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Daily News Digest – October 31, 2019

Good morning and Happy Halloween!
Congrats to the Washington Nationals and their faithful fans on the World Series Championship!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, October 31.



1. AlaDem fight goes to court

  • We knew it was coming. This fight over the leadership of the Alabama Democratic Party was bound to end up in court.
  • Now it has.
  • Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley and others filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to stop a faction of the party’s governing committee from meeting this weekend to elect new leaders. The lawsuit contends the scheduled Saturday meeting, where the reform group intends to elect a new chair, is unauthorized and is being held “illegally.”
  • “Plaintiffs contend that any officers and at-large members purportedly elected on Nov. 2, 2019, will have been improperly elected and may not serve,” the lawsuit states.
  • Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin has scheduled a Thursday morning hearing on the request to block the meeting.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. SNAP changes could affect access to free lunches

  • Proposed changes to tighten eligibility for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will affect children’s access to free meals at school, including in Alabama.
  • The Trump administration earlier this year announced a proposal to change eligibility requirements for SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps. Federal officials said the change would end automatic eligibility for those who were already receiving federal and state assistance.
  • Nationally, that will mean about 982,000 students would no longer directly qualify for free school meals. In Alabama, that’s estimated to be as many as 16,000.
  • Further complicating matters, schools with more than 40% free lunch students qualify for a program that allows the school to offer all students free lunch. So, having fewer students automatically eligible could impact some of those 460 schools in Alabama as well.
  • Many of those children will still qualify for free lunch, or may have to pay a reduced cost, but their families will have to apply for the financial assistance.
  • This is something to watch.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE, and read to the bottom for the Roanoke story.



3. State scores sink for Math & Reading

  • In case you hadn’t heard, Alabama’s scores on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) weren’t great.
  • The assessment, known as the Nation’s Report Card, tests fourth and eighth grade students. For Alabama, both cohorts graded last in the country in math this time.
  • It wasn’t much better in Reading. In that subject, Alabama fourth graders dropped from 40th to 49th, and eight graders dropped from 47th to 49th.
  • Trisha Crain has more on the NAEP scores and what they mean HERE.
  • State Rep. Terri Collins, who chairs the Education Policy Committee in the House, says a recently-passed law tightening academic accountability could help students progress in both subjects.
  • The Alabama Literacy Act was modeled off a Mississippi law passed years ago. And it turns out Mississippi is improving in both Math and Reading.
  • Read that full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


4. Dismukes bows out of Congressional race

  • State Rep. Will Dismukes is withdrawing from the race for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District.
  • In a statement released Wednesday, Dismukes said he could not raise the funds necessary to compete and did not want the race to be a distraction from his family and work responsibilities.
  • In last quarter’s campaign finance reports, Dismukes reported the least amount of money raised at $14,693. He also spent $7,033, and ended with $7,659 cash on hand. To put it in perspective, Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman led the pack with $468,001 raised and $500,000 self-loaned, ending the quarter with almost $1 million cash on hand.
  • Beyond fundraising, another factor that could have influenced Dismukes was the upstart candidacy of Jessica Taylor. The fellow Prattvillian had an impressive campaign announcement earlier this month that saw a video go viral in conservative circles, earning her national media coverage, including on Fox News Channel.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Shelby says he’d back Sessions if he runs

  • U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby told reporters Wednesday that he’d back his longtime former colleague Jeff Sessions should he decide to run for his old seat in the U.S. Senate.
  • “If he runs, I will,” Shelby told reporters, according to Roll Call’s Jennifer Shutt. “He’s always endorsed me. He’s my friend.”
  • Several other candidates have already qualified for the race and are already running hard, including former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, Congressman Bradley Byrne, former Chief Justice Roy Moore, Secretary of State John Merrill, and State Rep. Arnold Mooney. None of the candidates have said they would bow out of the race should Sessions enter it.
  • Tuberville said that Sessions “had his chance to stand and defend the president and he failed.” Byrne told the Washington Post that “the president is very angry with Jeff. I think the president will be very vocal against him… For Jeff’s sake, I don’t want that. But I think that’s the reality of what he’s facing.”
  • Shelby, though, seemed more optimistic about Sessions’ chances.
  • “He’d be a formidable candidate. I think he’d be the man to beat and should win the race, but he has to win it and it’s up to the people ultimately to decide.”
  • Full story w/ video from Sinclair HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Democratic Party dispute heads to court
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Change to SNAP would impact some Alabama students’ access to free lunch
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham water board member found guilty on ethics charge
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Shelby would back Sessions, optimistic about his chances
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Dismukes bows out of Congressional race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As Sessions considers campaign, rivals emphasize Trump feud
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Consolidations coming to county health departments
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 30, 2019
AL.COM  – Alabama Democratic Chair Nancy Worley files lawsuit to block meeting
AL.COM  – Richard Shelby says he’d back Jeff Sessions in potential Senate run
AL.COM  – Prattville’s Will Dismukes drops out of Alabama congressional race
AL.COM  – Hibbett, Shipt teaming up for same-day delivery
AL.COM  – Army gives Booz Allen $561M to build ‘digital soldier’ in Alabama
AL.COM  – Doug Jones raises more money in California than any other state
AL.COM  – Contributor Matthew Stokes: If faith practices are ‘discriminatory,’ do we really still have free speech?
AL.COM  – Contributor Monique Jones: Birmingham’s dark past paved the way for my bright future
AL.COM  – Birmingham water board member guilty on ethics charges
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Judge makes statement in corruption case
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: In Alabama, support for Trump and Sessions are not mutually exclusive things
AL.COM  – Alabama vying to overturn Roe v Wade; what’s next?
AL.COM  – Alabama flunks math on national report card
Montgomery Advertiser – Trial date set in Prattville barbershop massacre
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Democratic Party leaders sue to stop Saturday meeting
Montgomery Advertiser – Dismukes withdraws from congressional race
YellowHammer News – University of Alabama highlights successful fundraising year
YellowHammer News – EXCLUSIVE: Trump Jr. on Alabama’s Senate race, impeachment, his favorite Ala. memory & more
YellowHammer News – Will Dismukes dropping out of AL-02 race
Dothan Eagle – U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville believes lack of political experience gives him advantage
Dothan Eagle – Driver injured when car plunges into Bear Creek in western Houston County
Dothan Eagle – Mission on course for Substance Abuse Partnership despite changes
Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama students take fall break this week
Tuscaloosa News – How to keep your dog safe and calm on Halloween night
Tuscaloosa News – Former Alabama star Jim Farmer arrested in sex trafficking sting
Decatur Daily – Work-based learning: Hartselle students pitch their products to experts
Decatur Daily – Joseph: Decatur-Morgan County needs to be build on entrepreneurial tradition
Decatur Daily – Hartselle, Athens students above state, national averages on ACT
Times Daily – Auburn tree poisoner fails to appear in court for hearing
Times Daily – Killen man faces sexual assault charge involving child
Times Daily – Ritz piano recital set for Sunday
Gadsden Times – Whitworth was ‘innocent bystander’ in shooting; Centre man charged
Gadsden Times – Authorities plan to shut down open house parties
Gadsden Times – Cherokee Sheriff’s Office to form Safe Schools Unit
Anniston Star – Manslaughter trial set for March
Anniston Star – Judge allows friend of 2003 murder victim to testify at trial
Anniston Star – JSU officials address students’ concerns
Troy Messenger – TES students ‘back the blue’
Troy Messenger – Bluegrass Gospel Jam Friday at Burning Bush Cowboy Church
Troy Messenger – Moore, Fridy share platforms at PCRW
Andalusia Star News – OMS earns C on school report card
Andalusia Star News – SMS scores highest report card score for middle schools in county
Andalusia Star News – Veterans to be honored at exhibit
Opelika-Auburn News – State, locals join forces to find Auburn teen missing for a week
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn public safety toy drive underway
Opelika-Auburn News – AU joins national efforts to combat domestic violence
Daily Mountain Eagle – Tuberville talks on issues during DME interview
Daily Mountain Eagle – Close race in annual beef cook-off
Daily Mountain Eagle – ‘Dog Daze’ returns for second year in Arley
Trussville Tribune – Alabama Democratic Party leaders file lawsuit to block meeting
Trussville Tribune – Birmingham woman sentenced for embezzlement of $680K from employer
Trussville Tribune – Auburn tree poisoner fails to appear in court for hearing
Athens News Courier – Commission may vote Monday to finalize agreement with museum
Athens News Courier – Commissioner voices concern over intersection
Athens News Courier – Discovery of counterfeit bills leads to arrest
Sand Mountain Reporter – Johnny Minick to perform in Geraldine
Sand Mountain Reporter – House Republicans meet in DeKalb
Sand Mountain Reporter – Skinner steps down | Resigns as Boaz Area Chamber of Commerce President
WSFA Montgomery – 1 dead in afternoon crash near Dothan
WSFA Montgomery – Nationwide school bus recall could impact Alabama buses
WSFA Montgomery – Nearly 150 to lose jobs as Wetumpka plant announces closure
Fox 6 Birmingham – Man charged with attempted murder after shots fired at JeffCo deputy vehicle over weekend
Fox 6 Birmingham – UFC president pledges $25,000 reward to help find Aniah Blanchard
Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa police continue search for missing 97-year-old man
WAFF Huntsville – Nationwide school bus recall could impact Alabama buses
WAFF Huntsville – Lawrence County teen reported missing
WAFF Huntsville – Ala. Attorney General: Scams continue to grow
WKRG Mobile – BREAKING UPDATE: MPD arrests two teenagers for Halloween threats, school officials confirm
WKRG Mobile – Fairhope Police launch home surveillance database after felony theft arrest
WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: FHP identifies man killed in Wednesday night crash near Holt
WTVY Dothan – One dead in afternoon crash near Dothan
WTVY Dothan – Annalyn’s Law makes DCS consider low-risk sex offender policy
WTVY Dothan – 2020 Census could result in loss of Alabama U.S. Representative
WASHINGTON POST  – House investigators seek Bolton’s testimony in impeachment inquiry
WASHINGTON POST  – How much money will it take to undo the damage from opioids?
WASHINGTON POST  – Federal Reserve cuts interest rate for third time this year in effort to boost U.S. economy.
NEW YORK TIMES  – Democrats, Once Wary of Partisan Impeachment Inquiry Vote, Unite as Politics Shift
NEW YORK TIMES  – Why ‘Medicare for All’ Could Both Raise Taxes and Lower Costs



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