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Daily News Digest – February 4, 2020

Presented by

Stop The HIT Coalition



Good morning!
It’s going to be a long day. Pace yourself and pack a handkerchief.
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, February 4.




1. State of the State

  • The 2020 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature begins TODAY.
  • The House and the Senate will gavel in at noon. Nothing much happens on the first day, mostly just keeping the journals open so lawmakers can officially introduce bills and the staff can see to their business properly.
  • The legislative issues are well known: budgets flush with cash but with a lot more demands; the prison crisis and the various proposals to address it; the annual gambling fight, from a lottery to the Poarch Creek Indians’ grand casino proposal; a big push to legalize medical marijuana; an expansion of mental health services; the list goes on.
  • Alabama Daily News’ Mary Sell has written a thorough story previewing these topics and others, which is available HERE.
  • The real fun begins tonight at 6:30 when Gov. Kay Ivey delivers her State of the State address from the State Capitol.
  • It’s the governor’s chance to set the tone for the session by communicating directly with the lawmakers responsible for passing legislation.
  • While Ivey has kept most of her plans close to the vest, ADN got a sneak peek at some of the themes of the speech, plus some photos of Ivey rehearsing in the Old House Chamber.
  • Read and see all that HERE.




2. State of the Union

  • A portrait of a robust U.S. economy is sure to take center stage Tuesday night when President Donald Trump gives his third State of the Union address.
  • Nine months before the election, the economy keeps growing steadily if only modestly. Unemployment is at a half-century low. And consumers, the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, continue to spend. Average pay is rising faster than when Trump took office three years ago, with the largest percentage gains now going to lower-wage workers.
  • Trump will seek to unleash “relentless optimism” in a speech designed to pivot from his impeachment to his drive for re-election. The theme of his speech: “The Great American Comeback.”
  • It’ll be a different experience for Democrats, nearly all of whom voted for Trump’s impeachment in the House.
  • Read more about the economic situation HERE.
  • Read more about what to look for in the State of the Union HERE.









A message from

Stop The HIT Coalition

Stop The HIT Coalition applauds Senator Doug Jones for:
  • Working across the aisle to repeal the Health Insurance Tax
  • Supporting small businesses
  • Fighting to provide cost savings to 765,000 hardworking Alabamians and millions of Americans across the country
Repeal of the Health Insurance Tax will provide annual cost savings of approximately $500 per family to small business owners and their employees, middle-income families and seniors.
Thank Senator Doug Jones  for supporting Alabama Small Businesses and Families.

3. Nobody won Iowa… yet

  • Democratic party officials in Iowa worked furiously Tuesday to deliver the delayed results of their first-in-the-nation caucus, as frustrated presidential candidates claimed momentum and plowed ahead in their quest for the White House.
  • Technology problems and reporting “inconsistencies” kept Iowa Democratic Party officials from releasing results from Monday’s caucus, the much-hyped kickoff to the 2020 primary. It was an embarrassing twist after months of promoting the contest as a chance for Democrats to find some clarity in a jumbled field with no clear front-runner.
  • Instead, caucus day ended with no winner, no official results and many fresh questions about whether Iowa can retain its coveted “first” status.
  • State party officials said final results would be released later Tuesday and offered assurances that the problem was not a result of “a hack or an intrusion.” Officials were conducting quality checks and verifying results, prioritizing the integrity of the results, the party said in a statement.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Charter school commission cracks down on Woodland Prep

  • Alabama regulators might revoke the charter of a contested south Alabama charter school after voting Monday to deny a time extension to Woodland Preparatory to get the school ready.
  • The decision by the Alabama Public Charter School Commission came after members expressed concern about Woodland Prep’s finances, construction progress and the level of community support in the small, rural Washington County area.
  • The commission denied Woodland Prep’s request of a time extension and voted to initiate revocation proceedings for the planned charter school.
  • The backers of the proposed school will get time to respond before the commission makes a final decision about the fate of the project in about 60 days.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



5. News Briefs

Goodyear lays off more than 100 workers at Gadsden plant

  • GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — More than 100 workers at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Alabama have been laid off, a union official said.
  • The 105 layoffs happened Friday at the Gadsden plant, United Steelworkers Local 12 President Mickey Williams said.
  • The job losses bring the workforce at the plant down to 411 employees, he said.
  • “The Goodyear-Gadsden plant is rightsizing staffing levels to accommodate an adjusted production schedule, following recent voluntary buyouts for union associates,” Goodyear representative Barbara Hatala said in an email to The Gadsden Times.
  • In December, more than 700 workers took voluntary buyouts offered by Ohio-based Goodyear.

SPLC hires Amnesty director as new CEO

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The executive director of Amnesty International USA will take over as chief executive of the liberal watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center, which is trying to steady itself after months of turmoil that included the firing of its founder.
  • Margaret Huang, who has led Amnesty International for more than four years, will begin work in April at the Alabama-based nonprofit organization, which announced her hiring Monday.
  • The announcement came 11 months after the Southern Poverty Law Center fired its founder, Morris Dees, for unspecified reasons and its president, Richard Cohen, resigned. Other staffers also left, and the organization’s employees voted to unionize in December.
  • The organization, which listed $492 million in assets on tax forms for 2018, said it has 350 employees in offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and the District of Columbia.
  • The announcement about Huang’s hiring touted her experience as a leader in the area of human and civil rights.
  • “Change in the South is coming, and SPLC is eager to work collaboratively with other social justice advocates to ensure that the change improves the lives of all communities,” Huang said in a statement.
  • Karen Baynes-Dunning, a former judge, had served as head of the Southern Poverty Law Center on an interim basis.
  • Dees founded the organization with a partner in 1971 as a watchdog for minorities and the underprivileged. A decade later he won a $7 million judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of Beulah Mae Donald, whose son was murdered by KKK members in Mobile.
  • Following the firing of Dees, the group hired Tina Tchen, a one-time aide to former first lady Michelle Obama, to analyze its workplace practices.

Ex-prison officer accused of sexual misconduct with inmates

  • ALICEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A former correctional officer at a federal prison in Alabama is accused of sexual misconduct involving female inmates.
  • A complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court accuses Adrian L. Stargell of subjecting the two women to sexual contact without their consent at Federal Correctional Institution, Aliceville.
  • Court records don’t specify the nature of the contact. He’s charged with two counts of depriving someone of their rights under color of law; and making false statements during the investigation.
  • Stargell was an education specialist at the prison. His arraignment is set for Feb. 13 in Birmingham, court records show. The court records do not list an attorney for Stargell who could be reached for comment on his behalf.
  • Federal Correctional Institution, Aliceville is a low-security facility with more than 1,000 female offenders about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Tuscaloosa, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons website.

SEC names John McDaid coordinator of football officials

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference has named John McDaid coordinator of football officials.
  • Commissioner Greg Sankey announced McDaid’s appointment Monday to replace Steve Shaw. McDaid has been a college football official for 24 years and joined the SEC as a referee in 2015.
  • He previously worked for two years as a referee in the American Athletic Conference and held that job in the Big East Conference from 2006-2012.
  • McDaid was a back judge in the Big East from 2001-05 and has worked in four New Year’s Six games and the 2010 Bowl Championship Series title game. The 1987 Harvard graduate will also serve as coordinator of football officials for the Sun Belt.
  • Shaw had led SEC officials since 2011 but was recently named national coordinator for college football by the board of managers at College Football Officiating, LLC.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State of the State: Ivey to harken back to 1920 for parallels on modern problems


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mary Sell: Prisons, lottery, raises, mental health on legislative agenda


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State panel denies extension to contested charter school


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s State of the Union: What to watch during his big speech


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s economy: Solid and steady but vulnerable to threats


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In embarrassing twist, Democrats have no Iowa caucus results


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama-based BIG Communications lands Super Bowl ad


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – February 3, 2020


AL.COM  – Amid growth in Huntsville, FBI partners with Auburn University


AL.COM  – Judge will not dismiss case against Alabama woman who says she killed rapist in self-defense


AL.COM  – Alabama looks to shut down controversial charter school before it opens


AL.COM – Amnesty International USA director to lead SPLC


AL.COM  – False positive shines light on Alabama hospital drug testing policies


AL.COM  – Amtrak popular in polling, but is that enough in Mobile?


AL.COM  – Alabama paroles bureau sharply increases number of hearings


AL.COM  – Warrior Met Coal releases corporate responsibility report


AL.COM  – Mike Bloomberg to speak at Alabama Democratic Conference convention


Montgomery Advertiser – Margaret Huang to lead SPLC as new president and CEO


Montgomery Advertiser – Woman shot during domestic incident at apartment complex, man arrested


Montgomery Advertiser – Woman shot during domestic incident at apartment complex, man arrested


YellowHammer News – University of Alabama to retire jersey of school’s first African-American scholarship athlete


YellowHammer News – Byrne slams Beyoncé, Jay-Z for remaining seated during National Anthem at Super Bowl


YellowHammer News – UAB surgeon named editor-in-chief of prominent national scientific journal


Dothan Eagle – Al-Qaida in Yemen claims Florida naval base shooting that killed Enterprise naval officer


Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: Has the speed limit always been 50 mph on Ross Clark Circle?


Dothan Eagle – Bayline Railroad activating rail line to service Abbeville Fiber


Tuscaloosa News – FBI joins search for baby Andrew, child of victim of a Miami triple murder


Tuscaloosa News – Strong storms could bring high winds, hail to parts of South


Tuscaloosa News – Officer shot during robbery investigation out of hospital


Decatur Daily – Decatur woman runs all-volunteer outreach team serving north Alabama’s growing homeless population


Decatur Daily – Judicial candidate said he’s spent legal career in district court


Decatur Daily – Fight over online sales taxes coming to a head


Times Daily – Ronald Rand bringing 1-man show to Sheffield


Times Daily – Santorum to appear at Conservative Leadership Conference


Times Daily – UNA, NACOLG Ink deal for reduced tuition


Gadsden Times – Built in 10 days, China’s virus hospital takes 1st patients


Gadsden Times – ECSO to offer online pistol permit applications


Gadsden Times – Gadsden man reports robbery, assault


Anniston Star – New car insurance fines may make for upset drivers


Anniston Star – Annexit backers now divided on deannexation proposal


Anniston Star – Anniston man charged with child sex abuse


Troy Messenger – Troy Council candidates begin filing finances


Troy Messenger – Brundidge man killed in wreck


Troy Messenger – STEER SHOW: Kids show off goats, cows at Cattlemen Park


Andalusia Star News – Last month’s rainfall totals nearly double January 2019


Andalusia Star News – Manager: Facelift coming to Holiday Inn Express


Andalusia Star News – $18M+ in child support owed


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika looking into transportation study to reduce traffic congestion


Opelika-Auburn News – J.W. Darden Foundation honors William B. Whatley III


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn Earth Fare grocery store closing, company announces plans for liquidation


Trussville Tribune – Former St. Clair Correctional Facility officer arrested after grand jury indictment


Trussville Tribune – Trussville man arrested for failure to register as non-resident sex offender


Athens News Courier – LCS Board OKs teacher resignation


Athens News Courier – 4 injured in Decatur bridge wreck, suspect at-large


Athens News Courier – Calhoun to host annual workforce expo Tuesday


Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz City Schools winner in Volkswagen Clean Air Act settlement


WSFA Montgomery – Dale County deputies working crash involving pedestrian


WSFA Montgomery – Tuskegee man becomes Alex City’s first homicide victim of 2020


WSFA Montgomery – Former Ala correctional officer accused of sexual misconduct involving inmates


Fox 6 Birmingham – Law enforcement and witness credited with saving a woman’s life in Brookside kidnapping honored


Fox 6 Birmingham – Former Wintzell’s Oyster House employees accuse owner of running off with paychecks


Fox 6 Birmingham – Brookside and Jefferson County heroes awarded for bravery in kidnapping case


WAFF Huntsville – Madison leaders release rough plan for community center at Three Springs building


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur effort to collect food for hungry families


WAFF Huntsville – Upcoming Athens luncheon to help feed people in need


WKRG Mobile – Trump wins 2020 Iowa Republican caucuses


WKRG Mobile – Alabama is 2020’s 9th worst state for singles; Florida is best


WKRG Mobile – Mobile police urge gun owners to lock up their weapons


WTVY Dothan – Georgia, Alabama animals make Groundhog Day Predictions


WTVY Dothan – Gov. Ivey’s 2020 State of the State Address set for Tuesday evening


WTVY Dothan – Brain surgery patient overcomes incredible odds a pursues nursing career


WASHINGTON POST  – Iowa caucuses 2020 live updates: Iowa Democratic Party delays release of results, citing ‘inconsistencies’


WASHINGTON POST  – States scramble to carry out Trump’s coronavirus travel order


NEW YORK TIMES  – Wuhan Coronavirus Looks Increasingly Like a Pandemic, Experts Say




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