Good morning! Here is your Daily News for Tuesday, March 6.
1. Cochran retirement ushers in Shelby’s rise, amirite?
- Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran announced he will retire effective April 5 due to health reasons.
- While that might not seem like the top story in Alabama, remember that Cochran is the current chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- That means, barring any unforeseen issues, Sen. Richard Shelby will assume the Appropriations Chairmanship in less than a month.
- It’s a HUGE moment for Shelby, though he kept it classy yesterday and issued a statement commending Cochran for his service and not mentioning the potential promotion.
- The timing is interesting here. Shelby was already slated to assume the chairmanship next January as long as Republicans maintain control of the Senate. With Congress currently in the midst of “appropriations season,” this could give Shelby one extra fiscal year as chairman.
- Remember, though, it has been hard for Congress to pass funding bills in this environment. Shelby’s influence may be more behind the scenes, having his folks write line items as CRs continue to pass for a while.
- Too soon observation 1: get ready to get serious about expanding Alabama’s port, one of Shelby’s top priorities and a huge economic opportunity for Alabama.
- Not too soon observation 2: How silly do those knuckleheads pushing the ALGOP anti-Shelby resolution look now??
2. Time running out for gun, school safety bills
- Most insiders expect the Legislature to adjourn in late March. That’s plenty of time for the budgets to pass, but it doesn’t allow a lot of breathing room for more controversial issues like guns and school safety.
- AP’s Mallory Moench wrote up a rundown of the prospects facing gun and school safety bills. It’s online at ALDailyNews.com alongside video I recorded of Speaker Mac McCutcheon and Rep. Mary Moore discussing the issue.
- Moore is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit sales of semi-automatic weapons. McCutcheon said he is asking the sponsors of all related bills to meet informally and talk about their proposals.
- In my column this week, I discussed gun and school safety as one of the issues to watch in this last half of the session.
- In particular, I am keeping my eye on Rep. Allen Farley’s bill that would allow school districts to deputize sky-marshal-like volunteers to help secure schools. Give it a read here.
3. What else at the State House?
The Legislature convenes for the 17th day of the 2018 session today. Here’s what to expect…
- The first bill up on the calendar is Rep. Ken Johnson’s HB317, the Alabama Jobs Enhancement Act.
- Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield hammered out an agreement about the language in this bill. The two offices have been in talks about how to square the problem facing economic developers with the need to maintain strict ethical standards.
- Expect an amendment with the agreed upon language to be offered on the floor.
- Also up are Rep. Alan Baker’s regional workforce council bill; Sen. Gerald Dial & Rep. Donnie Chesteen’s bill to increase allowed funding allocations for soil conservation districts; Rep. Chris Sells’ bill to increase penalties for killing of a law enforcement officer or minor by making it an aggravating circumstance; and Sen. Tom Whatley and Rep. Joe Lovvorn’sgrease trap regulation bill.
- Read the full proposed Special Order calendar here.
The Senate will do their House colleagues a solid in taking up the lower chamber’s legislation.
Among the bills expected to be considered are:
- Rep. Danny Crawford’s bill to allow public water boards to be eligible for state tax exemptions (HB35)
- Rep. Kerry Rich’s insurance licensure and civil penalties bill (HB125)
- Rep. John Knight’s bill to require state employees to get authorization from their agency head for state-paid travel (HB307)
- Rep. David Faulkner’s bill eliminating the position of Deputy Game Warden (HB341)
4. Gov Stuff
Candidates for governor are out and about this week in force. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s happening…
- Former Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb kicked off her campaign last night, saying state government is corrupt and proposing a lottery to fund education initiatives.
- Gov. Kay Ivey yesterday announced her “Get Alarmed Alabama” campaign to help distribute 300,000 free smoke alarms to households in Alabama. On the campaign side, Ivey reported raising $380,000 in February, boosted by a $100,000 donation from Jimmy Rane. She has $2.2 million cash on hand.
- Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle campaigned in Auburn this week and sat down for an in-depth interview with Plainsman Editor Chip Brownlee. Battle raised $135,000 in February and now has $1.3 million cash on hand.
- Birmingham minister Scott Dawson announced his campaign kickoff this week. It doesn’t happen until March 19, but he has big names lined up in Rick & Bubba and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Dawson raised $38,000 in February and has $377,000 cash on hand.
Mike Cason of AL.com did an excellent rundown of all the gubernatorial candidates’ February fundraising. You can read it all here.
5. Must watch: Epic breakdown
I don’t know what to say about the Sam Nunberg thing yesterday. Here’s how Axios’ Mike Allen put it:
A sad, epic meltdown — a troubled Trump flunky, pecked at and picked apart like roadkill on the Russia Interstate, in his last gasps of public fame and shame.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gun, school safety bills face tight deadline in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Republicans want Trump to back off his tariff proposal
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Attorney: inmate experienced ‘torture,’ punctured 11 times in failed execution
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Complaint filed against key PAC in Alabama Senate race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – UCF ‘championship’ car tag part of Florida infrastructure bill
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Advocates say Medicaid work proposals will target women.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Doyle Lee Hamm punctured at least 11 times in execution attempt, report states.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama Reps. Roby, Rogers and Byrne deliver stern rebuke of Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Editor Pepper Bryars: Alabama’s Democratic candidates for governor want to tax … the poor!
AL.COM – Steve Marshall campaign tops AG field with $219,000 raised in February.
AL.COM – Steel tariffs could impact Alabama’s automotive, aviation jobs.
AL.COM – Wreck found in Delta not the Clotilda, the last American slave ship.
AL.COM – Roy Moore accuser running for Florida House as a Democrat.
AL.COM – Contributor U. S. Rep. Terri Sewell: A lesson from the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
AL.COM – UAB, Mobile’s Infirmary Health announce healthcare alliance.
AL.COM – Rosa Parks Day in Alabama: Efforts underway to establish holiday to honor civil rights icon.
AL.COM – Contributor John Meredith: National Republicans could learn from Alabama GOP.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – House reconsiders taxing Forever Wild but amendment fails again.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Attempts to carry out the death penalty have gone from bad to worse.
GADSDEN TIMES – Let the market decide on guns.
ANNISTON STAR – Incumbents lead in money race early in primary election season.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Gubernatorial candidate Cobb: Alabama can do better.
DOTHAN EAGLE – PAC complaint should prompt regulatory review.
WASHINGTON POST – Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg called before grand jury, says he will refuse to go.
WASHINGTON POST – Ryan splits with Trump on trade as GOP lawmakers move to block planned tariffs.
WASHINGTON POST – The Washing
NEW YORK TIMES – Ben Carson on His Vexing Reign at HUD: Brain Surgery Was Easier Than This
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Administration Stalls Largest Tech Merger in New Sign of Protectionism
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