Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, January 15.
1. Prison reform recommendations coming
- With the legislative session just 20 days away, the big question everyone keeps asking is, “what’s going to happen with prison reform?”
- Some expect a big, over-arching prison reform package with a push from Gov. Kay Ivey akin to last year’s infrastructure bill. Others expect something more subdued, allowing lawmakers to guide the process with individual bills.
- At its final meeting Tuesday, the Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy discussed a lot of ideas, but made it clear we won’t see specific policy proposals until closer to session.
- “I think we’ve had 20-40 years of a ‘lock everybody up’ mentality, and you can see in 2020 where it’s gotten us,” Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, said during the meeting. “So I think it’s time to try something different and I think it’s time to try something revolutionary.”
- Kelly Butler, director of Alabama’s Department of Finance, is a member of the study group and told Alabama Daily News that discussions about funding in the 2021 General Fund budget are still ongoing.
- “We’re hearing a lot of ideas,” Butler said. “I would predict that maybe some of those things might happen, but it’s too early to be sure.”
- The group mostly agreed that pre-trial diversion programs that allow offenders to get treatment instead of jail time and that more mental health services and in-prison education programs were all areas that needed improvement and better funding.
- Read the full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.
2. Impeachment crosses the Capitol
- The U.S. House is set to vote today to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for a landmark trial on whether the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are grounds for removal.
- The Senate is expected to transform into an impeachment court as early as Thursday. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside over senators, who serve as jurors, and swear an oath to deliver “impartial justice.” The House managers will walk the articles across the Capitol in a dramatic procession this evening after the midday vote.
- The articles will be escorted by specific political stars along a tightly choreographed path from the House through the Capitol rotunda to the Senate for trial. There awaits more history, formality and tradition of a type that’s only been seen on television once, and not since the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton.
- Like Clinton, Trump is expected to be acquitted. But the nation has never seen Chief Justice John Roberts cross the street from the Supreme Court and preside over the Senate trial. Or witnessed four Democratic presidential candidates sitting in silence, without their phones, ahead of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses.
- Also, Twitter was not a thing the last time this happened. It’s now the president’s favorite bullhorn to proclaim his innocence and his fury in real time.
- Read more about what to watch for as the House transmits the impeachment articles to the Senate HERE.
3. Internal poll shows Coleman leading AL-2 primary
- One of the most watched political races this year is Alabama’s 2nd District, where several candidates are vying to succeed Rep. Martha Roby, who is not running for re-election after five terms in Congress.
- New internal polling from one of those candidates, Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman, show him surging ahead to lead the pack in the race.
- Coleman has considerable resources, both raised and self-contributed, which has allowed his campaign to blanket the district with a consistent barrage of advertising on television, radio and billboards. The strategy seems to have worked, bringing Coleman from virtually unknown among most of the electorate to within striking distance of avoiding a runoff in a crowded field.
- Also, campaign finance numbers are starting to trickle in.
- See the survey results, now liberated from behind the IAP paywall, HERE.
4. New map illustrates rural broadband issue
- One of the biggest legislative issues over the past three sessions has been expanding access to high-speed broadband internet in rural communities. Multiple laws have been enacted to take steps toward the goal of connecting rural communities. However, rural broadband has also been a nebulous issue. While individual lawmakers are keen to get their districts connected, it has been difficult for some to see the problem from a statewide perspective. Now, that might change.
- A new statewide map shows the significant portions the Alabama that lack access to high-speed internet, an issue that continues to become a priority for some lawmakers.
- The map from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs shows areas that have adequate broadband access, areas that don’t — they’re in every county — and areas that have applied for state-funded broadband grants.
- Kenneth Boswell, ADECA director, told the House Ways and Means Education Committee that statewide and regional plans currently being developed will help rollout broadband needs now and in the future.
- Read the full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck and see the draft map HERE.
5. Iron Bowl of basketball tonight
- The Auburn Tigers haven’t missed a step — or lost a game — after losing their three best players from last season’s Final Four team.
- The fourth-ranked Tigers have ascended 20 spots in the AP Top 25 since the season began, won their first 15 games and sailed through the opening games of Southeastern Conference play.
- Even with a relatively friendly early schedule, it’s an impressive start for a team that had to reload following the program’s first Final Four appearance.
- And all that success and mid-season hype makes tonight’s visit to Tuscaloosa a perfect trap game for the Tigers. Auburn plays rival Alabama (8-7, 1-2) in Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff is at 8:00 Central on ESPN2.
- The Crimson Tide have a good team, too, but have come up just short in close road losses at Kentucky and Florida.
- Read more from John Zenor HERE.
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – January 13, 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prison policy group discusses more pre-trial diversion, education
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New map illustrates state’s rural broadband issue
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Internal poll shows Coleman leading AL-2 primary
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pelosi sets Wednesday votes to send impeachment to Senate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The Crossing: What to watch as impeachment heads to Senate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn exceeds expectations as Tuscaloosa visit looms
AL.COM – Sen. Cam Ward sponsoring bill to deny bail on most serious charges
AL.COM – Fund could bring high-speed Internet to 200K Alabamians
AL.COM – First Alabama woman state senator, an education champion, turns 90
AL.COM – Study group: Alabama criminal justice fixes must be funded
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Why Alabama’s taxes are unfair: Why pay taxes when you can pass them along to somebody less fortunate
AL.COM – Birmingham company’s virtual biopsy software going global.
AL.COM – 3M to test soil, groundwater at landfill near Decatur school.
AL.COM – 2 Alabama cities have some of highest levels of sexually transmitted diseases in the country
AL.COM – The Reckon List: 20 people who will shape Alabama in 2020.
Montgomery Advertiser – Woman robbed downtown Montgomery bank from the drive-thru, police say
Montgomery Advertiser – Sister of shooting victim Orangeal White starts fundraiser to provide scholarships to Carver students
Montgomery Advertiser – Two Troy women charged in robbery, car chase from Pike road after victim drug from her car
YellowHammer News – Sec. Canfield to attend signing of historic trade deal with China
YellowHammer News – Alabama’s Stephen Still moves from Maynard Cooper to Balch & Bingham
YellowHammer News – State Rep. Clouse: Elimination of grocery tax riddled with challenges, misconceptions
Dothan Eagle – Police: Decatur man charged in deadly shooting
Dothan Eagle – 3M to begin collecting samples for PFAS testing at Brookhaven site
Dothan Eagle – Council balks at costs of Brookmeade flood project, looks to other solutions
Tuscaloosa News – Registration opens for pre-K lottery
Tuscaloosa News – Murder trial underway in fatal shooting case
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Council action from January 14, 2020
Decatur Daily – Police: Decatur man charged in deadly shooting
Decatur Daily – 3M to begin collecting samples for PFAS testing at Brookhaven site
Decatur Daily – Council balks at costs of Brookmeade flood project, looks to other solutions
Times Daily – Appeals court upholds capital murder, assault conviction
Times Daily – Homeless Care Council needs volunteers for homeless count
Times Daily – Suspects in pot growing operation to appear in court today
Gadsden Times – New animal tethering law to be considered
Gadsden Times – Southside residents voice opposition to proposed rezoning
Gadsden Times – Centre woman ordered to pay $14,183 in cruelty case
Anniston Star – Cleburne commission hears update on storm cleanup
Anniston Star – Smoking Moose shooting defendant waives case to grand jury
Anniston Star – Jacksonville council strips business license for Brother’s Bar
Troy Messenger – Tax season begins on Jan. 27
Troy Messenger – Crowe reappointed director of Troy hospital board
Troy Messenger – PCBOE honors board members
Andalusia Star News – Bids being sought for new roofing at PHS
Andalusia Star News – Cobb tapped as new Straughn High principal
Andalusia Star News – County engineer asks for patience
Opelika-Auburn News – AU facing new $10M lawsuit over in-state tuition
Opelika-Auburn News – Two popes — one retired, one reigning — cause a furor
Opelika-Auburn News – Prohibition began 100 years ago, and its legacy remains
Daily Mountain Eagle – Kennedy talks strength of career tech programs
Daily Mountain Eagle – Carbon Hill council agonizes over financial decisions
Daily Mountain Eagle – You can choose method for Census response
Trussville Tribune – Trussville council begins with moment of silence, council approves making part of downtown street a one-way
Trussville Tribune – Clay Council approves annexation ordinance, awards $500 school grants
Trussville Tribune – Leeds man faces multiple felony child sex charges in Shelby County
Athens News Courier – Voice of the Trash Pandas talks baseball
Athens News Courier – Trinity grad the featured speaker at annual MLK event
Athens News Courier – Police: Florida woman caught trying to light explosive device in Walmart
Sand Mountain Reporter – Albertville council relocates polls | Council awards bid for SMPA wayfinding sign package
Sand Mountain Reporter – Storm devastates Marshall County | Saturday tornado damages local schools, causes outages
Sand Mountain Reporter – Snuffed out | Federal age limit on tobacco purchase raised to 21
WSFA Montgomery – Committee discusses proposed occupational tax
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery burglary, theft suspect sought
WSFA Montgomery – Celebration of life set for Montgomery icon, Herman L. Harris
Fox 6 Birmingham – Senator to introduce bill that would deny bail for violent felonies
Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham city council approves money for upgraded body cameras
Fox 6 Birmingham – Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Pelham
WAFF Huntsville – FEMA: Huntsville will get flood grant request response by March
WAFF Huntsville – Athens community park replacement hits stalemate
WAFF Huntsville – Morgan County Commission raising the cost of sending town inmates to county jail
WKRG Mobile – Mobile City Council holds first committee meeting on jurisdiction proposal
WKRG Mobile – Homeless man accused of setting woman’s truck on fire, charged with attempted murder
WKRG Mobile – Vacant Josephine Allen housing to be torn down
WTVY Dothan – Attorney calls for resignation of police officers who botched murder investigation
WTVY Dothan – Ivey remains noncommittal on refugee settlements in Alabama
WTVY Dothan – Dothan man arrested for soliciting young family member
WASHINGTON POST – Democrats clash over positions on war and peace — and gender in politics
WASHINGTON POST – Impeachment spotlight turns to key question: whether to call witnesses
WASHINGTON POST – Lawmakers from both parties criticize White House plan to take $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding for Trump’s border wall
NEW YORK TIMES – Documents Provide New Detaits of Trump’s Pressure Campaign on Ukraine
NEW YORK TIMES – Gender, War and Taking On Trump: Democrats Spar Just Weeks Before Voting
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