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Daily News Digest – July 26, 2018

Good morning!  Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, July 26, 2018.

1. Davis indicted in Trina case. 

  • State Rep. Randy Davis was indicted Wednesday on bribery charges as part of the Trina Health case.
  • Davis represents the Spanish Fort/Daphne area and was retiring from the Legislature this year.
  • Prosecutors say he advocated for legislation requiring Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover diabetes treatments at Trina Health clinics when he was receiving payments in the form of finders fees from Trina.
  • The case originated with former House Majority Leader Micky Hammon, who pleaded guilty and has already served his prison sentence.
  • Rep. Jack Williams of Vestavia, former ALGOP Chairman Marty Connors, and Trina Health CEO Ford Gilbert were indicted in April.
  • Interesting: Williams was not named in this superceding indictment. WSFA’s Jenn Horton reports that the U.S. Attorney’s office is “working to resolve” charges against Williams (which always seemed pretty thin, tbh).
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Watch Jenn Horton’s full story HERE.
  • The indictment itself is pretty long and mentions (but does not expressly name) about five other legislators and lobbyists that were somehow involved, apparently not criminally. Brian Lyman gets a little more into that in his story, which you can read HERE.

2. Trump reaches deal w/ EU. 

What happened

  • President Donald Trump and European Union commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker announced Wednesday that the United States and Europe were easing trade tensionsand pulling back from the escalating tariff back-and-forth.
  • In a Rose Garden appearance, they said the U.S. and the EU have agreed to hold off on new tariffs.
  • The U.S. will suspend plans to start taxing European auto imports and the E.U. would “buy a lot of soybeans” and other agricultural products.

Why it Matters

  • While no specifics were announced, trade talks with the E.U. are a big deal and potentially a big win for President Trump. (I say that as someone who has questioned his trade policies.)
  • It would also benefit Alabama.
  • We have plenty of soybean growers in our state and the tariffs on auto imports were going to be potentially devastating for our auto manufacturing sector.

What’s Next

  • The announcement comes not a moment too soon for President Trump. Many from his own party have been losing faith in his seemingly chaotic trade strategy.
  • Now, if this deal really goes through, you might see more Republicans back the president up on his aggressive approach.
  • As Rep. Mike Conaway, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said, “We have more confidence in him now than we did before.”


A message from Troy University

  • Each week TROY students meet in the kitchen to do their part to eliminate hunger in Pike County.
  • Learn more about their amazing work and how it helps make the TROY family so special HERE.


3. Punishing Kaitlan Collins not a good look for WH. 

  • The White House banned CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from covering the events of the day after staffers deemed the questions she asked President Trump inappropriate.
  • Here are the questions asked by Collins as the pool reporter for all of TV news:

“Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?”

“Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is about to say to the prosecutors?”

“Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?”

“Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation, Mr. President?”

[watch/listen for yourself]

  • Like it or not, the Cohen tapes were news of the day. And, the White House itself ended up making news on the Putin bit a few hours later.
  • As Collins put it, “I’m from Alabama. I’m not rude.”
  • Kaitlan is from Alabama. Prattville, in fact (Go Lions!). She went to the University of Alabama (not a chance).
  • She formerly worked for conservative news outlet The Daily Caller, where she was also known for asking tough questions.
  • Other news outlets – including Fox News Channel – were quick to condemn the White House’s actions and stand behind Collins.
  • Even if you think Collins’ questions were inappropriate, what did the White House accomplish by banning her from the next event? Answer: more criticism, more controversy, and probably inviting more reporters to test boundaries.
  • Cracking down on the press wasn’t a good look when the Obama White House was doing it and it’s not a good look now.

4. Bham minimum wage case revived. 

What happened

  • The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that Alabama’s law barring cities from raising their minimum wage is discriminatory.
  • The court said the “plaintiffs have stated a plausible claim that the Minimum Wage Act had the purpose and effect of depriving Birmingham’s black citizens equal economic opportunities on the basis of race.”
  • Read Kim Chandler’s full story HERE

Go back

  • A few years ago, Birmingham was on the verge of enacting a city-wide $10.10 minimum wage.
  • Before it could, the Alabama Legislature passed a law prohibiting municipalities from raising their minimum wage beyond the state’s uniform rate.
  • Supporters of the law said it was done to prevent cities from messing up economic development projects by mandating wages prospect companies won’t pay.

What now

  • Those bringing the lawsuit (fast food workers, civil rights groups) say the law is racist both in nature and process. The court says that argument deserves a fair hearing.
  • A better question might be why the Legislature feels it needs to protect cities from themselves?
  • Many conservatives get awfully uncomfortable and start daring to defend our rights when Congress passes down mandates on states.
  • How is it any different for the state to tell counties and cities what they can do on something like wages?

5. News briefs.

Fish case is back

  • Construction of the Mazda-Toyota plant in Huntsville could again face delays now that an environmental group said it will sue to protect the habitat of a rare species of fish.
  • Work resumed recently after the US Fish & Wildlife service said crews were following federal guidelines and doing all they could to not harm the Spring Pigmy Fish.
  • Read Paul Gattis’ story on

Maryon Allen passes away 

  • Maryon Pittman Allen, one of only two women to serve Alabama in the U.S. Senate, has died.
  • Her nephew, retiring state Sen. Trip Pittman, said she passed away on Monday at 92.
  • In 1978, Allen served five months in the Senate after being appointed by Gov. George Wallace to finish the term of her husband, Sen. Jim Allen, when he died.
  • Read more HERE.

Roy Moore sues Super PAC

  • Roy Moore has filed suit against Highway 31 PAC for running “defamatory and misleading ads” during the 2017 Senate race.
  • The ads focused on accusations of sexual misconduct made against Moore, including one that said Moore had been banned from the Gadsden Mall for being creepy towards young women.
  • “The Moores have every intention of fighting back,” attorney Melissa Isaak said during a press conference Wednesday.
  • Read more HERE.


Bonus: Matthew Stokes

  • Matthew Stokes’ latest column focuses on the marquee matchup at the top of the ticket in November: Ivey vs. Maddox.
  • He argues that, in a twist, getting down into the mud and using Trumpian tactics could only serve to benefit Maddox and that Ivey should focus on her accomplishments.
  • Here’s an excerpt:

There will inevitably come a time for populism and culture wars, but this is not it. Ivey’s best bet is a positive campaign of growth and development. Maddox is trying to depict himself as an agent of change but, in reality, that’s Ivey’s best case.

  • Read his full column HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Ivey can win without Trumpian rhetoric. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmaker indicted on bribery charges.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Former US senator Maryon Allen dies at 92.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 11th Circuit revives Birmingham minimum wage lawsuit.  

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Roy Moore sues PAC over ads about misconduct accusations.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Russian hackers used phishing tools in 2017 attack on grid.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump, European Union leaders announce path forward on trade.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Rep. Randy Davis charged in bribery case. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Immunity hearing for Montgomery officer accused of black man’s death.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alabama inmate fatally stabbed in prison facility.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – 100 companies hiring in Montgomery Job Fair. 

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama farmers welcome government aid to ease blow from tariffs.

YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama Sen. Doug Jones teams up with key Republican senator to fight tariffs.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Innovative program connects churchgoers with assistance services. 

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – ArkLabs receives EDPA recognition.

GADSDEN TIMES – Maddox trying to prod Ivey onto debate stage.

ANNISTON STAR – A letter of reprimand for Jeff Sessions.

AL.COM – Kaitlan Collins, Alabama native, CNN reporter, barred from Trump press event.

AL.COM – EPA administrator who testified in bribery trial asked to recuse himself indefinitely.

AL.COM – Doug Jones co-sponsors bill to stave off Trump’s auto tariffs.

AL.COM – Roy Moore announces lawsuit over campaign ads.

AL.COM – Kay Ivey, Walt Maddox trade barbs over ethics.

AL.COM – Outgoing State Rep. Randy Davis indicted in bribery case.

AL.COM – Mazda Toyota, Huntsville facing lawsuit over rare fish.

AL.COM – Parkland survivors hosting town hall in Birmingham.

AL.COM – Dismissal of lawsuit over Birmingham’s minimum wage hike reversed by appeals court.

AL.COM – Former U.S. senator from Alabama, journalist Maryon Pittman Allen has died.

AL.COM – Alabama wants Brett Kavanaugh on Supreme Court, poll says.

AL.COM – Trump approval rating: President approval at highest level since taking office.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  Five courtroom revelations that should tick you off.

WASHINGTON POST – ‘I’m not going to be a punching bag anymore’: Inside Michael Cohen’s break with Trump.

WASHINGTON POST – A Toys R Us death blow: Mattel to lay off 2,200 workers.

WASHINGTON POST – One important group supports Trump’s auto tariffs.

NEW YORK TIMES – How the Trump Tax Cut Is Helping to Push the Federal Deficit to $1 Trillion

NEW YORK TIMES – DeVos Proposes to Curtail Debt Relief for Defrauded Students

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