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Daily News Digest – November 8, 2019

Good morning and Happy Friday!
Here’s your Daily News for November 8.


1. Sessions makes it official

  • Jeff Sessions officially announced his bid to return to the U.S. Senate Thursday night.
  • During an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Sessions pledged to support President Donald Trump, the very man who forced him out as U.S. Attorney General a year ago after months of vicious attacks.
  • “If I return to the Senate, no senator in the Senate would be more effective in advancing President Trump’s agenda than I would,” Sessions told Carlson.
  • Candidates already contending for the nomination include former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Bradley Byrne. Both are already criticizing Sessions of insufficiently defending Trump.
  • “Alabama deserves a Senator who will stand with the President and won’t run away and hide from the fight,” Byrne said Thursday night.
  • New polling from the Club for Growth, a Washington political group that has been encouraging Sessions to run, shows that 71 percent of Republican primary voters have a favorable view of Sessions, whereas 20 percent view him unfavorably.
  • That polling, which includes an updated ballot test question, is in the full story HERE.


2. Cannabis Commission drafting bill

  • Some north Alabama lawmakers on the Alabama Medical Marijuana Study Commission say they’re confident they can get legislation approved during the 2020 legislative session, but at least some law enforcement groups are already raising concern.
  • Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, sponsored the medical marijuana bill that passed out of the Senate in the 2019 session. In the House, lawmakers changed the legalization bill to instead create this study commission.
  • The commission on Thursday went over new draft legislation.
  • “It’s got a lot we still need to work on but it’s getting close,” Melson, a medical doctor, said. “I’ve tried to address everyone’s concerns that’s come forward with them.”
  • Barry Matson, director of Alabama’s District Attorneys Association, said he was concerned that not enough regulations are currently in the legislation to keep medical marijuana out of the hands of those who won’t use it medically.
  • “I’m telling you, it will be used and abused, from the doctor’s side, from the dispensary side and from the patients’ side,” Matson said. “If you’re going to do it, you need to do it right because so many states took an emotional vote and jumped into it prematurely.”
  • Bertha Madras, a professor of psychobiology at Harvard Medical School and also sits on President Donald Trump’s opioid commission, shared some of the same concerns as Matson.
  • She said that some of the qualifying medical conditions listed in the legislation to use medical cannabis are too vague and can open the door for any illness to be added to the list.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.

3. State says opioid settlement should be based on impact

  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that if multi-state litigation against Purdue Pharma and other opioid manufacturers is settled, he thinks settlement money should be distributed based on the drugs’ toll on a state, not its population.
  • “The real battle or issue in that case, as well with any other recovery coming forward, is not so much the recovery of money from the defendant, but in fact how that money gets allocated,” Marshall said.
  • Marshall, speaking this week at a meeting of Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council, said he wants to make sure that any money received from opioid litigation be invested in reducing addiction in Alabama. He said the council’s plans will help determine how the money will be used.
  • A federal bankruptcy judge this week agreed to keep nearly 2,700 lawsuits against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and hundreds more against the family members who own the company on hold until at least April so the sides can keep working toward a settlement, the Associated Press reported. Purdue Pharma reached a tentative settlement in September that could be worth up to $12 billion.
  • Marshall is co-chair of the opioid council and said the collaborative effort by various state agencies has led to progress in the deadly fight against opioids since the council’s first meeting in 2017.
  • “We’re not where we need to be but we’re a long way from where we were,” Marshall said.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


4. AG working on fish kill penalty

  • The Alabama Attorney General’s office in now involved in the state’s action against Tyson Foods following a June spill in north Alabama waterways.
  • The AG’s office is paying a Massachusetts company to “analyze valuation on loss due to the Mulberry Fork spill, determine economic impact on affected counties and provide expert testimony if needed,” according to a summary of the contract.
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office declined to comment on the status of the state’s efforts with Tyson. Earlier this week, Marshall told Alabama Daily News people could “read between the lines” about what the contract met.
  • Marshall toured the impacted portion of river in September, according to media reports.
  • In June, a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Walker County dumped thousands of gallons of sludge into the Sipsy and Mulberry Forks of the Black Warrior River, resulting in the largest recorded fish kill in state history. According to Tyson and ADEM, about 220,000 gallons of waste water spilled from the River Valley Ingredients plant in Hanceville, killing as many as 175,000 fish.
  • The company says fish died because of low oxygen levels in the water, not chemicals.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



5. Suspect arrested in college student’s disappearance

  • A man wanted in the disappearance of UFC fighter Walt Harris’ stepdaughter has been apprehended in Florida, but the whereabouts of the woman he’s accused of abducting remained a mystery early Friday.
  • Ibraheem Yazeed was arrested in Florida and booked into the Escambia County Jail early Friday, jail records show. He’s charged with first-degree kidnapping in the disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who was last seen at a gas station in Auburn, Alabama, on Oct. 23.
  • Blanchard, a student at Southern Union State Community College, was reported missing the next day. Her car was later found abandoned in Montgomery, more than 50 miles away. Police said the car was damaged and contained evidence that Blanchard had been harmed.
  • Yazeed was already known to authorities: He was freed from an Alabama jail in February after prosecutors said he beat a man unconscious and “near death” in a vicious robbery, court records show. He faces attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery in that earlier case.
  • Full story HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Jeff Sessions announces Senate bid (w/polling)
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama AG working on Tyson fish kill penalty
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marshall: States’ opioid settlement money should be based on impact
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Impeachment going public: Hearings next week for all to see
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Suspect arrested in kidnapping of UFC fighter’s stepdaughter
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Medical marijuana commission finalizing 2020 bill
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 – Todd Stacy: The Sessions Question
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  – Tuscaloosa mayor on Trump visit: ‘I’m glad he’s coming to our city’
AL.COM  – Campaign for Southern Equality shines light on LGBTQ health
AL.COM  – Alabama schools struggle compared to Southeast states, test shows
AL.COM  – U.S. Sen. Doug Jones calls Sessions joining GOP’s crowded field a ‘bloodletting’
AL.COM  – Hundreds turn out in Birmingham for Donald Trump Jr. book tour launch
AL.COM  – What other Senate candidates said about Sessions joining race
AL.COM  – Michael Bloomberg preparing for presidential run with spot in Alabama Democratic primary
AL.COM  – Alabama medical cannabis group begins work on bill
AL.COM  – Tucker Carlson to Jeff Sessions: Do you have President Trump’s support? ’I hope so
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Jeff Sessions’ Senate bid puts knives in Republican backs
AL.COM  – Fundraiser to bring Baby Trump balloon to Tuscaloosa tops goal
AL.COM  – Defendants in Nancy Worley lawsuit ask judge to recuse
AL.COM  – Trump threatens to attack if Sessions runs for Senate, NYT reports
Montgomery Advertiser – Steven Reed pledges support for Montgomery arts scene at awards ceremony
Montgomery Advertiser – Upset school bus driver allegedly kicks 8-year-old boy off bus and leaves him, report says
Montgomery Advertiser – Draft of Alabama medical marijuana bill could be ready by Dec. 1
YellowHammer News – Jeff Sessions makes U.S. Senate run official — Launches website, announces on Fox News
YellowHammer News – Tuberville releases video contrasting himself, Sessions, rest of field — ‘Not a career politician’
YellowHammer News – Barry Moore makes it official in AL-02 race, joins long list of Alabama candidates touting Trump connection
Dothan Eagle – Fort Rucker to train soldiers of the future in new $32 million facility by 2022
Dothan Eagle – Man charged in connection with the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard
Dothan Eagle – Orangutan granted ‘personhood’ settles into new Florida home
Tuscaloosa News – Dillon Lee guilty of manslaughter in 2017 fatal shooting
Tuscaloosa News – Lawsuit filed in drowning death of 5-year-old in Jasper
Tuscaloosa News – Stillman College honors its founder during celebration
Decatur Daily – GE Appliances using robots, other technology to build refrigerators
Decatur Daily – Affidavit: Suspect cut girl’s throat in Decatur homicide before fleeing state
Decatur Daily – Counties want change to 2015 state prison reform they say costs jails money, space
Times Daily – 1 Table Florence moves to First United Methodist Church
Times Daily – Alabama SGA warns students against “disruptive behavior”
Times Daily – As state battles opioid addiction, real-time data needed
Gadsden Times – Sessions announces run, faces uncertain path to Senate
Gadsden Times – Centre man charged with home, church fires
Gadsden Times – Lessons in helping others at Hokes Bluff Middle School
Anniston Star – Bessemer man convicted of robbing Oxford pharmacy
Anniston Star – School board awards copier bid, convenes in private session
Anniston Star – California man indicted on murder charge
Troy Messenger – WWII veteran to deliver keynote address at Colley Senior Complex breakfast
Troy Messenger – Goodson qualifies for Commission District 4 race
Troy Messenger – Troy Recycles Day offers free services to residents
Andalusia Star News – Irate voicemail leads to airport closure
Andalusia Star News – AHS hosts guests for lunch
Opelika-Auburn News – UPDATE: Manhunt underway for suspect in Aniah Blanchard disappearance
Opelika-Auburn News – An elderly man in Hawaii died after falling into a lava tube hidden in his backyard
Opelika-Auburn News – Man charged with a hate crime in acid attack that left Latino man with 2nd-degree burns in Wisconsin
Daily Mountain Eagle – Cordova Robotics Team wins top award at competition
Daily Mountain Eagle – Dora woman keeps busy with art, other hobbies
Daily Mountain Eagle – Qualifying for elections ends 5 p.m. Friday
Trussville Tribune – Sessions announces bid for U.S. Senate run, pledges support to Trump
Trussville Tribune – Springville High School Journalism class receives Walmart Community Grant
Trussville Tribune – 99 Pinson-Valley High School students inducted into 8 honor societies
Athens News Courier – School nurse offers tips when it comes to sick kids
Athens News Courier – NUKE PLANT: Uprate project nominated for award
Athens News Courier – Calhoun to host free Veterans Day program Thursday
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 – Heightened security and early street closures ahead of Alabama LSU game
WSFA Montgomery – Health experts push for more regulations on tobacco, vaping products
WSFA Montgomery – Online campaign to bring “baby Trump” balloon to Tuscaloosa
Fox 6 Birmingham – Official stresses safety with oxygen canisters after explosion
Fox 6 Birmingham – New software helps law enforcement track sex offenders
Fox 6 Birmingham – BREAKING: Person of interest in Aniah Blanchard disappearance arrested in Florida
WAFF Huntsville – Thousands of dollars in hair weaves stolen from Huntsville store
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville approves management contract for new amphitheater
WAFF Huntsville – Ala. lawmen help get hitchhiking disabled veteran to doctor’s appointment across state
WKRG Mobile – Veterans Day: Deals, promotions, and offers for veterans and active military
WKRG Mobile – Veterans walk set, family continues to mourn fallen firefighter
WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: Murder suspect’s bond revoked
WTVY Dothan – Coffee County Schools look to add new classrooms and a new gym
WTVY Dothan – The Latest: Jeff Sessions announces 2020 run for Senate seat
WASHINGTON POST  – House GOP looks to protect Trump by raising doubts about motives of his deputies
WASHINGTON POST  – Commerce Department aides knew Alabama hurricane forecasters were not responding to Trump, but still rebuked them
NEW YORK TIMES  – Michael Bloomberg Actively Prepares to Enter 2020 Presidential Race

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