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Daily News Digest – June 26, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, June 26.

1. New Poll: Roy Moore slides, lags behind rivals.

  • New polling in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race shows former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s image among Republican voters is suffering, and he’s trailing behind two other candidates in the GOP primary.
  • A recent survey conducted by Brent Buchanan’s firm, Cygnal shows that 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters now have an unfavorable opinion of Moore, while just 28 percent have a favorable view.
  • That’s way underwater. But there’s more.
  • According to the poll, Moore now trails behind Tommy Tuberville and Bradley Byrne in a head-to-head ballot test. Way behind, actually.
  • I wrote about how the dynamics on Moore might be changing in the GOP electorate in my column yesterday, but I might have failed to consider the biggest factor: the effect of President Trump discouraging Moore’s candidacy.
  • Read the full story and see the brand new numbers for yourself HERE.


2. Merrill officially in.

  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is officially a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
  • Merrill announced his entrance into the GOP primary Tuesday on the steps of the state capitol in front of an impressive gathering of supporters.
  • His campaign followed up with an online video in which Merrill cast himself as a “winner” and contrasted himself against the other announced candidates.
  • A solid announcement all the way around.
  • But, he didn’t get any help from U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who continued to throw out the idea that former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hasn’t ruled out running for his old Senate seat.
  • (I’ve written and podcasted about why I think that’s very unlikely, but it’s interesting that Shelby keeps bringing it up.)
  • Read the full story on Merrill’s announcement from Kim Chandler HERE.


3. Mueller to testify.

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly before Congress on July 17 after Democrats issued subpoenas to compel him to appear, the chairmen of two House committees announced.
  • Mueller’s unusual back-to-back testimony in front of the House Judiciary and the Intelligence committees is likely to be the most highly anticipated congressional hearing in years, particularly given Mueller’s resolute silence throughout his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • His sole public statement came from the Justice Department podium last month as he announced his departure, when he sought to explain his decision to not indict Trump or to accuse him of criminal conduct. He also put lawmakers on notice that he did not ever intend to say more than what he put in the 448-page report.
  • “We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself,” Mueller said May 29. “I would not provide information beyond what is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
  • I guess we’ll see.
  • Read the full story HERE.


4. Court reviews minimum wage law, procedure.

  • Several federal appeals court judges appeared skeptical Tuesday of a lawsuit by fast-food workers and civil rights groups accusing Alabama lawmakers of racial discrimination for blocking a minimum-wage hike in the city of Birmingham.
  • At issue was a 2016 Alabama statute requiring every city in the state to have a minimum wage tied to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The workers and civil rights groups sued after the state law effectively nullified a city council vote to increase Birmingham’s wage to $10.10 an hour.
  • Their argument was ruled plausible last year by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed a judge’s decision to dismiss their lawsuit. But judges on a 12-judge 11th Circuit panel that reheard the case Tuesday spent little time addressing claims of racism, focusing instead on a narrow procedural issue.
  • Some judges questioned whether the lawsuit was properly filed against Alabama’s attorney general. Failure to sue the correct party would get the case thrown out.
  • Judges asked how a court order against the attorney general without additional legal action in Alabama courts would force employers to pay Birmingham’s higher minimum wage.
  • Full story HERE.


5. News Briefs.


House finally passes border funding
  • It took last-minute changes and a full-court press by top Democratic leaders, but the House finally passed a $4.5 billion emergency border aid package to care for thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied children detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • The bill passed along party lines Tuesday night after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quelled a mini-revolt by progressives and Hispanic lawmakers who sought significant changes to the legislation. New provisions added to the bill were more modest than what those lawmakers had sought, but the urgent need for the funding — to prevent the humanitarian emergency on the border from turning into a debacle — appeared to outweigh any lingering concerns.
  • The 230-195 vote sets up a showdown with the Republican-led Senate, which may try instead to force Democrats to send President Donald Trump a different, and broadly bipartisan, companion measure in coming days as the chambers race to wrap up the must-do legislation by the end of the week.
  • Full story HERE.
Jimmy Lyons staffs up
  • Richard T. Clark has been hired on as Deputy Director of the Alabama State Port Authority.
  • Jimmy Lyons, the Port Authority’s Director and CEO, made the announcement Tuesday.
  • Clark is a Mobile native who has worked in the maritime industry for decades. He replaces H.S. “Smitty” Thorne, who retired last year.
  • Lyons said Clark “stood out amongst all the applicants” in a nationwide search.
  • Read more HERE.
Scientists warn Alabamians of yellow jacket super nests
  • Scientists are cautioning Alabamians to be on the lookout for yellow jacket super nests.
  • Researchers say milder winters combined with an abundant food supply allow some colonies to survive later in the year and grow to the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.
  • Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the state may see large numbers of the giant nests this year.
  • Two nests have already been confirmed, a month sooner than when the first nest was spotted in 2006.
  • During that year, the state had 90 of the nests, which can contain more than 15,000 of the stinging insects.
  • Experts say removal of the colonies is a task that should be reserved for licensed commercial pest control operators.
A possible truce in the trade war?
  • American businesses are bracing for a painful escalation in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.
  • Yet they might just get a reprieve.
  • If history repeats itself — and most analysts are betting it will — Trump and President Xi Jinping will agree to some kind of cease-fire when they meet late this week at a Group of 20 international summit in Osaka, Japan.
  • Indeed, a senior administration official sought to downplay expectations Tuesday by suggesting that the primary goal for the Trump-Xi meeting is simply an agreement to restart negotiations. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the hard work of finalizing the complex details of any broad new accord would come later, when negotiating teams for the two sides meet.
  • Under the cease-fire scenario, the two sides’ existing tariffs and counter-tariffs on many of each other’s goods would remain in place. But no additional import taxes would take effect. This would buy time for U.S. and Chinese officials to restart talks that stalled last month after 11 rounds of negotiations.
  • Full story HERE.
Debate night
  • The first debate of the 2020 election cycle is tonight.
  • NBC is hosting two different debates back-to-back in order to accommodate the 20-candidate Democratic field. There are actually more candidates than that, but they had to draw the line somewhere.
  • It starts at 8:00 p.m. Central Time, and you can read about what to watch for HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poll: Roy Moore slides, lags behind rivals in Alabama Senate race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Merrill in Alabama GOP Senate race; Sessions still a factor
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judges question basis for Alabama minimum wage suit
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Robert Mueller to testify publicly before 2 House committees
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Time running short, showdown looms over border aid package
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Breakouts, burns and zingers: What to watch in the Democratic debates
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Possible outcome of Trump-Xi meeting: A truce in trade war
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Stacy Column: Roy Moore and why 2020 is not 2017
AL.COM  – Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill running for U.S. Senate
AL.COM  – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall responds to abortion ban lawsuit
AL.COM  – Alabama State Port Authority picks new deputy director
AL.COM  – Richard Shelby: Jeff Sessions would be a ‘formidable’ Senate candidate
AL.COM  – Mobile hesitates on backing coastal Amtrak return
AL.COM  – Trump’s Border Protection chief to resign amid outrage over treatment of children
AL.COM  – Appeal judges question Alabama minimum wage suit
AL.COM  – In fast-growing Fairhope, dispute brews over conservation issues
AL.COM  – Alabama law terminates parental rights in rape, incest, sodomy cases
AL.COM  – Columnist Roy Johnson: What to ultimately do with Legion Field? Someone finally has an idea
AL.COM  – Black, poor, Southern: One of the deadliest demographics for pregnant women in America
AL.COM  – Contributor U. S. Rep. Terri Sewell: Fighting for our democracy: Shelby v. Holder six years later
Montgomery Advertiser – John Merrill enters GOP race for U.S. Senate seat
Montgomery Advertiser – New Alabama law bans parental rights for those convicted of rape, incest
Montgomery Advertiser – In 2018, Alabama approved death by nitrogen for executions. When did it inform its inmates?
YellowHammer News – AG Steve Marshall cracks down on robocalls in Alabama
YellowHammer News – 2019 Yellowhammer ‘News Shapers’ series continues with its rural broadband edition
YellowHammer News – ‘Open for business’: Publication names three Alabama projects as top national award winners
Dothan Eagle – Mike Linder rises to lead Rehobeth High School with heavy community support
Dothan Eagle – Alabama dealership offers customers July 4th package: Gun, Bible and a Flag
Dothan Eagle – Dothan man accused of stealing iPhone
Tuscaloosa News – Charge dropped in homicide by heart attack case
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa moves to waive garbage fees to coincide with sales tax increase
Tuscaloosa News – Metro Animal Shelter’s vehicle sends adoptable pets into community
Decatur Daily – Study: Drainage contributing to Carrie Matthews’ sinking floor
Decatur Daily – Court desegregation oversight ends for DCS
Decatur Daily – Auburn University proposes interim president
Times Daily – Florence closes kayak, canoe launch site after vandalism
Times Daily – City temporarily closes Cypress Creek canoe and kayak launch area
Times Daily – New Helen Keller Festival event focuses on children
Gadsden Times – County jail renovations on track
Gadsden Times – DUI charge follows chase, hitting Gadsden patrol car
Gadsden Times – Coats Bend teen arrested with stolen vehicle, guns
Anniston Star – Ranburne Town Council appoints new mayor
Anniston Star – JSU to demolish Merrill Hall, pursue arbitration on insurance dispute
Anniston Star – Oxford adopts new wastewater regulations after legal settlement
Troy Messenger – Troy ordinance would ‘add teeth’ to clean up blight, unsafe homes
Troy Messenger – ‘WALL OF HONOR’: People’s inclusion in Troy mural a legacy
Troy Messenger – Ramer man convicted of federal felony gun, drug charges in Troy
Andalusia Star News – JC Penney is looking for seasonal associates for the summer
Andalusia Star News – Thank Willis Carrier for the air conditioning
Andalusia Star News – KARATE KID STRIKES AGAIN: Straughn’s Patel earns Grand Championship
Opelika-Auburn News – Merrill in Alabama GOP Senate race; Sessions still a factor
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika school board renews contracts for five principals
Opelika-Auburn News – Commission requests FEMA shelter funding
Daily Mountain Eagle – Walker unemployment drops to 3%
Daily Mountain Eagle – 2 arrested, charged in scam that targeted businesses
Daily Mountain Eagle – Amanda Sourvelis honored as educator at BSCC
Trussville Tribune – 4 arrested on shoplifting charges in Trussville
Trussville Tribune – Clay Council meets at newly renovated Fire Station 4, CPFD holds ribbon cutting
Athens News Courier – Man killed in Limestone crash identified
Athens News Courier – Athens man arrested on first-degree rape charge
Athens News Courier – SpaceX launches hefty rocket with 24 satellites, experiments
Sand Mountain Reporter – Local agencies seize 400 grams of meth in drug raid
WSFA Montgomery – Greenville officer sends out warning after snake bite
WSFA Montgomery – Dealership offering car buyers shotgun, Bible and flag to celebrate July Fourth
WSFA Montgomery – Selma man charged with killing his brother
Fox 6 Birmingham – Mayor’s Office: Multi-million dollar plan to repave roads to begin soon
Fox 6 Birmingham – Sheriff: ‘Pinky and the Brain’ inmate duo planned to bomb buildings
Fox 6 Birmingham – B’ham Fire: At least one person inside burning Fairfield house
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville City Schools replaces PESG as staffing contractor
WAFF Huntsville – Lawrence County robbery suspect captured at Atlanta airport
WAFF Huntsville – 2 bear sightings in south Huntsville, Owens Cross Roads
WKRG Mobile – Indiana mom warns parents after her 12-year-old daughter contracts a flesh-eating disease in the Gulf
WKRG Mobile – Mom allegedly beaten unconscious by her son’s bully
WKRG Mobile – Mobile County Deputies to dig up graves at Prichard cemetery
WTVY Dothan – Ozark woman killed in Dale County crash
WTVY Dothan – Alleged kidnapper leads authorities on high-speed chase
WASHINGTON POST  – Mueller to testify to Congress in open session about his investigation
WASHINGTON POST  – House passes $4.5 billion emergency border aid bill with provisions for the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody
WASHINGTON POST  – U.S. returns 100 migrant children to overcrowded border facility as HHS says it is out of space
WASHINGTON POST  – Federal debt set to rise over the coming decades to highest levels since World War II, CBO says
WASHINGTON POST  – 7 ways $1.6 trillion in student loan debt affects the U.S. economy.
NEW YORK TIMES  – Reopened Legal Challenge to Census Citizenship Question Throws Case Into Chaos
NEW YORK TIMES  – Drug Companies Are Focusing on the Poor After Decades of Ignoring Them

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