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Daily News Digest – January 29, 2019

Good morning! Too bad you can’t build a sleet-man.
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, January 29.

1. Snow?

  • Meh. It doesn’t look to be much of a snow event.
  • We’re more on the “bust” side of the forecast where about 1 inch is expected to fall in North Central Alabama.
  • No fun for kids who will have to save their sleds for another day.
  • No fun for parents, who had to deal with cancelled schools, daycares, etc.
  • BUT, just because there hasn’t been a big snow accumulation doesn’t mean there’s no danger. The snow/sleet/rain will be followed by freezing temperatures and that means icy roads in North Alabama.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a state of emergency and is urging drivers to use extreme caution.
  • Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said the most hazardous conditions are expected tonight when water freezes on roadways.
  • Read and watch more from James Spann and Bill Murray HERE.


2. Pls RSVP 4 SOTU.

  • President Donald Trump on Monday accepted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation to deliver his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
  • That’s a week later than originally scheduled because of the partial government shutdown.
  • “It is my great honor to accept,” Trump said in a letter to Pelosi. “We have a great story to tell and yet, great goals to achieve!”
  • In the letter exchange, it was evident that Trump and Pelosi had spoken by phone, which is news. They didn’t do much of that during the shutdown.
  • Trump’s speech will come as a Conference Committee of lawmakers from the House and Senate are negotiating a bill to fund Homeland Security, to include border security.
  • The president has not sounded optimistic about the likelihood of Congress passing a plan he liked.
  • HOWEVER, now both Republican and Democratic lawmakers say they think a compromise can be reached.
  • Texas Sen. John Cornyn told IJR “I’m more optimistic than he is.”
  • I, for one, am happy about the new date for the State of the Union address because it comes the week that I will be in D.C. Glad that worked out.
  • Read more HERE.


3. New Member Profile: Rep. Andy Whitt.

  • Continuing our series of profiles on new members of the Alabama Legislature, get to know State Rep. Andy Whitt, a Republican from Harvest.
  • Whitt represents House District 6, which includes portions of Madison and Limestone counties in North Alabama. It’s the seat previously held by Rep. Phil Williams.
  • Whitt’s family has called north Alabama home for seven generations. Serving as a State Representative is his first stint in public office and he wants to use his decades in the banking industry to help find ways to help Alabama businesses grow.
  • Read the full profile from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


4. Budget hearings.

  • While the Alabama Legislature’s Regular Session is still more than a month away, the gears of the process start turning this week.
  • Budget hearings are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in the State House.
  • These are the annual meetings in which heads of state agencies come tell lawmakers and legislative staff what their budget needs are for the year.
  • It’s the first time that we will know publicly whether there are any unforeseen cost problems the Legislature will have to deal with.
  • Barring any weather delays, hearings for Education Trust Fund agencies will begin at 1:30 p.m. today.
  • Hearings for General Fund agencies will begin at 9:00 a.m. Thursday.
  • We’ll be there…


5. News Briefs.

[Insert clever Cliff Sims headline]
  • Cliff Sims wasn’t kidding when he said his book, “Team of Vipers” would tell the good, bad and ugly of the Trump White House.
  • In a recently-released excerpt, Sims writes about Stephen Miller, one of President Trump’s top advisers and a known hardliner on immigration.
  • Miller is quoted as saying, “I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched American soil.”
  • The United States has recently dealt with multiple refugee crises, including with Syria and Central America.
  • Sims writes that, any time a refugee or immigrant committed a “gruesome” crime, Miller would walk over to the White House press office to demand that press releases be issued about the cases. Sims says Miller made the comment about refugees during a conversation the two were having about immigration.
  • Miller isn’t responding and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said “I’m not aware of any statement like that that Stephen Miller has ever made.”
  • Read more HERE.
  • There are now dozens of stories about Cliff’s new book and he’s on a major media tour, so this might now sound that wild or important.
  • But, what’s interesting to me is that Stephen Miller is basically responsible for bringing Cliff into Trump world. The two were tight back when Miller worked in Jeff Sessions’ Senate office, and Sims eventually followed Miller and Rick Dearborn to the Trump campaign.
  • Most everybody who has worked anywhere near Stephen Miller – reporters included – could tell you tales. And I doubt any are surprised by this quote.
  • And now the President of the United States has tweeted about it, saying “He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!”
  • Tough words, but that’s going to sell a lot of books.
Russia probe almost over
  • The special counsel’s Russia probe is “close to being completed,”according to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
  • DOJ rarely comments on the state of the investigation, so this is the first sign that things are truly wrapping up.
  • “The investigation is, I think, close to being completed,” Whitaker said Monday at the end of an unrelated news conference. He said he had been “fully briefed” on the probe.
  • Whitaker did not elaborate or give any timetable for the end of a nearly two-year investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election.
  • So far, special counsel Robert Mueller has charged 34 people, including several close to the president. But he has yet to accuse anyone close to the Trump campaign of conspiring with the Kremlin to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the election.
  • Read more HERE.
Good news for Agriculture… and Autos
  • The European Union has approved U.S. soybean exports to be used in the production of biofuels.
  • It’s part of an effort to boost such imports following last summer’s trans-Atlantic meeting between President Donald Trump and his EU Commission counterpart Jean-Claude Juncker.
  • The summit meeting was able to stave off a tariffs war on industrial goods like cars but Juncker made a commitment to buy more U.S. soybeans.
  • Sales have doubled since, but mostly because of market forces. Tuesday’s approval that US soybeans can be used for biofuel is bound to boost sales even more.
  • EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas says “today’s decision is new proof that the EU is delivering … this means that as of today it will be easier for US soybeans to enter the EU market.”
  • That’s good for agriculture. Why is it good for autos? Because the tariffs the Trump Administration is considering levying on Europe are partly in order to obtain better agriculture trade rules. So maybe there’s less of a reason for tariffs today.
  • Read more HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New Member Profile: Rep. Andy Whit
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill Murray: Some snow in Alabama before skies clear, sun returns
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Acting AG: Russia probe ‘close’ to being completed
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Cliff Sims’ book quotes Stephen Miller on refugees
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump, Pelosi agree on Feb. 5 for State of the Union address
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Family seeks video in Galleria shooting
AL.COM – Ivey issues state of emergency ahead predicted of winter weather
AL.COM – School system exploring increased security after 2 shot outside Mobile school
AL.COM – National Geographic, Cory Booker explore Alabama’s ‘environmental racism’
AL.COM – Contributors Frank Knaack, Jesse Kelley and Shay Farley:  Alabama’s marijuana laws destroy lives, waste millions of taxpayer dollars, and undermine public safety
AL.COM – Jim Zeigler: Photos were attack on Sen. Doug Jones, not Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
AL.COM – Attorneys for EJ Bradford’s family still seek release of mall shooting video
AL.COM – ‘Every day is precious:’ Jeffco judge injured in fatal hit-and-run back at work
AL.COM – Judge orders mediation in Spencer Collier lawsuit against Robert Bentley
AL.COM – RSA sells Mobile shipyard; new owner to add recycling
Montgomery Advertiser – Community members marching in honor of slain Carver student
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery schools among systems to be closed Tuesday amid weather concerns
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man charged in Hope Hull robbery
YellowHammer News – Jo Bonner: Accepting Ivey chief of staff to set up future run for office ‘did not even enter into my mind’
YellowHammer News – Gas tax debate remains up in the air until the actual numbers appear
YellowHammer News – Ivey issues State of Emergency ahead of projected winter weather
Dothan Eagle – Midsouth Paving of Birmingham offers low bid on first phase of Ross Clark Circle expansion
Dothan Eagle – German native, diagnosed with cancer, takes oath to become American citizen at Southeast Health
Dothan Eagle – Former hospital employee accused of stealing patient’s credit/debit card
Tuscaloosa News – 2 men rescue neighbor trapped in Alabama house fire
Tuscaloosa News – Woman in Alabama crash hit, killed walking across road
Tuscaloosa News – Northport council approves rules for dangerous animals
Decatur Daily – Limestone County offices, courthouse opening late Tuesday
Decatur Daily – All local public schools, Calhoun closed Tuesday; other closings listed
Times Daily – Deputy recognized for saving woman’s life
Gadsden Times – Flu cases on the rise in Northeast Alabama, prevention suggested
Gadsden Times – ALDOT, ALEA warn about travel conditions
Anniston Star – JSU still at odds with state over Merrill Hall insurance claim, could recoup some money from FEMA
Anniston Star – Jacksonville council mulls rental inspections
Anniston Star – Local closures announced Tuesday with snow in forecast
Troy Messenger – Rain, below freezing temps ahead; snow unlikely
Andalusia Star News – BRRR! No snow day, but hard freeze expected tonight
Andalusia Star News – Shutdown effects will linger as workers catch up
Andalusia Star News – Plumber: Wind can freeze pipes
Opelika-Auburn News – GUEST COLUMN: Big Ronnie took the fight head-on
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika, Auburn bring attention to human trafficking
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police arrest man in connection with March 2018 fatal shooting
Daily Mountain Eagle – Hall urges county to work on County Road 20
Daily Mountain Eagle – Officials prepared as wintry weather approached county
Daily Mountain Eagle – Gas leak occurs at Sumiton Middle School
Trussville Tribune – Argo City Council considers options for Country View Circle
Trussville Tribune – Homicide in east Birmingham under investigation
Trussville Tribune – Hoover police make contact with missing 27-year-old woman
Athens News Courier – NWS upgrades Limestone’s winter storm watch to winter storm warning
Athens News Courier – ALDOT preparing roads for possibility of snow and ice
Athens News Courier – Troopers urge motorists to drive with caution
Sand Mountain Reporter – Blood donors needed before and after Storm Jayden
WSFA Montgomery – School closings: Tuesday, Jan. 29
WSFA Montgomery – State auditor suggests plan to fun infrastructure, some skeptical
WSFA Montgomery – Cargo plane incident closes main runway at Tuscaloosa airport
Fox 6 Birmingham – First Alert Weather Day: Snow likely this morning
WAFF Huntsville – Fresh peaches, plums, nectarines sold nationwide recalled due to listeria concerns
WAFF Huntsville – Alleged stalker accused of breaking into Arab woman’s home, killing her cat
WKRG Mobile – WKRG “Back the Blue” telethon benefits Officer Tuder’s family
WKRG Mobile – CLOSED: Cold weather closings on the Gulf Coast
WTVY Dothan – Trial of man who killed wife from Dothan and their young son begins
WTVY Dothan – Friends of the Library are in need of a new home in Ozark
WASHINGTON POST – Mueller investigation is ‘close to being completed,’ acting attorney general says
WASHINGTON POST – Top GOP senators propose repealing estate tax
NEW YORK TIMES – Dealmakers Dominate Panel Tasked to Reach Border Security Agreement


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