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Daily News Digest – February 25, 2020

Presented by the

Yes For The Best Education Committee


Good morning!

Happy Mardi Gras to all who celebrate! L aissez le bon temps rouler!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, February 25.



1. In the Weeds w/ Tommy Tuberville

  • Next up in our series of Senate race stories/interviews is Tommy Tuberville.
  • (I hope you’ll forgive the selfie as nobody else was on hand to snap a photo).
  • If you’ve followed this race closely, you know that former Auburn coach has been consistently near the top of most every poll conducted.
  • He’s gotten there thanks to almost universal, built-in name ID, but also because of his ability to corner the market as the “outsider” candidate.
  • To the chagrin of many seasoned politicos, and certainly his long-serving public servant opponents, Tuberville has been able to avoid a lot of policy specifics on the campaign trail, keeping mostly to general themes of frustration with government and the politicians who run it.
  • It’s a winning formula in this anti-establishment environment, but there have been pitfalls for Tuberville. In fact, his opponents are honing in on some comments he made about immigration policy.
  • They say he supports “amnesty.” He says it’s “fake news.” And that tells you almost all you need to know about his place in this race.
  • Read my full story including a transcript & audio of our full interview HERE.
  • Also read Kim Chandler’s excellent profile of Tuberville HERE.


2. After committee passage, Senate slows animal cruelty bill

  • At least one member of the Alabama Senate committee that approved a bill opponents claim takes state animal abuse laws backward said he wants to see the legislation die.
  • “My goal right now is to not let this come up on the floor,” Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, told Alabama Daily News.
  • Senate Bill 196 says those who file animal abuse complaints that aren’t substantiated can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. It also puts responsibility for most abuse investigations on the Alabama Department of Agriculture and allows money raised by non-profit animal groups to go toward the fees abusers must pay.
  • A co-sponsor on the bill, Sen. David Sessions, R-Grand Bay, said it was designed to protect farmers, particularly cattle ranchers, from bogus claims of abuse. Sessions is on the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee member.
  • “My main concern is protecting agriculture in this state and keeping groups like the humane society and PETA out of the agriculture business,” Sessions said. “They sure love to insert themselves and I don’t appreciate it. As a farmer myself, I don’t appreciate it.”
  • Senate leadership has also signaled that it is unlikely the bill as currently written will get a vote. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said he’s asked the Senate rules chairman, the gatekeeper between bills and floor votes, to put a hold on this one.
  • “I’ve got a lot of animal rights folks in my district that have called me … I’m curious what’s in this bill.
  • … That bill, for right now, is not moving anywhere.”
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.







A message from the

Yes For The Best Education Committee

  • Raise your hand if you like being dead last in math? How about 49th in reading?
  • Just what I thought. We’re NOT ok with that. So let’s change it.
  • We’re one of the last states in the U.S. to elect its school boards.
  • On Tuesday March 3rd, Vote YES on Amendment One to change that.
  • Our 2-year college system did the same thing a few years ago, and it’s changing for the better.
  • Vote YES on Amendment One, March 3rd.
Paid for by Yes For The Best Education Committee
P.O. Box 11000 Montgomery, AL 36191









3. Audit reveals misuse of funds


  • It is often argued that the biggest factor holding back Montgomery Public Schools – one of the largest districts in the state – isn’t its teachers or even funding, but its administration, to include the central office.
  • Adding fuel to that argument are new reports from the Montgomery Advertiser’s Krista Johnson and WSFA’s Jenn Horton that detail the findings of a recent audit for MPS.
  • It’s one of those stories you just have to read/watch.
  • Here’s Krista’s lede:
More than $700,000 was misused with multiple administrators accused of stealing thousands for personal gain, the most recent audit of the Montgomery school district shows. 
Money was spent at strip clubs, casinos, liquor stores, for nonexistent vendors and on scholarships for an administrator’s children when they did not qualify for the funding, according to the audit, which ran from October 2017 through September 2018. 
  • Read her full story, which includes which employees spent what and where, HERE.
  • Also watch Jenn Horton’s story, which includes reaction from MPS Superintendent Ann Roy Moore and State Superintendent Eric Mackey.



4. Inmate spared by dementia argument dies on death row

  • An Alabama inmate spared from execution by questions over whether dementia had erased memories of his crime has died on death row at the age of 69, state officials said Monday.
  • Vernon Madison spent more than three decades on Alabama’s death row for the killing of a police officer in 1985. His last scheduled execution was halted in 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Madison’s case. His attorneys said strokes had left him with severe dementia and no memory of the murder.
  • The Supreme Court last year ordered a new state hearing to determine whether Madison could understand why he was to be executed. But Madison didn’t live to see his case move forward.
  • Madison died Saturday at Holman Correctional Facility, where death row inmates are housed in Atmore, state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Samantha Rose said. She said an autopsy is pending, but officials do not suspect foul play.
  • Full story HERE.


5. Coronavirus threatens economy

  • The widening coronavirus outbreak threatens to seriously disrupt the global economy, just as it was steadying itself against headwinds from the U.S.-China trade dispute.
  • Amid concerns that global output could decline for the first time since the global financial crisis a little more than a decade ago, stock markets sank Monday.
  • On Wall Street, the Dow Jones was down more than 1000 points, while in Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 slid 3.6% after an eruption of cases in Italy. Cases were also reported in new countries in the Middle East.
  • Meanwhile, the White House on Monday asked Congress to appropriate an extra $2.5 billion to prepare the nation in case of an outbreak in the U.S. and help other nations unprepared to handle the threat.
  • “We just asked for $2.5 billion on getting everything ready just in case something should happen and also helping other nations that really aren’t equipped to do it,” President Donald Trump said at a business forum in New Delhi, India.
  • The White House budget office said the funding would be used for vaccine development, treatment and protective equipment, but the amount of the request was quickly slammed by Democrats as insufficient.
  • The quickly spreading virus has slammed the economy of China, where the virus originated, and caseloads are rapidly increasing in countries such as South Korea, Iran and Italy. Almost 80,000 people have contracted the disease, with more than 2,500 deaths, mostly in China.
  • The United States, however, has had only 14 cases of the disease spread across seven states.
  • Read more HERE.



News Briefs

US appeals court upholds Trump administration rules on abortion clinics

  • A U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld rules that bar taxpayer-funded family-planning clinics from referring women for abortions.
  • Beginning March 4, the rules will also prohibit clinics that receive federal money from sharing office space with abortion providers, which critics said would force many Title X providers to find new locations, undergo expensive remodels or shut down — further reducing access to the program.
  • Title X patients receive affordable birth control, reproductive care and other care through the program, including breast and cervical cancer screenings and HIV testing.
  • Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of Title X or other taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman. Under Title X, a 1970 law designed to improve access to family planning services, federal money may not be used in programs “where abortion is a method of family planning.”
  • The 7-4 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned decisions issued by judges in Washington, Oregon and California. The court had already allowed the administration’s changes to start taking effect while the government appealed those rulings.
  • Full story HERE.

Police: Man shot ex-wife and her boyfriend before parade

  • MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — One man was shot and killed and a woman was critically wounded near a Mardi Gras parade route in Alabama that authorities said was the result of domestic violence.
  • Anthony Orr, 49, was arrested Monday night a few hours after the shooting in Mobile, news outlets reported. The victims haven’t been identified but Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said the woman is Orr’s ex-wife and the man was her boyfriend.
  • The woman was on a float when Orr threatened her, Battiste said. A fight broke out and Orr allegedly shot the man as he stood on the street and the woman while she was on the float.
  • Orr threatened to kill the man Sunday, Mobile Public Safety Director James Barber said. Orr had also been arrested on a domestic violence harassment charge Feb. 18, and court records showed he was released on bond Friday, news outlets reported.
  • “He not only made the threat to kill… he also made an overt attempt to access weapons,” Barber said.
  • Orr tried to obtain a gun Sunday, Battiste said. No weapon was recovered when Orr was arrested.
  • Orr was charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle. It’s unclear whether he had an attorney who could speak for him.

Authorities: 4 Alabama inmates hospitalized after overdose

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Four Alabama jail inmates were hospitalized over the weekend after overdosing on a “synthetic substance” that was sent to them through the mail, a sheriff’s office said.
  • The Madison County Jail inmates were taken to the hospital Saturday night, Huntsville Emergency Medical Services spokesman Don Webster said. Two of them were transported in serious condition and the other two were in non-life threatening condition, WAAY-TV reported.
  • Madison County Sheriff’s investigators said they think the inmates “intentionally ingested” the substance, which had been sent to them through the inmate mail system, according to a agency statement.
  • “We are aggressively investigating this incident,” Sheriff Kevin Turner said in the statement. “It often only takes small amounts of these synthetic chemicals to cause an overdose.”
  • Toxicology tests were being performed to identify the substance. An update on the patients’ conditions hasn’t been released.

Alabama deputy charged with driving patrol car while drunk

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff’s deputy has been charged with drunken driving after a fellow officer spotted his patrol car moving erratically on a highway.
  • Robert Wayne Latta, 53, was jailed on charges of DUI and reckless driving in Jefferson County, where he works as a sheriff’s deputy, reported.
  • Jefferson County Deputy Chief David Agee said Latta was off duty but was driving his take-home patrol car when another deputy tried to pull over the vehicle on Highway 79 just before noon Friday. He said that Latta didn’t stop until reaching his home, and was determined to have been drinking alcohol.
  • Latta has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, Agee said. Latta was released from jail on a $600 bond. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney to represent him.





A message from the

Safe Surgery Coalition

Dangerous legislation has been re-introduced in the Alabama Legislature which would allow people who are not medical doctors or trained surgeons to perform surgery on or around your eyes.
Similar legislation was rejected in 2019 and we ask that Alabama lawmakers once again stand in the best interests of patient safety and quality of care.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: Tuberville disrupts Senate race as ‘outsider’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After committee passage, Senate slows animal cruelty bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Famed coach Tuberville runs for Senate seat as an outsider


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Audit: School administrators misused $700K for personal gain


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House requests $2.5B for coronavirus; Dems say it’s low


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama inmate spared by dementia argument dies on death row


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US appeals court upholds Trump administration rules on abortion clinics


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: Sessions campaigns as the consistent conservative he’s always been


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Leaders: Cruise passengers won’t come to Anniston


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – February 21, 2020


AL.COM  – Alabama bill would make shelters offset costs for animal cruelty offenders


AL.COM  – Bradley Byrne carries pro-Trump message to Millbrook


AL.COM  – Retired Cullman County judge guilty of ethics charges


AL.COM  – GE Appliances completes $125 million Decatur expansion


AL.COM  – ‘Somebody may lose their job over this’: How coronavirus plan happened


AL.COM  – Contributor Mary Scott Hunter: Vote ‘yes’ on Amendment I: Keep Alabama’s schools’ progress alive, says former schools board member


Montgomery Advertiser – Strip clubs, liquor, online gaming, undeserved scholarships: MPS audit shows admins misused $700K


Montgomery Advertiser – Where do Alabama’s U.S. Senate candidates stand on health care?


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery sit-in protesters remember historic day 60 years later


YellowHammer News – GE Appliances adds 255 jobs, ‘smart’ tech with $125M Alabama project


YellowHammer News – Alabama Nursing Home Association names Brandon Farmer as president, CEO


YellowHammer News – Club for Growth PAC to air attack ad against Byrne for 2016 call for ‘unfit’ Trump to ‘step aside’


BirminghamWatch  Don’t Go to the Polls Without the 2020 Primary Voter Guide


Tuscaloosa News – Inmate spared by dementia argument dies on death row


Tuscaloosa News – Police seek answers seven years after Kate Ragsdale killing


Tuscaloosa News – Authorities: 4 Alabama inmates hospitalized after overdose


Decatur Daily – GE Appliances finishes $125 million expansion at Decatur plant


Decatur Daily – Mazda Toyota application process begins online


Decatur Daily – Decatur Youth Services director candidates narrowed to 2


Times Daily – After committee passage, Senate slows animal cruelty bill


Times Daily – Florence council endorses carbon dividend act


Times Daily – Police arrest Florence student after social media post


Anniston Star – Rogers expects federal firings after scrapped plan to bring COVID-19 patients to Anniston


Anniston Star – Local safety leaders organizing disease task force after scrapped COVID-19 plan


Anniston Star – Former Heflin city clerk indicted on ethics charges


Dothan Eagle – Man accused of shooting girlfriend in chest at Dothan trailer park apprehended in Daleville


Dothan Eagle – Deadline to apply for absentee voting is Thursday


Dothan Eagle – Mars lander confirms quakes, even aftershocks on red planet


Gadsden Times – Cherokee Co. still dealing with flooding after heavy rains


Gadsden Times – Two Gadsden men suspects in shots fired from vehicle


Gadsden Times – RBC police make drug trafficking arrest


Andalusia Star News – Southeast Gas gives $124K to schools


Andalusia Star News – Pair arrested for drugs during traffic stop


Andalusia Star News – 400 plates sold at dinner


Opelika-Auburn News – OPD releases sketch of cop impersonator


Opelika-Auburn News – Smith gets Lee County EMA job


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn prepares to deal with suicide through QPR training


Daily Mountain Eagle – Jasper Main Street hosts candidate reception


Daily Mountain Eagle – Heroin recovered on traffic stop


Daily Mountain Eagle – Paving may take up to $120,000 a mile


Trussville Tribune – Hewitt-Trussville student one of 25 nominated in Alabama for U.S. Service Academies


Trussville Tribune – Trial for former Trussville Fire Chief Russell Ledbetter reset


Trussville Tribune – Moody woman killed in Trussville crash Sunday


Sand Mountain Reporter – Changes at the polls | Marshall County introduces Poll Pads for election


Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz BOE hires next CSFO | Former graduate to replace Smith in April


Sand Mountain Reporter – ‘Cancel culture’ conundrum | JSU professors talk politically driven culture of shaming


WSFA Montgomery – ASU recognizes 60th anniversary of sit-in protest


WSFA Montgomery – Greater one-horned rhino euthanized at Montgomery Zoo after 7 months in vet care


WSFA Montgomery – Suspect wanted for attempted murder in Lowndes County shooting


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – After committee passage, Senate slows animal cruelty billde


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – In the Weeds: Sessions campaigns as the consistent conservative he’s always been


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UPDATE: Plan in place to fix constant sewage overflows in Bessemer area


WAFF Huntsville – After committee passage, Senate slows animal cruelty bill


WAFF Huntsville – Man pleads guilty to attempted murder of Huntsville police officers


WAFF Huntsville – Two people killed in DeKalb County wreck involving tractor trailer


WKRG Mobile – Family: Dog shot by someone in passing car, incident caught on camera


WKRG Mobile – Serious accident on eastbound Moffett Road at Wolf Ridge Road


WKRG Mobile – Orange Beach man on transplant list needs liver and a lift


WTVY Dothan – Longtime Troy Band Director Dr. Johnny Long Passes Away


WTVY Dothan – Enterprise police working to ID burglary suspect


WTVY Dothan – Spring break laws set to start in March


WASHINGTON POST  – Richard Grenell’s paid consulting included work for U.S. nonprofit funded mostly by Hungary


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump targets Sotomayor, Ginsburg in tweets, seeks their recusal from ‘Trump-related’ cases


WASHINGTON POST  – ‘One of those days when the whole world changes’: Advocates hail Weinstein conviction as a breakthrough


WASHINGTON POST  – Vaping battle heats up as FDA deadline looms


WASHINGTON POST  – White House asks Congress for $1.8 billion to bolster coronavirus response


NEW YORK TIMES  – Columnist Gail Collins and Bret Stephens: Imagine Bernie Sanders in the Oval Office


NEW YORK TIMES  – Famed Coach Tuberville Runs for Senate Seat as an Outsider


NEW YORK TIMES  – Columnist Ross Douthat: The Coronavirus Is More Than a Disease. It’s a Test


NEW YORK TIMES  – Among Those Pressing Trump to Weed Out Disloyalty: Clarence Thomas’s Wife



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