.
TV tends to be what moves the needle the most, so we try to keep up with which ads are running to offer you some context on who is up and how it might impact the race.
New ads up this week include…
  • Bradley Byrne has two new ads up going after opponents Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville. One is straight contrast, and the other is half positive, half attack on Tuberville. See them both HERE.
  • Jeff Sessions has a new ad up touting his stances and actions to combat illegal immigration. See it HERE.
  • Cam Ward has two new ads in his race for Supreme Court Place One, one with him talking straight into the camera and the other featuring his daughters. See them both HERE.
  • Jerry Carl has a new ad up in his campaign for Congress in AL-2 saying he has a “backbone” similar to President Donald Trump. Watch it HERE.
  • Barry Moore is up with his first ad up in the race for Congress in AL-2 highlighting his military service. See it HERE.
Did we miss anybody? Shoot me a note and let me know if so.


3. Trump doesn’t heed Barr’s request to cool tweeting on DOJ

  • Unbowed by a public rebuke from his attorney general, President Donald Trump says he has the “legal right” to intervene in criminal cases and sidestep the Justice Department’s historic independence.
  • A day after Attorney General William Barr said the president’s tweets were making it “impossible for me to do my job,” Trump declared he had the right to ask the agency to intervene in cases but so far has “chosen not to.” It was a rare public flare-up of tensions, simmering for weeks at the upper echelon of the Trump administration, as Barr marked one year on the job Friday.
  • As president, Trump technically has the right to compel the Justice Department, an executive branch agency, to open investigations. But historically, when it comes to decisions on criminal investigations and prosecutions, Justice has functioned independently, unmoved and unbound by political sway. And that reputation is important to Barr, as he made clear in an interview Thursday on ABC News.
  • “I’m happy to say that, in fact, the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case,” Barr said. “However, to have public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people … about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.”
  • Read more HERE.



4. One thing unites establishment Democrats: Fear of Sanders

  • A growing number of Democratic lawmakers, union officials, state leaders and party strategists agree that Bernie Sanders is a risky nominee to put up against President Donald Trump. There’s less agreement about whether — and how — to stop him.
  • Critics of the Vermont senator, who has long identified as a democratic socialist, are further than they’ve ever been from unifying behind a moderate alternative. None of the viable centrists in the race is eager to exit the campaign to clear a path for a candidate to become a clear counter to Sanders. And Sanders is looking to Saturday’s Nevada caucuses to post another win that would further his status as an early front-runner.
  • With fear and frustration rising in the party’s establishment wing, a high-stakes math problem is emerging. It could be impossible to blunt Sanders as long as a trio of moderate candidates — former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — stay in the race. And with former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the swath of states that vote on Super Tuesday, March 3, the effort to stop Sanders will become even more challenging when the campaign goes national next month.
  • Read the full story from Steve Peoples and Alan Fram HERE.



5. Op-ed: Alabama’s Diversion Programs Are In Trouble. We Must Do Better.

  • As lawmakers prepare to begin week three of the 2020 Regular Session, prison reform continues to be one of the top issues to watch.
  • Today, Leah Nelson and Carla Crowder with Alabama Appleseed offer an op-ed detailing some inadequacies with the state’s diversion programs.
  • The organization has recently published a new report on the subject, and among its conclusions is that fixing drug courts and diversion programs could help with Alabama’s dangerous and crowded prison situation.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“No single innovation, investment, or reform will be adequate to solve such persistent, systemic dysfunction. But there are approaches that can help. Among them are diversion programs like pretrial diversion, drug courts, court referral, and community corrections that help low-level offenders, particularly those whose behavior is linked to addiction, get the treatment they need and avoid convictions or incarceration. 
“In a new report, In Trouble : How the Promise of Diversion Clashes with the Reality of Poverty, Addiction, and Structural Racism in Alabama’s Justice System , Alabama Appleseed examined diversion in detail. Our priority was reaching people most impacted by the system.”
  • Read the full piece HERE.


A message from the

Alabama State Port Authority

Global Markets, Local Jobs
To support Alabama’s manufacturing, retail/distribution, agribusiness and coal industries, we’re investing in seaport infrastructure, and adding capacity so that Alabama companies remain competitive in the global market place.
Competitive Alabama companies mean prosperity and jobs.
The PORT: Delivering a World of Opportunity


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bills seek more financial transparency from state licensure boards, AHSAA


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Byrne ramps up attacks on opponents as March 3rd primary approaches


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sessions ad touts his stances, actions on illegal immigration


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ward campaign ads highlight job of Supreme Court justice


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Barry Moore ad touts his military service


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Carl says he’s ‘tough’ in new congressional race ad


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – One thing unites establishment Democrats: Fear of Sanders


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump doesn’t heed Barr’s request to cool tweeting on DOJ


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Op-Ed: Alabama’s Diversion Programs Are In Trouble. We Must Do Better.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Medical marijuana bill heads to first vote in Legislature


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Monday final day to register for upcoming Alabama elections


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey budget proposal includes North Alabama forensics lab, Taylor Hardin addition


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democratic hopefuls now test strength among minority voters


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Column: A love letter to Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest- February 16, 2019


AL.COM  – Dying behind bars: 33-year-old inmate’s stage 4 cancer going untreated in Alabama prison


AL.COM  – Quarry plans raise pollution concerns for Opelika area residents


AL.COM  – I-10 toll war heads to Montgomery


AL.COM  – Would you take a bullet for Trump? Alabama Senate candidates weigh in


AL.COM  – Alabama in line for $42 million in federal funds for water projects


AL.COM  – Tuberville chats with Bama fans, other travelers at Priester’s Pecans


AL.COM  – Contributor Joseph Goodman: Formation of Negro Leagues spurred change in Birmingham


AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: New Alabama monuments bill puts Birmingham mayor on the spot


AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Alabama leaders should hear themselves


Montgomery Advertiser – Woman’s body found, police investigate hit and run


Montgomery Advertiser – 2012 Elmore killing to be spotlighted on Investigation Discovery’s ‘Murder Comes Home’ series


Montgomery Advertiser – Confusion in the air: FAA reverses course, now says 1 plane lands, another still missing


YellowHammer News – Community development key to elevating Alabama


YellowHammer News – UAB Hospital named one of America’s best hospitals for 2020


YellowHammer News – Tuberville denies being an ‘amnesty’ advocate — ‘No pathway to citizenship if you come here illegally’


BIRMINGHAM WATCH  – Study: Diversion Programs Work – When They Don’t Sabotage Participants


BIRMINGHAM WATCH  – More Alabama Farmers Sign up to Grow Hemp


Dothan Eagle – Three years after Amanda Bond’s body was found, the family still waits for justice to be served


Dothan Eagle – Holland named executive director of Southeast Health Foundation


Dothan Eagle – Free tax filing has confused many Americans. Here’s help.


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama eligible for nearly $42M in federal water funding


Tuscaloosa News – Tenn. university to offer tuition discounts in 9 states


Tuscaloosa News – Residents concerned about possible pollution from quarry


Decatur Daily – About the Candidates: Morgan County District Judge Place 3


Decatur Daily – Gambling issues prompt push to revoke business license of West Moulton St. store


Decatur Daily – Morgan judicial candidate pledges experience, compassion, conviction


Times Daily – Sorrell seeks resolution for inmate re-entry bill


Times Daily – Flu cases in Shoals slightly below the state average


Times Daily – Al-Anon brings convention to Shoals Feb. 21-23


Gadsden Times – Missing vehicle, driver found in water at Buck’s Pocket


Gadsden Times – Troy woman continues custom of weaving thread


Gadsden Times – I-10 toll war heads to Montgomery


Anniston Star – Bills seek more financial transparency from Alabama’s licensure boards, AHSAA


Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: JSU’s chance to ‘look better’ in 2020


Anniston Star – Anniston’s Black Heritage Festival reaches 40 years


Troy Messenger – Ordinance banning drones over public spaces dismissed


Troy Messenger – House votes to make targeting police a hate crime


Troy Messenger – Heart Walk celebrates heart health


Andalusia Star News – Wing man survives fall


Andalusia Star News – Forest Service to burn Conecuh this weekend


Andalusia Star News – Coronavirus causes drop in gas prices


Opelika-Auburn News – Free tax filing has confused many Americans. Here’s help.


Opelika-Auburn News – Two reported killed in Macon County; AU issues alert after shooting in Auburn


Opelika-Auburn News – SPECIAL REPORT: SECRET TIGERS Feds eye Auburn University for recruits…and find them


Daily Mountain Eagle – New WBMC CEO wants to meet community


Daily Mountain Eagle – McRae will go on state board if Amendment 1 fails


Daily Mountain Eagle – Grant to fund many PD needs in Oakman


Trussville Tribune – City of Moody ranks in top 10 for Safest Cities in Alabama


Trussville Tribune – Trussville teen places 1st for Alabama All-state Middle School Jazz Band


Trussville Tribune – Congressman Bradley Byrne meet & greet reception in Trussville Tuesday


Athens News Courier – Political forum set for Thursday in Athens


Athens News Courier – Archivist reflects on wet, dry seasons of Limestone County history


Athens News Courier – 14-year-old charged with Barnard College student death


Sand Mountain Reporter – Crossville man charge with child sex abuse | Local student comes forward after recent FSNA presentation


Sand Mountain Reporter – United Way Campaign Celebration set for March 5


Sand Mountain Reporter – Dodging for dollars | In the Midst Ministries Honduras to host dodgeball fundraiser in Boaz


WSFA Montgomery – Shooting at Evergreen Apartments near campus of Auburn University


WSFA Montgomery – Body found in wood line off I-85 SB in Montgomery Sunday morning


WSFA Montgomery – Meet Auburn’s new police chief Cedric Anderson


Fox 6 Birmingham – Person shot to death in west Birmingham parking lot


Fox 6 Birmingham – Man crosses state lines to find help at Firehouse Ministries


Fox 6 Birmingham – Man steals Hanceville police cruiser, wrecks after high speed chase


WAFF Huntsville – Local business in Lacey’s Spring face impact from road closure


WAFF Huntsville – First reponders facing delays due to closure of HWY 231 near Lacey’s Spring


WAFF Huntsville – Search resumes for missing car, driver at Buck’s Pocket State Park


WKRG Mobile – Monday is the deadline for voter registration for Super Tuesday in Alabama


WKRG Mobile – BREAKING: Overnight shooting in Mobile


WKRG Mobile – Police say woman posing as newborn photographer drugged mother to steal baby


WTVY Dothan – Authorities search for escaped inmate from Elba Work Release Center


WTVY Dothan – Pedestrian hit by vehicle in Dothan


WTVY Dothan – Man wounded in downtown Dothan shooting


WASHINGTON POST  – Many Americans say they want to die at home. It’s not always easy to make that happen.


NEW YORK TIMES  – Rival Democrats Accuse Bloomberg of Trying to ‘Buy’ Election


NEW YORK TIMES  – Black Families Came to Chicago by the Thousands. Why Are They Leaving?


NEW YORK TIMES  – Unloved by Trump, NPR Carries On


NEW YORK TIMES  – As Floods Spread in Mississippi, Officials Say the Worst Is Still Ahead


NEW YORK TIMES  – Former Justice Dept. Lawyers Press for Barr to Step Down

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