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Daily News Digest – March 3, 2020

Presented by the

Yes For The Best Education Committee

Good morning and welcome to Primary Election Day 2020. Polls are open and will be for another 11 hours, so don’t forget to go vote.
And please be careful out there. This band of storms has already hit downtown Nashville and killed at least eight people in Tennessee .
Programming note: tonight I’ll be in studio at WBRC Fox 6 in Birmingham offering analysis as returns come in. Even if you’re not in the Birmingham market, you can watch via or the station’s Facebook page .
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, March 3.



1. Candidates make final push

  • Candidates up and down the ballot have made their final arguments and now campaigns are working overtime to get their voters to the polls today.
  • Of course, the most watched race on the ballot is the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, where former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is attempting to reclaim his old seat, but fighting off primary rivals in former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and 1st District Congressman Bradley Byrne.
  • The three candidates have traversed the state multiple times over the last few weeks making their pitches to Republican primary voters. Read more about that from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Also read about Byrne and Tuberville’s bus tour stops in Montgomery from the Advertiser’s Brian Lyman HERE and Yellowhammer’s Sean Ross HERE.
  • Early on, many thought Sessions might earn enough support to win the primary outright, but now it looks like a runoff is likely. Read a little deeper on some of the reasons why from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Two open congressional seats in the 1st and 2nd districts are up for grabs, though likely headed to runoffs as well.
  • Place One on the Alabama Supreme Court will be decided today as State Sen. Cam Ward challenges incumbent Justice Greg Shaw. And there are appellate court races as well, though not the slugfests we are sometimes used to seeing on the courts.
  • And don’t forget the constitutional amendment on education governance. Voters will decide today whether to essentially fire the state school board and move to an appointed commission model. Trish Crain has a good Q&A report that is worth a read.
  • For more commentary on all these races, see our latest “In the Weeds” podcast down in No. 5.



2. Biden gets a lift ahead of Super Tuesday

  • Rivals no more, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg united behind Joe Biden’s presidential bid on Monday as the Democratic Party’s moderate wing scrambled to boost the former vice president just hours before voting began across a series of high-stakes Super Tuesday states.
  • The urgency of the moment reflected deep concerns from the Democratic establishment that Bernie Sanders, a polarizing progressive, was positioned to seize a significant delegate lead when 14 states and one U.S. territory vote on Tuesday.
  • Klobuchar suspended her campaign and endorsed Biden Monday, a day after Buttigieg announced his exit. Both Klobuchar and Buttigieg, who had been Biden’s chief competition for their party’s pool of more moderate voters over the last year, declared their public support for Biden at evening events in Dallas. They were joined by another former competitor, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who also backed Biden on Monday.
  • The dramatic developments came at a key crossroads in Democrats’ turbulent primary season as the party struggles to unify behind a clear message or messenger in its urgent quest to defeat President Donald Trump.
  • On one side stands Biden, a 77-year-old lifelong politician who represents a pragmatic approach to governing that emphasizes bipartisanship and more modest change. He’s clearly relishing the swift improvement of his political fortunes in recent days. On the other stands Sanders, a 78-year-old democratic socialist who has for decades demanded aggressive liberal shifts that seek to transform the nation’s political and economic systems. He is working to maintain the momentum he built coming out of the earliest voting states.
  • Read more on the Democratic race, including a little delegate math, HERE.










A message from the

Yes For The Best Education Committee

  • Raise your hand if you like being dead last in math? How about 49th in reading?
  • Just what I thought. We’re NOT ok with that. So let’s change it.
  • We’re one of the last states in the U.S. to elect its school boards.
  • On Tuesday March 3rd, Vote YES on Amendment One to change that.
  • Our 2-year college system did the same thing a few years ago, and it’s changing for the better.
  • Vote YES on Amendment One, March 3rd.
Paid for by Yes For The Best Education Committee
P.O. Box 11000 Montgomery, AL 36191










3. Ivey, lawmakers release prison package

  • Gov. Kay Ivey has endorsed a package of criminal justice reform bills as a way to respond to systemic problems within Alabama’s prison system.
  • After Ivey’s task force on criminal justice reform gave its final recommendations for legislative priorities in January, Ivey said the resulting slate of bills will build upon her plan of constructing three new men’s prisons.
  • “I tasked the Criminal Justice Study Group with the mission of finding data-driven solutions to our longstanding challenges in our prison system,” Ivey said in a news release announcing the legislative package.
  • There are five bills and one joint resolution, as well as a recommendation to increase funding for prison education programs and better access to mental health care.
  • Read about all of the bills, what they would do and what folks are saying about them from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



4. Another rural hospital closes

  • Pickens County Medical Center, located in rural Carrolton near the Mississippi line, will become the latest Alabama hospital to shut down when it closes for good on Friday.
  • The Pickens County Health Care Authority announced the shutdown in a news release that said the hospital’s finances were no longer sustainable. It cited too few patients, reduced federal funding, and large numbers of uninsured patients.
  • The shutdown of the hospital, which opened in 1979, will be a twofold blow since residents will lose both their closest option for health care and jobs. About 200 people work at the hospital, making it one of Pickens County’s largest employers, according to its website.
  • The shutdown is only the latest in a wave of hospital closings nationwide. The Alabama Hospital Association said 17 privately run hospitals have closed in the state over the last decade, and only one of those reopened.
  • Full story HERE.


5. In the Weeds: Super Tuesday 2020

  • Despite all the anticipation it brings, Election Day can sometimes be a little boring during the daylight hours.
  • [Of course, that’s if you’re not a campaign worker, and we salute all of those who are dialing through lists and manning spreadsheets today.]
  • For the rest of us, the slow drip of information can be a little tedious and angsty.
  • If you’re one of those who gets a little fidgety on election day, we have you covered.
  • A brand new “In the Weeds” podcast is up featuring noted political consultant David Mowery and me discussing all the races up and down the ballot and offering some analysis.
  • It may just be the thing to play in the background as you pretend to work this Election Day.
  • Listen via the Daily News site HERE, via Apple Podcasts HERE, via Google Podcasts HERE, via Spotify HERE and via Stitcher HERE.
  • Remember to subscribe to the podcast and leave a rating/review!




A message from the

Safe Surgery Coalition

Dangerous legislation has been re-introduced in the Alabama Legislature which would allow people who are not medical doctors or trained surgeons to perform surgery on or around your eyes.
Similar legislation was rejected in 2019 and we ask that Alabama lawmakers once again stand in the best interests of patient safety and quality of care.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: Super Tuesday 2020


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tornado hits downtown Nashville, at least 8 die in Tennessee


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prison reform package backed by Ivey promises better rehabilitation and oversight


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Senate hopefuls make final case to voters


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sessions in showdown to reclaim his old Alabama Senate seat


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Presidential, Senate races on Alabama’s Super Tuesday ballot


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pickens hospital to close; 17th to shut down in 10 years


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Super Tuesday test: Biden looks to blunt Bernie’s rise


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Amendment One Puts Kids First, Politicians Last


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama voters to decide on abolishing elected school board


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: Sessions campaigns as the consistent conservative he’s always been


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: Tuberville disrupts Senate race as ‘outsider’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: A career of fighting has led Byrne to Senate showdown


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 2, 2020


AL.COM  – Another rural Alabama hospital is closing


AL.COM  – Alabama’s Amendment One: What you need to know


AL.COM  – Coronavirus: Mobile’s port traffic not seen as threat


AL.COM  – Voters in 2 Alabama counties to consider jail inmate food funds


AL.COM  – Auburn cancels all study abroad programs because of coronavirus


AL.COM  – Health department: No cases of Covid-19 in Alabama, but situation ‘changing rapidly’


AL.COM  – Investors should be wary of coronavirus cons


AL.COM  – African American woman-owned firm to produce World Games opening, closing ceremonies


AL.COM  – New Alabama mammoth mine project long in the making


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama primary voter’s guide: Much about Donald Trump; little about the state


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama primary 2020: See Montgomery County’s sample ballots ahead of Super Tuesday


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama primary 2020: Learn about Constitutional Amendment 1 before you vote


YellowHammer News – Auburn University recalls all study abroad students, suspends all official international travel due to coronavirus risk


YellowHammer News – Doug Jones defends spending thousands in campaign funds on European trips


YellowHammer News – Secretary of State’s Office, ALDOT, Governor’s office partner to encourage voter participation


Tuscaloosa News – Plan addresses Alabama prison problems


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa officials, doctors prepare for arrival of coronavirus


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Council agenda for March 3, 2020


Decatur Daily – Lights dim on US 31 bridge, DU-city cooperation


Decatur Daily – Gambling sentences light so city using business revocation in the fight


Decatur Daily – Annual Decatur Kiwanis Club Pancake Day spans generations


Times Daily – Trafficking arrest nets 18 pounds of cocaine


Times Daily – Balentine announces City Council District 6 run


Times Daily – Colbert landfill bond hearing scheduled for tonight


Anniston Star – Hobson City man pleads guilty to manslaughter in fatal 2014 shooting


Anniston Star – Prison reform package backed by Ivey promises better rehabilitation and oversight


Anniston Star – Outbreak would cancel some surgeries, Alabama health officials say


Dothan Eagle – No new trial for Taylor man convicted of 92 counts of possession of porn


Dothan Eagle – Verbal altercation takes a turn when man pulls out an AR-15 rifle


Dothan Eagle – Houston County Sheriff’s Office works to ID body found Monday


Gadsden Times – What to do if you think you’re sick


Gadsden Times – Officials say state ready for COVID-19


Gadsden Times – Local, state and national races on the ballot in Etowah County Tuesday


Troy Messenger – Church leaders receive active shooter training at safety summit


Troy Messenger – Troy cancels study abroad trips due to coronavirus


Troy Messenger – Diamond Rio coming to Enterprise


Andalusia Star News – Barton running for District 2


Andalusia Star News – ADPH: No coronavirus here


Andalusia Star News – Mayor honors “Hugging Helen” who turned 105


Opelika-Auburn News – Inside the final month of Buttigieg’s historic presidential campaign


Opelika-Auburn News – Senator sees work yet to do on tornado recovery, response


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police call impersonator report ‘false’


Daily Mountain Eagle – District 3 candidates talk about various issues


Daily Mountain Eagle – Ingle, Harris seeking seat as BOE chairman


Daily Mountain Eagle – Barrentine, Sherer battle it out for circuit judge post


Trussville Tribune – Governor orders flags to be flown at half-staff for Day of Remembrance


Trussville Tribune – Jefferson County Commission looking at temporary fix to open Floyd Bradford Road


Trussville Tribune – Jefferson County Health Department issues letter to businesses on how to plan for coronavirus


Sand Mountain Reporter – Vehicle crashes into Antithetical Inc. in Boaz after police chase | Building former home to Wild Bill’s Electronics


Sand Mountain Reporter – McMurry receives President’s Volunteer Service Award


Sand Mountain Reporter – Three promoted at First Southern State Bank


WSFA Montgomery – 30-35% voter turnout expected in Tuesday primary


WSFA Montgomery – 2020 primary election day voter guide


WSFA Montgomery – Mini economic boom underway along Hwy. 231 in Wetumpka


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Pickens County Medical Center closes Friday


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Prison reform package backed by Ivey promises better rehabilitation and oversight


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Person shot multiple times in Bessemer, police searching for suspect


WAFF Huntsville – Woman’s medical records accessed illegally, blames husband’s ex-girlfriend


WAFF Huntsville – Some universities in Alabama suspend study abroad activity


WAFF Huntsville – Recent Democratic presidential candidate dropouts affect local ballots


WKRG Mobile – California man sentenced in Parkland cyberstalking case


WKRG Mobile – Could coronavirus keep voters from Super Tuesday?


WKRG Mobile – Gov. Brian Kemp confirms 2 cases of coronavirus in Georgia


WTVY Dothan – Investigators trying to identify Dothan murder victim


WTVY Dothan – ADPH says hospitals are prepared for Coronavirus


WTVY Dothan – Several Houston County roads to be closed today


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump calls for Fed rate cut as U.S. coronavirus deaths rise; finance chiefs plot economic rescue


WASHINGTON POST  – Democrats embrace Biden as Sanders hopes for a big Super Tuesday delegate haul


WASHINGTON POST  – Biden’s twin bases are black and moderate voters. Often, those are the same voters


NEW YORK TIMES  – Buttigieg and Klobuchar Endorse Biden, Aiming to Slow Sanders


NEW YORK TIMES  – Here’s what’s at stake on Super Tuesday


NEW YORK TIMES  – ‘When Is It Going to End?’: Where Coronavirus Has Turned Deadly in the U.S.




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