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Daily News Digest – July 10, 2019

Good Morning!
Here’s your Daily News news for Wednesday, July 10.


1. Obamacare on the brink.

  • A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could see some or all of Obamacare ruled unconstitutional.
  • A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals peppered lawyers defending the law with skeptical questions and seemed inclined to strike down a core provision of former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
  • Remember when the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional on the grounds that the individual mandate penalty really constituted a tax and that Congress has the power to tax?
  • Well, in 2017 Congress zeroed out that individual mandate penalty, meaning the tax no longer exists and only the mandate remains. Roberts and the Court maintained that simply requiring individuals to purchase health insurance was unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.
  • The 5th Circuit appears poised to agree, though it is unclear if they would strike down the whole law or just the mandate provision.
  • If it’s the whole law, the decision could impact millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions, 20-somethings on their parents’ insurance, and those who got insured through Medicaid expansion.
  • In any case, it’s probably going back to the Supreme Court eventually.
  • Read more HERE.


2. Inside Alabama Politics.

These dog days of summer have been tough on the political rumor mongering business. There just hasn’t been a whole lot going on.
But the action is picking up, and we have another fix for you at our Inside Alabama Politics sister site this morning.
In today’s edition:
  • Auburn University is “stepping up” its State House game by bringing in a new governmental affairs leader;
  • A familiar name has emerged as Gov. Kay Ivey’s choice to lead the Pardons and Paroles agency;
  • There’s still talk of a special session on prisons, but conventional wisdom has changed on when;
  • House District 42 candidate Van Smith is making the rounds in Montgomery;
  • Lawmakers, staff & lobbyists headed down to the Southern Legislative Conference this weekend;
  • Contracts for the abortion law defense and the Clotilda shipwreck are up Thursday in Contract Review;
  • And Billy McFarland is apparently still being creepy.
Read those stories new this morning HERE .
As a reminder, Inside Alabama Politics is our paid subscription site where you’ll continue to see more exclusive stories, the latest political happenings, and insider talk as we merge the two news platforms.
If you’d like to subscribe, you can do that HERE .

3. Lawsuit challenges elected judges.

  • A lawsuit challenging Alabama’s process of electing appellate court judges and justices is moving forward in federal court.
  • Plaintiffs, including the Alabama branch of the NAACP on behalf of black voters, are attempting to get the court to order the state to choose judges differently, perhaps by district elections.
  • They argue that statewide judicial elections have led to an all-white appellate judiciary. All individuals on Alabama’s Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Court of Civl Appeals are white. There have been two black Supreme Court justices in the state’s history – both appointed by governors – but no black appeals court judges.
  • However, the state has argued the line isn’t based on color, but rather party preference. They will file a full response brief in the coming weeks and oral arguments are scheduled to begin next month.
  • Read the full story from AP’s Kim Chandler HERE.


4. New Corrections salary packages.

  • It’s not easy to recruit guards to work in Alabama prisons, nor is it easy to retain the ones they have.
  • But the Alabama Department of Corrections is trying to remedy both problems by offering more competitive salary and bonus packages for corrections officers.
  • Higher salaries, a bonus structure, and incentives to encourage longevity are some of the features of the new packages.
  • DOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said the new salary and bonus packages were made possible by increased funding from the Legislature.
  • Read more from’s William Thornton HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.

FEMA: Gulf coast should prepare for hurricanes
  • FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program are urging people on the Gulf and East coasts to act now to prepare for hurricane season and buy flood insurance.
  • They sent news releases to coastal cities on Tuesday. The Hurricane Center said Tuesday that a tropical depression is likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of the week.
  • The statements from the flood insurance program and Federal Emergency Management Agency note that an inch of water in an average home can require $25,000 in repairs, and that flood insurance policies need 30 days to take effect.
  • The agencies recommend other measures including an evacuation plan and an emergency kit with at least three days’ supplies.
  • The hurricane season runs through November.
  • More information is available at .
Ocasio-Cortez’s feud with Pelosi tests Democrats heading to 2020
  • They don’t talk to each other much, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But they’re lately speaking at one another in a way that threatens party unity and underscores broader tensions reshaping the Democrats.
  • Their power struggle has spilled open in what could be a momentary blip or a foreshadowing of divisions to come.
  • It started with a rare public rebuke — Pelosi chiding AOC, as she’s called, in a newspaper interview; AOC responding pointedly on Twitter — that’s now challenging the House agenda and rippling into the 2020 presidential campaign. A new test will come this week on a must-pass defense bill that the White House on Tuesday threatened to veto.
  • At its core, the tension between the most powerful Democrat in the country and one of the party’s newest, most liberal members embodies a debate over how best, in style and substance, to defeat President Donald Trump. And both sides think they’re right.
  • For allies of the longtime California congresswoman, Pelosi’s off-handed dismissal of Ocasio-Cortez and the three other liberal freshmen House members who opposed a border security package last month was a necessary comeuppance for “the squad” of newcomers who are trying to push the party leftward.
  • “These people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi told The New York Times. “But they didn’t have any following.” In the speaker’s world, they lack what Pelosi often calls “the currency of the realm” — the power to turn their high-volume activism into a coalition of votes to pass legislation or, in their case, to stop it.
  • Read the full story HERE.
Trump directing government to revamp care for kidney disease
  • President Donald Trump is directing the government to revamp the nation’s care for kidney disease, so that more people whose kidneys fail have a chance at early transplants and home dialysis — along with better prevention so patients don’t get that sick to begin with.
  • Senior administration officials told The Associated Press that Trump is set to sign an executive order Wednesday calling for strategies that have the potential to save lives and millions of Medicare dollars.
  • That won’t happen overnight — some of the initiatives will require new government regulations.
  • And because a severe organ shortage complicates the call for more transplants, the administration also aims to ease financial hardships for living donors, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.
  • Read more HERE.
Oakland Raiders sign first-round pick RB Josh Jacobs
  • The Oakland Raiders have signed first-round draft pick Josh Jacobs.
  • The team announced Tuesday they had signed the running back out of Alabama. No additional information was immediately available.
  • The 5-foot-10, 219-pound Jacobs was selected 24th by the Raiders and appeared in 42 games at Alabama. He scored 15 touchdowns last season for the Crimson Tide, including 11 rushing. He had 1,315 all-purpose yards and averaged 30.6 yards on kickoff returns — the second-best single-season mark in school history.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawsuit challenges Alabama’s method of electing judges
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Validity of Obama health care law at issue in appeal hearing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ocasio-Cortez’s feud with Pelosi tests party heading to 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump directing government to revamp care for kidney disease
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 9, 2019
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – Auburn to ‘step up’ State House game; A familiar name to lead Pardons and Paroles; Special session talk; Van Davis makes rounds in Montgomery; SLC starts this weekend; Contracts for abortion law defense, Clotilda shipwreck up Thursday; Billy McFarland apparently still being creepy.
AL.COM  – Lawsuit challenges Alabama’s method of electing judges.
AL.COM  – Merrill says his Twitter case different from Trump’s
AL.COM  – House Judiciary will vote on subpoenas for Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner
AL.COM  – Alabama school board members weigh in on plan to replace them
AL.COM  – No toxic algae along Alabama coast, monitoring underway; Mississippi beaches remain closed
AL.COM  – New Birmingham law hopes to increase fresh food availability, limit discount stores
AL.COM  – YWCA Central Alabama picks new CEO
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: No one in Washington cares about the debt. Did they ever?
AL.COM  – Columnist Roy Johnson: Montgomery’s panhandling law sends yet a message Alabama doesn’t need
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Kill the problem’: Councilmen resign after Alabama mayor’s homophobic Facebook post
Montgomery Advertiser – Three Autauga men charged with drug trafficking
Montgomery Advertiser – Seattle police arrest naked man after ‘unprovoked’ triple stabbing; 2 hospitalized
YellowHammer News – Study reveals HudsonAlpha generated $2.45B impact on Alabama economy
YellowHammer News – What James Spann says Alabamians should know in advance of a hurricane
YellowHammer News – Vocational rehabilitation services strives to narrow employment gap for Alabamians with disabilities
Dothan Eagle – Tuesday wreck in Jackson County kills 1, critically injures Dothan man
Dothan Eagle – Gone to pot: Georgia woman receives marijuana-themed cake instead of one of Disney character she ordered
Tuscaloosa News – Lawsuit challenges Alabama’s method of electing judges
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama woman: Shot that hit pregnant woman was self-defense
Tuscaloosa News – Bama Belle for sale, cruises and events still offered — for now
Decatur Daily – Falkville woman dies in 1-vehicle wreck
Decatur Daily – New homes hinge on council vote on sewer plan that has timeline for developer
Decatur Daily – 3M to test 3 old landfills in Decatur area for hazardous chemical
Times Daily – Freedom From Religion Foundation wants Florence to rescind grant
Times Daily – Fourth weekend saw successful festivals, few issues
Times Daily – Police seek suspect in package store robber
Gadsden Times – City plans to connect Coosa Landing boat docks with The Venue
Gadsden Times – Jail annex on target to be completed soon
Gadsden Times – Attalla woman stabbed at East Gadsden party
Anniston Star – Insanity defense barred in capital murder trial
Anniston Star – Contract dispute blocks CBS station for some local viewers
Anniston Star – Cleburne commission agrees to settle lawsuit over hiring
Troy Messenger – County raises $7M in jail tax revenue
Troy Messenger – McClaney family hosts blood drive to honor man killed in altercation
Andalusia Star News – DAR donates flag from Fourth of July Parade to American Legion
Opelika-Auburn News – Tuskegee homicide suspect considered ‘armed and dangerous’ now in custody
Opelika-Auburn News – Police: 7 dead in multi-vehicle Interstate 85 crash
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University hotel earns coveted ranking from AAA
Daily Mountain Eagle – Protesters: Chambers will run again in 2020
Daily Mountain Eagle – Native American exhibit opens today at Bankhead House
Trussville Tribune – Controversial rezoning issue, entertainment district, among items discussed at Trussville City Council meeting
Trussville Tribune – State Sen. Shelnutt presents Clay Council with $20,000 check for tennis courts
Trussville Tribune – TCS Board of Education approves teacher raises, discusses new Sonday Program
Athens News Courier – Man wanted in slaying at McDonald’s restaurant arrested
Sand Mountain Reporter – Claysville classes move to DAR | Marshall County BOE opts to relocate K-4 students, keep pre-K
WSFA Montgomery – New diversion program quickly connects drug offenders with addiction treatment
WSFA Montgomery – Affidavit: Robbery suspect pistol whipped victim
WSFA Montgomery – U.S. 82 reopens in Autauga County after fatal crash
Fox 6 Birmingham – Recycling center causing stink in Bibb County
Fox 6 Birmingham – B’ham City Council passes Healthy Foods Ordinance
Fox 6 Birmingham – Hoover leaders approve comprehensive plan
WAFF Huntsville – Heat putting local contractors at risk, ultimately costing time and money
WAFF Huntsville – Colbert County Animal Shelter running out of pet food
WAFF Huntsville – Marshall County Commission considering license fee increase to fund school SROs
WKRG Mobile – Video: Officer pulls gun, hits motorcyclists for no apparent reason
WKRG Mobile – Alabama’s new road rage law, from local officers’ perspective
WTVY Dothan – Man sentenced to 615 years for sex crimes, one woman believes there are more victims
WTVY Dothan – ACOM’s “Health, Wellness and the Five Senses” camp
WTVY Dothan – One dead after crash in Jackson County
WASHINGTON POST  – ‘I barely know the guy’: To minimize critics, Trump employs selective amnesia
WASHINGTON POST  – Federal judge rejects Trump administration’s bid to swap out lawyers for census case on citizenship question
WASHINGTON POST  – Appeals judges question whether the ACA can stand without insurance penalty
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump to order overhaul of organ transplant and kidney dialysis systems.
WASHINGTON POST  – Facial-recognition use by federal agencies draws lawmakers’ anger
NEW YORK TIMES  – AP-NORC Poll: Many Feeling Vulnerable Despite Economic Gains
NEW YORK TIMES  – 24 Governors Call on Trump to Halt Rollback on Rules for Clean Cars
NEW YORK TIMES  – So You Want to Overturn Obamacare. Here Are Some Things That Would Be Headaches



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