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Daily News Digest – March 19, 2018

Good morning! I don’t want to talk about last night’s game. This is your Daily News for Monday, March 19. 

1. This will make you mad

  • School officials and a deputy sheriff recommended that Parkland, Florida shooter Nickolas Cruz be involuntarily committed back in 2016, but nothing was done.
  • Documents obtained by the Associated Press show Cruz had written the word “kill” in a notebook, told a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and repeatedly cut himself.
  • Had he been committed and evaluated for mental stability, it would have made it all but impossible for Cruz to later access the weapons he used to murder 14 students and three faculty at Stoneman-Douglas High School.
  • Read the story here.
  • I’ll say it again – the system failed these victims. What good are restrictions against mentally ill people getting guns if we’re not willing to call a disturbed and dangerous kid like this mentally ill?
  • This situation is instructive to the gun and school safety debates happening in state houses throughout the country.
  • Pass all the laws you want. But they might not do any good so long as our culture is too worried about hurting someone’s feelings to use common sense to protect ourselves.

2. Getting weird in Washington…

  • As you know by now, FBI Director Andrew McCabe was fired Friday. Some see it as a crying shame, and others see it as what happens when the Inspector General finds out that you lied under oath.
  • President Trump spent the weekend tweeting nasty grams at Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It kind of sounds like he wants to fire Mueller, but the White House issued a statement last night saying “no no no, he really doesn’t.” 
  • Why is this significant? Because – up until now – Trump had followed advice from staff and lawyers to resist attacking Mueller personally and publicly.
  • Going against the advice of staff and lawyers to go after Mueller is part of a new “Let Trump be Trump” approach the president is trying out. Maggie Habberman, one of the best-sourced reporters in DC, has that story and it’s worth a read.
  • It’s not just Mueller. It’s rhetoric from the podium, stepping out on a limb on North Korea, ignoring everyone’s advice on imposing tariffs – go down the list.
  • But it’s the Mueller investigation – and what Trump might do about it – that has many in the GOP on edge.

3. Days winding down in the Session

  • It’s “go time” in the Alabama Legislature.
  • With the end of the session set for March 29, bills need to be moving this week if they are going to have any chance of becoming law.
  • Tuesday will be a very long day for a few reasons…
  • First, if a bill hasn’t passed its chamber of origin by tomorrow, it is likely dead for this year. Second, plenty of controversial legislation is scheduled to be considered, and that means some long hours of debate.
  • I’ll get into the details of the special order(s) more tomorrow.
  • For now, read the basics in my column and share it with others who might be interested.

4.  Not out of the woods w/ weather

  • Alabama made it through some serious weather last night, but we aren’t out of the woods yet.
  • WSFA’s Eric Snitil is warning Alabamians to take today’s weather threat seriously.
  • Some schools in North Alabama are preparing to release students early because of the weather threat.
  • Find out what you need to know from Eric and the First Alert weather team here.

5. Going deeper

I did a top level, glancing look at some pretty interesting news stories over the last week. Here are the deeper reads that are worth your time to read and understand fully.

  • On Friday I reported that the Sen. Arthur Orr, Rep. Arnold Mooney, and the conservative side of the civil asset forfeiture reform team were pressing ahead with law enforcement to tackle just the reporting side. Mallory Moench has a full AP story now, and you can read it here.
  • You probably saw that the juvenile justice reform bill passed the House late last week. But, I failed to link to Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brian Edwards’ deeper dive into why legislation is being considered in the first place. Read that here.
  • Advertiser reporter Andrew Yawn takes a look at the types of charter schools Montgomery could authorize in the coming years. That’s assuming we ever get through this lawsuit business, but I’ll get more into that later.
  • I also enjoyed Andrew Yawn’s story about how the interstates divided up Montgomery and dispersed populations through no choice of their own. Side note: my great-grandmother had a house that was displaced by I-85 in downtown Montgomery.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Column: Major bills moving as session hits final stretch

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Civil asset reform bill calls for transparency.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – U.S. factory output jumped 1.2 percent in February.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – German automaker opens $46.3 million plant in Alabama.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Damaging hail and tornadoes threaten southeast.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama tourism promoting April walking trails.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Some wanted shooting suspect forcibly committed in 2016.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Senate wants permanent Daylight Savings Time.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor U. S. Rep. Mike Rogers:  School shooting was result of terrible mistakes by law enforcement.

AL.COM – Schools dismissing early Monday due to severe weather.

AL.COM – Arming teachers scheduled for debate in Alabama House.

AL.COM – 19 Alabama high schools where at least 80 percent of graduates go to college

AL.COM – Alabama Christian conservatives seek fresh surge after taking hit in December.

AL.COM – How much does Alabama lose when y’all buy your booze across state lines?

AL.COM – Alabama low-income earners to benefit from modest tax break.

AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain:  The rules of engagement for Christians.

ATHENS NEWS COURIER – PRINCIPAL ON LEAVE: Pastors gather to pray for healing.

ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Bright: Focus will be 2nd District people, issues.

ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Concern about corruption motivated Dawson to run for governor.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Convicted killer’s parole hearing coming up in April.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump rails against Mueller investigation, dismisses McCabe’s notes as ‘Fake Memos’.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump had senior staff sign nondisclosure agreements. They’re supposed to last beyond his presidency.

WASHINGTON POST – Columnist Robert Samuelson:  Don’t deny the link between poverty and single parenthood.

NEW YORK TIMES – How Top Republicans Reacted, or Didn’t, to Trump’s Tweets on Mueller

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