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Daily News Digest – July 23, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, July 23.


1. Ivey convenes prison study group.

  • Gov. Kay Ivey convened the first meeting of her newly-formed Study Group on Criminal Justice Monday and charged them with finding solutions to the state’s prison problems.
  • Overcrowding, under-staffing, and unsafe conditions inside Alabama prisons have the state facing dual threats from the federal government: a U.S. District Court directive to increase corrections officer levels and the Department of Justice threatening to sue the state over its findings that inmates’ 8th Amendment rights are being violated.
  • Alabama prisons in April held about 20,000 inmates in facilities originally designed to house about 12,400. That puts the state at about 165 percent of capacity.
  • The Governor’s Office is working with DOJ to develop a plan to prevent a lawsuit. It will likely require legislation, thus the purpose for the study group meeting ahead of the 2020 legislative session.
  • Former Supreme Court Justice Champ Lyons, Ivey’s representative on the panel, said the state needed smarter policies on sentencing and recidivism.
  • “I respectfully submit we need to be tough on crime, but I also submit we need to be smart on crime,” he said.
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. RIP Jake.

  • Speaking of Corrections officers, sad news to report: Jake, the prison search dog injured in a weekend contraband raid, has died.
  • Jake developed pneumonia after sniffing synthetic marijuana at Stanton Correctional Facility.
  • He was sent to Auburn University’s Veterinary Clinic for treatment and Corrections officials were hopeful he would recover, but his condition eventually deteriorated.
  • DOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said Jake likely saved the lives of Corrections officials conducting the raid.
  • “With Jake’s training and ability to find the narcotic, he saved other lives by giving his own in the line-of-duty… Jake’s heroism and ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten,” he said.
  • Jake could have another legacy: finally getting people’s attention on the need for prison reform.
  • Read more HERE.


3. No leniency for licking larceny.

  • Recent viral videos of people opening and licking containers of ice cream and then returning them to store shelves have an Alabama lawmaker looking at possible harsher penalties for those who mess with consumer goods.
  • “I don’t like being reactionary, but given the lack of specificity in our current law, I think it  needs to be addressed and other states have already plowed some ground,” state Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said recently.
  • Earlier this month, police in Texas identified a teenager suspected of taking a tub of ice cream from a Walmart freezer, removing the top to lick the ice cream and returning it to the freezer. Video of the act circulated on social media.
  • Then, a 36-year old Louisiana man posted a video of himself on Facebook opening a Blue Bell ice cream container, licking it, poking it with his finger and putting it back on the shelf.
  • Orr said he is drafting consumer product tampering legislation for the 2020 legislative session and will talk to prosecutors about whether a violation of the law should be a Class A misdemeanor or a Class C felony, either of which would carry more severe punishment than the current law.
  • Read the full (and see the video) story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


4. Spending deal reached.

  • President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have announced a critical debt and budget agreement to avoid political and economic tumult over the possibility of a government shutdown or first federal default.
  • The deal, announced Monday by Trump on Twitter, will restore the government’s ability to borrow to pay its bills past next year’s elections and build upon recent large budget gains for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.
  • “I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck,” Trump tweeted, saying there will be no “poison pills” added to follow-up legislation. “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”
  • The agreement is on a broad outline for $1.37 trillion in agency spending next year and slightly more in fiscal 2021. It would mean a win for lawmakers eager to return Washington to a more predictable path amid political turmoil and polarization, defense hawks determined to cement big military increases and Democrats seeking to protect domestic programs.
  • Nobody notched a big win, but both sides view it as better than a protracted battle this Fall.
  • At issue are two separate but pressing items on Washington’s must-do agenda: increasing the debt limit to avert a first-ever default on U.S. payments and acting to set overall spending limits and prevent $125 billion in automatic spending cuts from hitting the Pentagon and domestic agencies with 10 percent cuts starting in January.
  • The threat of the automatic cuts represents the last gasp of a failed 2011 budget and debt pact between former President Barack Obama and then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that promised future spending and deficit cuts to cover a $2 trillion increase in the debt. But a bipartisan deficit “super committee” failed to deliver, and lawmakers were unwilling to live with the follow-up cuts to defense and domestic accounts. This is the fourth deal since 2013 to reverse those cuts.
  • Full story HERE.


5. The Mueller hearings.

  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow (Wednesday), and it’s sure to be a big event.
  • House Republicans are pledging a tough questioning of Mueller and will cast the hearing as the “final episode of the Russia investigation.
  • House Democrats plan to air evidence of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump in a potentially last-ditch bid to impeach him.
  • Read more about what to expect HERE.
  • ADN Columnist Matthew Stokes has a take on all this. He’s been intently following the Mueller saga.
  • He also did what too few of us did: he actually read the full Mueller report.
  • If you really want to be prepared to watch the hearing on TV, Stokes suggests taking time out to actually read the report for yourself.
  • Here’s an excerpt of his column:
“In the meantime, the report itself has been public for three months. Free copies have been available in printed and audio format, and a book copy can be had for very little cost. Though Congress was provided a copy, it was discouraging to read a recent Politico piece that saw several members of Congress, from both parties, admit that they had yet to read the report. 
“Closer to home, it is heartening to know that Alabama’s congressional delegation has not ignored the matter. I contacted all of Alabama’s total delegation; of our nine total senators and representatives, I heard back from seven of them, and all said they had read all or part of the report…
“Mueller was limited in his scope; Congress is not. Mueller could not continue his investigation forever; Congress can. Mueller could not indict a sitting president; Congress can by way of impeachment. None of this is to say that Congress should impeach President Trump. Instead, Robert Mueller has handed Congress a thorough report about some very disturbing behavior on the part of one of our geopolitical rivals as well as the President and those who helped get him elected. Congress would be derelict in its duties if it failed to further explore the evidence. I suspect that Mueller will suggest as much when he testifies before the House.”
  • Read Matthew Stokes’ full column HERE.


AP News Briefs.


Boris Johnson wins race to be UK prime minister
  • Brexit hardliner Boris Johnson has won the race to lead Britain’s governing Conservative Party, and will become the country’s next prime minister.
  • He defeated his rival Jeremy Hunt overwhelmingly in a vote of Conservative Party members.
  • He will be installed as prime minister in a formal handover from Theresa May on Wednesday.
  • The victory is a triumph for the 55-year-old Johnson, an ambitious but erratic politician whose political career has veered between periods in high office and spells on the sidelines.
  • Johnson has vowed that Britain will quit the European Union, “come what may,” on the scheduled Brexit departure date of Oct. 31 even if it means leaving without a divorce deal. But he faces a rocky ride from a Parliament determined to prevent him from taking the U.K. out of the bloc without a withdrawal agreement.
  • Read more HERE.
Trump seeks Pakistan’s help to end long Afghanistan war
  • President Donald Trump claimed Monday he could end the nearly two-decade-old war in Afghanistan in a matter of days but that it would kill millions of people and wipe the country “off the face of the earth.”
  • The president made the statement at the White House as he praised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and sought his help in negotiating a peace deal in neighboring Afghanistan.
  • “I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. It would be gone. It would be over, literally, in 10 days.”
  • Warming up to Khan marked a turnaround for Trump, who has been sharply critical of Pakistan and now hopes Khan’s government will use its influence with the Taliban to advance a peace deal and help the U.S. withdraw from the war.
  • Full story HERE.
Study: Millions should stop taking aspirin for heart health
  • Millions of people who take aspirin to prevent a heart attack may need to rethink the pill-popping, Harvard researchers reported Monday.
  • A daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke and for those diagnosed with heart disease.
  • But for the otherwise healthy, that advice has been overturned. Guidelines released this year ruled out routine aspirin use for many older adults who don’t already have heart disease — and said it’s only for certain younger people under doctor’s orders.
  • How many people need to get that message?
  • Some 29 million people 40 and older were taking an aspirin a day despite having no known heart disease in 2017, the latest data available, according to a new study from Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. About 6.6 million of them were doing so on their own — a doctor never recommended it.
  • Full story HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds w/ Frank Abagnale, Jr.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Governor says Alabama ‘working’ to avoid prison lawsuit
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ice cream licking incidents prompt call for consumer protection law
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jake, the police dog that sniffed drugs during prison search, dies
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Mueller comes to Congress
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Deal sealed on federal budget ensures no shutdown, default
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Republicans, Democrats plan different strategies for Mueller hearing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Study: Millions should stop taking aspirin for heart health
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The Latest: Boris Johnson wins race to be UK prime minister
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 22, 2019
AL.COM  – Dunn says state prison issues details in DOJ report are being addressed
AL.COM  – Lawmaker files bill to eliminate Alabama income, sales tax, replace with consumption tax
AL.COM  – I-10 bridge gets $125 million DOT infrastructure grant
AL.COM  – Merrill removes east Alabama election official over improper voter registration advice
AL.COM  – 74-year-old substitute teacher convicted in discharge of gun in 1st-grade Alabama classroom
AL.COM  – Alabama research may help secure the chocolate supply
AL.COM  – Angela Davis to be inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame
AL.COM  – Governor’s prison study group begins looking at issues
AL.COM  – Could a new monument heal Jefferson County’s racial divide?
AL.COM  – Columnist Dana McCain: In praise of ‘God’s Man’
AL.COM  – Contributor Dave Finch: Toyota believes in Alabama says a top company official
Montgomery Advertiser – One dead, one injured in fatal accident near Posey’s Crossroads
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery woman arrested in Prattville road rage incident
Montgomery Advertiser – It’s official: One mayoral campaign fails to qualify as nearly 40 candidates vie for city positions
YellowHammer News – Byrne visits border, finds Dem allegations about ICE conduct ‘absolutely not based in fact’
YellowHammer News – Mobile Bay Bridge project awarded $125 million grant by Trump administration
YellowHammer News – Boating deaths are soaring on Alabama’s lakes and rivers
Dothan Eagle – 12 different charities and nonprofits received bingo charitable contributions in 2018
Dothan Eagle – Body of man found in Wright’s Creek identified as Bonifay man
Dothan Eagle – No criminal charges anticipated to be filed against Houston County Sheriff’s deputy
Tuscaloosa News – Open house planned for Shelton State’s Apple lab
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa group seeks ideas in Chattanooga
Tuscaloosa News – Instagram expands hiding ‘likes’ to make you happier
Decatur Daily – Material that caused evacuation last week in Decatur being tested
Decatur Daily – Governor says Alabama ‘working’ to avoid prison lawsuit
Decatur Daily – TVA change not expected to impact local power bills
Times Daily – Red tape slowing Inspiration Landing groundbreaking
Times Daily – ‘Remote Shoals’ has 85 applicants from 12 states
Times Daily – Universal Breakfast Program starts in August in Lauderdale schools
Gadsden Times – Glencoe woman in fiery crash on Highway 431 died from injuries
Gadsden Times – Albertville police investigate stabbing
Gadsden Times – Ivey: Alabama ‘working’ to avoid prison lawsuit
Anniston Star – Police investigating burglary at Jacksonville church
Anniston Star – Woman reports rape in Anniston
Anniston Star – Police investigating burglary at Jacksonville church
Andalusia Star News – Vanwinkle ready for FHS marching band season
Andalusia Star News – AHS student sings National Anthem at Braves game
Andalusia Star News – Ten Mile Branch Band ready for Jamz
Opelika-Auburn News – Corrections K-9 treated at AU vet clinic dies after finding substance during prison search
Opelika-Auburn News – Alabama MENTOR hosts local Foster Parent Info Session
Opelika-Auburn News – Tickets available for Main Street’s inaugural craft beer festival
Daily Mountain Eagle – Autism training will be held Thursday for first responders
Daily Mountain Eagle – UA $200,000 grant to help area on opioid crisis
Daily Mountain Eagle – Homeless numbers increase in Walker County in 2019
Trussville Tribune – Trussville City Schools free and reduced lunch program for 2019 – 2020
Trussville Tribune – Health insurance provider changes approved by State Employees’ Insurance Board
Trussville Tribune – Argo City Council honors two police officers
Athens News Courier – Goose freed, got stuck in pizza driver’s car grille
Sand Mountain Reporter – Sardis City PD unveils new badges
Sand Mountain Reporter – Driver burned in Mountainboro crash dies
Sand Mountain Reporter – Geraldine Senior Center attendants enjoy renovations, improvements
WSFA Montgomery – MPS learns more on accreditation in special called meeting
WSFA Montgomery – Grady man killed in Montgomery County crash
WSFA Montgomery – 1 killed in 3-vehicle crash outside Brundidge
Fox 6 Birmingham – Standoff in east Alabama ends with man’s death
Fox 6 Birmingham – New tech company moves headquarters to Birmingham
Fox 6 Birmingham – Four people charged with six church burglaries in Tuscaloosa Co.
WAFF Huntsville – Limestone County Sheriff’s Office investigating shooting
WAFF Huntsville – ‘Supplies are on us’: Fort Payne City Council pays for all city school supplies
WAFF Huntsville – Madison City Council approves agreement for two new SROs
WKRG Mobile – Tropical Depression Three expected to fade, area of low pressure expected to form in Gulf
WKRG Mobile – Oakland Raider from Mobile hosting back to school event Tuesday
WTVY Dothan – ESCC growth boosts community development
WTVY Dothan – Ozark man dies when his pickup collided with 18 wheeler
WTVY Dothan – Geneva County Sheriff looks into work release program to bolster salaries
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump announces support for two-year bipartisan budget deal that boosts spending, suspends debt limit
WASHINGTON POST  – USDA proposes SNAP change that would push 3 million Americans off food stamps
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump administration to expand its power to deport undocumented immigrants
NEW YORK TIMES  – GOP 2020 convention host city Charlotte condemns Trump’s ‘racist and xenophobic’ comments
NEW YORK TIMES  – More Than 2,000 Migrants Were Targeted in Raids. 35 Were Arrested

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