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Daily News Digest – March 14, 2018


Good morning! Here is your Daily News for Wednesday, March 14. 

1. On the Air: candidates begin TV, radio ad campaigns

As Governor Pappy “Pass the Biscuits” O’Daniel taught us, “We ain’t one-at-a-timin’ here. We’re MASS COMMUNICATIN‘!”

The air campaign has begun. Candidates for statewide office have begun running ads on television and radio, marking an important milestone for campaigns that many voters hate and most political junkies love.

  • Governor Kay Ivey went up with a statewide TV ad yesterday.
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall has been up on TV for more than a week statewide.
  • PSC President and Lt. Governor candidate Twinkle Cavanaugh is up on TV statewide starting today.
  • And State Rep. and Lt. Governor candidate Will Ainsworth has a radio ad promoting his teacher carry bill.

Go watch them all right here. Which ones are you impressed with? Not impressed with? @me with your thoughts.

One important rule in broadcast advertising is that once you go up, you need to stay up. In other words, you don’t want to risk running out of money and not have ads airing leading up to election day.

So, when to start using your resources and make that first ad buy can be a little tricky. It looks like campaigns are starting to pull the trigger.

2. Takeaways from Pennsylvania 

  • There was a special election for Congress in Pennsylvania yesterday. Actually, it’s kind of still going on because it’s too close to declare a winner.
  • Why is an obscure and probably not very impactful race in Pennsylvania major national news? Because it could a bellwether of how the electorate is leaning going into the 2018 elections.
  • Read POLITICO to get up to speed on the factors in this race.
  • No matter how they spin it, Republicans have to be at least a little concerned about the outcome here. The district went for Trump by almost 20 points in 2016. Sure, the GOP candidate wasn’t the best, but nominating good candidates is part of politics (amirite, Alabama?).
  • As Vox’s Ezra Klein noted, there are 118 GOP-held seats that Trump carried by fewer points than PA-18.
  • Democrats need to win 24 seats to win control of the House of Representatives.
  • I’m not predicting a tsunami election like Ben Shapiro and a few others seem to be.
  • But, more and more it looks like that if 2018 is a referendum on President Trump, Republicans and their House majority might be in trouble.


  • One of the hottest policy issues in Alabama right now is investing in our crumbling roads and bridges across the state.
  • A diverse coalition of business groups, professional associations, and community leaders is leading the charge to solve this critical issue.
  • The Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure (AAI) wants to fix Alabama’s road and bridge crisis by identifying financially-responsible investments, reforms, and long-term solutions.
  • More jobs, enhanced public safety, and a better quality of life are some of the benefits of solving Alabama’s infrastructure problem. But, raising awareness about Alabama’s transportation needs and informing the public about potential solutions is critical.
  • For more information on AAI and to sign up for the latest updates, visit their website at
  • For information on how you can become a partner in the AAI coalition, contact AAI Executive Director Drew Harrell: [email protected].
  • For a cool snapshot of this important issue, check out this AAI video that makes the case for investing in Alabama roads and bridges

3. Keep your head on a swivel: Broadband, school safety are issues to watch

Two pretty significant issues will be discussed in legislative committees today…


  • Expanding access to Wireless Broadband for rural communities is a big, but sometimes overlooked, issue this session.  Most everybody wants to get a deal done, but there is disagreement over how to get it done.
  • Sen. Clay Scofield’s bill that passed the Senate without opposition early in the session relies on tax credits – meaning if a tech company invests resources to bring broadband to a community they could get a valuable tax credit to offset costs.
  • Many – including Rep. Donnie Chesteen – have argued for using state-authorized grants instead, which would essentially involve the state pumping in money to get the projects off the ground. Advocates for this approach say it’s more in line with what the Trump Administration wants and may help fund.
  • It looks like the grant side has won the day, at least for now. Expect an amended or substituted bill to be approved by the House Ways & Means Education Committee today.

Gun and School Safety

  • The House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee meeting this morning will include public hearings on the two primary gun and school safety proposals before the legislature:
  • Rep. Will Ainsworth’s bill to allow properly-trained teachers and administrators to carry firearms; and
  • Rep. Allen Farley’s bill to expand statewide a Franklin County program in which law enforcement can train and deputize anonymous ‘marshals’ to help secure campuses.
  • Recent polling among GOP voters showed they generally favor arming properly trained education employees. School officials and many in law enforcement have opposed that approach for various reasons.
  • Interesting tidbit: Governor Bentley originally vetoed the Franklin County ‘marshal’ bill, but the veto was overturned. Some believe the thinking was that the law could have been applied statewide, which is what Farley’s bill now does.

4. What else is going on


  • The General Fund Budget passed the full House Tuesday, and without much drama at all. Chairman Steve Clouse said the House may have set a record for how quickly the budget bill was approved.
  • The Education Trust Fund Budget passed a Senate Committee, putting it on track to be considered on the floor as soon as tomorrow. But, mo’ money mo’ problems, you know?
  • Read Brian Lyman’s story in the Advertiser for more details on the bills.



  • There was a bad link in headlines section yesterday. What was supposed to direct to Brian Lyman’s story about the Ethics Commission Director and the Secretary of Commerce not seeing eye-to-eye on the economic developers bill led to an older piece about Selma. My apologies. Here’s the good link.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – On the Air: Candidates begin tv, radio ad campaigns

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pro-life groups rally behind Roby

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama House votes to reinstate school security task force

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers hold hearing on proposal to arm teachers

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Disney World trip ends in horrific crash for Texas students

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House approves $85 million for prison improvements

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Long list of artists and activists to be in Montgomery for lynching memorial’s opening weekend.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alabama budgets advance, one more quickly than the other.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Day care oversight bill awaiting final passage.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Commerce, Ethics Commission at odds over developer bill.

AL.COM – Etowah sheriff pockets $750k in jail food funds, buys $740k beach house.

AL.COM – Gun bill frustration surfaces during Alabama House debate on school task force.

AL.COM – Alabama’s second largest school budget ever advances.

AL.COM – Documents suggest Balch ghostwrote Strange letter to EPA.

AL.COM – Democrats call on Doug Jones to reject bank deregulation bill.

AL.COM – MollerTech opens $46.3 million plant in Bibb County.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  EPA director paid by ‘poop train’ conductor.

AL.COM – Will Trump economic policies work? Mo Brooks is unsure.

AL.COM – In Mobile, ‘transformative’ effort could move airport from suburbs to downtown.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – House passes bill to reform property tax seizures.

SENATE SKETCHES – “Senate Sketches,” Sen. Hank Sanders’ weekly message to his constituents.

DECATUR DAILY – Open government is good government.

DECATUR DAILY – House committee to ‘wait and see’ on payday lending reform bill.

GADSDEN TIMES – Entrekin says he’s getting ‘beat up’ for following law.

ANNISTON STAR – Alabama lawmakers propose fixes for dog shortage.

DOTHAN EAGLE –  School security deserves a measured approach.

WASHINGTON POST – House election too close to call with candidates separated by couple hundred votes.

WASHINGTON POST – Pennsylvania vote shows that Trumpism has its limits — even in Trump country.

WASHINGTON POST – ‘It was a different mind-set’: How Trump soured on Tillerson as his top diplomat.

WASHINGTON POST – Columnist David Ignatius:  Tillerson’s departure removes another check on an impulsive Trump.

WASHINGTON POST – Republicans must choose: Trump or trade?

WASHINGTON POST – What legal rights do students really have to protest during the school day?

WASHINGTON POST – Once a bailout recipient, this profitable midsize bank may soon win relief from banking rules.

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