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Daily News Digest – November 20, 2018

PRESENTED BY the Stop The HIT Coalition

Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, November 20.

1. Matt Hart out at AG’s office.

  • Matt Hart is out at the Attorney General’s office.
  • He was lead prosecutor in the Special Prosecutions Division, where he oversaw most public corruption cases for the last seven years.
  • Officially, Attorney General Steve Marshall accepted his resignation Monday and their office and Hart had no more to say about it.
  • Unofficially, Hart most likely resigned the same way Jeff Sessions did: he was asked to.
  • There’s one key difference, though: this isn’t even close to as big of a deal as Sessions, despite what many in the media want us to think.
  • Hart built an impressive record of public corruption convictions during stints as a state and federal prosecutor. Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, two-year college Chancellor Roy Johnson, and House Speaker Mike Hubbard were among the most high-profile.
  • But Hart also built a reputation for cutting ethical corners himself, and his office became a leaky cauldron of information to selected media for stories that repeatedly undermined his boss. That’ll get you asked to leave.
  • That same selected media, who lionized Hart as the end-all and be-all of truth and justice, now bemoan his departure saying corruption will now run rampant with him gone.
  • I think that’s unfair to the career investigators and prosecutors in the AG’s office.
  • I’m told Clark Morris, the current #2 at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montgomery, will be replacing Hart. YellowHammer reports the same.
  • Sources describe her as a “no drama” “smart career prosecutor.”
  • A little less celebrity might be just what that office needs. We’ll see.


2. Jones hears some negative, some positive feedback on tariffs.

  • Auto manufacturers, farmers and the head of Alabama’s Port Authority told Sen. Doug Jones Monday that trade tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration are harming their industries, while steel manufacturers told him the tariffs were leveling the playing field.
  • Jones organized a roundtable discussion in Mobile with stakeholders including auto manufacturers, farmers, steel producers, and the Alabama Port Authority to discuss how recently-implemented tariffs are impacting different businesses in Alabama.
  • Some soybean farmers told him China was their biggest customer and that the trade war has exports down big time.
  • Auto manufacturers aren’t too keen on being called a national security threat just because they are trying to bring down costs and save jobs.
  • At the same time, steel manufacturers are pleased as punch that the president is standing up for their industry.
  • ADN’s Caroline Beck has the full story on what Jones heard from industry leaders during his visit to Mobile. Read her story HERE.


A Message from the Stop The HIT Coalition

  • Sen. Doug Jones: Don’t let Alabama small businesses and middle-class families get sacked by the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.
  • Absent immediate action, the 2020 Health Insurance Tax will begin penalizing hardworking Alabamians on January 1, 2020 by driving up their cost of care as much as $450.
  • Sen. Jones can help score lower premiums for Alabama’s 765,000 small business employees by supporting bipartisan legislation (S. 3063) to block the HIT in 2020.
  • Ask Sen. Jones to help take S. 3063 to the end zone and support legislation to stop the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.


3. Top priority: revenue for infrastructure.

  • We are more than three months away from the start of the legislative session.
  • But, already Alabama’s top leaders are singing off the same sheet of music about their top priority for the session: infrastructure funding.
  •’s Mike Cason interviewed Gov. Kay Ivey, Senate Pro-Tem Del Marsh and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon. Each said raising the gas tax for the first time in 26 years would have to be done in order to pay for critical road and bridge improvements.
  • The specific number or formula isn’t nailed down – and we all know the devil is in the details. That’s something we’ll get into more going forward.
  • But, it’s pretty significant that the ones you need to move legislation and the one you need to sign it are all on the same page.
  • Give Mike’s story a read HERE.


4. The Bridges of Baldwin County.

  • Yesterday we reported the story about all the feedback Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and state officials are getting about the proposed bridge projects across the canal.
  • Today Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon offers his perspective in a Op-Ed to Alabama Daily News.
  • Kennon says their island “is like having the Iron Bowl every day” in terms of traffic.
  • New ways to get on and off the island are a must, he says.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“By July, when we reach full capacity, Orange Beach will welcome – and be responsible for – over 100,000 vacationers, day trippers, workers and travelers a day. That is approximately the same number of people who attend the Iron Bowl each year. 
“The difference, however, is the duration. The influx of people into Orange Beach each summer does not last a single weekend. No, the number of visitors steadily remains from mid-May to early August, without interruption, and then the Alabama Gulf Coast is completely full once again for Labor Day.  
“100,000 additional people. Every. Single. Day.” 
  • Read Mayor Kennon’s full column HERE.


5. News Briefs.

Chicago shooting
  • A gunman opened fire Monday at a Chicago hospital, killing a police officer and two hospital employees in an attack that began with a domestic dispute and exploded into a firefight with law enforcement inside the medical center. The shooter is also dead.
  • It was not clear if the attacker took his own life or was killed by police at Mercy Hospital on the city’s South Side, the police chief said.
  • The chain of events that led to the shooting began with an argument in the hospital parking lot involving the gunman and a woman with whom he was in relationship, police said.
  • When a friend of the woman’s tried to intervene, “the offender lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
  • Read more HERE.
Glenn resigns
  • The Trump administration’s top environmental official for the Southeast resigned after being indicted on state ethics charges, Environmental Protection Agency employees were told Monday.
  • Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson told agency employees that Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler accepted Trey Glenn’s resignation on Sunday. Glenn had served as the regional administrator for the Region 4 EPA office that oversees eight Southeastern states.
  • Read more HERE.
Acosta allowed back
  • The Trump administration on Monday abruptly dropped its effort to bar CNN reporter Jim Acosta from the White House, but warned he could have his credentials pulled again if he doesn’t follow guidelines governing journalists’ behavior.
  • The White House said reporters would be permitted one question each if called upon at news conferences and allowed follow-ups only at the discretion of the president.
  • Read more HERE.
Some Dems not keen on Pelosi as Speaker
  • It’s the thorny first question confronting newly elected House Democrats: Will you vote for Nancy Pelosi?
  • Even before they’ve taken office, the freshmen swept in by the midterm elections are caught at the center of an escalating power struggle over Pelosi’s future.
  • The clash intensified Monday as Pelosi’s critics unveiled a letter signed by 16 Democrats, including five freshmen, vowing to oppose her.
  • If that holds, it could be enough to derail her bid. If not, she could reclaim the gavel she once held.
  • Read more HERE.
New BP money
  • Four Gulf states are getting an additional $280 million in restoration grants from the BP oil spill of 2010.
  • Louisiana is getting $161.4 million to restore two barrier islands and a headland in the Terrebonne Basin.
  • Nearly $49 million will go to eight Alabama projects, including $22.5 million to create and restore artificial reefs.
  • Read more HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge bars Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross southern border illegally
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Op-Ed: Where It’s Iron Bowl Every Day
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House to restore Acosta’s pass, with a warning
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The big question for new House Dems: Will you back Pelosi?
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Additional $280M issued in BP oil spill restoration grants
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sheriff: Man accused in slaying shoots self when confronted
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inmate fatally stabbed at Elmore County prison
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Top EPA official in Southeast resigns following indictment
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Chicago hospital shooting claims 3 lives; gunman also dead
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jones hears negative and positive feedback on trade tariffs
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matt Hart out at Alabama Attorney General’s office
AL.COM – US preparing to add Venezuela to list of state sponsors of terrorism
AL.COM – Chicago hospital shooting: Gunman kills at least 3, including officer
AL.COM – Man shot dead, another seriously injured in Montgomery
AL.COM – Alabama’s ‘liberal’ 30-foot campaign-free restriction outside polling places could soon change
AL.COM – ALEA sued for suspending licenses for unpaid traffic tickets.
AL.COM – Mazda Toyota site selection team sees more success for Alabama ahead
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: The end of an era: Alabama’s top corruption fighter is out
AL.COM – EPA regional admin Trey Glenn resigns after indictment.
AL.COM – Inmate fatally stabbed at Elmore Correctional Facility
AL.COM – In Alabama, ‘archaic’ laws fail Catholic child sex abuse victims
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Man in serious condition after Seventh Street shooting
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alabama players seek to rectify last season’s Iron Bowl failure, retain control of Playoff destiny
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Families honored at annual awards ceremony
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Hyundai Announces Interim President
DOTHAN EAGLE – Houston, surrounding counties denied individual assistance from FEMA
DOTHAN EAGLE – Kittens survive house fire that claimed the life of their heroic mother
DOTHAN EAGLE – Man pleads to defrauding federal farm aid program
DOTHAN EAGLE – Houston, surrounding counties denied individual assistance through FEMA
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alabama gets 2020 commitment from Pickens County
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Northport ordinance aims to restrict vicious animals
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alabama women’s basketball sails past Clemson
DECATUR DAILY – New Saint Ann principal felt ‘called by God’ to administration
DECATUR DAILY – Enchanted Forest to fill Founders Park with Christmas trees for good cause
DECATUR DAILY – Sewer extension expected to bring up to 350 new homes to Decatur
TIMES DAILY – Pleasant through Thanksgiving, rain possible Friday
TIMES DAILY – Colbert Commission clarifies roadside debris pickup rules
TIMES DAILY – Caring Place open house shows progress
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Assistant U.S. attorney to replace Hart in leading Special Prosecutions Division
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Blue Cross and Blue Shield adds Ted Hosp to its governmental affairs team
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – EPA official resigns after indictment on Alabama ethics charges, replaced by Alabama native
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – 2018 airshow draws thousands [With gallery by Robert Evers]
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Businesses see boost from airshow
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Thanksgiving events begin tonight, meals planned Thursday
TROY MESSENGER – Down to this: Trojans begin preparations for showdown with Appalachian State
TROY MESSENGER – Holiday traffic expected to rise
TROY MESSENGER – Pike County Cattlewomen host Christmas Bazaar
THE ANNISTON STAR – Man wanted in Leeds woman’s shooting death takes own life on I-20, officials say
THE ANNISTON STAR – Jacksonville council votes to fund part of Ladiga Trail video
THE ANNISTON STAR – Sheriff’s Office to fry turkeys for fundraiser
GADSDEN TIMES – Matt Hart, lead prosecutor in Mike Hubbard case, out at attorney general’s office
GADSDEN TIMES – Fatalities down; safety still a concern for holiday weekend
GADSDEN TIMES – Austin routs Gadsden City in N2Hoops opener
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Auburn aviation is ready for takeoff
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Opelika gears up for annual Christmas tour
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Annual Thanksgiving Day run to raise money for food bank
CULLMAN TIMES – Wallace State IT Director Kirk Nugent earns CGEIT credentials
CULLMAN TIMES – In threat to Pelosi, 16 Dems say they’ll back new leadership
CULLMAN TIMES – Arrests, incidents reports for Nov. 16-18, 2018
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Jefferson State hosts first Youth Peace Summit
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Chelsea students honored for character
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – PHS students compete in World Food Championships
THE MADISON RECORD – Bahr manages ‘The Studio,’ library’s makerspace
THE MADISON RECORD – Local Girl Scout uses her knowledge to help save a life
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Empire church hosts car show at Bevill State
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Battle: Jasper on track to developing workforce
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Relationships key in landing Mazda/Toyota plant
NEW YORK TIMES – Chicago Hospital Shooting Leaves 4 Dead
NEW YORK TIMES – Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Proclamation Targeting Some Asylum Seekers
NEW YORK TIMES – In Mississippi, Issues of Race Complicate a Senate Election
WASHINGTON POST – In blow to Trump’s immigration agenda, federal judge blocks asylum ban for migrants who enter illegally from Mexico
WASHINGTON POST – Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business last year
WASHINGTON POST – White House discusses possible Trump visit to troops in Iraq or Afghanistan
USA TODAY – Police officer among 4 dead in ‘horrific’ Chicago hospital shooting
USA TODAY – Dead whale in Indonesia had 115 plastic cups, 2 flip-flops in its stomach
USA TODAY – North Korea blows up 10 guard posts to ease tensions with South
POLITICO – Mississippi Senate race devolves into racial melee
POLITICO – Dem chairman fight pits old guard vs. new generation of black leaders
POLITICO – Trump’s refugee director moved
 to new post

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