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Daily News Digest – June 17, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, June 17.


1. Montgomery votes down mask ordinance

  • The Montgomery City Council on Tuesday night voted down a proposed ordinance mandating citizens wear protective face masks in public places.
  • The ordinance, proposed by City Councilman C.C. Calhoun and supported by Mayor Steven Reed, was intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus locally as the Capital City has become a hotspot of transmissions and the state leader in COVID-19 cases.
  • Several physicians spoke in favor of the proposal, telling council members that masks would make a difference to stymie the surge of infections hospitals are now seeing. However, some council members questioned the ability of the city to enforce such a measure as well as how it could infringe on citizens’ rights.
  • Read the full story from the Advertiser’s Brad Harper HERE and watch coverage from WSFA HERE.



2. Super PAC forms to boost Carl in AL-1

  • Things are heating up down in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.
  • With less than a month to go before the July 14th runoff for the GOP nomination for Congress, former State Sen. Bill Hightower and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl are ratcheting up their campaigns.
  • Hightower has had some help along the way from the Club for Growth, a Washington-based political group that will ultimately spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on his behalf before the campaign is done.
  • Club has been particularly aggressive in Alabama this cycle, and they can help candidates by doing the dirty work of attacking opponents without the dreaded look into the camera saying “I approve this message.”
  • Now, some local folks are forming a committee of their own to do the same for Carl, and some prominent names are involved.
  • Right for Alabama PAC is an unlimited independent expenditure committee, often referred to as a Super PAC.
  • Organizers told ADN the group was specifically formed to push back against Club, which they characterize as a “D.C.-based special interest group that did not support Donald Trump in 2016 and it continually opposes the Farm Bill, the National Flood Insurance Program and other critical policies that help South Alabama.”
  • They are raising money to fund a TV ad campaign, obviously. But they’ve already done some polling in the race which shows Carl in a favorable position a month out from the election.
  • Read the full story HERE.


3. Campus free speech law to take effect, but time remains for action

  • A state law regarding free speech at public colleges and universities goes into effect July 1, but doesn’t require any action by schools until early 2021.
  • And some changes to the law could be coming.
  • During the 2019 legislative session, Rep. Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo, sponsored the bill in response to a national trend of college political demonstrations and protests to block some speakers from campuses.
  • The law requires schools to adopt policies that acknowledge, among other things, that “the campus of the public institution of higher education shall be open to any speaker whom the institution’s student organizations or faculty have invited, and the institution will make all reasonable efforts to make available all reasonable resources to ensure safety…”
  • The law also says institutions won’t create “free speech zones” or other designated outdoor areas of campus in order to limit or prohibit protected expressive activities.
  • Fridy’s bill as originally written would have made the law effective in 2019. But an amendment in the final days of the session from Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, changed that to July 1, 2020. Lawmakers’ intention was to not require any reporting by universities until 2021, Fridy told Alabama Daily News on Tuesday. However, other dates in the bill were not altered as it became law to reflect the extended timeframe.
  • Some of the dates were corrected and put out one year when the law was codified, but a September 2020 reporting date is now listed in the Alabama Code.
  • Universities and the Alabama Commission on Higher Education have been told that the law doesn’t require anything of them until 2021, including updated written free speech policies in January.
  • Still, with nationwide protests now occurring, some are taking action to address campus free speech issues anyway.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


4. Trump signs police order, Senate works on reform bill

  • Following weeks of national protests since the death of George Floyd, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order he said would encourage better police practices.
  • Trump met privately with the families of several black Americans killed in interactions with police before his Rose Garden signing ceremony and said he grieved for the lives lost and families devastated. But he quickly shifted his tone and devoted most of his public remarks to a need to respect and support “the brave men and women in blue who police our streets and keep us safe.”
  • “Reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals,” he said before signing the order Tuesday, flanked by police officials.
  • But the president made no mention of the roiling national debate over racism spawned by police killings of black people.
  • Trump’s executive order would establish a database that tracks police officers with excessive use-of-force complaints in their records. Many officers who wind up involved in fatal interactions have long complaint histories, including Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in Floyd’s death. Those records are often not made public, making it difficult to know if an officer has such a history.
  • The order would give police departments a financial incentive to adopt best practices and encourage co-responder programs, in which social workers join police when they respond to nonviolent calls involving mental health, addiction and homelessness issues.
  • Read that full story HERE.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is moving quickly to pass a police reform measure.
  • Senate Republicans are proposing changes to police procedures and accountability with an enhanced use-of-force database, restrictions on chokeholds and new commissions to study law enforcement and race.
  • The JUSTICE Act — Just and Unifying Solutions To Invigorate Communities Everywhere Act of 2020 — is the most ambitious GOP policing proposal in years.
  • Democrats panned it as insufficient, as their own bill takes a more direct approach to changing federal misconduct laws and holding individual officers legally responsible for incidents.
  • But the GOP effort seeks to reach across the aisle to Democrats in several ways. It includes one long-sought bill to make lynching a federal hate crime and another to launch a study of the social status of black men and boys that has been touted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • The Republican package also includes a bipartisan Senate proposal to establish a National Criminal Justice Commission Act and extends funding streams for various federal law enforcement programs, including the COPS program important to states.
  • Read more about the legislation HERE.


5. Cheap drug is first shown to improve COVID-19 survival

  • Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve COVID-19 survival: A cheap, widely available steroid reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients.
  • The results were announced Tuesday and the British government immediately authorized the drug’s use across the United Kingdom for coronavirus patients like those who did well in the study. Researchers said they would publish results soon in a medical journal, and several independent experts said it’s important to see details to know how much of a difference the drug, dexamethasone, might make and for whom.
  • But “bottom line is, good news,” said the United States’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. “This is a significant improvement in the available therapeutic options that we have.”
  • Read more HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Super PAC forms to help Carl in AL-1 runoff


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Campus free speech bill goes into effect July 1, no action required until 2021


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump signs order on police reform


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate GOP to propose policing changes in ‘Justice Act’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Cheap drug is first shown to improve COVID-19 survival


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report documents nearly 2,000 Reconstruction-era lynchings


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama virus cases up, Ivey stresses personal responsibility


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State funds put into bringing ‘Best and Brightest’ to Decatur, Marengo County


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama prison reports inmate virus death, 13 positive cases


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mobile’s Confederate statue relocated to a museum


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court says gay, transgender workers protected by law


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – June 16, 2020


AL.COM  – Rep. Mo Brooks says LGBT ‘conduct’ shouldn’t have same anti-discrimination rights as ‘birth traits’


AL.COM  – Testing clinic reports jump in positive rates for coronavirus in Huntsville


AL.COM  – Alabama educators debate equal justice training for K-12 schools


AL.COM  – Hospitals in several Alabama cities now seeing all-time highs in coronavirus patients


AL.COM  – Alabama woman who says she killed rapist in self-defense wants judge removed from murder case


AL.COM  – WIC income change means more Alabamians eligible for benefits


AL.COM  – Auburn taps HPM for $94.5 million culinary education center, hotel


Montgomery Advertiser – Controversial liquor license application withdrawn in Prattville


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery City Council votes down mask ordinance, sends doctors out in disgust


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery, Pike Road leaders plead with people to wear masks


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Century Plaza could become logistics center and bring over 300 jobs


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – AL Sec. of State plans to appeal ruling that would loosen absentee ballot restrictions


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama Medicaid increases 2% in 2019


Tuscaloosa News – Police: Woman charged with sex trafficking teens in Alabama


Tuscaloosa News – Petition seeks to rename Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa launches community policing initiative


Decatur Daily – Report: Killers did not use force into house where 7 died


Decatur Daily – Decatur ‘Best and Brightest’ program to get state funds


Decatur Daily – State education strategic plan emphasizes reading, math


Times Daily – State funds put into bringing ‘Best and Brightest’ to Decatur, Marengo County


Times Daily – Florence receives word ransom money accepted


Times Daily – State education department announces goals for improvement


Anniston Star – Judge: McClellan ‘Starships’ must be sold to Xtreme Concepts


Anniston Star – SPLC to invest $30M in voter outreach programs


Anniston Star – Sheriff says two jail staffers attacked in separate incidents


YellowHammer News – Petition to rename Edmund Pettus Bridge after civil rights leader has 115K signatures


YellowHammer News – Carl ad hits Hightower for past work in China


YellowHammer News – Progress continues on Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, HPM managing construction


Gadsden Times – Gadsden responds to Black Lives Matter concerns


Gadsden Times – Discussion continues over Emma Sansom monument


Gadsden Times – COVID-19 concerns remain as cases increase


Dothan Eagle – Dale County EMA director suspended without pay, fined following Facebook posts


Dothan Eagle – Brandon Brown steps down from Houston County basketball post


Dothan Eagle – Man accused of having unwanted sexual contact with victims; arrested


Troy Messenger – Academy Street grant effort gets public support


Troy Messenger – New group benefits area vets


Troy Messenger – Drive-by parade salutes White on retirement


Andalusia Star News – City approves renovation, purchase of opera house


Andalusia Star News – Schedule for this weekend’s AJRA state finals


Andalusia Star News – Majors named regional publisher of Andalusia Star-News, Atmore Advance, Brewton Standard


Opelika-Auburn News – AU graduations moves to Jordan-Hare; fall semester to end at Thanksgiving


Opelika-Auburn News – OPD talks policies, procedures with council


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn council won’t meet in new Ross Street space tonight


Daily Mountain Eagle – Commission opts for hiring freeze; revenue declines from COVID-19


Daily Mountain Eagle – Trump signs executive order on police reform


Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama to assume responsibility of Duncan Bridge


Trussville Tribune – UAB releases fall semester hybrid schedule; Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving break


Trussville Tribune – University of Alabama to resume in-person classes for fall semester


Trussville Tribune – Trussville native publishes book about his 30 years as a funeral director


Athens News Courier – Marks praises peaceful protests on The Square


Athens News Courier – Motorist strikes pedestrian on Elk River Mills


Athens News Courier – Commissioner: No approval for messy developers


Sand Mountain Reporter – CDC, USDOL offer tips for decreasing COVID-19 spread among agriculture workers


Sand Mountain Reporter – Audit report reveals $34 million in assets for Boaz


Sand Mountain Reporter – Residents urged to complete COVID-19 Agriculture Impact Survey


WSFA Montgomery – Senate GOP to propose policing changes in ‘Justice Act’


WSFA Montgomery – Federal judge says Alabama can’t forbid curbside voting


WSFA Montgomery – Dust from the Sahara Desert is heading for the Gulf of Mexico and Alabama


WAFF Huntsville – 482 pounds of marijuana, worth $3.2m, found in drug investigation in Birmingham


WAFF Huntsville – 110K sign petition to rename Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of ‘Bloody Sunday’


WAFF Huntsville – Florence police still searching for person who shot at officer


WKRG Mobile – Federal judge rules that Alabama can’t stop local officials from offering curbside voting during the pandemic


WKRG Mobile – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state will not close the economy for a second time during the pandemic


WKRG Mobile – Senate Republicans propose changes to police procedures, accountability


WTVY Dothan – Watch: Serial pedophile serving 615 years loses appeal bid


WTVY Dothan – Search to resume Wednesday for missing boater


WTVY Dothan – Dale County EMA Director will keep job after Facebook posts


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump’s false claim that Obama ‘never even tried to fix’ police brutality


WASHINGTON POST  – Columnist Hugh Hewitt: The fourth rescue bill needs to repair damage done to the economy and national security


WASHINGTON POST  – Justice Department asks court to order Bolton to stop the release of his book


WASHINGTON POST  – Military leaders promise to address systemic racial disparities in the military justice system


NEW YORK TIMES  – In Beijing, a New Round of Restrictions as coronavirus returns


NEW YORK TIMES  – Reconsidering the Past, One Statue at a Time


NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Administration to Push for ‘Reset’ of Global Tariffs


NEW YORK TIMES  – Retail Sales Rebounded in May, but the Road Back Is Long



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