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Daily News Digest – January 28, 2020

Presented by

the Business Council of Alabama


Good morning!
I’ll be speaking at the Alabama Council of Association Executives meeting later today. If you’re there, please say hello.
Here is your Daily News for Tuesday, January 28.




1. At least eight killed in Scottsboro dock fire

  • A massive fire killed at least eight people and destroyed dozens of boats in a Scottsboro marina early Monday.
  • Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus said all eight people who were known to be missing have been confirmed dead, and “that number could go up, because we don’t know how many were on boats” that sank.
  • Tommy Jones, a Jackson County Park Marina resident, said he watched helplessly as a small boat containing a woman and her children was engulfed in flames.
  • “There was nothing we could do,” he said.
  • Read the full story from Jay Reeves HERE.


2. New poll shows Sessions leading, but Byrne gaining

Jeff Sessions’ campaign released some fresh poll numbers Monday showing the former AG with a healthy lead among his rivals.
But, in a curious twist, the numbers aren’t all positive for Sessions.


What Happened

  • Sessions maintains a more than 20-point lead in the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, according to a recent internal poll from his campaign. However, the latest numbers also show Sessions dropping a point since December while Congressman Bradley Byrne gained eight to capture second place in the contest.
  • According to the Jan. 13-15 survey, Sessions leads the Republican field with 43% of Republican voters saying they’d choose him if the GOP Primary was held today. That’s followed by 22% for Byrne, 21% for former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and 8% for former Chief Justice Roy Moore, with 6% undecided.
  • The same poll conducted Dec. 3-5 showed Sessions at 44%, Tuberville at 21%, Byrne at 14% and Moore at 7%, with undecideds at 12%.
  • That means, according to the polls, as more undecided voters made up their minds in the race, Sessions slightly lost ground and Tuberville held pat, while Byrne gained seven points to leapfrog into second place. Such a move would be key if the race were to go into a runoff between the top two candidates.
  • Full survey breakdown HERE.

Why it Matters

  • Usually when campaigns leak polling numbers, it is to demonstrate to donors, opinion leaders and, to a lesser degree, the general electorate that they are in a favorable position. Everybody likes to be for the winner.
  • For this task, Team Sessions chose Breitbart’s Matt Boyle, an infamous provocateur in the DC media world. His headline read “Sessions takes commanding 21-point lead,” which was similar to the Sessions press release.
  • That message was clearly aimed at the biggest influencer of all, President Donald Trump, who last week tweeted out a previous poll less favorable to Sessions. (I’ve previously written about the “audience of one” and how Sessions must keep him out of the race.)
  • However, the full numbers belie that hand-picked message. After a month and a half, Sessions isn’t gaining ground, but slightly losing it.
  • And perhaps most significant is that, as the percentage of undecideds was cut in half, none broke toward Sessions (or Tuberville for that matter).
  • There’s a lot of baseball to be played, but the fact that Sessions no longer appears to be cruising toward winning without a runoff is significant.



What’s Next

  • Sessions needs 50% plus one to avoid a runoff. According to this poll, there aren’t quite enough undecideds to get him there, and they aren’t breaking for him anyway.
  • That means the votes would have to come from someone else, which usually means attacking someone else. This gets to another potential reason Team Sessions could have wanted these numbers out in the conservative DC media. It could be a signal to outside groups like Club for Growth and others to aim their firepower at a Byrne campaign gaining steam.
  • And, as if to get ahead of that onslaught, a super PAC supporting Byrne is up with a new ad touting his loyalty to Trump.
  • Keep in mind that Tuberville has yet to air any television advertising, either positive or negative.
  • With 35 days to go, this Senate race is about to get really interesting.


Read my full story on the Sessions polling HERE.




A message from

the Business Council of Alabama

Don’t miss the first installment of ProTip, the new BCA member-driven Webinar series on 1.29.20 at 10:00 a.m.
This installment of BCA’s ProTip is brought to you by Warren Averett, with guest presenters Amy Williams and Paul M. Perry, CISM, CITP, CPA.
We’ll discuss the importance of having a defensive mentality, an educated team, and the necessary tools when it comes to protecting your company against cyberattacks.
This is a live event and there will be a text chat-style Q&A section at the end of their presentation for participants with additional comments or concerns.






3. Lottery bill coming

  • Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, says he will introduce legislation instituting a state lottery during the Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature.
  • That session begins in just one week.
  • Last year, a paper lottery bill sponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, passed the Senate, but fell just one vote short of clearing a procedural hurdle in the House. That bill would have steered revenue toward state debt and the General Fund, which supports non-Education agencies and departments. The House later amended the proposal to send 25% of the revenue the state education budget.
  • This year, Clouse is proposing to use the proceeds to fund the state’s pre-kindergarten program and also provide college scholarships. The measure would have to be approved both by lawmakers and voters.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



4. Impeachment trial latest

  • President Donald Trump’s legal team is raising a broad-based attack on the impeachment case against him. The team is also mostly brushing past allegations in a new book that could undercut a key defense argument.
  • On Monday, Trump’s attorneys, including high-profile lawyers Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz, launched a historical, legal and political attack on the entire impeachment process. They said there was no basis to remove Trump from office, defended his actions as appropriate and assailed former Vice President Biden, who is campaigning for the Democratic nomination to oppose Trump in November.
  • Meanwhile, former national security adviser John Bolton took center stage even though he was nowhere near the Capitol.
  • Bolton’s claims in a forthcoming book — that Trump told him he wanted to withhold security aid from Ukraine until it launched investigations into political rival Joe Biden — ramped up pressure on GOP senators to call him to testify.
  • Trump’s legal team has repeatedly insisted there was no linkage, and Trump tweeted on Monday that he never told Bolton such a thing.
  • Biden’s son Hunter also came under scrutiny as Trump’s lawyers focused on his high-paying job with a Ukrainian energy company when his father was vice president.
  • Read the highlights of Monday’s session and what’s ahead as senators conduct just the third impeachment trial of a president HERE.
  • Read deeper into the arguments made on the Senate floor HERE.


5. More new ads

  • There are two new television ads running in the 2nd District starting today.
  • Former Attorney General Troy King is up with his first ad, which features his mother and depicts him as a conservative fighter. See the ad and buy information HERE.
  • Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman is up with yet another ad today (by my count, this is five). This one features his wife, Tiffany, and discusses the couple feeling called to run for Congress. See the ad and the buy information HERE.








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ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fire chief: At least 8 died in marina boat dock fire


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poll shows Sessions leading, but Byrne gaining in Senate race


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lottery bill would fund pre-K, college scholarships


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trial highlights: Bolton takes center stage from afar


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump lawyers raise defenses as pressure grows for witnesses


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – King features mom in first AL-2 TV spot


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Coleman’s new AL-2 spot features wife


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘We’ve failed.’ Lawmakers to look at mental health funding, treatment


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham police officer injured in shooting


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Transportation committee talks budgets, road planning


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – January 27, 2020


AL.COM – Roy Moore files $40 million ‘fake news’ lawsuit


AL.COM – Mississippi cities to Mobile: Commit to Amtrak’s Gulf Coast return


AL.COM – How Huntsville’s airport is flirting with Southwest Airlines


AL.COM – State will seek death penalty in Huntsville police officer’s killing


AL.COM – Road Scholar travel organization to host civil rights conference in Montgomery


AL.COM – Alabama’s 10 largest cities lay out legislative agenda


AL.COM – Birmingham rally calls on Doug Jones to acquit Trump in Senate trial


AL.COM – Alexander Shunnarah wins national marketing award


AL.COM – Businesses pay for improved training for North Alabama teachers


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Help me’: From Dock A, woman hears cries of people caught in deadly boat fire on Dock B


Montgomery Advertiser – Troy King’s campaign: D.C. criticism and promises of economic development


Montgomery Advertiser – Eastdale expects brighter days ahead after mall sells for $24M


Montgomery Advertiser – Mediation expected in Alabama Democratic Party dispute


YellowHammer News – Alabama super PAC supporting Byrne launches TV blitz — ‘Stands strong with President Trump’


YellowHammer News – Merrill to attend Trump’s ceremony for signing of USMCA


YellowHammer News – State Rep. Clouse to propose a lottery bill that would fund education initiatives


Dothan Eagle – Clouse to introduce lottery bill tied to education next week


Dothan Eagle – Taylor attacks Coleman in GOP forum over DOJ lawsuit


Dothan Eagle – Alabama fire chief: At least 8 died in marina boat dock fire


Tuscaloosa News – Today’s TV and Radio Sports Listings for Tuesday, January 28


Tuscaloosa News – Auburn considers 90-day moratorium on new student apartments


Tuscaloosa News – Streets closed near stadium after accident


Decatur Daily – Athens council approves $600K for Jimmy Gill Park


Decatur Daily – Hartselle plan includes pay raise for next mayor


Decatur Daily – Sheriff: Morgan shootings investigated as possible murder-suicide


Times Daily – State pre-K expansion aiming for more private centers


Times Daily – Colbert County resident arrested on animal cruelty charges


Times Daily – Muscle Shoals Councilman Neal Willis loses bout with cancer


Gadsden Times – Fire witness could hear people screaming ‘help me’


Gadsden Times – Eight die in boat dock fire in Jackson County


Gadsden Times – Boys and Girls Club of Gadsden/Etowah announces new CEO, COO


Anniston Star – Jacksonville council approves ambulance remount


Anniston Star – Second Smoking Moose shooting case sent to grand jury


Anniston Star – Defendant to use self-defense argument in upcoming murder trial


Troy Messenger – Polar Plunge raises goose bumps, $4,000 for Habitat for Humanity


Troy Messenger – TROJAN NEWS: CHHS students start morning broadcast


Troy Messenger – Commission hears from jail architect, awards road projects


Andalusia Star News – Andalusia native releases debut novel

Andalusia Star News – Cancer Freeze recipient encourages women to listen to their bodies


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika officials: Proposed granite quarry may negatively affect water sources


Opelika-Auburn News – Officials investigate claim of officer impersonation


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police investigating weekend shooting


Daily Mountain Eagle – Study: Fiber internet availability increases home values


Daily Mountain Eagle – Tenth Trivia Night set for Feb. 28


Daily Mountain Eagle – Commission OKs bids for Rebuild Alabama work


Trussville Tribune – Watch history be remade this Saturday at the Old South Firearms and Trading Post


Trussville Tribune – Car reported stolen from First Baptist Church in Trussville


Trussville Tribune – Trussville teen inspired by mother’s death to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society


Athens News Courier – Murder trial underway in Limestone


Athens News Courier – THE LATEST: Isley, attorney respond to LCS decision


Sand Mountain Reporter – Merrill says census participation is vital


Sand Mountain Reporter – DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office seizes 15,000 grams of meth in 2019


Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz welcomes Neighborhood Bridges outreach program


WSFA Montgomery – Police issue endangered alert for Louisiana woman and her 4 children


WSFA Montgomery – Union Springs woman stares down barrel of a gun in her own home


WSFA Montgomery – Couple killed in Elmore County fire identified


Fox 6 Birmingham – First responders, community react to deadly Jackson County marina fire


Fox 6 Birmingham – Community to hold meeting about increased water bills


Fox 6 Birmingham – Support group for police officers’ wives explains how you can help Det. John Finke


WAFF Huntsville – Florence schools get $18K in STEM grants


WAFF Huntsville – Court hearing reveals more details in Huntsville police officer’s murder


WAFF Huntsville – 1 shot, 1 in custody in shooting at Huntsville housing development


WKRG Mobile – Suspect accused of shooting himself in the chest following murder expected back in court


WKRG Mobile – Asian demand for face masks soars on fears of Chinese virus


WKRG Mobile – Appellate court weighs Florida law on felon voting rights


WTVY Dothan – Teen charged with robbing Southeast Health employee arrested again


WTVY Dothan – Dothan man charged with endangering children and abusing police K-9


WTVY Dothan – Clouse to introduce lottery bill that would fund education


WASHINGTON POST – Bolton book roils Washington as onetime allies turn on Trump’s former national security adviser.


WASHINGTON POST – Supreme Court allows Trump administration to proceed with ‘wealth test’ rules for immigrants.


WASHINGTON POST – Electric cars will challenge state power grids


NEW YORK TIMES – Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book Says


NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Ross Douthat: The Many Polarizations of America


NEW YORK TIMES – Are You Good Enough at Paperwork to Be a Poor American?


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