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Daily News Digest – June 17, 2019

Good morning!
And bonne après-midi to those reading from France today. Gov. Kay Ivey is leading an Alabama delegation of state leaders and economic developers at the Paris Air Show this week.
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, June 17.

1. The Amendments.

  • State legislators passed hundreds of bills into law this year, but they also sent several decisions to Alabama voters in the form of proposed constitutional amendments.
  • This happens every year. Alabama’s constitution is such that amendments are required to do some of the more major policy shifts (and some minor ones) and that means a vote of the people.
  • Five statewide constitutional amendments were passed this year and will be on either the March 3 or November 3, 2020 ballots.
  • ADN’s Mary Sell had the rundown of all the amendments, what they do, and when they’re on the ballot in her feature story HERE.

2. ‘Negotiating with ourselves’

  • Federal budget negotiations don’t seem to be going so well on Capitol Hill right now.
  • No, it’s not a political breakdown between entrenched Republicans and Democrats – at least not yet.
  • At the moment, the struggle is between the White House and GOP Senate leaders.
  • “We’re negotiating with ourselves right now,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby told the Washington Post.
  • What are they negotiating? Congress still hasn’t passed a federal budget for Fiscal Year 2020 – the very first step in the appropriations process. That means the various spending bills that fund the government are little more than a shot in the dark right now.
  • October 1st doesn’t just bring the fiscal new year, but also the expiration of the Budget Control Act caps, which would trigger about $120 billion of across-the-board cuts to military and non-defense programs.
  • So you bet Shelby is involved and concerned.
  • “The president, the administration, has some views, maybe, that are a little different sometimes than the Senate Republicans have. So we’re trying to see if we can be together as best we can.”
  • See how Shelby clarified to say “administration”? That’s a clue that this has a lot more to do with White House staff than President Trump.
  • In fact, the lead White House staffer, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, seems to be the one grinding everyone’s gears. He’s the former Freedom Caucus leader who some believe is seeking to impose his own views on budget negotiations with Trump not keen on meddling with details.
  • A senior Senate aide went there: “The problem with Mulvaney is sometimes he forgets he’s a staffer now, so he’s looking to execute on his own vision instead of the president’s, and that slows down the process.”
  • Even the president seems annoyed with Mulvaney’s presence in the Oval right now.
  • Read the full Washington Post story on the budget situation HERE.


3. Kids Count: Alabama’s progress lags.

  • Alabama saw improvements in seven of the indicators tracked by the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book calculating the wellbeing of children. On the other nine indicators, we stayed the same.
  • Yet, the state fell back two spots from 42nd to 44th in the overall ranking of states when it comes to child wellbeing.
  • That basically means we didn’t keep pace with the improvements going on in in other states.
  • The good news was our uptick in reading proficiency for 4th & 8th grade students, as well as the percentage of students graduating on time.
  • Alabama’s education progress was good enough for 38th nationally.
  • Children’s health was also a bright spot, relatively speaking, as Alabama ranked 36th nationally.
  • Rhonda Mann, deputy director of VOICES for Alabama’s Children, said this year’s report “tells two different stories” about how the state’s children are faring.
  • “When you look at the percentages of children measured in this year’s report, the state stayed the same or showed improvement in all indicators, yet Alabama’s rank dropped in almost half, including its overall ranking. What this demonstrates is that other states are improving the well-being of their children at a faster pace than Alabama,” she said.
  • View the complete KIDS COUNT data book online HERE.
  • View the Alabama-specific numbers HERE.


4. Matthew Stokes: A GOP generation gap.

  • ADN Columnist Matthew Stokes sees a generation gap developing.
  • Those are nothing new in American politics; in fact, politics is kind of defined by one generation eschewing the ideals and norms of another.
  • The gap he sees is within the Republican Party, as GenX and Millennial Americans aren’t responding to events or arguments the same as their Boomer parents.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“When I was coming of age in the 1990s, it was common to read essays and memoirs of young liberal Democrats who became some sort of Republican – sometimes conservative, sometimes less so – when they grew up, got married, and sent their kids to the local public school. The Republican Party of Reagan and the 94 Revolution was rife with ideas, and disenchanted liberals found optimism and solutions among the tassel loafers and navy blazers of this iteration of the GOP. Republican politicians could understandably rest easy knowing that in due time, voters would come around.
“Things today look less promising. Instead of offering positive ideas about their own country and their politics, Republicans have dug deep in their own trenches, content to spend their days tossing rhetorical bombs at their Democratic opponents. A brief look at the Twitter feeds of GOP leaders shows a lot of confidence in President Trump but little confidence in ideas that can transcend any one leader while making America a better place. As David Brooks writes, the ideas of the American creed that once animated the center-right are still more than sufficient to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.”
  • Read Matthew Stokes’ full column HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.

Less trash, more recycling in Alabama
  • Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management isn’t messing around when it comes to recycling.
  • AL.Com reports Alabama recycled more than 25% of its generated trash in 2018, setting a new record.
  • Materials Management Section Chief Gavin Adams says Alabama recycled 16% of its total waste, nearly doubling the rate from seven years ago. Operations like Huntsville’s waste-to-energy incinerator added to the overall waste diversion.
  • Alabama’s recycling efforts jump started in 2008 when then-Governor Bob Riley signed a law establishing higher fees for landfill usage. The money funded newer and better recycling programs.
  • Alabama is still behind the national recycling and composting average.
  • However, Alabama’s three largest cities, Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville are revamping their recycling programs in 2019, hoping to capture more material before it ends up in a landfill.
Companies plea to Trump: Don’t extend China tariffs
  • Hundreds of businesses, trade groups and individuals have written to complain to the Trump Administration that additional import taxes on Chinese goods would drive up prices for consumers, squeeze profits and leave U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage to foreign rivals that aren’t subject to higher taxes on the vital components they buy from China.
  • They’re pleading with the administration to rethink the tariffs — or at least spare the particular imports they and their customers rely on. Some will appear in person to air their grievances in seven days of hearings in Washington that begin Monday.
  • A common theme in their pleas is that American businesses — not China — must pay the import taxes the president is imposing on Chinese goods. And in the end, many of these companies will pass their higher costs on to their customers.
  • Trump has already imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports. The goal is to pressure Beijing to stop stealing American technology, forcing U.S. businesses to hand over trade secrets and unfairly subsidizing Chinese tech companies.
  • Eleven rounds of negotiations have failed to resolve the dispute over China’s aggressive drive to surpass America’s technological dominance. Businesses and investors say they hope the negotiations will gain momentum if Trump and President Xi Jinping hold a face-to-face meeting at a Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan in two weeks.
  • Full story HERE.
Soldier’s wife accused of fatally shooting him with shotgun
  • An Alabama woman is accused of fatally shooting her husband, who was a soldier at Fort Benning.
  • News outlets report 27-year-old Brittnay Ryals Paonessa was charged with murder Friday. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office says 26-year-old Brandyn Paonessa suffered a shotgun wound to the abdomen Thursday afternoon in the front yard of a home. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene.
  • Court documents say Brandyn Paonessa had filed an emergency protection of abuse order Monday against Brittnay Paonessa. The filing states the soldier was concerned about his wife’s mental health and says she refused to get treatment from a rehabilitation center.
  • Fort Benning officials say Brandyn Paonessa was an infantryman who had served in the Army since Sept. 2013.
Two people killed in Phenix City house fire
  • Police say two people have died in a house fire in the east Alabama community of Phenix City.
  • Phenix City police Capt. Darryl Williams says the blaze was reported around 11:45 p.m. Saturday. He says the home was fully engulfed by fire when officers arrived.
  • Few other details were available early Sunday.
  • Phenix City is about 80 miles east of Montgomery, and just across the Chattahoochee River from Columbus, Georgia.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature sends amendments to voters
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US companies’ message to Trump: Don’t expand China tariffs
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: A GOP generation gap
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama sheriff charged with scamming food bank, church
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – CDC Director in Montgomery Introduces HIV Initiative to Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State School Board members react to governance bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Planned Parenthood builds Ala. clinic despite abortion law
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Man mows lawns for veterans in all 50 states
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Figures drops out of running for Democratic Party chair
AL.COM  – Alabama hits recycling milestone, keeping quarter of all trash from landfills
AL.COM  – ‘Chemical castration,’ authorized by new Alabama law, rarely used in other states
AL.COM  – Contributor David Sher: Birmingham not worst place to live in America
AL.COM – Alabama abortion critics oppose construction of new Planned Parenthood clinic
  AL.COM – Hundreds celebrate ‘gay rat wedding’ at Alabama church after station doesn’t air ‘Arthur’ episode
  AL.COM – Columnist George Will: Mobile is a giant in baseball history
AL.COM  – Presidential candidate Eric Swalwell speaking in Birmingham
Montgomery Advertiser – City elections: May’s campaign finance numbers show small uptick in council races
Montgomery Advertiser – Auburn man dies in Macon County crash
Montgomery Advertiser – Grandson charged in death of 79-year-old woman
Montgomery Advertiser – Don’t eat fish from Florida lake experiencing toxic algae bloom, biologist cautions
YellowHammer News – VIDEO: Culverhouse vs. UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over and more on Guerrilla Politics
YellowHammer News – Alabama team targets international connections at SelectUSA Investment Summit
YellowHammer News – A ‘Story Worth Sharing’: Yellowhammer News and Serquest partner to award monthly grants to Alabama nonprofits
Dothan Eagle – ‘Mommy, we need to go’: Off-duty officer opens fire inside Costco, kills man who attacked him
Dothan Eagle – Government Oversight: FEMA reimbursements starting to trickle into City of Dothan, Houston County coffers
Dothan Eagle – Rehobeth Volunteer Fire Department vastly improves ISO rating; Madrid, Hodgesville departments also receive better scores
Anniston Star – Legislature sends amendments to voters
Anniston Star – Interim City Manager Folks focused on giving Anniston ‘best quality of life’
Anniston Star – Festival provides family fun for Anniston
Tuscaloosa News – Police: 2 people killed in house fire in Alabama
Tuscaloosa News – Legislature sends amendments to voters
Tuscaloosa News – Ivey, Tuscaloosa County officials going to Paris Air Show
Decatur Daily – Legislature sends amendments to voters
Times Daily – Legislature sends amendments to voters
Times Daily – Airbnb owners, city officials seek common ground
Times Daily – Later Gator: Multiple north Alabama alligators seen recently
Gadsden Times – ECSO investigates probable homicide
Gadsden Times – Alabama orders ‘chemical castration’ of some child molesters
Gadsden Times – Planned Parenthood goes ahead with abortion clinic despite ban
Troy Messenger – Local students represent Pike at Boys State, Girls State conventions
Troy Messenger – Deteriorating culverts an ‘ongoing battle’ for road department
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn man killed in I-85 accident with tractor-trailer
Opelika-Auburn News – Sandt adjusts to new role as Lee-Russell Council of Governments executive director
Opelika-Auburn News – 11-year-old turns lemonade into funds for wounded police officer
Daily Mountain Eagle – Mulberry Fork spill forces river race to be canceled
Daily Mountain Eagle – Jasper police issues warning about scam targeting local businesses
Daily Mountain Eagle – WCSO makes 4 drug arrests
Trussville Tribune – State legislature sends amendments to voters
Trussville Tribune – Lane closures planned on I-59 in St. Clair County for paving
Trussville Tribune – Man accidentally shoots himself inside a vehicle on Hwy 11 in Trussville
Athens News Courier – UPDATE: Victim in U.S. 31 fatal wreck was pedestrian
Athens News Courier – Fake Limestone deputies pulling over motorists, knocking on doors
WSFA Montgomery – 4 suspects detained after fatal shooting in Montgomery
WSFA Montgomery – Man injured in apparent self-defense shooting after woman attacked
WSFA Montgomery – Woman accused of pushing golden retriever into lake, watching it drown
Fox 6 Birmingham – ‘Guns down, water guns up’: Community comes together to end violence
Fox 6 Birmingham – Auburn’s Tiger Walk for College World Series Opener
Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham PD investigating triple shooting
WAFF Huntsville – Madison’s Clift Farm Development to generate $9 million worth of new roads in the area
WAFF Huntsville – Suspect charged with assault in Flint River brawl
WAFF Huntsville – Get out of Jail Free by playing Petnopoly at Animal Services
WKRG Mobile – Cottage Hill construction begins Monday morning
WKRG Mobile – 22-year-old shoots self in face with flare gun
WKRG Mobile – Storm causes damage in Monroeville
WTVY Dothan – Documents: Death row inmate convicted of murdering and raping elderly woman will be released
WTVY Dothan – Over $45k Raised During 10th Annual “Dancing With the Stars-Dothan Style!”
WTVY Dothan – Phoenix police chief apologizes to family over incident
  WASHINGTON POST – GOP in disarray as budget impasse threatens shutdown, deep cuts — and default
WASHINGTON POST  – Push to impeach Trump stalls amid Democrats’ deference to — and fear of — Pelosi
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump says supporters might ‘demand’ that he serve more than two terms as president
WASHINGTON POST  – New documentary on Charleston church shooting explores idea of forgiveness
NEW YORK TIMES – Iran Threatens to Violate Nuclear Deal’s Limits on Uranium Enrichment
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Wants to Neutralize Democrats on Health Care. Republicans Say Let It Go
NEW YORK TIMES  – Columnist Maureen Dowd: A Down and Dirty White House

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