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Daily News Digest – June 22, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, June 22.



1. ‘Words cannot explain’ tragedy of crash

  • Girls have often lived a life of abuse, abandonment or neglect by the time they land at a Christian youth home in rural Alabama, but an annual trip to the beach with the director and her family offered them a bright spot in otherwise tough times.
  • This year’s trip to the Gulf Coast ended in disaster when four residents of the Tallapoosa County Girl’s Ranch, two of the director’s children and two guests were among 10 people killed in a fiery crash on a rainy highway as Tropical Storm Claudette barreled through Alabama.
  • The van in Saturday’s crash erupted in flames in the wreck along a wet Interstate 65 about 35 miles south of Montgomery. Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock said multiple vehicles probably hydroplaned in the vacationer-heavy area he said was “notorious” for dangerous conditions where the northbound highway curves down a hill to a small creek.
  • The van was carrying children ages 4 to 17 who were being cared for at the ranch, which is operated by the Alabama Sheriffs Association and takes in abused and neglected children, including foster children. The group was heading back to the ranch near Camp Hill, northeast of Montgomery, after a week at the beach in Gulf Shores.
  • “Words cannot explain what I saw,” Girls Ranch CEO Smith said of the accident site, which he visited Saturday. He returned from Gulf Shores in a separate van and did not see the crash when it happened.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves and Kim Chandler HERE.



2. Kids Count: Alabama 47th in nation for child well-being

  • Alabama ranked 47th in the nation in overall child well-being in a recent report – that’s down from 44th two years ago and 42nd in 2018.
  • Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico rounded out the states finishing behind Alabama in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book released Monday.
  • The report did come with some positive news for Alabama. According to a press release from the advocacy group VOICES for Alabama’s Children, a partnering organization on the report, the state ranks in the top five nationally on two indicators: the percentage of students not graduating on time (8%) and the percentage of children without health insurance (3%).
  • However, Alabama remains behind the national average on 12 indicators. Despite improvement over the ten-year period measured in this report, the state ranked the lowest on eighth-grade math proficiency.
  • The data in the report comes from 2019 and is pre-COVID-19.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



3. Sorrell makes Auditor bid official

  • State Rep. Andrew Sorrell, R-Muscle Shoals, formally announced his campaign for state auditor on Monday, saying he wants to bring more responsibilities to the role.
  • The auditor’s office reports to the governor receipts and disbursement of revenues collected and paid into the treasury. It’s also responsible for the accounting of state property costing $500 or more.
  • Sorrell said he would like to see the responsibilities of the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts put back under the auditor’s department and attempted to pass legislation on it this year but was not able to move it through.
  • Some in the Legislature have sought to do the opposite: dissolve the Auditor’s office and shift its already limited responsibilities to the Examiners of Public Accounts.
  • Sorrell was first elected to the Legislature in 2018 in House District 3, and is one of the most fiscally conservative members in the State House. He consistently votes against any bills that would spend or borrow state dollars, including the state budgets.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.
  • In other 2022 news, current State Auditor Jim Zeigler appears to be getting more serious about a run for governor, potentially challenging Gov. Kay Ivey in the Republican Primary.
  • Zeigler this week formed an “exploratory committee,” which he said met last night in Mobile.
  • Zeigler has been Ivey’s chief critic the last several years, blasting her at every turn on issues from the gas tax and infrastructure to prisons and even state holidays.
  • While an exploratory committee is a real, legal entity in federal elections allowing candidates to spend money and time testing the waters without formally declaring, that’s not the case in Alabama. Secretary of State John Merrill told Alabama Daily News that anyone is free to form a committee, or kitchen cabinet, of friends to explore running for office, but campaign finance law kicks in when they raise or spend $1,000. That’s when a person becomes a candidate and must begin filing financial statements.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Supreme Court win for college athletes in compensation case


  • The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday the NCAA can’t limit education-related benefits — like computers and paid internships — that colleges can offer their sports stars, a victory for athletes that could help open the door to further easing in the decades-old fight over paying student-athletes.
  • Schools recruiting top athletes could now offer tens of thousands of dollars in education-related benefits that also include study-abroad programs and graduate scholarships. However, the case doesn’t decide whether students can simply be paid salaries for the benefits their efforts bring — measured in tens of millions for many universities.
  • The case is important in the short term for students who may see schools competing for talent by sweetening their offers with a variety of education-related benefits. It’s also important in the long term because it sets the stage for future challenges to NCAA rules limiting athletes’ compensation.
  • The NCAA had defended its rules as necessary to preserve the amateur nature of college sports, preventing a blurring of the line between them and professional teams, with colleges trying to lure talented athletes by offering over-the-top benefits.
  • Justice Brett Kavanaugh signaled where Monday’s decision may lead. He said there are “serious questions” about whether the NCAA’s other restrictions on compensating athletes can stand. Kavanaugh wrote that “traditions alone cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student athletes who are not fairly compensated.”
  • “Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate. … The NCAA is not above the law,” wrote Kavanaugh, who as a college student played on Yale’s junior varsity basketball team.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Fight over filibuster to begin on elections overhaul bill

  • Today is a big day in Washington.
  • The long-brewing fight over whether or not to do away with the legislative filibuster in the Senate could finally come to a head as Senate Democrats attempt to bring up their wide-ranging elections and voting overhaul for a vote.
  • In the evenly split Senate, Republicans are united in opposition, seeing the bill as federal overreach and denying Democrats the 60 votes that would be needed to overcome the filibuster and begin debate.
  • “Are you afraid to debate?” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday ahead of the vote. “We’re about to find out.”
  • Republican leader Mitch McConnell blasted the legislation ahead of the debate as a “disastrous proposal” that will get “no quarter” in the Senate.
  • For what it’s worth, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, remains opposed to the elections bill and has his own sought changes, so it’s not certain the measure would even pass.
  • But the bigger question today might be how serious Democrats are about eschewing the filibuster and forcing debate.
  • While some Democrats want to change the Senate’s rules to push the elections bill and other priorities past the filibuster, Manchin and others including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., are opposed to taking that next move. Biden, too, has said in the past that he wants to leave the filibuster intact.
  • “The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings,” Sinema wrote Monday in an opinion piece for The Washington Post. She welcomed a full debate “so senators and our constituents can hear and fully consider the concerns and consequences.”
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Words cannot explain’ tragedy of Alabama crash


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kids Count: Alabama 47th in nation for child well-being


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State Rep. Andrew Sorrell announces state auditor campaign


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Zeigler forms ‘exploratory committee’ for bid for governor


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court win for college athletes in compensation case


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP ready to block elections bill in Senate showdown


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Investigators seek public’s help on deadly 1-65 crash


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden and Congress return for summer grind


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inflation ahead? A top economist says it’s complicated


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Republicans point to inflation in bid to retake Congress


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – June 21, 2021


AL.COM – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declares state of emergency because of Tropical Storm Claudette


AL.COM – ACLU of Alabama report reveals sharp decrease in pardons granted in Alabama


AL.COM – Colorado company asks Alabama airport to rezone land for chicken rendering plant


AL.COM – Next stimulus payments start July 15: $300 payments could be permanent, White House says


AL.COM – Alabama mom faces felony for filling doctor’s prescription while pregnant


Montgomery Advertiser – Early morning wreck on Interstate 85 kills 26-year-old Montgomery man


Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville man killed in Elmore wreck


Montgomery Advertiser – Andrew Sorrell to seek GOP nomination for state auditor


Decatur Daily – Creativity blooms at Camp Carnegie


Decatur Daily – Council approves chamber allocation with no political promises


Decatur Daily – In the community: Camp Carnegie


Times Daily – Oktoberfest meeting set for today at St. Florian Town Hall


Times Daily – Jones optimistic bill could preserve Shoals’ MSA designation


Times Daily – Colbert County Commission to discuss TVA building purchase today


Anniston Star – Kids Count report: Alabama 47th in nation for child well-being


Anniston Star – Piedmont police chief on leave pending investigation, mayor says


Anniston Star – New electric vehicle chargers inbound for Oxford


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – The dangers of flash flooding


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Chelsea HS students bring awareness to need for organ donors


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ALEA asking for assistance in gathering info after deadly I-65 crash that left 10 dead


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama crash: Latest on victims, investigation, fundraising after I-65 wreck that killed 10


Tuscaloosa News – After nearly two-hour police pursuit, Shelby County man faces theft, endangerment charges


Tuscaloosa News – Woman killed, another injured in a two-vehicle crash in Tuscaloosa


YellowHammer News – Study: The well-being of Alabama’s children was not keeping pace with rest of the country before COVID


YellowHammer News – State Rep. Collins: Varying definitions of ‘Critical Race Theory’ will make legislation to ban it ‘extremely difficult’


YellowHammer News – Senate Minority Ldr Singleton: ‘Systemic racism’ exists at upper echelons of state government — ‘There’s just something inherently baked in’


Gadsden Times – Community Action to begin taking applications for Crisis Cooling programs on Wednesday


Gadsden Times – It’s official: Pilgrim’s asks GAA for action toward sale/lease of airport property


Gadsden Times – Alabama crash: Latest on victims, investigation, fundraising after I-65 wreck that killed 10


Dothan Eagle – Elephant breaks into kitchen wall looking for snacks in Thailand


Dothan Eagle – Berlin museum centering on Germans expelled after WWII opens


Dothan Eagle – U.S. Navy tests aircraft carrier with explosives


Opelika-Auburn News – Iran’s election unsettles Biden’s hope for a nuclear deal


Opelika-Auburn News – Lebanon raises price of bread amid crippling economic crisis


Opelika-Auburn News – Global shares mixed after rebound on Wall Street


WSFA Montgomery – Greenville church helping those affected by deadly I-65 crash


WSFA Montgomery – Barbour County Sheriff’s Office searching for missing man


WSFA Montgomery – Driver kills other motorist while fleeing Millbrook police, chief says


WAFF Huntsville – City will fund Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce again


WAFF Huntsville – Car strikes utility pole causing power outage in north Huntsville


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur Fire Station 1 devastated after death of toddler


WKRG Mobile – Hydrant plant reopens after shooting killed 2, wounded 2


WKRG Mobile – Brewton man released from the hospital after his trailer was thrown hundreds of feet during Claudette


WKRG Mobile – Florida’s overall crime rate down, murders up in 2020


WTVY Dothan – Holly Sawyer launches campaign for judge


WTVY Dothan – Judah explains Houston County’s weather alert system


WTVY Dothan – Enterprise City Schools transitioning EEEC


WASHINGTON POST – Federal judge tosses most claims against Trump, Barr and U.S. officials in clearing of Lafayette Square


WASHINGTON POST – Activists gear up for battle as Senate Republicans prepare to block voting rights bill


WASHINGTON POST – Biden launches an effort to head off violent crime — and political peril for his party


NEW YORK TIMES – Democrats Unite Behind Voting Rights Bill as It Faces a Senate Roadblock


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: In Virus-Ravaged South Texas, Vaccine Uptake Is Strong


NEW YORK TIMES – New Drug Could Cost the Government as Much as It Spends on NASA


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Vivendi Shareholders Approve Spinoff of Universal Music


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Google Faces EU Antitrust Probe of Alleged Ad-Tech Abuses


WALL STREET JOURNAL – JP Morgan Invests in Mortgage Clearinghouse



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