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Daily News Digest – November 7, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, November 7.



1. Sessions to announce Senate run

Credit: @darth

  • Did you hear? Jeff Sessions is announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate today. Or so say a bunch of sources talking to just about every media outlet on the planet.
  • We tried to tell you. On Monday, I put Sessions’ chances of running at 90% because there’s always a chance something happens and he backs out. As the week went on, that turned into more like ????.
  • Twitter will continue to be abuzz about it all day, as will FACEBOOK (sic) and whatever other social media you use. But if you want to watch it live, tune into Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News at 7:00 Central when Sessions is supposed to be on.
  • Interestingly, today marks one year since Sessions was forced out as U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump. You wouldn’t even write that in a screenplay.
  • For their part, the candidates currently in the race – Congressman Bradley Byrne, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, Secretary of State John Merrill, former Chief Justice Roy Moore and State Rep. Arnold Mooney – all say they are staying in the race. Some of the candidates had some salty responses to the news that Sessions wants his old seat back, while others chose to keep their powder dry.
  • Read more on that from Kim Chandler and Brain Slodysko HERE.
  • Inside Alabama Politics subscribers got a peek at the only published polling that includes Sessions on the ballot test. I’ve taken that analysis piece out from behind the paywall and you can read it HERE.


2. Brasher nominated to 11th Circuit

  • Andrew Brasher sure is moving up in the world quickly.
  • Six months after being confirmed to the federal bench as a U.S. District Judge in Alabama’s Middle District, Brasher has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Brasher was solicitor general in the Alabama Attorney General’s office before joining the bench. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and previously served as a law clerk at the 11th Circuit for Judge Bill Pryor.
  • The Senate in May voted 52-47 to confirm Brasher. Interestingly, Alabama’s Senators were split on the nomination, with Sen. Richard Shelby voting to confirm Brasher and Sen. Doug Jones voting against. Traditionally, senators play a lead role in selecting and shepherding judicial nominations from their state, but Brasher, like most judges these days, passed on a straight party line vote.
  • Read more HERE.
  • And congrats (again) to Judge Brasher.


3. Impeachment hearings go public

  • Democrats announced Wednesday they will launch public impeachment hearings next week.
  • Up until now, all the hearings, interviews and depositions have been behind closed doors, with media reports depending on published transcripts and sources inside the room. Republicans have complained that many such reports have been selectively leaked by Democrats pushing the impeachment narrative. Now it all goes public.
  • First to testify will be William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, who has relayed in private his understanding that there was a quid pro quo with President Donald Trump holding up military aid to a U.S. ally facing threats from its giant neighbor Russia.
  • That aid, at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, is alleged to have been held hostage until Ukraine agreed to investigate political foe Joe Biden and the idea, out of the mainstream of U.S. intelligence findings, that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.
  • To prepare for what’s ahead, the White House is beefing up its communications operations.
  • Trump ally Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida, and Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, are expected to join the White House team to work on “proactive impeachment messaging.”
  • Full story HERE.



4. Shelby announces $38 million in infrastructure grants

  • U.S. Senator Richard Shelby today announced three new major infrastructure grants for Alabama totaling $38 million that will help state and local governments fund highway improvements.
  • Lauderdale County got a $14.9 million grant that will help expand a stretch of U.S. Highway 72 (Florence Blvd) from four lanes to six lanes.
  • Madison County will receive $9.3 million to expand Blake Bottom Road from two lanes to five lanes, easing traffic congestion around Redstone Arsenal and Cummings Research Park.
  • And Gulf Shores got a $14 million for a project to increase capacity on State Highway 59 (we might all be using that one a little, amirite?).
  • The grants are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s BUILD program, which is aimed to fund projects that can boost economic development.
  • “I look forward to working with my colleagues and Transportation Secretary Chao as we continue to prioritize the infrastructure needs of Alabama and the nation,” Shelby said.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Chris England: After party election, let’s get to work

  • Last weekend, State Rep. Chris England of Tuscaloosa was elected chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party.
  • Of course, existing Chairwoman Nancy Worley called the meeting of the group that elected him illegitimate and tried (unsuccessfully) to get the courts to block it. The legal battle probably isn’t finished, but that’s for another day.
  • Mr. England is moving forward with trying to put the party back together, and today he contributes an op-ed for the Daily News describing some of that work.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“Alabama’s Democratic Party has long been a place of refuge and inspiration for the most diverse, hardest working and often marginalized and underrepresented segments of our citizenry. Our elected and appointed Democrats serve this state as beacons of hope and inspiration for working families, ambitious innovators, entrepreneurs and the next generation of Alabamians who will make their mark on the world.
“In recent years, this story has changed, and Alabama Democrats have witnessed a steep, unfortunate decline in the party’s impact on public policy and political direction. The party’s regression and outright retreat from active engagement into a lethargic and languished space has been difficult for many to watch and impossible to accept.
So today, with new leadership, we begin the hard work of restoring our purpose, policies, and commitment to the people we serve.”
  • Read his full op-ed HERE.

News Briefs

Alabama SGA warns students against “disruptive behavior”

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama’s Student Government Association is warning students they could lose their block seating for the rest of the season if they “engage in disruptive behavior” during the LSU game.
  • Jason Rothfarb, the SGA’s vice president of student affairs, sent out a letter citing the increased security at Saturday’s game between the second-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 1 LSU. President Donald Trump is expected to attend the game, and Alabama is warning fans to arrive early and expect longer waits getting into Bryant-Denny Stadium.
  • A later statement from the SGA said the letter was “meant only to remind students about heightened security and the consequences of altercations or other behaviors unbecoming of a University of Alabama student, as defined in the Capstone Creed.”
  • It said there was no “political context” intended and that “the SGA strongly affirms its belief in free speech and the rights of all students to express their opinions.”

Alabama tourism honored for civil rights promotion

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s state tourism agency is being honored for its work promoting civil rights travel in 14 U.S. states.
  • The office was presented with an award recognizing its marketing campaign for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail during an industry trade show in London on Tuesday.
  • The trail promotes museums, churches and other African American landmarks across the South. Promotional materials include video interviews with civil rights participants from the 1960s and photos of landmarks.
  • Alabama oversaw the project in partnership with the Atlanta-based TravelSouth USA and the National Park Service. The trail includes sites from Kansas to Delaware, including all of the Deep South.
  • The state won an award for best regional destination. A news release says other finalists included areas in Spain, India, the Canary Islands and the Netherlands.

Alabama couple convicted in death of malnourished baby girl

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The parents of an 11-month-old girl who doctors testified died from malnourishment and a lethal dose of medicine have been convicted of aggravated child abuse.
  • reports the baby’s father, Joshua Lee Foster, was found guilty in Madison County court on Wednesday. The mother, Porsha Dawn Bole, pleaded guilty to the same charge on Monday. They face 10 years to life in prison when sentenced in January.
  • A state Forensic Sciences Department medical examiner testified that a fatal dose of a compound commonly found in sleeping pills and allergy medicines caused the girl’s death. The doctor said she weighed just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) and was severely dehydrated and underfed when she died in 2018.
  • Foster testified he never noticed his daughter was starving as he was often away working.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jeff Sessions to announce Alabama Senate bid
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Todd Stacy: The Sessions Question
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump nominates Andrew Brasher to 11th Circuit Appeals Court
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Shelby announces $38 million in major infrastructure grants
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Chris England: After party election, let’s get to work
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Impeachment going public: Hearings next week for all to see
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As state battles opioid addiction, real-time data needed
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Counties want change to 2015 state prison reform they says costs jails money, space
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest -November 6, 2019
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – The Jeff Sessions question (with polling and whatnot); A whole new ballgame in the AL-2 race; Who’s after Montgomery Probate Judge job; The next big legislative special election; Latest unaccompanied minors numbers; What’s happening in the Tyson fish kill case; The Medical Marijuana issue could get interesting; On prison reform, county jails could complicate matters; A court battle in the making.
AL.COM – Former aide expects Sessions to run for his old Senate seat
AL.COM – Alabama retailers predict 3 percent increase in holiday shopping
AL.COM – Trump confirms he’ll be in Tuscaloosa to watch ‘LSU vs. a pretty good team from Alabama’
AL.COM – Columnist Joseph Goodman: Leave now for the Game of the Century and Donald Trump
AL.COM – Former Alabama Sen. Hank Sanders testifies about racism in gerrymandering case
AL.COM – Ahead of Trump visit, UA SGA warns students: No disruptive behavior
AL.COM – Republican claims vacant Alabama House seat in landslide
AL.COM – Merrill corrects press release on felons’ voting rights
AL.COM – Doug Jones, Democrats to tailgate at Alabama-LSU game
AL.COM – Bradley Byrne blasts impeachment process as ‘so tainted’
AL.COM – Alabama stands to lose out in upcoming Census
AL.COM – Majority think Trump will be reelected in 2020, poll shows
AL.COM – Contributor Phil Williams: Off With Their Heads! Alabama education in last place
AL.COM – Contributor Larry Day: On being a Southerner: A 1950′s slice of life from rural Alabama
AL.COM – Contributor Cam Ward: Prison crowding: Saving tax dollars and creating a path to redemption
Montgomery Advertiser – Auburn Police searching for person of interest in Aniah Blanchard case
Montgomery Advertiser – Jeff Sessions wants his Senate seat back, expected to announce bid Thursday
Montgomery Advertiser – Second passenger in Coosa River crash indicted on murder charges under Alabama’s accomplice law
YellowHammer News – Sessions to appear Thursday on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ expected to announce Senate bid
YellowHammer News – Alabama companies recognized for commitment to hiring veterans
YellowHammer News – AL(dot)com fabricates story about the UA SGA warning against Trump protests
Dothan Eagle – A stable living leads to 40-year careers at Michelin for five workers
Dothan Eagle – Retired Texas police dogs had to be sold or destroyed under state law. Voters just changed that.
Dothan Eagle – National Peanut Festival opens gates early for special-needs residents
Tuscaloosa News – Jury to decide fate of gunman in fatal 2017 shooting
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa County picks artificial Christmas tree for holiday display
Tuscaloosa News – Grand marshals chosen for Tuscaloosa Christmas parade
Decatur Daily – Decatur man facing drug charges
Decatur Daily – Decatur man charged in identity theft case
Decatur Daily – AP sources: Jeff Sessions to announce Alabama Senate bid
Times Daily – As state battles opioid addiction, real-time data needed
Times Daily – Satchel to seek second term as Colbert’s Superintendent of Education
Times Daily – Choir marks 20th year with special performance
Gadsden Times – Koch breaks ground on $55 million Attalla project
Gadsden Times – Patriots Association inducts 6 honorees
Gadsden Times – Fire results in total loss of 12th Street duplex
Anniston Star – Local governments face deadline on opioid settlement
Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: A council meeting without a fistfight
Anniston Star – Bessemer man convicted of robbing Oxford pharmacy
Troy Messenger – Grand jury issues indictments
Troy Messenger – Troy University, police officials say no signs of sex traffickers after social media posts
Troy Messenger – Troy Cable restores services after widespread outage caused by animal
Andalusia Star News – Parole denied for man convicted of armed robbery
Andalusia Star News – Glover has had a life of service to country, community
Andalusia Star News – Merrell leads training on homicide law
Opelika-Auburn News – UPDATE: Police seeking identity of person of interest in Aniah Blanchard disappearance
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn man convicted for 2017 double murder
Opelika-Auburn News – AP sources: Jeff Sessions to announce Alabama Senate bid
Daily Mountain Eagle – Reward offered in missing man case
Daily Mountain Eagle – Memorial Park honors veterans
Daily Mountain Eagle – Commission cuts meetings, closes for Dec. 23-25
Trussville Tribune – Family releases photos of Airman killed in Moody
Trussville Tribune – Trussville Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief joins national rank of Executive Fire Officers
Trussville Tribune – Auburn police release photos of person of interest in Aniah Blanchard disappearance
Athens News Courier – School nurse offers tips when it comes to sick kids
Athens News Courier – School nurse offers tips when it comes to sick kids
Athens News Courier – NUKE PLANT: Uprate project nominated for award
Sand Mountain Reporter – FSNA unveils Interpreter on Wheels | Nonprofit hosts open house event
Sand Mountain Reporter – Crossville council prepares for Christmas parade
Sand Mountain Reporter – Health Department to host flu shot clinic Nov. 14
WSFA Montgomery – Greenville police investigating bank robbery
WSFA Montgomery – Mothers still seek justice 2 years after sons’ murders
WSFA Montgomery – President Trump will attend Alabama-LSU game
Fox 6 Birmingham – Delinquent water bills threaten flow to residents
Fox 6 Birmingham – Aniah Blanchard’s family gathers in Birmingham to pray for her safe return
Fox 6 Birmingham – Social Studies: The digital world and the toll on our children
WAFF Huntsville – Jemison High School security guard acquitted of assaulting student during fight
WAFF Huntsville – Jackson County corrections deputy arrested
WAFF Huntsville – Retired Army colonel made history with Iraqi surrender
WKRG Mobile – 14-year-old daughter of fallen firefighter speaks out
WKRG Mobile – Man shot, killed at Doyle Park off Dauphin Island Parkway
WKRG Mobile – Jurors see photos of car hidden in warehouse in Markquise Wallace trial
WTVY Dothan – New developments expected in drug smuggling case with international implications
WTVY Dothan – AP sources: Jeff Sessions to announce Alabama Senate bid
WTVY Dothan – Special Citizens’ Day kicks off at NPF
WASHINGTON POST – Trump wanted Barr to hold news conference saying the president broke no laws in call with Ukrainian leader
WASHINGTON POST – Ambassador’s testimony offers window into impeachment inquiry’s first public hearing
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s ‘conscience rule’ for health providers blocked by federal judge.
WASHINGTON POST – U.S. productivity dropped in third quarter for first time since 2015.
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Twitter War Room Aims Its Punches at Decorated Colonel
NEW YORK TIMES – E.P.A. Watchdog, Citing ‘Open Defiance’ of Inquiries, Rebukes Top Agency Aide

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