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Daily News Digest – September 21, 2018


Good morning and Happy Friday! It’s hot. Here’s your Daily News for September 21.

1. Race Profile: Beech faces Republican challenge in HD 65.

  • Next in our series on close / interesting races is House District 65, where two term Democratic incumbent Rep. Elaine Beech is facing first time Republican candidate Brett Easterbrook.
  • Beech has taken care of business in previous elections, once beating a Republican, once beating an Independent, and once clearing the field altogether – her unique brand of moderate ideology seeming to work.
  • But, she’s never had to run in the Trump era, where loyalty to the party and the president are increasingly important to Republicans.
  • Alabama Daily News Reporter Caroline Beck walks us through the race: the map, the money, and the messages candidates are using. Read her story HERE.

2. Ford to testify?

  • With Capitol Hill in peak frenzy mode, word came yesterday that Christine Blasey Ford may appear at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing after all to testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Ford claims Kavanaugh drunkenly assaulted her at a high school party in the early 1980s.
  • But, her attorneys are attempting to put strict conditions on her testimony: she’d have to go after Kavanaugh, wouldn’t take questions from committee lawyers, would insist on Mark Judge testifying as well, among other things.
  • And it wouldn’t be Monday, as originally planned. Wednesday at the earliest. Maybe Thursday.
  • Committee Republicans don’t seem willing to let the witness dictate all the terms (when does the defense ever go first in a trial?), but Chairman Chuck Grassley is determined to have the hearing.
  • So is Kavanaugh, who wrote the committee asking for the chance to “clear his name” as soon as possible.
  • If you’re not completely exhausted by this point, catch up on the latest HERE.
  • There are obvious parallels between Kavanaugh’s nomination/confirmation and that of Justice Clarence Thomas. But now some are saying his service on the Court, should it happen, could be similar too.
  • The Anita Hill accusations might not have changed what kind of justice Thomas was legally, but it made him much more reluctant to be public. That story by Jessica Gresko HERE.
  • One interesting thing about this entire ordeal is how remarkably restrained President Trump has been publicly.
  • But just this morning, the president is tweeting in defense of Kavanaugh.
  • To me, this appears aimed at GOP senators to keep them from defecting and remind them who controls the base.

A message from the Alabama Coal Association

  • 80% of the coal produced in Alabama is high-quality metallurgical (met) coal, an essential ingredient in the production of steel.
  • 20% of coal mined in Alabama is thermal coal used for local power generation, which provides our state with greater energy security.

3. Hospitals: time to expand Medicaid.

  • The Alabama Hospital Association is launching a campaign to push lawmakers to expand the state’s Medicaid program.
  • Expanding the program could stop the trend of rural hospitals shutting down and help as many as 300,000 Alabamians gain health insurance coverage, AHA chief policy adviser Danne Howard says.
  • The hospitals also argue that the state is foolish to turn away the influx of federal money that comes with Medicaid expansion.
  • The push comes as the general election campaign is fully underway.
  • Democratic nominee for governor Walt Maddox has made Medicaid expansion a central plank in his campaign.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey has said an expansion could be beneficial, but she has questioned how to pay for the $700+ million price tag.
  • Read Kim Chandler’s full story HERE.

4. Ethics changes coming?

  • How high up on an organizational chart should you have to be for the Ethics Code to apply to you?
  • Does it make more sense to allow lobbyists to buy relatively cheap meals and drinks for lawmakers, or just to have a Dutch policy altogether?
  • Those are two main questions before the Alabama Code of Ethics Clarification and Reform Commission. The group met yesterday and continued talking through those and other areas of the law that governs how public officials interact with those hired to influence them.
  • One bit of news is that the Commission could vote to recommend changes to the Code by October. Of course, those recommendations would need to be passed by the Legislature, and I’m guessing a few lawmakers have opinions about it.
  • Mike Cason was at the meeting and has a dispatch explaining what was discussed. So was Brian Lyman, whose story can be read HERE.

5. News Briefs.

“A sea of paper”
  • Outgoing State Rep. Ed Henry is “awash in a sea of paper” as part of his trial for Medicare fraud.
  • Henry’s attorney says the prosecution is attempting to drown their defense case with more than 80,000 pages of discovery documents, making it impossible to review.
  • Full story from the Decatur Daily’s Eric Fleischauer HERE.
Hagan profiled
  • Democratic nominee for Congress in AL-3 Mallory Hagan is profiled in today’s Montgomery Advertiser.
  • The Advertiser’s Brian Lyman sat down with Hagan to discuss everything from her Miss America past to her transparent support for progressive policy items that might not be so popular with many AL-3 voters.
  • His story w/ video HERE.
More good economic news
  • The economy isn’t slowing down. According to a MarketWatch analysis, we should see at least 3% GDP growth through the end of the year.
  • If that happens it would be the first full year of 3% or higher growth since 2005.
  • Read more HERE.
Iran sanctions working
  • In May President Trump announced he was withdrawing the United States from the controversial Iran Nuclear Agreement and reimposing sanctions.
  • People freaked out, as you recall.
  • Turns out those sanctions are working. Oil prices haven’t gone up that much here and other countries are bailing on doing business with Iran.
  • And meanwhile the United States became the world’s largest exporter of oil.
  • Read Clifford Krauss’ report in The New York Times HERE.
You’ve got opinions, man
  • The Alabama Policy Institute has the last of its series of pieces on the various constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall.
  • Today Parker Snider addresses Amendments 3 & 4. Amendment 3 would update the University of Alabama Board of Trustee selection criteria and Amendment 4 would change how we do special elections.
  • Read his full piece HERE.
  • Former State Rep. Perry Hooper and current ALGOP Committee Member checks in again this week with a piece on how high the stakes are for Republicans in these upcoming midterm elections.
  • Everything from national security to economic growth is on the line, Hooper argues.
  • Read his full piece HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The Races: Beech and Easterbrook vie for House District 65 seat.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hospital Association begins campaign for Medicaid expansion.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kavanaugh’s accuser says she would testify under right terms.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – For Kavanaugh, path forward could be like Clarence Thomas’.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – API: What you need to know about Proposed Statewide Amendments Three and Four.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Perry Hooper: Midterms That the GOP Cannot Afford to Lose.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Troy looks to maintain momentum after beating Nebraska.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No. 1 Alabama’s offense overshadowing defense. Seriously.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No. 9 Auburn aims to rebound against Arkansas.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Ethics reform commission could vote on recommended changes.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Mallory Hagan focuses on health care, transparency in congressional run.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Auburn University professor sues school for retaliation over athletics scandal.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Vanzetta McPherson: Time to pay for education now, or we’ll pay for ignorance forever.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Hospital Association begins campaign for Medicaid expansion.
DOTHAN EAGLE – New witness comes forth in toddler murder case, trial rescheduled.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Rehobeth agriculture program teaches students about growing, giving.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Rogers: Hagan comments attacking Alabama culture ‘disappointing’ — ‘How can you think you’re the right person to come back and represent that culture in Washington?’
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Dale Jackson: We have to be willing to call liars ‘liars’
DECATUR DAILY – Ed Henry ‘awash in sea of paper’ in Medicare fraud prosecution.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Philanthropist Hugh Culverhouse Jr. donates millions to University of Alabama law school.
AL.COM – Mobile segregation landmark could be reborn as ‘cultural venue’.
AL.COM – Reform panel to vote on changes to Alabama ethics law.
AL.COM – Huntsville ‘rammed’ Mazda-Toyota plant work through approval, environmental group says.
AL.COM – Merrill’s challenger says he blocked her on Twitter, claims move violated her rights.
AL.COM – Ten Alabama schools named ‘healthiest’ in America.
AL.COM – Jackson County student arrested after posting ‘disturbing’ gun video.
AL.COM – UAB sees record enrollment for third straight year.
AL.COM – Maddox campaign keeps up attack over Bentley legal defense: ‘End this fiasco immediately’.
AL.COM – Alabama college lands $2 million grant, to create 68 jobs.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: What’s hiding under Tarrant?
WASHINGTON POST – Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford won’t testify Monday but open to doing so later next week.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump demands a border wall but many Republican lawmakers aren’t convinced.
WASHINGTON POST – Is Canada ‘ripping us off’? Or is it the best U.S. trade partner?
WASHINGTON POST – Ben Carson’s HUD gave raises, promotions to new hires with no housing policy experience.
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Chips Away at Liberal U.S. Appeals Court Majorities
NEW YORK TIMES – The Plot to Subvert an Election.
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Sees a ‘Red Wave’ Where His Party Sees a Red Alert.

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