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Daily News Digest – February 6, 2020

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Stop The HIT Coalition


Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, February 6.



1. Impeachment is over as Trump is acquitted

  • President Donald Trump won impeachment acquittal in the U.S. Senate, bringing to a close only the third presidential trial in American history with votes that split the country, tested civic norms and fed the tumultuous 2020 race for the White House.
  • With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, senators sworn to do “impartial justice” stood and stated their votes for the roll call — “guilty” or “not guilty” — in a swift tally almost exclusively along party lines. Trump, the chief justice then declared, shall “be, and is hereby, acquitted of the charges.”
  • No president has ever been removed by the Senate.
  • A politically emboldened Trump had eagerly predicted vindication, deploying the verdict as a political anthem in his reelection bid. The president claims he did nothing wrong, decrying the “witch hunt” as an extension of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian 2016 campaign interference by those out to get him from the start of his presidency.
  • On the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, the vote was 52-48 favoring acquittal. The second, obstruction of Congress, also produced a not guilty verdict, 53-47.
  • Only one Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, the party’s defeated 2012 presidential nominee, broke with the GOP.
  • Romney choked up as he said he drew on his faith and “oath before God” to vote guilty on the first charge, abuse of power. He voted to acquit on the second.
  • Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, widely considered the Senate’s most endangered Democrat, voted to convict.
  • “Senators are elected to make tough choices,” Jones said.
  • Jones said Wednesday that he had not thought about how the vote might impact his re-election chances, saying simply that he is comfortable with his decision.
  • Speaking on the Senate floor before the vote, Jones said the sum of the evidence revealed “a picture of a president who has abused the great power of his office for personal gain, a picture of a president who has placed his personal interest well above the interest of the nation.”Republicans hoping to reclaim the Senate seat in the once reliably red state immediately seized on Jones’ vote, signalling it will become a rally cry for them against him until the November election.
  • “By voting to remove President Trump from office, Democrat Doug Jones has given up on serving the men and women of Alabama,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Nathan Brand.
  • Read more about the impeachment story generally HERE.
  • Read more about Jones’ vote HERE.



2. Ivey wants ‘facts’ on gambling before moving forward

  • Gov. Kay Ivey has told lawmakers she wants the “facts” on the financial impact of a lottery and expanded gambling in Alabama and is putting together a working group to get them. She won’t take any action on the matter until then, she said.
  • But that information is months away and a key lawmaker said Wednesday he’s moving forward with a proposal for a statewide lottery.
  • Ivey’s working group will also analyze a possible compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
  • “I’ll give them to the year’s end, but if they get through sooner, that’ll be fine too,” Ivey said in an interview Wednesday.  “But I want them to be thorough and get the facts. That’s all I want is the facts, not recommendations. We just want the facts about how much money the state can expect to gain if we do a lottery or if we do expanded gaming or a compact and what the heck does a compact look like?”
  • There’s already one lottery bill in the State House. It would split revenues between the state’s pre-kindergarten program and higher education scholarships. Because it’s a proposed constitutional amendment, it doesn’t need Ivey’s signature before it goes to voters.
  • “I’ve going to give it a couple of weeks before I introduce it, but I’m going to introduce it,” Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, said Wednesday. “Personally, I don’t see where there’s any reason to put the lottery in the study. There’s 45 other states that have studied it and they’re all operating a lottery and none of them have gone out of business.”
  • He said the State House budget office did a deep dive into possible revenue for a lottery and came up with a “conservative” $167 million a year.
  • Clouse did say Ivey’s working group may provide political cover for lawmakers who don’t want a lottery, giving them a reason to vote “no” again this year.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



3. Bail bills debated

  • Bills to deny bail for those accused of violent crimes were discussed in House and Senate committees Wednesday but did not advance.
  • In the Senate, a constitutional amendment by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, would automatically deny bail for six specific violent offenses: murder, first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, kidnapping, sexual abuse or sexual torture and human trafficking. The bill is being considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Ward is chairman.
  • Auburn Chief of Police Paul Register spoke in support of Ward’s bill and pointed to the recent case of Aniah Blanchard, a college student who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by Ibraheem Yazeed last October. Yazeed was out on bail from charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, robbery and possession of marijuana when Blanchard was killed.
  • “Had he not been out, Aniah Blanchard would still be with us today,” Register said.
  • Alabama’s constitution currently states that any person can be considered for bail unless they are being accused of a capital offense.
  • Shay Farley, policy counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the committee that denying a person’s bail automatically before they’ve been convicted of a crime would be deemed unconstitutional in the courts.
  • In the House Judiciary Committee, a public hearing was held on a similar measure sponsored by Rep. Chip Brown, R-Mobile. That legislation would deny bail to anyone arrested for a Class A felony.
  • Brown said the legislation wasn’t a “blanket approach” and would stay within the rights of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits the use of excessive bail or fines on a person.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



4. Montgomery occupational tax becomes state issue

  • A proposed occupational tax in Montgomery is facing opposition from state employee organizations and on Thursday a House committee will hear legislation banning new occupational taxes statewide.
  • In a letter to Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, Alabama State Personnel Director Jackie Graham and Alabama State Employees Association Executive Director Mac McArthur expressed their opposition to a proposed occupational tax aimed at salaried employees working within the city limits.
  • “While we understand your desire to increase revenue in order to pay city employees higher salaries and hire additional first responders, we are not in favor of you doing so at the expense of State employees,” the letter states.
  • The Montgomery City Council is considering a proposal that would charge those living outside Montgomery but living in the city limits a 1% tax on their salaries to pay for city services, including increased police protection.
  • Meanwhile, the House County and Municipal Government Committee on Thursday is scheduled to consider a bill that would ban local governments from enacting any new occupational taxes. House Bill 147 is sponsored by Rep. Chris Sells, R-Greenville.
  • Sells says many of his Butler County constituents would be the ones financially impacted if Montgomery levies an occupational tax.
  • Sells was unsure if he would be able to advocate for his bill before the committee Thursday after he sustained a foot injury this week.
  • Read more from Will Whatley and me HERE.



5. Taylor poll shows movement, potential runoff

  • A new internal poll from the Jessica Taylor campaign shows the Prattville businesswoman gaining in the race for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District and potentially competitive to get into a runoff.
  • According to the survey from Osage Research conducted on behalf of the Taylor campaign, Taylor polled at 13% support among the GOP electorate, behind frontrunner Jeff Coleman at 36% and Troy King at 18%. That’s eight points better for Taylor than the last publicly available poll that showed her with only 5% support.
  • In a polling memo provided to the media, Osage described Taylor as “well poised to gain a runoff birth” given her position as five points behind the second place candidate just as her television advertising was increasing.
  • According to the survey, frontrunner Coleman continues to lead by double digits, but was closer to the other candidates than in previous polls.
  • Read more HERE.



News Briefs

Alabama police officer fatally shot, man charged with murder

  • WARRIOR, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama police officer was shot to death in an ambush while assisting other officers during a vehicle pursuit, a mayor said Wednesday, and a suspect was charged with capital murder.
  • Kimberly Mayor Bob Ellerbrock told a news conference that officer Nick O’Rear was killed in a confrontation that authorities said began on Interstate 65 around 10 p.m. Tuesday. O’Rear was assisting officers from another department with a pursuit when the driver shot him, the mayor said.
  • Ellerbrock described the slaying as an ambush but declined to go into details. The state will investigate, he said.
  • O’Rear had been with the department about a year. He was the father of two children, and another on the way, Ellerbrock said.
  • “It’s a sad day. It’s a horrible day,” he said. Members of O’Rear’s family were present during the news conference.
  • It began when police tried to stop a vehicle on the highway and the driver wouldn’t pull over, news outlets reported.
  • Read more HERE.

Judge says Alabama judicial elections don’t discriminate

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday upheld Alabama’s method of electing appellate judges by statewide vote, rejecting claims that it is racially discriminatory and ensures an all-white court.
  • U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins ruled in favor of Alabama in the 2016 lawsuit brought by the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and several black voters. The lawsuit contended the election method violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of African Americans and preventing them from electing their preferred candidates.
  • Watkins noted that two African Americans have been elected to the Alabama Supreme Court previously.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.

Buttigieg, Sanders nearly tied as Iowa caucus results narrow

  • WASHINGTON (AP) — Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are nearly tied in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, with nearly all results counted in a contest marred by technical issues and reporting delays.
  • The race remained too early to call early Thursday with 97% of precincts reporting. Party officials were scrambling to verify the remaining results three days after Iowans gathered at caucus sites across the state to begin choosing which Democrat will take on President Donald Trump in November.
  • A new batch of results released just after midnight narrowed the margin between Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Sanders, the progressive senator from Vermont. Buttigieg has a lead of three state delegate equivalents out of 2,098 counted.
  • The deadlocked contest gives both Buttigieg and Sanders a burst of momentum as they seek to pull away from the crowded field. The nearly complete results show them leading Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar trailing behind.
  • Read more HERE.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey wants ‘facts’ on gambling; some lawmakers ready to move forward with lottery


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bills that would deny bail for violent offenders face constitutionality questions


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Montgomery occupational tax becomes state issue


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Not guilty: Senate acquits Trump of impeachment charges

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Vulnerable Democrat Doug Jones votes to convict Trump


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Taylor poll shows movement, potential runoff


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge says Alabama judicial elections don’t discriminate


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama police officer fatally shot, man charged with murder


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey calls for $1B school bond, lottery study group in address to Legislature


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Dept. of Public Health monitoring Coronavirus


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Perspective: The 2020 Census and Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – February 5, 2020


AL.COM  – Ivey proposes billion dollar school bond issue, 3% raise for teachers


AL.COM  – Court: Alabama can be sued for alleged Voting Rights Act violations


AL.COM  – Alabama among just 10 states to see split vote on impeachment trial


AL.COM  – Judge: Alabama’s method of electing appellate judges not discriminatory


AL.COM  – Transfers from Alabama’s Holman prison still in early stages


AL.COM  – Gov. Kay Ivey says she wants facts on gambling options


AL.COM  – Shelby voting to acquit Trump, says president didn’t commit impeachable offenses


AL.COM  – By the numbers: Huntsville’s growth goes beyond just population


AL.COM  – Alabama lawmaker wants longer summers, school boards push back


AL.COM  – Alabama scientists ask if status and homes affect kids’ health


AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Alabama lawmaker says porn is a public health emergency. Here’s what a real one looks like


AL.COM  – State of the Union 2020: Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee, 100, honored by President Trump


AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Is that how government is supposed to work?


Montgomery Advertiser – Gov. Kay Ivey proposes $1 billion bond for school improvements


Montgomery Advertiser – President Trump acquitted on both impeachment charges, avoids removal


Montgomery Advertiser – Floyd Middle teacher charged with sexual abuse of student in school


YellowHammer News – Watch: AL-02 candidate Jessica Taylor takes flamethrower to ‘articles of impeachment’ — ‘Nancy Pelosi, you’re fired’


YellowHammer News – Shelby: ‘This extreme effort to unseat the president is unjustified and intolerable’


YellowHammer News – Republicans rip Doug Jones’ decision to convict Trump on impeachment articles — ‘Falling in line with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’


Dothan Eagle – Updated: Several schools cancel classes Thursday due to severe weather forecast


Dothan Eagle – Coleman denies campaign violations alleged in FEC complaint


Dothan Eagle – Alabama police officer fatally shot, man charged with murder


Tuscaloosa News – ‘Gray death’ turns up in Louisiana


Tuscaloosa News – Second lawsuit filed over DCH ransomware attack


Tuscaloosa News – Suspect charged with capital murder after Kimberly Police officer shot during pursuit


Decatur Daily – DCS spending $1 million to add welding academy


Decatur Daily – City official: First steps in Beltline church demolition to begin in days


Decatur Daily – Bills that would deny bail for violent offenders face constitutionality questions


Times Daily – Bills that would deny bail for violent offenders face challenges



Times Daily – Parole denied for man convicted in child porn case


Times Daily – Alabama police officer fatally shot, man charged with murder


Anniston Star – Bills that would deny bail for violent offenders face constitutionality questions


Anniston Star – Ivey wants ‘facts’ on gaming; some lawmakers ready to move forward with lottery


Anniston Star – Jacksonville eighth-graders design debris-removal robot


Opelika-Auburn News – Severe weather threat prompts Lee schools to close


Opelika-Auburn News – AU trustees to vote on Gogue title


Opelika-Auburn News – Anderson to take over as APD chief


Daily Mountain Eagle – City unveils new street sweeper as part of $2M capital investments


Daily Mountain Eagle – Bishop asked state to take back roads


Daily Mountain Eagle – Five Below to open Valentine’s Day


WSFA Montgomery – State lawmakers react after another shooting death of Ala. officer


WSFA Montgomery – Temporary fix in place for Hayneville sewage spill


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery teacher faces on-campus student sex abuse charges


Fox 6 Birmingham – Arrest made in shooting death in Kingston housing community


Fox 6 Birmingham – Montgomery teacher faces on-campus student sex abuse charges


Fox 6 Birmingham – FIRST ALERT: Tornado Watch canceled, but another may be needed in areas to the east Thursday morning


WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Schools welcome student’s medical service dog


WAFF Huntsville – 10 years later, consequences of Discovery Middle School shooting still playing out


WAFF Huntsville – Search to resume Thursday for car washed away at Buck’s Pocket State Park


WKRG Mobile – Mobile Police make arrest in shooting death of man killed after hit and run accident


WKRG Mobile – TORNADO WATCH: Washington, Clarke and Greene County


WKRG Mobile – ‘It makes me feel uncomfortable:’ Police say a serial robber is targeting older African-American women


WTVY Dothan – Dothan officials search for ways of decreasing property abatements


WTVY Dothan – Dothan Airport announces changes in air and on ground


WTVY Dothan – Professor says the 13th amendment led to worse treatment for African Americans


WASHINGTON POST  – In historic vote, Trump acquitted of impeachment charges


WASHINGTON POST  – Bloomberg seizes on chaos in Democratic presidential race to escalate his campaign


NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Acquitted of Two Impeachment Charges in Near Party-Line Vote


NEW YORK TIMES  – Child-Welfare Activists Attack Facebook Over Encryption Plans





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