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Daily News Digest – January 8, 2019

Presented by the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure

Good morning! Can’t win ’em all. Safe to say Bama will be back, though.
Here’s your Daily News for January 8.


1. POTUS speaks.

  • President Donald Trump will address the nation tonight at 8:00 p.m. Central Time from the Oval Office.
  • For the first time during Trump’s presidency, the White House has asked broadcast networks for time for the president to speak directly to the American people.
  • The topic? His efforts to build a wall to secure the southern border and the ongoing partial government shutdown taking place over funding that wall.
  • Axios is reporting this morning that Trump will “ditch his fiery campaign rhetoric” including attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
  • The idea is to convince the American people there is a security crisis at the southern border.
  • Democrats and many in the media are downplaying the idea that there is a crisis. In fact, you’ll see “crisis” in quotes like that for the rest of the week.
  • It was once thought the two sides could get to an agreement if a compromise was made on the semantics (call it fence, not a wall, etc).
  • However, Pelosi has recently reverted to calling border barriers “immoral” in general. That’s hard to step back from.
  • On Thursday, the president will continue emphasizing his point via a visit to the southern border.
  • Read more HERE


2. AHSAA mess isn’t going away.

  • The controversy over the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s decision to rule Troy basketball player Maori Davenport ineligible is still heating up.
  • After the story caught fire, President of the AHSAA Central Board of Control Johnny Hardin issued a statement Monday saying the organization had no choice but to make the ruling it did.
  • Hardin stood in front of Executive Director Steve Saverese saying “his job is simply to apply the rules as written.”
  • Still, Saverese’s problem is turning from a public relations one into a political one.
  • The Alabama Legislature comes to town today and many of them are fired up about this ruling.
  • Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh took what I believe is the first official action sending a letter to Savarese demanding that the investigation be reopened to consider new evidence and that Davenport be reinstated pending the outcome.
  • I’ve also heard from more than a few legislators that this episode is dusting up old grievances with AHSAA governance and leadership.
  • The Legislature is only in an organizational session this week so no laws will be made. But, this is one issue that could get a lot of attention ahead of the real session two months away.
  • Read the full story on Davenport’s plight 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 Alabama’s economic competitiveness.
Did you know: The Federal Highway Administration has projected that every $500 million invested in transportation infrastructure supports 14,000 new jobs . This is just one of the many ways investing in Alabama’s roads and brides can help its economy grow.
Click  HERE   to learn more about the growing statewide effort to  #FixALRoads.

3. House Rules changes coming.

  • Rules changes are coming to the Alabama House of Representatives.
  • Not like the “no talking” and “no chewing gum” kind. Actually, there are a few of those.
  • More generally, official Rules govern how the House operates as a legislative body.
  • One significant rule change will reduce the allowed debate time on a Special Order Calendar from two hours to around 20 minutes.
  • The Special Order Calendar is the slate of bills the House agrees to debate on a given legislative day. The Rules Committee decides the slate, taking direction and input from the Speaker, committee chairs and members of the body.
  • One way Democrats can slow down the flow of legislation if they aren’t happy is to filibuster the Special Order Calendar. That can take two hours off any given work day and potentially a lot more if the House needs to adopt more than one slate.
  • Obviously, Democrats aren’t happy with this rule change proposed by the House GOP.
  • Minority Leader Anthony Daniels says the move will “further reduce our ability to have our voices heard.”
  • Republicans contend that the rules aren’t changing for debating actual legislation, just for debating what gets debated.
  • You’ll hear a lot more about this after the Legislature convenes for its organizational session at 12:00 noon.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Marshall asks FEC to investigate 2017 election.

  • Attorney General Steve Marshall has asked federal election regulators to investigate reports of online fakery in the 2017 Alabama Senate race.
  • Marshall had previously said he wanted to look into the reports himself, but after evaluating them he “has determined the matter to be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U.S. Federal Election Commission,” spokesman Mike Lewis said.
  • Marshall’s request to federal authorities comes amid continued reports of online deception in the 2017 Senate race.
  • The Washington Post and New York Times first reported that a social media researcher acknowledged using misleading online tactics during Democratic Sen. Doug Jones’ 2017 campaign against Republican Roy Moore. The newspapers said operators posed as conservative voters on a Facebook page and that Twitter accounts were used to make it appear that Russian bots were following Moore.
  • Just this week, the Times reported another fakery attempt in which a Facebook group tried to use the issue of alcohol sales to turn off voters to Moore.
  • “Alabamians have a right to know if illegal activity occurred during the 2017 race for the U.S. Senate. The reports of what may have transpired are deeply troubling and appear to warrant a full investigation by the Commission,” Marshall wrote in a letter to the FEC.
  • For his part, Sen. Doug Jones has said he welcomes a full investigation and denounces any tactics that crossed legal lines.
  • Full story HERE.

5. News Briefs.

Ginsburg misses 1st Supreme Court arguments
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing arguments for the first time in more than 25 years as she recuperates from cancer surgery last month.
  • Ginsburg was not on the bench as the court met Monday to hear arguments. It was not clear when she would return to the court, which will hear more cases Tuesday and Wednesday, and again next week.
  • Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the 85-year-old justice is continuing to recuperate and work from home after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung on Dec. 21.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts said Ginsburg would participate in deciding the argued cases “on the basis of the briefs and transcripts of oral arguments.”
  • Ginsburg had two earlier cancer surgeries in 1999 and 2009 that did not cause her to miss court sessions. She also has broken ribs on at least two occasions.
  • The court said doctors found the growths on Ginsburg’s lung when she was being treated for fractured ribs she suffered in a fall at her office on Nov. 7.
  • Full story.
Refunds not impacted
  • Taxpayers who are owed refunds will be paid on time, despite the government shutdown that has closed many federal agencies, a Trump administration official said Monday as concern mounted over the risk that the payments could be delayed.
  • The acting director of the White House budget office, Russell Vought, said customary rules will be changed to make the payments possible. He told reporters that an “indefinite appropriation” was available for the refunds, which would go out as normal.
  • The IRS said late Monday that it will recall a large number of furloughed employees to process returns. They will probably work without pay. Under the previous rules, hundreds of billions of dollars in refunds could be delayed because funding would not be available.
  • Full story.
Bonner retires
  • Judy Bonner is retiring from her position as Provost at Mississippi State University.
  • Bonner was the President of the University of Alabama from 2012-2015 and also worked as Provost in Tuscaloosa for ten years prior to that.
  • She is the sister of former Congressman Jo Bonner, who is now serving as a Senior Adviser to Gov. Kay Ivey.
Cliff Sims packs ambitious media tour
  • Former Trump White House aide and Alabama native Cliff Sims has packed an ambitious media tour for the publication of his book, “Team of Vipers.”
  • George Stephanopoulos will get the first crack on “Good Morning America,” while other ABC programs like “The View” and “Nightline” will also get interviews.
  • He’ll also go on Stephen Colbert and other cable outlets as part of the promotional tour.
  • Read more from Mike Allen in AXIOS.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama asks federal officials to investigate Senate race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Proposed legislative rules could shorten debate time
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AHSAA Statement on Eligibility of Charles Henderson Student-Athlete
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Girls basketball player remains benched for $857.20 check
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judy Bonner retires from Mississippi State
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump to take his case to build wall to prime-time audience
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ginsburg misses Supreme Court arguments for first time
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – January 7, 2019
AL.COM – Proposed Alabama legislative rules could shorten debate time
AL.COM – More grievances, more lawyers as Mobile mayor-council dispute swells
AL.COM – Angela Davis ‘stunned’ at BCRI decision, but is still coming to Birmingham for ‘alternative event’
AL.COM – Charles Daniels appointed ADOC Deputy Commissioner of Operations
AL.COM – Former Jeffco Public Defender to lead ACLU of Alabama
AL.COM – Activists protest Civil Rights Institute decision to withdraw award for Angela Davis
AL.COM – Lawyers for Alabama prison system, inmates tentatively agree on mental health staffing
AL.COM – Airbus A220 incentives: Mobile, county in for $8 million plus abatements
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Grown-ups failed basketball star Maori Davenport.
AL.COM – Columnist Dana McCain: Paging the Liberty University trustees
AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: In caving to pressure to cancel Davis, BCRI insulted Shuttlesworth, stained its own legacy
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Autauga deputies sport shiny new badges
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Indiana man racks up charges following weekend robbery
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Police searching for suspect in Zelda Road robbery
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Playing chicken? Spilled chicken causes traffic problems
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Marsh, Ainsworth call on AHSAA to immediately reinstate Maori Davenport
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Of course the Democrats’ shenanigans in Alabama’s 2017 U.S. Senate special election played a role in the outcome
DOTHAN EAGLE – AHSAA responds to national backlash against Maori Davenport ruling
DOTHAN EAGLE – Public meeting organized to discuss remediation of contaminated lot on Linden Street
DOTHAN EAGLE – Texas man arrested for 2003 Dothan murder
DOTHAN EAGLE – Suspect in Troy armed robbery case apprehended in Dothan
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – CECIL HURT: Alabama not bad, but ‘good is not good enough’
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – NOTEBOOK: Special teams hit and miss for Alabama
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Girls basketball player remains benched for $857.20 check
DECATUR DAILY – Food truck ordinance changes return to the council agenda
DECATUR DAILY – Limestone OKs Sugar Creek for river trail despite ‘riffraff’ fear
DECATUR DAILY – New Lawrence sheriff: More deputies, safer schools priorities
TIMES DAILY – Chamber hosts Paul Finebaum in March
TIMES DAILY – Hitt hired as assistant Colbert EMA director
TIMES DAILY – Murder suspect was on bond at time of shooting
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – State champs recognized
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Routines return [with gallery]
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Locals graduate from Troy University
TROY MESSENGER – AHSAA responds to local and national backlash
THE ANNISTON STAR – ‘Plungers’ get cold and wet for sixth year for cancer nonprofit
THE ANNISTON STAR – Cleburne commissioners debate funding for coroner
THE ANNISTON STAR – Mark Edwards: Clemson shakes, rattles and rolls Tide in national title showdown
GADSDEN TIMES – Open House, Tech Tuesday scheduled for Veterans
GADSDEN TIMES – The Gadsden Times: Legislature seems poised to hike gasoline tax
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Derrick Brown announces he will return to Auburn for his senior season
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Opelika-Auburn News 2018 All-Area Offensive Team, Large Schools
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Northwest Auburn citizens interested in new student housing regulation
CULLMAN TIMES – Clemson dominates Crimson Tide 44-16 to win national title
CULLMAN TIMES – Woman sentenced to life as teen in killing wins clemency
CULLMAN TIMES – Prison system won’t face contempt hearing on staffing
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Thompson cheer holding tryout prep clinics
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Winter weather returning this week
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Local student wins national art competition
THE MADISON RECORD – United AYSO teams reach gold finalist in Decatur
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Four businesses announce closures in Jasper
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Dickerson: County budget improves in 1Q
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – E-911 will activate sirens
NEW YORK TIMES – As Government Shutdown Persists, Americans Feel the Bite
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Will Take Case for Border Wall to Public in National Address
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Border Wall and National Emergency Powers, Explained
WASHINGTON POST – Hungarians are protesting their increasingly autocratic government. Here’s why it matters.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump aides lay foundation for emergency order to build wall, saying border is in ‘crisis’
WASHINGTON POST – The National Weather Service is ‘open,’ but forecast is worse because of the shutdown
USA TODAY – North Korea’s Kim Jong Un makes birthday visit to China for meetings with President Xi Jinping
USA TODAY – Newsom sworn in as California governor, decries Trump ‘corruption and incompetence’
USA TODAY – White House official says ‘tax refunds will go out’ during partial government shutdown
POLITICO – Luján taps experienced team for assistant speaker’s office
POLITICO – DOJ delaying Whitaker testimony before House
POLITICO – Trump wages intense but lonely campaign for his border wall

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