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Daily News Digest – January 7, 2019

Presented by the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure


Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Monday, January 7, 2019.

1. No end in sight.

  • As the sun rises on Day 17 of a partial government shutdown, the two sides appear more committed than ever to winning rather than finding a compromise.
  • President Donald Trump and aides are at Camp David strategizing next steps. Meanwhile, VP Pence is back at the White House leading discussions with Congressional aides (which is kinda weird).
  • House Democrats this week will start passing individual Appropriations bills to reopen specific parts of the government that don’t have anything to do with the border or a wall.
  • House Republicans did this back in the 2013 shutdown when the roles were reversed. It’s an effective messaging gambit because arguing against it seems especially obtuse.
  • The White House could just go along with it and start re-opening parts of the government all to put an emphasis on the border as an issue.
  • But that would also take away the pressure point of a painful government shutdown.
  • One thing is clear: what Republicans do from here is 100 percent up to the White House and President Trump.
  • Read more HERE.


2. More Facebook fakery.

  • The New York Times has uncovered more social media shenanigans from the 2017 Roy Moore – Doug Jones Senate election.
  • Scott Shane and Alan Blinder – the same guys who reported on the Russian-style attempt to dupe voters into voting for Jones – have a new story this morning on an attempt to use a prohibition-ish effort to turn off voters.
  • “Dry Alabama” was a Facebook group created ostensibly to urge the Senate candidates to push for Alabama to become a dry state again.
  • Tying that pretty unusual position to Roy Moore, organizers figured, would turn a lot of business-type Republicans off to Moore and help Jones win.
  • It’s kind of surreal to read and it makes you wonder how many of these things there were.
  • The screenshot above is from Liz BeShears, who told the NYT she found it amusing at the time.
  • Anyway, go read the full story for yourself HERE.


A message from the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure

The Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure welcomes members of the Alabama Legislature back to the Capital City for the 2019 Legislative Session.
Thank you for your commitment to serving Alabama and working on behalf of the people to solve problems.
As you know, one critical problem all Alabamians deal with daily is our crumbling roads and bridges. The Alliance looks forward to continuing a conversation about how smart investments in transportation infrastructure can protect and create jobs and increase the quality of life for all Alabamians.
Click  HERE to learn more about the growing statewide effort to  #FixALRoads .



3. What a mess.

  • Steve Savarese, call your office.
  • The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s decision to suspend Charles Henderson basketball star Maori Davenport is making national waves and resulting in calls for more accountability at the AHSAA.
  • Davenport – a Rutgers signee – was ruled ineligible for mistakenly cashing and then returning a check from USA Basketball for her play last summer.
  • The eligibility decision has forced Davenport – probably Alabama’s biggest basketball star – to sit out her senior season.
  • Local folks in Troy and throughout the Wiregrass have been hollering about this one for a while.
  • But in the last few days, Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer pointed out how unfair she thought the ruling was. That got ESPN’s Jay Bilas to comment during the Alabama-Kentucky game, saying “This is a travesty and it is wrong.”
  • Bilas didn’t hold back from assigning blame.
  • “This was the sole decision of Executive Director Steve Saverese,” he said.
  • Now, Alabama lawmakers are speaking out saying this decision is another reason why the AHSAA needs more oversight.
  • Reps. Wes Allen, Kyle South and Chris England are all quoted in Sean Ross’ story for YellowHammer this morning questioning Saverese’s decision and calling for greater accountability at AHSAA.
  • This story is only getting more legs, and the entire legislature will soon be in town for the Organizational Session.


4. What’s up with the Triana case?

  • On Friday, G. Ford Gilbert, the owner of Trina Health clinics, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to bribe a public official.
  • Prosecutors said Gilbert was trying to use legislative influence to pressure Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama to cover a diabetes treatment at his clinics.
  • Prosecutors said Gilbert in 2016 paid $2,000 to then-House Majority Leader Micky Ray Hammon of Decatur to quietly generate support for legislation that would require the insurer to cover the treatment. The bill did not pass.
  • So, Gilbert pleads guilty. Hammon had already pleaded guilty.
  • But what about the other three individuals charged in the case: Former Reps. Jack Williams and Randy Davis and lobbyist Marty Conners.
  • Williams is already in pre-trial diversion and court documents indicate that Conners and Davis are now also seeking that avenue and will not be prosecuted.
  • That’s all anyone can find out on the record.
  • This morning, Inside Alabama Politics is reportingwhispers that the pre-trial diversions are really a way for prosecutors to save face in a case where evidence against Williams, Conners and Davis was lacking.
  • It will be interesting to see how quietly this is all settled.


5. Matthew Stokes: A fiscal conservative ponders the gas tax.

  • What’s a Reagan-loving, fiscal conservative to do when a low-tax haven like Alabama starts talking about raising revenue through increasing the gas tax?
  • That’s what ADN Columnist Matthew Stokes ponders in his latest piece.
  • Context is important, he argues, not just to understanding the current gas tax debate but for coming to terms with why Reagan Republicans were and are still so anti-tax.
  • But if Republicans do enact a gas tax, the onus is on them to explain why the policy is needed and show a level of restraint rare for politicians.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“As a conservative, I want the government the have less of a role in all our lives.  I want to see power distributed down to the most local level possible. In governing as in life, we often get that for which we pay.  At some point voters are going to demand more. They won’t be wrong when they do, and if conservatives and Republicans are wise, they will be ready to lead the way with a well-funded policy agenda that is both robust and restrained.”
  • Read Matthew’s full column HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers weigh possible gas tax measure in March session
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – California businessman pleads guilty in corruption case
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – January 6, 2019
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Column: Bay Area no place for college football championship
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: A fiscal conservative ponders the gas tax
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama civil rights institute rescinds Angela Davis honor
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No breakthrough in shutdown talks as Trump stands by demands
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Navy Destroyer to be named after Jeremiah Denton
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Supreme Court orders new trial for death row inmate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama steps up monitoring for Chronic Wasting Disease
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Each side accusing other of giving no ground on shutdown
AL.COM – Democrats distance themselves from Russian-inspired tactics used in Alabama Senate race
AL.COM – Richard Shelby: Shutdown has become ‘political circus’
AL.COM – Alabama gas tax debate could start in March
AL.COM – Institute’s decision latest controversy in Angela Davis’ story
AL.COM – Doug Jones on shutdown: ‘Everything right now is all political posturing’
AL.COM – Report cards show parents how to help schools, expert says
AL.COM – US to exit Syria after ISIS beaten and Kurds are safe, Trump adviser says
AL.COM – Golden Globe Awards 2019: Complete winners list
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Barfoot, others wait for committee assignments ahead of organizational session
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Bear Bryant era still special for former Alabama players from Montgomery
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alabama, Clemson won’t apologize for being great, regardless of ‘fan fatigue’ or cheap seats
DOTHAN EAGLE – Two subjects in drive-by shooting apprehended, one at large
DOTHAN EAGLE – Newton man struck, killed by vehicle on U.S. 84
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan couples arrive on West Coast for big game
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Shelby: Democrats ‘just saying they’re against the wall’
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – National outrage erupts over USA basketball star suspended by Alabama High School Athletic Association
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Doug Jones: ‘I am not going to give wall money just to give wall money’
LAGNIAPPE – Columnist Jeff Poor:  The economy is everything
LAGNIAPPE – Columnist Ron Sivak:  State sets employment benchmarks in 2018
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Seeking seven: Milestone on the line for Saban in CFP title game
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Lawmakers consider gas tax hike to pay for road and bridge construction
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – For-profit college owner agrees to end $500M in student debt
DECATUR DAILY – Cook Museum to hire 50 people next month as opening approaches
DECATUR DAILY – Capital murder trial in 2015 shootings, robberies scheduled in May
DECATUR DAILY – Car tag sales help local schools at about $60,000 annually
TIMES DAILY – Woman indicted for giving drugs to minor
TIMES DAILY – Colbert commission approves paving project
TIMES DAILY – UNA-Huntsville Hospital Health System enter partnership
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Tech-savvy new year [with gallery]
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Locals at Nasdaq closing bell event Friday
TROY MESSENGER – IT’S OFFICIAL: Neal Brown accepts head coaching job at West Virginia
THE ANNISTON STAR – ‘Plungers’ get cold and wet for sixth year for cancer nonprofit
THE ANNISTON STAR – Look Back … to the words of “Grover” at ASF, 1994
THE ANNISTON STAR – George Smith: Truman Norred: A man and his calling(s)
GADSDEN TIMES – Southside couple struggling to recover from fire, cope with illness
GADSDEN TIMES – Gadsden Regional names Employee of the Year
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Derrick Brown announces he will return to Auburn for his senior season
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Northwest Auburn citizens interested in new student housing regulation
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Meet Shelby County’s first baby of 2019
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Design progressing on new Alabaster police station
THE MADISON RECORD – BJHS Basketball to host combined ‘Be the Match’ and Alumni Night Jan. 11
THE MADISON RECORD – Alabama author to hold book signing in Huntsville Jan. 10
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Tucker looks at temporary satellite offices
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – ‘We’re in a funding crisis right now’
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – BSCC, Kelley Health Services partner for CNA program
NEW YORK TIMES – Posing as Prohibitionists, 2nd Effort Used Online Fakery in Alabama Race
NEW YORK TIMES – Bolton Puts Conditions on Syria Withdrawal, Suggesting a Delay of Months or Years
NEW YORK TIMES – American ISIS Member Caught on Syrian Battlefield, Militia Says
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Offers a ‘Steel Barrier,’ but Democrats Are Unmoved
WASHINGTON POST – Contradicting Trump, Bolton says no withdrawal from Syria until ISIS destroyed, Kurds’ safety guaranteed
WASHINGTON POST – As shutdown drags on, Trump officials make new offer, seek novel ways to cope with its impacts
WASHINGTON POST – At this year’s Golden Globes, a lot of agreement but not a lot of fun
USA TODAY – The government shutdown is tied for third longest on record – with no end in sight
USA TODAY – Man dies hours after being turned away from hospital
USA TODAY – Missing GoPro with final images of woman killed in Smokies found by American Airlines
POLITICO – Collins will decide on reelection bid by end of year
POLITICO – Trump campaign moves to stave off mayhem at 2020 convention
POLITICO – Graham: GOP wants a Democrat ‘that’s not crazy’ for shutdown talks



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