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Daily News Digest – March 26, 2019

Presented by

The Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure


Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, March 26.



1. Wild week just getting started.

  • The hits kept coming for President Donald Trump’s White House Monday and into this morning.
  • Fresh off being cleared of collusion with Russia to win the 2016 election, Trump blasted his political enemies’ actions as “treasonous.”
  • “We can never let this happen to another president again,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there that have done some very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country.”
  • The surprise conclusions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller have led to serious criticisms from the Right and Left for how media handled the mountain of Russia-Trump coverage over the last two years.
  • Rolling Stone report Matt Taibbi wrote, “Imagine how tone-deaf you’d have to be not to realize it makes you look bad when news does not match audience expectations.”
  • Former Fox News host Brit Hume said “It is the worst journalistic debacle of my lifetime and I’ve been in this business about 50 years,” said Fox analyst and former Washington bureau chief Brit Hume. “I’ve never seen anything quite this bad last this long.”
  • More on the media upshot HERE.
  • House and Senate Democrats began pressing the Department of Justice to release the full report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying the summary from Attorney General Bill Barr was “insufficient.” Trump said the full release “wouldn’t bother me at all,” but his lawyers and other Republicans have shown some resistance.
  • Meanwhile DOJ moved to concur with a federal district court ruling that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional.
  • In a filing Monday with a federal appeals court, Justice said the entire law should be struck as unconstitutional.
  • The ruling is under appeal, but the official DOJ opinion could mean the law is treated as struck down as it moves through the process.
  • It also means the Supreme Court may get yet another crack at Obamacare, which would impact an already-complicated health care debate nationally and in Alabama.
  • It’s only Tuesday.



2. Pentagon announces wall transfer.

  • The Pentagon has notified Congress that it has authorized the transfer of as much as $1 billion to go toward constructing barriers along the southern border with Mexico.
  • Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and building 57 miles of 18-foot-high fencing in Yuma, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, along the U.S. border with Mexico.
  • The Pentagon says it will divert up to $1 billion to support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection. The funding would also go toward installing lighting and constructing roads in those areas.
  • Shanahan says the Corps’ focus will be on blocking “drug-smuggling corridors.”
  • The El Paso sector has suddenly become the second-busiest corridor for illegal border crossings after Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, many of them asylum-seeking families from Central America. The Yuma sector has also witnessed a jump in illegal crossings, particularly Guatemalan families in remote areas.
  • Shanahan will testify before the House Armed Services Committee TODAY where he is sure to be questioned about the funding transfers.
  • Alabama Daily News was the first to report that Alabama-based military construction projects could be impacted by Pentagon funding transfers to build the wall.
  • $5.2 million meant for a weapons maintenance shop at Anniston Army Depot is the project at risk the most.
  • A $38 million training support facility at Fort Rucker and two Maxwell Air Force Base projects worth $33.5 million were also on the list, but should be safe because they’re being allocated this year.
  • Sen. Richard Shelby told ADN he’d make sure any cuts to Alabama bases get repaid.
  • Alabama Reps. Mike Rogers, Bradley Byrne and Mo Brooks serve on House Armed Services.



A message from

the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure


The Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure (AAI) is dedicated to sharing accurate and useful information with the public.
Both during and after the passage of the Rebuild Alabama Act, false and misinterpreted information has been shared on social and print media regarding the plan to invest in Alabama’s infrastructure needs. AAI has put together a  one-page document  to help correct this false information by providing true facts on the legislation and issues surrounding it.
Check out “True Facts vs False Information” by clicking HERE .
And for more useful information, visit AAI’s  resource website.

3. Givan apologizes.

  • Rep. Juandalynn Givan of Birmingham has apologized for an outburst on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives in which she repeatedly shouted at the House speaker.
  • Givan issued a statement to “humbly express my apologies to my colleagues.” She said she also wanted to challenge fellow lawmakers “to avoid actions that encourage division and oppression.”
  • “In light of a recent incident that I felt directly challenged my constitutional rights and those of all Alabamians I responded in a manner that did not reflect my character or political office,” Givan said.
  • Video from Alabama Public Television showed Givan repeatedly shouting at House Speaker Mac McCutcheon during Thursday debate. The speaker said the outburst “included a stream of harassing statements and obscenities.”
  • Read more HERE.




4. Trade heats up.

  • President Donald Trump will meet with GOP lawmakers Tuesday to try to kick-start the process for rounding up votes on Capitol Hill to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade accord.
  • But prospects are uncertain given that Republicans are at odds with some aspects of the plan and Democrats are in no hurry to secure a political victory for the president.
  • Supporters in Congress and business groups say they have a narrow window to push it through, especially given that lawmakers tend to avoid tough trade votes during election season.
  • Many lawmakers maintain that the president should lift steel and aluminum tariffs on products brought in from Canada and Mexico as a first step to getting the trade agreement through Congress.
  • Read the latest HERE.


5. News Briefs.

SCOTUS won’t hear 1996 murder appeal
  • The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will not hear the case of an Alabama death row inmate who says his lawyer had an undisclosed conflict of interest that caused evidence of childhood abuse to not be presented in court.
  • The court said it will not review the case of Nicholas Acklin, 47. He was convicted in the 1996 shooting deaths of four people in Huntsville.
  • Appellate attorneys wrote that during the 1998 trial, Acklin’s trial attorney wanted to show Acklin had suffered childhood physical and emotional abuse from his father. Acklin’s father, who denied the accusation, threatened to stop paying legal fees in the case if that was done, his attorneys wrote in the court petition.
  • “It should go without saying that the right to be represented by conflict-free counsel could not be more important when a defendant faces the death penalty,” his attorneys wrote.
  • Full story HERE.
Environmental groups say EPA dragged its feet on dispersant rules
  • Environmental groups say the Environmental Protection Agency has dragged its heels on issuing rules for oil spill dispersants, and they’re ready to sue to demand them.
  • They say dispersants such as Corexit, used during the Exxon Valdez and BP oil spills, were more toxic to people and the environment than oil alone but, nearly four years after taking public comments about such rules, the agency hasn’t acted.
  • The EPA said it is reviewing a letter sent Monday to Administrator Andrew Wheeler, saying the people and groups will sue unless the agency acts within 60 days.
  • The letter is a legally required step before filing suit under the Clean Water Act.
  • Kindra Arnesen of Buras, Louisiana blames the dispersant for her family’s migraines, respiratory problems and rashes so deep they caused open wounds and left scars. She said their son seems to have recovered completely, but her husband still has major problems and she and her daughter are still living with lower levels of illness.
  • Full story HERE.
Sandler sentencing today
  • A man who pleaded guilty to scamming an Alabama town for nearly $2 million is due in federal court to find out how long he will go to prison.
  • Sentencing for 43-year-old Kyle Sandler is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Montgomery.
  • Sandler moved to the east Alabama town of Opelika (Oh-puh-LIE-kuh) in 2011 and later opened a business incubator called the Round House. He pleaded guilty last year to fraud for taking about $1.9 million from more than 50 investors.
  • Sandler told The Associated Press he falsely portrayed himself as a one-time Google executive and acted out of greed.
  • U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins said last month that sentence guidelines indicate Sandler should spend between 63 to 78 months in prison.
Event to highlight LGBTQ history
  • An event this week will highlight the history of LGBTQ people in the American South.
  • What organizers are calling the inaugural Queer History South Conference opens Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama. More than 115 people are expected to attend from the South and elsewhere.
  • The two-day conference will focus on collecting, researching, preserving and sharing items to document the stories of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and queer people in the South.
  • It’s being staged by the nonprofit Invisible Histories Project, which began in 2016 in Birmingham.
  • Organizers from five states are involved, and the program includes presentations from speakers including universities and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Media takes heat following Mueller conclusions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Medical marijuana bill with bi-partisan support filed in Alabama House
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pentagon to defend projects targeted by Trump border project
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Groups: EPA has dragged heels on oil dispersant rules
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court won’t hear 1996 Alabama capital murder case
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 25, 2019
AL.COM  – Lawmaker apologizes for outburst; speaker condemns conduct
AL.COM  – Rep. Mo Brooks compares Democrats, media to Hitler
AL.COM  – Alabama storm destruction: ‘Major structural damage’ to buildings in Chilton County
AL.COM  – 5 things to know about Vice President Mike Pence’s Huntsville visit
AL.COM  – Alabama overrules Birmingham, allows new charter school
AL.COM  – US Supreme Court will not hear Alabama death row inmate’s case
AL.COM  – Bill aims to keep slow drivers out of left lane to curb road rage
AL.COM  – 143 Family Dollar stores, including 5 in Alabama, closing: Complete list of closing locations
AL.COM  – Terri Sewell, Jahana Hayes urge women in Birmingham to run for office
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Serious as sin: What white evangelicals need to hear from their pastors
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama medical marijuana bill would allow cannabis treatment for 33 conditions
Montgomery Advertiser – Retired Air Force brigadier general will run to be next mayor of Montgomery
Montgomery Advertiser – McGehee Road shooting victim dies weeks later
YellowHammer News – Rep. Gary Palmer warns of the Medicaid expansion ‘trap’ — Costs ‘will eventually swamp the state’
YellowHammer News – AG Marshall commends ‘swift and decisive action’ as Walker Co. shuts down new ‘illegal gaming’ facilities
YellowHammer News – Three reasons why Alabama should stand up to the Freedom from Religion Foundation
Dothan Eagle – County in planning phase for gas tax revenue
Dothan Eagle – Dothan Police search for missing 16-year-old
Dothan Eagle – Dothan man arrested on theft charge after allegedly stealing numerous pairs of sunglasses
Tuscaloosa News – County school board OKs new administrative evaluation tool
Tuscaloosa News – High court won’t hear 1996 Alabama capital murder case
Tuscaloosa News – Investigators suspect no foul play in Mount Pilgrim Church fire
Decatur Daily – Elkmont man gets 40 years for scalding 2 children in bathtub
Decatur Daily – I-565 traffic congestion possible during Pence visit
Times Daily – 2 companies receive boost from Employment Growth Fund
Times Daily – Police lieutenant on leave after DUI arrest
Gadsden Times – Attalla woman dies in fire
Gadsden Times – Upgrades planned at 12th and Meighan intersection
Anniston Star – Jacksonville again votes to suspend building restrictions
Anniston Star – Man killed in Saturday motorcycle wreck
Anniston Star – Anniston man charged with intent to distribute drugs
Troy Messenger – Holley: Lottery bill needs more discussion
Troy Messenger – County to oversee public funding of volunteer fire departments
Troy Messenger – Sav-a-Life to screen ‘Unplanned’ tonight at Continental Cinemas
Andalusia Star News – Sheriff: Don’t post everything
Andalusia Star News – Former soldiers aim to combat PTSD with new bow organization
Andalusia Star News – 5th earthquake recorded nearby
Opelika-Auburn News – Our View: GE Aviation announcement means much more than jobs
Opelika-Auburn News – UPDATE 8:15 p.m. Monday: Storms knock power out for 2,400 customers
Opelika-Auburn News – Vice President Pence coming to Alabama on Tuesday
Daily Mountain Eagle – AG: Chief probate clerk under board rules
Daily Mountain Eagle – Smith says he inherited $38,000 in unpaid bills
Daily Mountain Eagle – Unemployment drops in Walker, Winston
Trussville Tribune – Trussville Plaza CBD oil store location to hold soft opening March 29
Trussville Tribune – WEATHER ALERT: The latest updates from the NWS
Trussville Tribune – Bridge inspection on I-20 eastbound, westbound in St. Clair County
Athens News Courier – Limestone shooting victim was not critically injured
Sand Mountain Reporter – Guntersville denies rezoning for mini-storage property
Sand Mountain Reporter – Democratic Club cleans up
Sand Mountain Reporter – SSCC joins with JSU to create a transfer pathway
WSFA Montgomery – Walker Co. woman reported missing found, arrested
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery woman hopeful after UAB announces clinical trial to cure sickle cell
WSFA Montgomery – An ‘extreme stalker’ has a Utah family’s home under siege
Fox 6 Birmingham – Small chance for rain possible in East Alabama Tuesday
Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham housing authority working to eliminate a dozen entry points in Gate City
Fox 6 Birmingham – Center Point woman homeless after fire; landlord accuses her of arson
WAFF Huntsville – Walking tours to start in Sheffield and Tuscumbia
WAFF Huntsville – Father killed, fiancee and children hurt in crash caused by driver without license
WAFF Huntsville – U.S. Space & Rocket Center chair excited for Pence visit, ready to show off Huntsville
WKRG Mobile – Massacre suspect wants mental health experts names sealed
WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: 73-year-old man accused of trying to kill his son
WKRG Mobile – Avenatti charged with trying to extort millions from Nike
WTVY Dothan – State senator tells Republican Executive Committee about future of Common Core
WTVY Dothan – Vice President Pence visiting Alabama for Space Council meeting
WTVY Dothan – Severe storms cause damage in parts of Central Alabama
WASHINGTON POST  – Dispute erupts over Mueller’s findings on Trump, Russia and obstruction of justice
WASHINGTON POST  – Contributor Joe Scarborough: The Mueller war is over — and Trump won
WASHINGTON POST  – Columnist George Will: Thanks to Mueller, 2020 won’t be about 2016
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump administration asks court to completely repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act
WASHINGTON POST  – Puerto Rico faces food-stamp crisis as Trump privately vents about federal aid to Hurricane Maria-battered island
WASHINGTON POST  – GOP congressman quotes Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ to slam Trump’s adversaries as liars
NEW YORK TIMES  – Roiled by Staff Uproar, Civil Rights Group Looks at Intolerance Within
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump and Republicans Seek to Turn the Tables in Post-Mueller Washington
NEW YORK TIMES  – House Democrats to Unveil Plan to Expand Health Coverage
NEW YORK TIMES  – With Override Vote Coming, Congress Examines Military Cuts That Will Fund Wall

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