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Daily News Digest – July 24, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, July 24.

1. Mueller time on the Hill.

  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee has already begun (8:15 Eastern start time!).
  • Most of the time, these hearings take a minute to really get going as lawmakers tee up their prepared soliloquies. That is to say, you haven’t missed much.
  • Mueller has been called to testify about his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. That investigation resulted in the indictments of 34 people and three Russian businesses on charges including conspiracy, computer hacking, and financial crimes. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and retired Gen. Michael Flynn were probably the most high-profile individuals caught up in the probe.
  • Mueller’s full report landed with a big thud earlier this year because it did not contain the “smoking gun” evidence against President Trump that many expected or wanted.
  • Today, House Democrats will try to pry out incriminating, hidden-till-now details of the investigation they can use against the president. Republicans will attempt to put the whole thing to rest, and some on the panel may try to point out conspiratorial actions against Trump as well.
  • You can watch the hearing live HERE if you like. Or you can just wait to watch the best edited clips on the partisan cable network of your choosing.
  • On a personal note, today might finally be the day I turn off my @RealDonaldTrump tweet alerts.


2. SNAP changes.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving forward with a new rule that will tighten eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.
  • Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the rule would close a “loophole” that allows those receiving other forms of welfare to automatically qualify for food stamps without states reviewing income or assets.
  • “For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” Perdue said.
  • The USDA estimates that 1.7 million households – and about 3.1 million people – will not meet SNAP’s income eligibility guidelines once the rule is enforced.
  • In Alabama, about 615,500 people receive SNAP benefits, according to the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
  • ADHR spokesman Barry Spear tells Alabama Daily News that the state won’t know until it gets further guidance from Washington how many people might be impacted by the proposed change.
  • Read more HERE.

3. Speaker not involved in HD74.

  • Last week we shared an interesting story in which House District 74 candidate Michael Fritz claimed he had the support of House Speaker Mac McCutcheon in the GOP runoff against Charlotte Meadows.
  • That seemed odd and out of character, so ADN’s Mary Sell looked into it.
  • The Speaker cleared things up by saying he’s neutral in the race, but has met with both candidates and is “encouraged by the quality and character of each one.”
  • His brief elaboration might help explain things.
  • “Because this race involves Republican candidates, various consultants who previously served on my 2018 team are involved with both candidates and their respective campaigns.”
  • The runoff election is scheduled for August 27, the same day as Montgomery’s big mayor election.
  • Read Mary’s full story HERE.

4. Stacy Column: The Mobile Mess.

  • The biggest story in the state right now is the controversy surrounding the proposed new bridge spanning the Mobile River that would at long last alleviate frequent congestion along Interstate 10 through the Wallace Tunnel.
  • What was once a hopeful project has become a political mess, and the implications reach far beyond Mobile.
  • I got into this in my most recent column. Here’s an excerpt:
“The project wasn’t always controversial, though. It used to be an aspirational local goal, the kind politicians love to tout when talking about the future. The Mobile Bayway design looks glorious, its four giant suspension towers competing with the Mobile skyline and its soaring 215 foot lift off the water making it the second tallest of its kind in the United States. Hardly anyone disagreed with the need to build the bridge for the last several years. Stories without disagreement are boring, so few paid attention.
“Then came the problem: this Spring it became clear that the project’s hefty $2.1 billion price tag would have to be funded in part by drivers themselves in the form of tolls. When the Alabama Department of Transportation announced that tolls ranging from $3 to $6 each way would be necessary to fund bridge construction, all of coastal Alabama experienced a collective, massive sticker shock. And adding to the shock was the important detail that the existing tunnel route would also be tolled to prevent all traffic from diverting from the bridge and defeating the whole purpose.”
  • Read my full column HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds w/ Frank Abagnale, Jr.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – WATCH: Robert Mueller testifies before Congress on Russia probe
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – McCutcheon says he’s not involved in House District 74 race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Stacy Column: This Mobile Mess
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – USDA rule would cut food stamp benefits for 3.1 million
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP, Dems offer compromise to reduce drug costs for seniors
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Mueller comes to Congress
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 – Daily News Digest – July 23, 2019
AL.COM – Small-town America does have an opioid problem, but not in this Alabama town.
AL.COM – Former Pickens County sheriff pleads guilty to scamming church, food bank.
AL.COM – Mazda Toyota aims for diversity in plant construction.
AL.COM – ‘Police are under increased attack’: Alabama officers face deadly year.
AL.COM – Tuberville says he would not take salary if elected to Senate.
Montgomery Advertiser – Tuskegee professor sues university, alleges age discrimination
Montgomery Advertiser – Trooper testifies suspect was speeding, on wrong side of road in fatal crash
Montgomery Advertiser – A Montgomery original: After 73 years, Stern Brothers office furniture store is no more
YellowHammer News – Jones changes tune on immigration, admits border ‘crisis’
YellowHammer News – Tuberville: ‘We’re all immigrants’ and ‘came the right way’; ‘This group’s not coming the right way’
YellowHammer News – Merrill co-authors Alabama history book to benefit fourth-graders
Dothan Eagle – Dothan woman accused of taking $1K worth of merchandise from Victoria’s Secret
Dothan Eagle – Geneva County man accused of beating his father
Dothan Eagle – Former Dothan firefighter injured in traffic crash
Tuscaloosa News – Ivey announces Auburn auto supplier plans to expand, add jobs
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson to retire
Tuscaloosa News – Some Lurleen Wallace intersections open, some close on Friday
Decatur Daily – State warns of chemicals in Wheeler Reservoir fish
Decatur Daily – Warrant issued in Limestone for suspect in 2 slayings
Decatur Daily – Caddo woman dies in house fire
Times Daily – Hartselle Intermediate principal to take the reigns at Deshler High School
Times Daily – Cornelius Landing homeowners file lawsuit against developer
Times Daily – Police jail suspect in thefts following chase
Gadsden Times – Air ambulance service returning to Rainbow City
Gadsden Times – County officials applaud city for automotive plant
Gadsden Times – Change of command ceremony Thursday at Anniston Army Depot
Anniston Star – Anniston City Council begins debating 2020 budget
Anniston Star – Heflin City Council modifies property contract with internet company
Anniston Star – Hobson City won’t give up on ZIP code fight
Troy Messenger – County considering plan to pave 65 miles of road in one year
Troy Messenger – Dunbar selected as jail site
Troy Messenger – Man killed in wreck on U.S. Highway 231
Andalusia Star News – Florala develops Youth Leadership Program
Andalusia Star News – Finch Initiative brings UA law student to Covington County for third year in a row
Andalusia Star News – Vanwinkle ready for FHS marching band season
Opelika-Auburn News – National organization pays off home of fallen Auburn police officer
Opelika-Auburn News – OUR VIEW: Boy, 3, dies in grease tank; the Sadie Grace law named for Auburn tot should go nationwide
Opelika-Auburn News – Officers-shot case heads to grand jury
Daily Mountain Eagle – Eagle Scout restores mining monument
Daily Mountain Eagle – Pinnacle Bank named ‘Top 200 Community Bank’
Daily Mountain Eagle – Dog therapy, education program being considered
Trussville Tribune – 2 arrested with stolen car, fake $100 bills in Trussville
Trussville Tribune – City of Clay making progress toward new tennis courts, splash pad, playground
Trussville Tribune – Ice cream licking incidents prompt call for consumer protection law
Athens News Courier – Council OKs uncovering section of brick
Athens News Courier – LCSO: Home invasion suspect shot during scuffle with resident
Athens News Courier – Arrest Reports for 7/24/19
Sand Mountain Reporter – Driver burned in Mountainboro crash dies
Sand Mountain Reporter – Hutcheson says tag fee best way to fund SROs
Sand Mountain Reporter – Geraldine Senior Center attendants enjoy renovations, improvements
WSFA Montgomery – Prayer Gathering held for teen killed in weekend shooting
WSFA Montgomery – 2 arrested after 3-year-old dies, 4-year-old hospitalized in Huntsville
WSFA Montgomery – Two workers die in Hoover trench collapse
Fox 6 Birmingham – B’ham police investigating homicide near Gate City
Fox 6 Birmingham – Two million reallocated from school board to internship program
Fox 6 Birmingham – Officer shooting suspect had run in at Dannon Project
WAFF Huntsville – Cold case: Leads run dry in Huntsville murder case
WAFF Huntsville – Morgan County Commission approves additional SROs for county school system
WAFF Huntsville – Bassmaster magazine ranks Lake Guntersville as 2nd best in America
WKRG Mobile – Low humidity and watching the tropics
WKRG Mobile – Company breaks ground on new “cold storage” facility in Mobile
WKRG Mobile – Serious two-vehicle crash in Mobile
WTVY Dothan – Grand jury will hear case of man charged with murdering mom and dismembering her body
WTVY Dothan – “Habitual” criminal caught naked under bed of Dothan home
WTVY Dothan – Dothan Police hope to get teens interested in law enforcement careers through Junior Police Academy
WASHINGTON POST – While bemoaning Mueller probe, Trump falsely says the Constitution gives him ‘the right to do whatever I want’
WASHINGTON POST – Is Trump cutting Medicare to give tax breaks to billionaires?
WASHINGTON POST – Black families once lived off their southern farmland. Their descendants are struggling to hold onto it
NEW YORK TIMES – Mueller Is Testifying on Capitol Hill Today. Here’s What to Expect.

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