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Daily News Digest – June 24, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, June 24.

1. Balancing the budgets.

  • A funny thing happened on the way to adjourning what has been described as one of the most productive and eventful legislative sessions in memory.
  • In order to make all the financial puzzle pieces fit and balance the state’s budgets, the $31 million insurance premium tax was redirected from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund.
  • All session long, the House, Senate and Governor’s office had been going back and forth about how to pay for the state’s contribution to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and this late-coming transfer was necessary toward making sure that is paid for.
  • The reason why it’s peculiar is that nobody opposed it or even spoke out about it. Normally, some lawmakers and groups would have been up in arms about diverting money from the education budget.
  • A few said they were unaware it even happened. Others say they were given no choice. Many agree that it’s a generally equitable trade off to help pay for CHIP.
  • In any case, it’s a heck of a story, and Mary Sell tells it in full HERE.



  • A court conference today could decide how and when teachers and other education workers receive refunds from the state’s retirement systems.
  • Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Johnny Hardwick is set to consider a motion from the Public Education Employees Health Insurance Plan asking for permission to immediately begin reimbursement payments to beneficiaries through their employers on what have been ruled improper fee increases from 2016 to 2018.
  • In May 2016, the PEEHIP Board voted to increase insurance premiums and spousal surcharges in order to keep up with rising costs. However, the Alabama Education Association (AEA) sued claiming irregularities with the Board’s vote were in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act. Judge Hardwick agreed, and the fee increases were ruled invalid, a ruling that would be upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court.
  • AEA had proposed repayment to beneficiaries through a third party, claiming they did not trust PEEHIP to administer the payments and that too many burdens would be placed on local school administrators. However, in its motion to the court, PEEHIP says going through a third party vendor would be costly, burdensome, and needlessly delay payments to teachers and education workers.
  • The best and fastest way to get refunds to retirees is to allow PEEHIP to begin processing payments, they argued. AEA doesn’t see it that way, but stressed that it doesn’t want to delay payments either.
  • Read the full story from Caroline Beck and me HERE.


3. Trump meets the press.

  • President Donald Trump is doing more full-length interviews these days, and it’s pretty enlightening.
  • This week it was “Meet the Press” with NBC’s Chuck Todd.
  • Chuck is no Tim Russert, but I thought he did a decent job of covering a wide range of topics and challenging the president on certain points.
  • They discussed the situation with Iran and his decision-making process on calling off the strike, Middle East politics in general, the Southern border situation, the Mueller report and subsequent Congressional investigation, and his reelection prospects, among other topics.
  • What stood out to some in Alabama was Trump saying that if he had one “do over” as president it would be not appointing Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
  • I suppose that answer isn’t surprising, considering Trump’s belief that Sessions somehow did him wrong by recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
  • It is a little tawdry considering the Justice Department Sessions built is defending Trump and his White House on multiple fronts against an aggressive Democratic Congress.
  • Anyway, the interview is well worth a watch in its entirety.
  • See the full, unedited video and read the transcript HERE.


4. Matthew Stokes: On Roy Moore.

  • ADN Columnist Matthew Stokes has some thoughts on Roy Moore and his Senate candidacy.
  • He compares the erstwhile Supreme Court Chief Justice to “Cousin Eddie,” the unwanted guest interrupting an otherwise cheerful GOP family gathering.
  • In particular, Mr. Stokes takes issue with Moore cloaking himself in the righteous indignation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh vis a vi his sexual misconduct allegations.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“Moore spent a lot of time talking about fake news and a collusion conspiracy against him on the part of the Republican Establishment.  When asked about the 2017 accusations that he once had a penchant for wooing underage girls, Moore dismissed the charges as nonsense, and tried to attach himself to the coattails of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“I’m not sure that’s a wise move, given how contentious that affair was, but in any case, Kavanaugh was aided by a sterling reputation earned in the Washington legal community over the last twenty-five years. Moore has spent the last quarter century giving Alabamians skewed lessons in history and Scripture while dressed like ‘Ralphie’ from A Christmas Story.  Say what you will about the merits of Brett Kavanaugh; the two men are hardly comparable.”
  • Read the full column HERE.

5. AP News Briefs.

Census, redistricting top remaining Supreme Court cases
  • The U.S. Supreme Court enters its final week of decisions with two politically charged issues unresolved: whether to rein in political line-drawing for partisan gain and allow a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
  • In addition, the justices could say as early as Monday whether they will add to their election-year calendar a test of President Donald Trump’s effort to end an Obama-era program that shields young immigrants from deportation. The court’s new term begins in October.
  • Twelve cases that were argued between November and April remain to be decided. They include disputes over: a trademark sought by the FUCT clothing line, control of a large swatch of eastern Oklahoma that once belonged to Indian tribes and when courts should defer to decisions made by executive branch agencies.
  • But the biggest cases by far involve the citizenship question the Trump administration wants to add to the census and two cases in which lower courts found that Republicans in North Carolina and Democrats in Maryland went too far in drawing congressional districts to benefit their party at the expense of the other party’s voters.
  • Full story HERE.
Pompeo sets out to build global coalition against Iran
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he wants to build a global coalition against Iran during urgent consultations in the Middle East.
  • Pompeo spoke Sunday as he left Washington for Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Sunni Arab allies that are alarmed by Shiite Iran’s increasing assertiveness and are working to limit its influence in the region. His stops in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi were hastily arranged late last week as additions to a trip to India from where he will join President Donald Trump in Japan and South Korea. But they were not announced until immediately before his departure in a sign of fast-moving and unpredictable developments.
  • “We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned, and how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition not only throughout the Gulf states, but in Asia and in Europe, that understands this challenge as it is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” Pompeo said about Iran.
  • Full story HERE.
Tuskegee Airman who flew 142 WWII combat missions dies at 99
  • World War II pilot Robert Friend, one of the last original members of the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen, has died at the age of 99.
  • Friend’s daughter, Karen Friend Crumlich, told The Desert Sun her father died Friday at a Southern California hospital.
  • Born in South Carolina on 1920’s leap day, Friend flew 142 combat missions in World War II as part of the elite group of fighter pilots trained at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. The program was created after the NAACP began challenging policies barring black people from flying military aircraft.
  • Friend’s 28-year Air Force career included service in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He also worked on space launch vehicles and served as foreign technology program director before retiring as a lieutenant colonel and forming his own aerospace company.
HBO documentary profiles work of Bryan Stevenson
  • Bryan Stevenson, the Alabama attorney who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, is the subject of a new HBO documentary.
  • True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality will premiere June 26 on the network.
  • The documentary details Stevenson’s work in the criminal justice system on behalf of poor and other incarcerated people.
  • The network said the documentary will trace Stevenson’s struggle for greater fairness in the system and how racial injustice has evolved in the country.
  • Stevenson’s life will also be the subject of an upcoming movie, “Just Mercy,” starring Michael B. Jordan.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Why no one opposed a $31M transfer from Alabama’s education budget
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge to review refunds for teachers
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – President Trump meets the press
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: On Roy Moore
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Census, redistricting top remaining Supreme Court cases
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pompeo sets out to build global coalition against Iran
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – New law provides immunity for rescuing children trapped in hot cars
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Trump postpones nationwide immigration enforcement sweep
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  -Roy Moore in uphill battle to woo skeptical Alabama voters
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Sheriff: 2 Alabama inmates planned to bomb a courthouse
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Auburn University president leaving after 2 years on the job
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Drought conditions worsening across Alabama
AL.COM  – Jay Gogue recommended as Auburn interim president.
AL.COM  – Trump: My biggest regret is Jeff Sessions.
AL.COM  – Alabama WWII vet helped integrate the Marines.
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Convicted sheriff gets privileges his inmates didn’t.
Montgomery Advertiser – HBO documentary to examine the life of EJI director Bryan Stevenson
Montgomery Advertiser – One of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Col. Robert Friend, dead at 99
Montgomery Advertiser – Nonprofit launches to serve Montgomery’s Hispanic population
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Arthur Orr: Bradley Byrne ‘would do the best job’ for the state as U.S. Senator
YellowHammer News – VIDEO: Moore is in again, Trump officially running for reelection, fake news smears Alabama again and more on Guerrilla Politics …
YellowHammer News – Out with the new, in with the old: Gogue recommended as Auburn interim president
Dothan Eagle – Government Oversight: Test results indicate Dothan has safe drinking water
Dothan Eagle – Identity of deceased Dale County crash victim released
Dothan Eagle – Haleburg residents celebrate town origin at founder’s birthday celebration
Tuscaloosa News – Trump says ‘biggest mistake’ was naming Sessions attorney general
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Schools trying to reverse ‘summer slide’ through learning programs
Tuscaloosa News – Judge orders special prosecutor to examine Smollett probe
Decatur Daily – First Decatur police civilian crime scene tech graduates from national academy
Decatur Daily – Chemicals 3M discharged would be removed by new water plant
Decatur Daily – Burke still leading Calhoun after more than a year as acting president
Times Daily – Why no one opposed a $31M transfer from Alabama’s education budget
Times Daily – TVA to close road, bridge over Wilson Dam today
Times Daily – Music in the Park to feature Christian Turner
Gadsden Times – In Mideast, Pompeo seeks a global coalition against Iran
Gadsden Times – Buck’s Island lighthouse restored
Gadsden Times – Trump: ‘Surprise’ question about Pence led him to hesitate
Anniston Star – Online Samaritan: Facebook post leads to needed gift
Anniston Star – Why no one opposed a $31M transfer from Alabama’s education budget
Anniston Star – Amateur radio association send global signals during field day
Troy Messenger – Troy mural unveiling ceremony Monday
Troy Messenger – Laws reflect on healthcare through the years
Troy Messenger – GET A CLUE: Troy library hosts murder mystery
Andalusia Star News – Unemployment in Cov. County down 1 percent from last month
Andalusia Star News – Opp Housing Authority employees certified in CPR
Andalusia Star News – Nichols spent time searching for U Boats
Opelika-Auburn News – BREAKING: Auburn University board executive committee recommends Gogue for interim president
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn residents seek to preserve historic Cullars home
Opelika-Auburn News – Best Friends Animal Society offers animal control assistance to Lee County
Daily Mountain Eagle – Curry student places first at National Beta Convention
Daily Mountain Eagle – Sipsey Heritage Commission seeking action against Tyson Foods, Inc.
Daily Mountain Eagle – Two inmates charged after threatening to blow up courthouse
Trussville Tribune – 50 years later, the moon is still great for business
Trussville Tribune – New law provides immunity for rescuing children trapped in hot cars
Trussville Tribune – City of Argo to consider estimates to correct issues with city hall roof
Athens News Courier – Limestone man charged after high-speed pursuit involving LCSO, APD officers
Athens News Courier – One killed in early morning crash
Athens News Courier – Child killed in Sunday morning car accident
WSFA Montgomery – Auburn University Board of Trustees committee recommends interim president
WSFA Montgomery – Alabama inmates accused of plotting to bomb jail; call themselves “Pinky & The Brain”
WSFA Montgomery – 2 dead, 2 injured in three-vehicle crash near Uriah
Fox 6 Birmingham – First Alert: Scattered storms and showers possible overnight and on Monday; some storms may be severe
Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham man dies in the Bronx New York after being punched
Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham police add trauma kits to patrol cars
WAFF Huntsville – Model burned over 25 percent of body after catching on fire in photo shoot gone wrong
WAFF Huntsville – 17-year-old dies in drowning accident on Lake Guntersville
WAFF Huntsville – Single-vehicle wreck kills one, victim yet to be identified
WKRG Mobile – Reported missing man in NW Florida has been found.
WKRG Mobile – OCSO investigating suspicious death
WKRG Mobile – Niceville man takes deputies on wild chase
WTVY Dothan – Infant formula sold at Walmart is recalled because of metal fears
WTVY Dothan – Tourist dies after being caught in possible rip current at Panama City Beach
WTVY Dothan – Report: Toys R Us could return this holiday season
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump’s erratic policy moves put national security at risk, experts warn
WASHINGTON POST  – Sanders to propose canceling entire $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loan debt, escalating Democratic policy battle
WASHINGTON POST  – The Washington Post: Hackers are taking cities hostage. Here’s a way around it
WASHINGTON POST  – Former congressman Joe Sestak enters 2020 White House race
NEW YORK TIMES  – A Message From the Billionaire’s Club: Tax Us
NEW YORK TIMES  – Contributor John Irving: The Long, Cruel History of the Anti-Abortion Crusade
NEW YORK TIMES  – Columnist Charles Blow: Trump’s ‘Concentration Camps’: The cruelty of immigrant family separations must not be tolerated
NEW YORK TIMES  – ‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children
NEW YORK TIMES  – Taking the Future of Manufacturing Into High Schools

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