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Daily News Digest – June 29, 2020

Good morning! Hope you had a fun and safe weekend.
Programming note: Inside Alabama Politics is coming tomorrow, so stay tuned for that (and we always appreciate last-minute tips).
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, June 29.


1. More cities consider face mask requirements

  • More Alabama cities are implementing, or considering, a requirement to wear face masks in public places to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
  • Montgomery, Birmingham and Jefferson County have orders in place requiring face masks in public places. The mayor of Selma on Friday issued a similar order. Tuscaloosa will vote on a possible mask ordinance Tuesday. The mayors of Decatur and Mobile indicated their city councils will discuss the idea.
  • Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson wrote on social media that he is asking the Mobile City Council to approve an order requiring face coverings in public places.
  • “This step was necessitated by the rising number of COVID infections over the past week. There is no question that masks can prevent the spread of COVID-19. The virus is actively spreading in our community and remains a serious threat to public health,” Stimpson wrote on Twitter.
  • Full story HERE.


2. Conversations begin on police policies, training in Alabama

  • As Congress appears deadlocked on advancing federal police reforms in response to outrage over recent killings of Black people during law enforcement encounters, state lawmakers in Alabama are beginning conversations about police policies, training and funding.
  • Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, said he and other Democratic Caucus members are working on multiple pieces of police reform legislation.
  • “Things like qualified immunity to more extensive background checks, more extensive training and dealing with things like mandatory body cameras and making sure the videos and the footage remains public record,” England said.
  • England said he would like to bring up the legislation in a special session if one is called by Gov. Kay Ivey later this summer or fall. If that’s not possible, he’ll file the bills in the 2021 regular session that begins in February.
  • “That’s a discussion we’ve got to have, but I can tell you that most police departments, and I’ve been in law enforcement for over 30 years, are on a shoestring budget as it is,” said Rep. Alan Treadaway, R-Birmingham, who in addition to his role in the Legislature serves as assistant chief of the Birmingham Police Department.
  • “Taking funds away from the police departments will have a detrimental effect to the services that we provide. There is no way around that discussion,” Treadaway said.
  • The state could also see a push to amend the Alabama Peace Officer Standards and Training, or APOST curriculum, which currently doesn’t include de-escalation or crisis intervention training, or any training on recognizing personal-bias.
  • Read more about the current police training practices around the state and what other lawmakers are discussing in Caroline Beck’s story HERE.


3. Yet again, Congress unable to act on thorny issue

  • For a moment, Congress had a chance to act on a policing overhaul, mobilized by a national trauma and overwhelming public support. Those efforts have stalled now and seem unlikely to be revived in an election year.
  • It’s the latest example of how partisanship and polarization on Capitol Hill have hamstrung Congress’ ability to meet the moment and respond meaningfully to public opinion.
  • Polls showed nearly all Americans in favor of some measure of change to the criminal justice system, and both chambers moved quickly to draft legislation.
  • There were common elements in the House Democratic proposal and the Senate Republican bill, including a national database of use-of-force incidents by law enforcement and restrictions on police chokeholds. But efforts to bridge the divides bogged down in a predictable fight over process and exposed again how little trust there is between the Senate’s leaders, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
  • McConnell said Democrats refused to take him at his word that he was willing to negotiate over the final bill, and he pitched a supposedly fair and freewheeling floor debate. Schumer and other Democrats saw little that was genuine in McConnell’s overtures, noting that during his tenure as GOP leader, the sharp-elbowed Kentucky Republican has permitted almost no open floor debate on legislation.
  • “The incentive structure is misaligned for compromise. That’s the reality of it. Members are more likely to be rewarded electorally for representing their base primary voters than for reaching out to voters in the middle,” said Michael Steel, who was a top aide to former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “The giants of yesteryear are remembered as such because voters rewarded them for successfully legislating. And that just seems to be less and less the case.”
  • Full story HERE.


4. Report: China forcing birth control, abortions in ‘demographic genocide’

  • The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country’s Han majority to have more children.
  • The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show. Even while the use of IUDs and sterilization has fallen nationwide, it is rising sharply in Xinjiang.
  • While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control, the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to an AP investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor. The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang is leading to what some experts are calling a form of “demographic genocide.”
  • The population control measures are backed by mass detention both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply. Having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps, the AP found, with the parents of three or more children ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines. Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children.
  • Full story HERE.




5. News Briefs

Patriots sign Cam Newton to replace Tom Brady

  • The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, bringing in the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player to help the team move on from three-time MVP Tom Brady.
  • A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Newton remains the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. He had one year remaining on a five-year, $103.8 million contract, but the Panthers saved $19.1 million under the salary cap by releasing him on March 24.
  • The 31-year-old Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft after leading Auburn to a national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy. He helped the Panthers reach the playoffs four times, including the Super Bowl in 2015.
  • “I’m as excited as I don’t what right now!!” Newton posted on Instagram “All praise to God!! Dropping content tomorrow!! I hope you’re ready!! #LetsgoPats.”
  • Full story HERE.

Auburn to offer doctorate in building construction

  • AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University said it will offer a new doctoral degree in building construction that will be one of only a handful of such programs nationwide.
  • An announcement released last week said the program will start when the fall semester begins on Aug. 17 as part of Auburn’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction.
  • The school described the program as a research-based degree that will emphasize emerging and important areas of building construction. The program will be one of seven such programs nationwide, the school said.
  • Students will take an average of three years to complete the program, which aligns with a degree in building sciences and will require 62 semester hours of graduate course work beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Alabama officer fired over post of protester in rifle scope

  • HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama police chief says one of his officers has been fired after posting a photo on social media that depicted a protester in the crosshairs of a rifle scope.
  • Former Officer Ryan Snow was fired Friday, Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said.
  • The officer posted the image on Facebook Tuesday in response to an article about protesters at the Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta where Rayshard Brooks was killed, reported. Protesters torched the restaurant June 13, the night after police killed Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, in the restaurant parking lot after he resisted arrest and fired a Taser while he was running away.
  • Snow admitted to posting the image, which also included the comment: “Exhale. Feel. Pause. Press steadily. That’s what’s next,” Derzis said.
  • “When I saw the post and the image, it sickened me,” Derzis said. “It certainly did not adhere to the standards expected of every officer who wears our uniform.”
  • “This type of conduct will not be tolerated in our department and is not representative of the professionalism expected by all of our officers,” Derzis added.
  • Hoover is just south of Birmingham and home to about 86,000 residents.

$2.4 million renovation of Gulf State Park pier nearly done

  • GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) — A more than $2 million renovation of the fishing pier at Gulf State Park should be finished in July, according to the Alabama Department of Conversation and Natural Resources.
  • A statement from the agency said decking, handrails and lights are being replaced as part of the work on the pier, which extends more than 1,500 feet (457 meters) into the Gulf of Mexico. A new system to dispose of fish-cleaning waste and an observation deck also are being added, and the concessions area and restrooms are being improved.
  • The work, which totaled $2.4 million, took months longer than anticipated, dragging into the summer season, but the agency said the delay couldn’t be avoided.
  • “This is going to be what sets the example for any pier that is built on the Gulf of Mexico,” Lamar Pendergrass, a state parks supervisor, said in a statement. “If people want to see something that is state-of-the-art and done the right way, this is where they need to be.”



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – More cities consider or implement face mask requirements
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Conversations begin on police policies, training in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Once again, Congress unable to act during national trauma
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: China forcing birth control, abortions in ‘demographic genocide’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Source: Patriots sign Cam Newton to replace Tom Brady
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey weighs extending safer-at-home order for Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Road-map to reopening schools announced; Mackey stresses importance of distance learning
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mississippi set to remove Confederate emblem from its flag
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s attacks seen undercutting confidence in 2020 vote
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s attacks seen undercutting confidence in 2020 vote
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Op-ed: Let’s Have an Honest Discussion about COVID-19 in Alabama’s Prisons
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – June 28, 2020
AL.COM – Undocumented in Alabama face lockdown, unemployment without benefits
AL.COM – Data issues delay Alabama’s daily coronavirus case numbers
AL.COM – Alabama shopping mall subject of new documentary film
AL.COM – Carbon Hill mayor resigns after Facebook post over Black Lives Matter
AL.COM – Alabama funeral directors see pain, magnitude of pandemic
AL.COM – Alabama restaurants confront vicious cycle: Close, clean, reopen
AL.COM – Alabama honor system: Some restaurants disclose their own COVID-19 cases on Facebook
Montgomery Advertiser – Sunday shooting kills Montgomery man in Regency Park
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery Advertiser wins 49 APA awards, including Story of the Year, public service award
Montgomery Advertiser – Federal appeals court won’t block ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Two suspects in killing of seven people arrive back in Alabama to face capital murder charges
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Relatives of Emma Sansom from Gadsden write letter calling for removal of statue
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Conversations begin on Alabama’s police policies, training
Tuscaloosa News – Two teens charged in Saturday night homicide
Tuscaloosa News – PHOTOS: Cummings Memorial Four Ball Championship
Tuscaloosa News – Farm studies continue during pandemic
Decatur Daily – Top doctors plead for change in behavior as state sees record COVID-19 cases
Decatur Daily – Decatur police chief sets up advisory council in response to demands
Decatur Daily – Decatur getting more restaurants, Aldi grocery store planning pushes forward
Times Daily – Top doctors plead for change in behavior
Times Daily – Colbert commission sets 25 mph speed limits on west end roads
Times Daily – Mackey stresses importance of distance learning
Anniston Star – Job staffing company has positions that need filling
Anniston Star – Florida man held after crashing truck into Oxford business, shooting bystander, sheriff says
Anniston Star – Ranburne council hears details of holding municipal election
YellowHammer News – Dauphin Island Sea Lab restoring aquatic grass along Alabama coast
YellowHammer News – Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO cites UAH research collaboration in keynote speech
YellowHammer News – Rep. Brooks: Democrats are anti-police, ‘People who engage in crime’ a constituency of the Democratic Party
Gadsden Times – Etowah County boy making miraculous recovery
Gadsden Times – Feelings remain heated on Sansom Monument
Gadsden Times – Virus cases continue to rise in Etowah Co., across state
Dothan Eagle – More Alabama cities consider face mask requirements
Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: Can growing certain plants change the taste of honey?
Dothan Eagle – Psychologist recommends case against man charged in mother’s death should proceed
Troy Messenger – Alabama faces ‘the toughest school year’ ahead with COVID-19 challenges
Troy Messenger – ATF offers reward in gun store burglary
Troy Messenger – ALEA Driver’s License offices resume normal operations
Andalusia Star News – Plan unveiled for schools to return in August
Andalusia Star News – REMEMBERING WYATT: Despite Huntington’s, RLHS alumnus remained optimistic
Opelika-Auburn News – Man struck, killed on I-85; Dadeville woman killed on Highway 50
Opelika-Auburn News – Looking at what may be next for Alabama recruiting after three commitments in a month
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police chief stricken with COVID-19
Daily Mountain Eagle – Auburn to offer doctorate in building construction
Daily Mountain Eagle – Odom: Mail-in absentees to be counted by machine, with no delays
Daily Mountain Eagle – Political profiles available for municipal candidates
Trussville Tribune – Moody PD raising money for memorial honoring officers killed
Trussville Tribune – Preliminary hearing set for pair charged in Moody police officer’s death
Trussville Tribune – CRIME STOPPERS: Center Point man wanted by Hueytown PD on auto theft charge
Athens News Courier – More cities consider or implement face mask requirements
Athens News Courier – Ivey weighs extending safer-at-home order for Alabama
Athens News Courier – CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1: Seibert announces bid for re-election
Sand Mountain Reporter – 16 test positive for COVID-19 at Albertville Health and Rehab
Sand Mountain Reporter – 13 days left to apply for an absentee ballot for primary runoff election
Sand Mountain Reporter – Albertville Airport makes room for large aircraft
WSFA Montgomery – Doctors voice concerns ahead of holiday weekend
WSFA Montgomery – Dadeville woman dead after crash near Camp Hill
WSFA Montgomery – Man shot, killed in Jefferson Square Park identified
WAFF Huntsville – Albertville Health and Rehab tests staff and patients for coronavirus, 16 people test positive for COVID-19
WAFF Huntsville – ADOL to again help customers file unemployment forms at ASU Acadome
WAFF Huntsville – Two suspects in killing of seven people arrive back in Alabama to face capital murder charges
WKRG Mobile – Mississippi surrenders Confederate symbol from state flag
WKRG Mobile – Militants attack Karachi stock exchange, killing at least 3
WKRG Mobile – Trump denies briefing on reported bounties against US troops
WTVY Dothan – Church closes daycare after staffer tests positive for COVID-19
WTVY Dothan – Wiregrass churches hit with COVID-19
WTVY Dothan – Space Camp reopens in Huntsville
WASHINGTON POST – Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments
WASHINGTON POST – Police chiefs and mayors push for reform. Then they run into veteran officers, unions and ‘how culture is created’
WASHINGTON POST – Millions of homeowners face flood risks without realizing it, and climate change is making it worse.
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Self-Inflicted Wound: Losing Swing Voters As He Plays to His Base
NEW YORK TIMES – How the Trump Campaign Is Drawing Obama Out of Retirement
NEW YORK TIMES – Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops



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