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Daily News Digest – March 26, 2018

Good morning! This is your Daily News for Monday, March 26. 

1. Milton McGregor dead at 78

  • Alabama dog track and casino magnate Milton McGregor has died at the age of 78.
  • The Victoryland owner had a long, indelible impact on Alabama politics. With beginnings in the video arcade business, McGregor would go on to build an empire that included two popular dog and horse racing tracks in Macon and Jefferson Counties.
  • His catchy slogan, “You can be a winner, too!” became part of the local popular culture in Central Alabama.
  • McGregor has continued to play a significant role in Alabama politics, from funding candidates to befriending and supporting media personalities.
  • His passing leaves a huge vacuum and is likely to affect the ongoing legal and political battles over casino gambling.
  • MY story from yesterday.
  • A more complete write up from AP.
  • A still more complete read in The Montgomery Advertiser.
  • WATCH the full story on WSFA.

2. Students march for more gun control

  • Students all around the country gathered over the weekend to march in support of stricter gun laws.
  • The biggest march was in Washington, D.C., but almost every major city had a significant participation.
  • There were several marches in Alabama, including in Montgomery and Birmingham.
  • In Dothan, Second District Democratic Congressional candidates Tabitha Isner and Audri Scott Williams demonstrated their opposition to the NRA by publicly ripping apart their candidate questionnaires.

3. Campaign update

More campaign ads!

Ivey challenged to debate

  • Those seeking to unseat Gov. Kay Ivey are following a pridictalbe script: challenge the incumbent to debates, lots of them.
  • Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has been particularly aggressive in calling for debates. Now, Birmingham minister Scott Dawson and State Senator Bill Hightower are doing the same.
  • For challengers with low name ID, debates represent very little risk and potentially big rewards. For popular incumbents, it’s exactly the opposite.
  • Read more in Paul Gattis’ story for

New endorsements

  • Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox is touting the endorsement of former State Senator Roger Bedford.
  • AG candidate Alice Martin is having a press conference today in Birmingham where a “special guest” is expected.  That sounds like an endorsement, and word is it will be former prosecutor Van Davis.

4. What’s next in the session?

The 2018 Regular Session is entering its final days.

The plan is to meet Tuesday and Wednesday, which should allow plenty of time to finalize the Education Trust Fund and other must-pass bills. Thursday is always in their back pocket if needed.

They’ll adjourn sine die with time to spare and having saved the Legislative Branch a few hundred thousand dollars.

Capitol Press Corps reporters have put together some good stories previewing the final days of the session, and you should read them.

5. Superintendent search

  • As Mary Sell touched on in her State House dispatch, the most significant decision made in Montgomery this year might not be from the Legislature or the Governor’s Office, but from the State School Board.
  • The board is conducting a search for a new State Superintendent of Education to replace Michael Sentance, who resigned last year.
  • It is a national search, but I have heard that the only two candidates to formally apply so far are Jefferson County Superintendent Craig Pouncey and School Superintendents Association President Eric Mackey.
  • It’s an incredibly consequential position, particularly given all the education reforms Alabama has enacted in past six or seven years.
  • As the session winds down, all eyes will turn to the State School Board to see what direction they choose to go.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Some fear tariffs could harm auto industry in the South.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama boosts pay for state and education employees. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham police officer arrested, released on bond.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama gambling magnate Milton McGregor dies at 78. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Facebook faces scrutiny for pulling Android call & text data. 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Porn star reveals details about alleged encounter with Trump. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Data breakdown: How Montgomery spends its discretionary funds. 

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mayor: recycling could return by October.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Final 48 hours of Alabama legislative session might be noisy.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Columnist Alvin Benn:  Once a rival in covering civil rights, Purks treasured as a close friend.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – SEARCHING FOR CAPT. PRIOR:  50 years later, veteran seeks answers about man he saved in Vietnam.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Students speak out at March For Our Lives rally in Montgomery.

AL.COM – Milton McGregor, Alabama gambling magnate, dies at 78.

AL.COM – These are Alabama’s 15 fastest growing counties.

AL.COM – Alabama’s 15 fastest shrinking counties.

AL.COM – Dietary needs unmet in some Alabama jails as concerns mount on use of sheriff food accounts.

AL.COM – Special election Tuesday to fill seat held by Jim Patterson.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  Alabama gospel: ‘I was hungry and in prison, and you went to the beach’.

AL.COM – Alabama Supreme Court won’t review cases of two men on death row, convicted of separate killings in Birmingham.

AL.COM – Birmingham’s March for Our Lives 2018 a success, student organizers say.

AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith:  GOP backhands its conservative base with $1.3 trillion ‘omnibust’.

AL.COM – Department of Revenue grants extensions for taxpayers in storm-affected areas.

AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey’s challengers unite: Let’s have debates.

ATHENS NEWS COURIER – GOVERNOR’S RACE: Dawson describes leadership plan.

ATHENS NEWS COURIER – Sen. Melson’s ‘gold bill’ signed into law in Alabama.

CULLMAN TIMES – Bill to make superintendents appointed faces opposition.

CULLMAN TIMES – More jail time for domestic abusers.

JASPER MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Local bills a part of legislators agenda.

DECATUR DAILY – Sen. Jones of two minds about violence.

DECATUR DAILY – Some fear steel tariff could hurt auto industry in the South.

DECATUR DAILY – What bills are alive, dead in session’s final days.

DECATUR DAILY – School leaders want money for security officers, improvements from lawmakers. 

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY –   School leaders want money for security officers, improvements from lawmakers.

TUSCALOOSA NEWS – When racism surfaces, a response is required.

GADSDEN TIMES – Alabama set up for another losing legal battle.

OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – VictoryLand casino owner, lobbyist Milton McGregor passes away; what next for Macon County?

WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s legal team remains in disarray as new lawyer will no longer represent him in Russia probe.

WASHINGTON POST – Stormy Daniels says threats kept her quiet about alleged Trump affair until now.

WASHINGTON POST – A fake photo of Emma González went viral on the far right, where Parkland teens are villains.

WASHINGTON POST – After March for Our Lives, students and senators take aim at NRA.

NEW YORK TIMES – Courts Weighing Numerous Challenges to Political Boundaries

NEW YORK TIMES – When Professionals Rise Up, More Than Money Is at Stake

NEW YORK TIMES – Support for Gun Control Seems Strong. But It May Be Softer Than It Looks.

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