Daily News Digest – June 8, 2018

Daily News Digest – June 8, 2018

Good morning and Happy Friday!  Here’s your Daily News for June 8, 2018. 

1. Ed Henry indicted. 

What happened

  • State Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) was indicted Thursday on 14 charges related to a Montgomery “pill mill.
  • Charges include health care fraud and defrauding the government.
  • Henry entered a not guilty plea on Thursday and said “I am not guilty of any crime.”
  • Henry’s lawyer told the Associated Press that Henry’s company provided legitimate services that improved people’s health and that he “paid no kickbacks to any person.”

Who is Ed Henry?

  • He has made a name for himself for being outspoken and flamboyant since being elected to the State House in 2010.
  • He led efforts to impeach former Gov. Robert Bentley, which garnered him lots of statewide and national media attention.
  • In this last legislative session, Henry was conspicuously absent. I remember seeing him three days.
  • Read more about his background HERE.

Why it matters

  • It’s important to note that Henry’s charges are unrelated to his elected position (he’s retiring anyway).
  • However, this being a federal case, you have to think that prosecutors will use their leverage to see if Henry has any information about political corruption.
  • The feds already have multiple ongoing cases in Alabama that we know about.

2. Bessemer-JeffCo-Amazon deal looks solid. 

  • Amazon is planning to build a $325 million advanced robotic fulfillment center in Bessemer.
  • The Jefferson County Commission voted to pass an incentives deal worth $3.3 million. Bessemer still has to pass its incentives package (get it? Package?) and other incentives could be in the offing from the State of Alabama and Alabama Power, according to AL.com.
  • It was previously reported/speculated that Amazon would employ as many as 3,000 workers. That number is down to 1,500, which is still great, but let’s hope it doesn’t get cut in half again.
  • The jobs do pay relatively well at an average of $14.65 an hour.
  • Birmingham Business Journal Editor Ty West argues that this project shows what is possible when cities/regions/states set their aim high. I think he’s right.

3. Can we talk about what just happened w/ Montgomery schools?

  • It’s a problem when one of the state’s largest school systems is close to losing its accreditation.
  • Tired of the infighting and lack of productivity from the Montgomery Board of Education, voters went to the polls and sent a big message Tuesday.
  • Every incumbent school board member who faced primary opposition was defeated or is headed to a runoff. Melissa Snowden was defeated outright by Jannah Bailey. Board President Robert Porterfield was forced into a runoff with Claudia Mitchell, who actually got more votes.
  • In the competitive open seat, Ted Lowry defeated Larry Lee with 71 percent of the vote.
  • Not surprisingly, the incumbents and establishment types are decrying how they were “fired” and blaming political spendingfrom the MGM-NXT organization.
  • The bigger outrage might have been if voters decided to keep the incumbents who oversaw the demise of the school system.
  • Who knows what will happen with MPS, but the community is showing signs of life.

4. Wheels up. 

  • You can now fly directly from Montgomery to Washington, D.C. thanks to American Airlines beginning its daily flight service to and from the two capital cities.
  • It turns out D.C. is already the top end-point destination for travelers out of Montgomery, which makes sense with all the military and government traffic.
  • Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile already offer some form of direct flights to D.C.
  • The MGM-DCA flight can take as little as two hours, which sounds like a dream for anyone who has slogged the ATL connection.
  • Your move, Delta.

5. News briefs.  

  • Attorney General Steve Marshall is in Washington, D.C. today testifying on Capitol Hill about his lawsuit seeking to stop illegal immigrants from being counted in the census. Alabama stands to lose a congressional seat after the next census if other states with high illegal immigrant populations are allowed to count those toward their totals. The Judiciary Committee hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Eastern / 9:00 a.m. Central and can be viewed online HERE
  • Sen. Doug Jones is speaking out about how President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs could harm Alabama’s automotive industry. In a joint letter with Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, Jones warns that American auto jobs are at risk from unnecessary tariffs on materials from Canada and Mexico. Read more HERE.
  • Alabama is getting mixed reviews on a manufacturing scorecard. While the state gets high marks on manufacturing health, worker benefits, global reach and diversification, it scored low on human capital and productivity and innovation. So, we have some goals to aim for maybe. The report was compiled by the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research. Read more HERE.
  • Anthony Bourdain has died. He took his own life. This comes after the suicide of fashion designer Kate Spade. It’s not just a big deal because they are celebrities. Suicide is a leading cause of death and one we don’t talk about a lot. Perhaps this will get people talking about mental health, suicide, and treatment.

Headlines.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lawmaker indicted, charged with paying kickbacks.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pilot lands plane in Gulf after reported engine failure.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ex-Senate aide charged with lying about reporter contacts.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – By the numbers: How Bobby Bright forced Martha Roby into a runoff.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Voters present few surprises in Alabama legislative primaries.

DECATUR DAILY – Orr: Governor, lieutenant governor should run on same ticket.

DECATUR DAILY – Morgan lawmaker Henry arrested for alleged Medicare kickback scheme.

FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Trump suffering buyer’s remorse on Sessions’ selection.

GADSDEN TIMES – Will Ivey’s primary strategy work in general election?

ANNISTON STAR – Recognizing the power of incumbency.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Alabama District Attorneys honor Dexter Grimsley.

AL.COM – Black women faced victories and defeats during primary.

AL.COM – Justice Department says Obamacare individual mandate unconstitutional.

AL.COM – Walt Maddox says of Gov. Kay Ivey: ‘That is not leadership’.

AL.COM – Judge delays release of Alabama’s lethal injection documents.

AL.COM – Suicide rate growing in Alabama and across the nation.

AL.COM – Tariffs threaten Alabama’s auto industry, Doug Jones says.

AL.COM – Honda partners with GM on battery for electric vehicles.

AL.COM – Alabama gets mixed marks on manufacturing scorecard.

AL.COM – Alabama Merit Scholars: 102 students earn college-sponsored scholarships.

AL.COM – Rep. Ed Henry indicted in federal pill mill case.

AL.COM – Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry: ‘I’m not guilty of any crimes’.

AL.COM – Alice Marie Johnson thanks Trump for ‘having mercy’.

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald:  Alabama election post-mortem: Things could be a lot worse.

ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – In lieutenant governor’s race, Mobile County takes center stage.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump administration won’t defend ACA in case brought by GOP states.

WASHINGTON POST – Ryan promises immigration legislation in hopes of avoiding a showdown among House Republicans.

WASHINGTON POST – The U.S. just had its warmest May in history, blowing past 1934 Dust Bowl record.

NEW YORK TIMES – The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A.

NEW YORK TIMES – The Numbers That Explain Why Teachers Are in Revolt

NEW YORK TIMES – The Cult of Trum

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