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Daily News Digest – March 11, 2020

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Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, March 11.



1. Trump endorses Tuberville

  • Welp, it happened.
  • Who among us, after seeing that polling yesterday, didn’t have a sneaking suspicion that President Donald Trump would finally pull the trigger and endorse Tommy Tuberville in the GOP Senate race?
  • That’s exactly what he did at about 9:00 p.m. yesterday, and between that and The Bachelor, Auburn Twitter was really having a night.
  • Trump said Tuberville was a “winner” who would “never let MAGA/KAG, or our country down.”
  • “I love Alabama!” the president concluded.
  • Trump’s endorsement came just hours after the Jeff Sessions campaign released internal polling of their own showing the race tied at 45-45 with 10% undecided.
  • Sessions later responded saying the president can endorse who he wants, but it’s up to the people of Alabama to elect their U.S. Senator.
  • Of course, Trump swung and missed when he endorsed former U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who eventually was defeated by Roy Moore in the 2017 GOP primary. So voters here have defied him before.
  • One thing to note from that Cygnal polling is how 32% of voters could not say whether or not Trump was opposed to Sessions. That number is sure to go up now, and the corresponding support for Tuberville has to be especially worrisome for the Sessions campaign.
  • Read more HERE.


2. In the State House

It was a day of debate in the State House Tuesday, as the House took up a full slate of legislation and the Senate fell into a filibuster over the Confederate monuments bill.
The House passed bills to:
  • adopt Daylight Savings Time year round if the feds do it;
  • allow military families to enroll their dependents in a district-based virtual school immediately upon receiving transfer orders to the state;
  • establish a Teacher Bill of Rights;
  • make it a crime to falsify a drug test using synthetic urine;
  • and several other bills relating to transportation, driver licenses and operating vehicles.
Of particular interest was a bill that would require state inmates who work outside of the Alabama Department of Corrections facilities to wear electronic monitoring devices. The bill passed with no opposition, but lawmakers voiced concern over who ADOC allows to be on work release in general during discussion of the bill.House Bill 151 from Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne, would change existing law to say that inmates convicted of violent offenses will be subject to electronic monitoring. Read that full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE .
The Senate got bogged down in a filibuster over Sen. Gerald Allen’s bill to stiffen penalties for cities that break the state’s ban on removing or covering up a historic monument. That law, which is ostensibly to protect Confederate monuments, was challenged in court by the City of Birmingham, which wanted to remove a large Confederate monument located downtown. The Alabama Supreme Court upheld the law.
Sen. Roger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, engaged in an impassioned filibuster describing the bill as a “slap in the face” to the black community and embarrassing to the state’s image. Read more from Kim Chandler HERE .





A message from


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3. School calendar, literacy rollback bills stir debate

  • Anytime the Legislature starts talking about changing the school calendar, it generates a lot of debate. This year is no exception as Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, has introduced a bill that would essentially require longer summer breaks.
  • The bill has some powerful co-sponsors, as well as some powerful detractors, so a spirited debate is all but assured for committee and, potentially, the House floor.
  • Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, has introduced a bill that would undo the third grade holdback provision of last year’s Alabama Literacy Act.
  • He argues that holding back students should be a decision for parents, teachers and principals, not a state mandate for an “arbitrary” line at third grade.
  • Education advocates and sponsors of the literacy law say that line isn’t arbitrary at all and that ensuring students can read proficiently by third grade greatly increases their chances to graduate high school.
  • So a decent amount of pot-stirring on the education front, and we haven’t even touched the budgets yet.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


4. State urges precautions for coronavirus

  • State health and school officials urged people to take precautions Tuesday as the new coronavirus spreads across the country, even as Alabama remained officially free of cases.
  • Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said that there have been no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Alabama, but he expects that to change as the virus spreads.
  • Harris said the state laboratory has so far tested 20 people for the new virus strain, in addition to tests done at private labs, and that no positive tests have been reported.
  • “We have not found any positive tests so far. We expect at some point that we will. As you know, many of the surrounding states in the Southeast have cases now,” Harris said at a news conference.
  • Harris and State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey urged people to stay home if they are sick, to cover coughs and sneezes and to contact their health provider by telephone if they develop symptoms and have concerns they may have been exposed.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Meanwhile, Europe has become the “epicenter” of the coronavirus worldwide, as Italy has reported more than 10,000 infections and at least 631 deaths.
  • In the U.S., most cases are clustered on the east and west coasts, with Washington State remaining the hardest hit by the virus.
  • Read more about that HERE.



5. Biden wins big again

  • Joe Biden decisively won Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary, seizing a key battleground state that helped propel Bernie Sanders’ insurgent candidacy four years ago. The former vice president’s victory there, as well as in Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho, dealt a serious blow to Sanders and substantially widened Biden’s path to the nomination.
  • Biden again showed strength Tuesday with working-class voters and African Americans, who are vital to winning the Democratic nomination. Sanders’ narrow hopes for good news rested on North Dakota and Washington state. Washington’s primary was too early to call, and because all votes there are cast by mail or by dropping them off in a ballot box, many ballots were marked for candidates who have since dropped out of the race.
  • Full story on the state of the Democratic nomination HERE.




A message from the

Business Council of Alabama

Don’t miss the latest installment of the BCA member driven Webinar series on  3.13.20 at 10:00 a.m.
This installment of BCA’s ProTip is brought to you by Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and The University of Alabama, with guest presenters  Bruce Ely  and  Karen Miller.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump spurns Sessions, backs Tuberville for Alabama Senate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Internal Sessions poll shows neck-and-neck race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Joe Biden has another big primary night, wins 4 more states
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – School calendar, literacy rollback bills stir debate in State House
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate debates increased Confederate monument protections
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inmate work release monitoring bill passes House
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama House votes to lift ban on yoga in public schools
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State health officials urge coronavirus precautions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Italy passes 10,000 infections as clusters spur worry in US
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New poll shows Tuberville leading Sessions in Alabama Senate runoff
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Stacy Column: After eduction vote, what now?
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmaker: Teachers should be allowed in Legislature
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump wants payroll tax relief to calm virus-spooked markets
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Seeking trial delay, sheriff makes false COVID-19 claim
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 10, 2020
AL.COM  – Senators hear pros and cons on new Alabama public records bill
AL.COM  – Trump endorses Tommy Tuberville over Jeff Sessions in Alabama Senate race
AL.COM  – Gov. Kay Ivey issues coronavirus guidelines to state agencies
AL.COM  – Senator says monuments bill amounts to kicking black citizens
AL.COM  – Change of strategy: Now Sessions wants Senate debate
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Election Day epidemic? Alabama has no plan
AL.COM  – Robins & Morton donates $1.3 million to Auburn for new lab
AL.COM  – ‘Florida man’? Or Alabama’s next senator? Tuberville’s residency roils campaign
AL.COM  – Coronavirus cancels giant Army symposium in Huntsville
AL.COM  – Alabama Power makes case for $1.1B expansion
AL.COM  – Debates ahead of Alabama’s GOP Senate runoff look unlikely
AL.COM  – Coronavirus update: University of Alabama says no plans to close; issues domestic travel advisor
Montgomery Advertiser – MPS board member Jannah Bailey blames lack of financial support for schools on racism
Montgomery Advertiser – Donald Trump endorses Tommy Tuberville in GOP Senate runoff
Montgomery Advertiser – Land of opportunity: Park Crossing boys soccer bridge cultural gaps beyond the pitch
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Nothing but racism:’ Senate delays monuments vote after senator invokes Alabama’s shameful past
Montgomery Advertiser – Coronavirus and education: State superintendent outlines what schools will do if cases confirmed
Montgomery Advertiser – MPS approves LIFE Academy charter, set to open fall 2021
YellowHammer News – Lottery bill filed in Alabama House; co-sponsored by speaker and majority, minority leaders
YellowHammer News – During debate on Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, Dem legislator brings rope to podium
YellowHammer News – Byrne rallies support for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act — ‘The crisis is real’
Tuscaloosa News – Local efforts aimed to tackle coronavirus
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa County seeking FEMA aid for flood recovery
Tuscaloosa News – Poll shows Tuberville with lead in U.S. Senate race
Decatur Daily – State, schools outline coronavirus preparations
Decatur Daily – No quick fix for closed US 231
Decatur Daily – School calendar, literacy rollback legislation stir debate
Decatur Daily – Inmate work release monitoring bill passes House
Times Daily – Calendar, literacy rollback bills stir debate in State House
Times Daily – Parole denied for 2 inmates in Lauderdale cases
Times Daily – Tuscumbia man sentenced for first-degree robbery, trafficking meth
Anniston Star – No coronavirus found in Alabama yet, but testing remains sparse
Anniston Star – K-12 school leader urges Alabama schools to curtail travel
Anniston Star – Calendar, literacy rollback bills stir debate in State House
Dothan Eagle – State Superintendent. Mackey discusses COVID-19 contingency; Spring Break travel
Dothan Eagle – One dies, one hurt in Fadette two-vehicle wreck
Dothan Eagle – Man sells meth to undercover officer while parked at church
Opelika-Auburn News – Local pharmacies running out of sanitizer, other supplies
Opelika-Auburn News – Charts, maps showing coronavirus numbers in US, around world
Opelika-Auburn News – EAMC, Auburn to screen for virus exposure
WSFA Montgomery – Potential juror arrested as misconduct halts trial involving Prattville barbershop murders
WSFA Montgomery – Andalusia spends nearly $2M to reconfigure major parts of downtown
WSFA Montgomery – Bill seeks to strengthen Alabama’s open records law
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – New poll shows Tuberville leading Sessions in Alabama U.S. Senate race
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Stacy Column: After education vote, what now?
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Trump endorses Tuberville in GOP Senate nomination runoff
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Inmate work release monitoring bill passes House
WAFF Huntsville – Cullman couple discusses corona quarantine aboard Grand Princess cruise ship
WAFF Huntsville – Proposed school calendar changes stirring up debate across Alabama
WAFF Huntsville – Man sought in Elkmont counterfeit money investigation
WKRG Mobile – Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo reopens in new location Wednesday
WKRG Mobile – Electability boosts Biden, Sanders falls short
WKRG Mobile – Coronavirus in Florida: 3 new cases in Tampa Bay, 8 in the state
WTVY Dothan – FHP: Man arrested for DUI crash into school bus in Jackson County
WTVY Dothan – He did it! President endorses Tuberville in senate race
WTVY Dothan – Lottery bill introduced with excellent chance for House approval
WASHINGTON POST  – Joe Biden rolls up victories as Bernie Sanders struggles for a foothold in the Democratic race
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump administration wants hundreds of thousands of federal workers to be ready to telework full time
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump pitches payroll tax cut through election to skeptical GOP senators
WASHINGTON POST  – Biden Takes Command of Race, Winning Four States Including Michigan
NEW YORK TIMES  – How Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells
NEW YORK TIMES  – Coronavirus Spurs U.S. Efforts to End China’s Chokehold on Drugs

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