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Daily News Digest – January 16, 2020

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, January 16.



1. China trade deal signed, USMCA on the way

  • The United States and China reached a trade deal Wednesday that eases tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, offers massive export opportunities for U.S. farms and factories, and promises to do more to protect American trade secrets.
  • Trump promoted the trade signing as a way of delivering economic justice for American workers he claims have been betrayed by past administrations and their trade policies.
  • Closer to home, Alabama’s largest agriculture organization hailed the “phase one” deal with China as a “step in the right direction” for farmers who have been caught in the middle of the trade war.
  • “This trade deal is a step in the right direction and a welcome sign for our farmers who have been dealing with low commodity prices,” said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “We appreciate the administration fighting for better trade deals for agriculture.”
  • Meanwhile, the Senate is set to give final passage to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which will replace the unpopular North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
  • Republicans and the president have complained about how long it took to complete the negotiations, but the talks resulted in a rare mix of support for USMCA. The AFL-CIO, an association of trade unions, endorsed the measure along with scores of business and farm groups. The biggest holdouts are environmental groups, which continue to oppose the measure because it doesn’t address climate change.
  • Read more about the trade deal with China HERE.



2. Bill named for fallen officer would allow wiretaps on suspected felony drug offenders

  • Some lawmakers want Alabama law enforcement to be able to use wiretaps to pursue felony drug offenders.
  • Rep. Rex Reynolds, a former Huntsville police chief, has pre-filed House Bill 14, which lays out the process for the Alabama Attorney General to submit applications to a circuit court judge to intercept wire or electronic communications under certain circumstances.
  • “This bill is designed to go after drug trafficking organizations and pretty much dismantle them from the top,” Reynolds told Alabama Daily News.
  • Reynolds sponsored a similar bill in 2019. It was approved by the House Judiciary Committee but never got a vote on the House floor.
  • “Both Republicans and Democrats worked with me to get the support of the Judiciary Committee,” Reynolds said.
  • This year, the bill is titled the “Agent Billy Clardy III Act.” Clardy, a Huntsville police officer and drug task force member, was shot and killed during a drug bust set up by authorities at a residence where they expected a suspect to drop off a large amount of drugs.
  • “If this bill had been in place, (law enforcement) would have had another tool to go after that drug trafficker and collect additional information on that person before they effected an arrest,” Reynolds said.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


3. Wood hopes to decrease hot car deaths with new bill

  • Legislation from Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston, would require day care facilities in Alabama to call a child’s guardian if the child is not at the center by 9:30 a.m.
  • Wood told Alabama Daily News the goal is to prevent deaths if parents mistakenly leave their children in their cars.
  • “People get caught up in their busy lifestyle nowadays and sometimes one parent isn’t accustomed to bringing their child to day care and then they get to work and leave the child in the back seat,” Wood said. “That has happened over and over again, and that’s what happened here.”
  • The bill is titled the Cash Edwin Jordan Act, named after the 11-month-old boy who died after being left in the back seat of a car with his twin sister in Oxford last year. Their father forgot to take them to day care before going to work, according to media reports. They were left in the car for several hours.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



4. Tuition increase for community colleges

  • The Alabama Community College System board will vote next month on the $2-per-credit hour increase for the 2020-2021 academic year. It’ll generate about $3.5 million a year for the 23-college system.
  • The slight tuition fee increase to $133 per credit hour will be used to better prepare future workers, system officials say.
  • “We’re training Alabamians to enter a constantly changing workforce, which means our equipment and strategies are constantly updated to ensure our students leave us job ready,” Rachel Adams, ACCS’s communication and marketing administrator, said.
  • According to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, the median annual tuition and fees at a two-year college is $4,800. Four-year colleges have an average annual tuition and fee rate for in-state students of $10,885. Other special costs or fees may be required depending on the program.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



5. Jones hosts FAFSA workshops

  • U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’ field offices will host a series of workshops across Alabama to help students and their families fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • Last year, Jones coauthored bipartisan legislation that was signed into law to begin the process of simplifying the FAFSA. It made changes to the lengthy and often intimidating process and reduced the number of questions on the form from 108 to up to 22, his office said.
  • In 2018, Alabama high school graduates missed out on an estimated $57.5 million in federal grants by not completing the FAFSA, according to information from Jones’ office. Only about half of Alabama’s graduates filled out the form, leaving millions in free college assistance on the table.
  • Read more and see the schedule for the workshops HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trade deal: US eases sanctions, China to buy more US exports
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill named for fallen officer would allow wiretaps on suspected felony drug offenders
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmaker hopes to decrease hot-car deaths with new legislation
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Community colleges to see slight tuition increase
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jones to host statewide FAFSA workshops
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate takes over Trump’s impeachment after House handoff
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 – Daily News Digest – January 15, 2020
AL.COM – Petition calls for renaming Edmund Pettus Bridge for U.S. Rep. John Lewis
AL.COM – ‘Standout Schools’ list in Alabama compiled by Niche not accurate
AL.COM – Alabama NAACP among groups calling for halt to federal judgeship confirmation
AL.COM – Alabama court protects paychecks from debt collectors
AL.COM – ‘North Bay Express’ surfaces as an alternative to the I-10 project
AL.COM – Auburn researchers highlight fertilizer impact on climate change
AL.COM – Madison City Schools superintendent apologizes for students’ homophobic slurs
Montgomery Advertiser – After state audit, former Goodwyn bookkeeper, athletic director ordered to pay back thousands in school funds
Montgomery Advertiser – Potential Prattville barbershop massacre jurors must fill out 15-page questionnaire
Montgomery Advertiser – House sends impeachment of President Trump to Senate for trial, names 7 ‘managers’ to prosecute case
YellowHammer News – Byrne: Hunter Biden should be ‘very first name’ on impeachment trial witness list
YellowHammer News – Alabama Farmers Federation president praises ‘phase one’ trade deal with China
YellowHammer News – Two groups joining to publicize availability of grants that fund Alabama’s lauded First Class Pre-K classrooms
Dothan Eagle – Houston County High School threat deemed not credible; law enforcement presence increased
Dothan Eagle – Dothan Utilities changes payment processors this week
Dothan Eagle – Defense attorney: ‘Everyone involved in the OPD cold case unit should resign’
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama woman convicted in husband’s 2016 shooting death
Tuscaloosa News – Teacher who accused football players of rape faces charges
Tuscaloosa News – Today’s TV and Radio Sports Listings for Thursday, January 16
Decatur Daily – Hartselle man dies from injuries in two-vehicle crash
Decatur Daily – City to hire recruiting firm in search for director of development
Decatur Daily – Modaus Road traffic light at Austin High may not come until November
Times Daily – No word on additional charges in dead livestock case
Times Daily – Court appearance for Greenberg, DeArman, reset for February
Times Daily – Lauderdale charges jailer with promoting contraband
Gadsden Times – Questions raised about proposed Gadsden concert series
Gadsden Times – Brown found competent to stand trial in Attalla double homicide
Gadsden Times – Sheriff holds open house for renovated kitchen at Etowah Co. Jail
Anniston Star – Anniston councilman pleads not guilty in ethics case
Anniston Star – JSU rec center celebrates one year of operation
Anniston Star – State rep wants to shorten term lengths for county school board members
Troy Messenger – LOVE AND ATTENTION: Sidewalk project spurs Love Street renovation
Troy Messenger – Mardi Gras Gala ‘draw down’ now underway
Troy Messenger – Shaver elected to chair Farm-City committee
Andalusia Star News – Agencies gather to discuss invasive cogongrass
Andalusia Star News – Judge gives man 20 years for domestic violence
Andalusia Star News – Taylor’s parole denied
Opelika-Auburn News – HealthPlus move to Auburn Mall upsets citizens
Opelika-Auburn News – OMS ensemble to perform at state event
Opelika-Auburn News – Smart Girls promoting health for women
Daily Mountain Eagle – Annual breakfast celebrates accomplishments
Daily Mountain Eagle – Successful drummer visits Curry High
Daily Mountain Eagle – Council moves forward with park plan
Trussville Tribune – Leeds High School’s Oak & Ivy Theatre presents: The Great Gatsby
Trussville Tribune – Hewitt-Trussville grad named to Dean’s List at Baylor
Trussville Tribune – Jefferson County Schools teaming up with libraries to promote digital learning on and off campus
Athens News Courier – State prison study group to make recommendations
Athens News Courier – Man cleared of wife’s murder asks daughter to call him
Athens News Courier – State prison study group to make recommendations
Sand Mountain Reporter – Adams runs for District 3 Commissioner
Sand Mountain Reporter – Neighbors to speak to Democrats
Sand Mountain Reporter – Time to scale back, Alabama
WSFA Montgomery – Sunday to mark one year since Wetumpka tornado
WSFA Montgomery – 3 arrested after ‘cages’ for children found in Alabama home
WSFA Montgomery – First phase of downtown Wetumpka road work nearing completion
Fox 6 Birmingham – Police search for attempted robbery suspect after officer-involved shooting
Fox 6 Birmingham – FIRST ALERT: Scattered storms overnight, freezing temps return next week
Fox 6 Birmingham – B’ham Police react to I-59/20 bridge opening
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville CrossFit gym to host fundraiser for fallen officer Billy Clardy III
WAFF Huntsville – Limestone County dump truck rotations passes savings to taxpayers
WAFF Huntsville – Madison County noise ordinance in effect
WKRG Mobile – Person shot in Baldwin County following incident in Florida
WKRG Mobile – THURSDAY AT 10: Seriously injured MPD officer’s family opens up about grueling recovery
WKRG Mobile – 3 rescued from boat fire offshore Dauphin Island
WTVY Dothan – Georgia man charged in murder of Dothan movie producer
WTVY Dothan – Suspect in Enterprise lounge shooting arrested
WTVY Dothan – Candidate Profile: Jeff Sessions wants his old job back
WASHINGTON POST – House delivers historic impeachment case against Trump to Senate
WASHINGTON POST – Eyeing swift impeachment trial, Trump’s legal team aims to block witnesses and cast doubt on charges
WASHINGTON POST – Federal judge temporarily halts Trump administration policy allowing local governments to block refugees
NEW YORK TIMES – What to watch for as impeachment enters new phase
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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