Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, August 3.
1. Nearly 3 years after fleeing, accused killer of deputy to face prison escape charge
- Austin Patrick Hall, the man accused of killing a Bibb County deputy in June, will be arraigned in September on a prison escape charge, nearly three years after Hall allegedly fled a state prison in Camden, Alabama.
- The arraignment was set last week in Wilcox County, according to court records.
- But why was Hall — who faced charges on multiple other crimes and had a documented history of violence and attempted escape — out of jail in the first place?
- The shooting death of Deputy Brad Johnson in June and Hall’s extensive criminal history have led to state officials questioning the state’s “good time” early release law and why Hall was released from custody in April of this year.
- “The Attorney General is deeply concerned both by the failure to timely charge the inmate with escape and the failure to use the inmate’s escape as a basis for revoking his good time,” Mike Lewis, a spokesman for Marshall, told Alabama Daily News. “While the Office is still gathering information on how and why these failures occurred, each contributed to the defendant’s release, as did other circumstances presently under review.”
- Hall never returned to ADOC custody after the October 2019 escape, instead ending his sentence in Calhoun County jail. He faced new charges in Calhoun and Chilton counties related to alleged criminal activities during his escape. In Calhoun County, he was charged with assaulting a deputy while in custody.
- Despite the escape, he was released in 2022 under the state’s early release law for prisoners with good behavior.
- Read more from Mary Sell HERE.
2. In towns plagued by raw sewage, EPA promises relief
- When there’s heavy rain, human waste from the pond of sewage across the street from Charlie Mae Holcomb’s home covers her front yard in rural Alabama. She can’t remember how many times she’s had to rip the flooring out of her small brick house because raw sewage backed up out the pipes.
- Holcomb lives in Hayneville, a community in Lowndes County of fewer than 1,000, where roughly one-third of people live in poverty and about 85% are Black. The 73-year-old has become an unofficial spokeswoman for people living with poor drainage and disgusting sewage problems that go back generations.
- “It’s not just mine, it’s almost all the people. They just won’t talk,” said Holcomb.
- The heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture came to Lowndes County to announce Tuesday a pilot program to help rural communities that face serious sewage problems like those here. Inferior sewage systems allow waste to back up and pool, threatening public health and degrading basic dignity.
- Federal officials said the new pilot will help 11 communities assess their sewage problems, plan improvements and receive the financial and technical help to make those plans real.
- Read more from Jay Reeves and Kim Chandler HERE.
3. Primary takeaways: Abortion backlash in Kansas, Greitens’ collapse
- In one of the biggest days of this year’s primary campaign season, voters rejected a measure that would have made it easier to restrict abortion rights in red-state Kansas and repudiated a scandal-tarred former governor seeking a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri.
- Meanwhile, a Republican congressman who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 riot lost to a Trump-backed opponent, while two other impeachment-supporting House Republicans are awaiting results in their primaries in Washington state.
- In Michigan, a political newcomer emerged from the state’s messy Republican gubernatorial primary, setting up a rare woman-vs.-woman general election matchup between conservative commentator Tudor Dixon and incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
- Read more about the takeaways from last night’s elections HERE.
4. Pelosi arrives in Taiwan, defying Beijing
- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China, which quickly announced that it would conduct military maneuvers in retaliation for her presence.
- Pelosi flew in aboard a U.S. Air Force passenger jet and was greeted on the tarmac at Taipei’s international airport by Taiwan’s foreign minister and other Taiwanese and American officials. She posed for photos before her motorcade whisked her unseen into the parking garage of a hotel.
- Her visit ratcheted up tension between China and the United States because China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, and it views visits by foreign government officials as recognition of the island’s sovereignty.
- Back in the United States, 26 Republican lawmakers issued a statement of rare bipartisan support for the Democratic speaker. The statement called trips by members of Congress to Taiwan routine.
- Senators are considering legislation to bolster Taiwan’s defense as a direct response to China’s rhetoric. The Taiwan Policy Act, which has support from both parties, will be discussed Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
- Read more HERE.
5. Senate approves bill to aid vets exposed to toxic burn pits
- A bill enhancing health care and disability benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits won final approval in the Senate on Tuesday, ending a brief stalemate over the measure that had infuriated advocates and inspired some to camp outside the Capitol.
- The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 86-11. It now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. Biden described the legislation as the biggest expansion of benefits for service-connected health issues in 30 years and the largest single bill ever to address exposure to burn pits.
- Roughly 70% of disability claims related to burn pit exposure are denied by the VA due to lack of evidence, scientific data and information from the Defense Department.
- The bill also authorizes 31 major medical VA health clinics and research facilities in 19 states.
- The bill is projected to increase federal deficits by about $277 billion over 10 years.
- Alabama Sens. Richard Shelby and Tommy Tuberville voted against the measure, though each said they support the idea. Tuberville said the measure would ultimately increase delays for care and disability compensation at the VA. Shelby said the bill used “budget gimmicks” that will reclassify $400 billion in VA funds.
- Read more HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Nearly 3 years after fleeing, accused killer of deputy to face prison escape charge
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In towns plagued by raw sewage, EPA promises relief
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Takeaways: Abortion backlash in Kansas, Greitens’ collapse
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US House Speaker Pelosi arrives in Taiwan, defying Beijing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate approves bill to aid vets exposed to toxic burn pits
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Wahl: ALGOP to vote on closed primary resolution
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Steve Flowers: Big Jim’s Show in 1962 Governor’s Race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Taliban under scrutiny as US kills al-Qaida leader in Kabul
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden: Killing of al-Qaida leader is long-sought ‘justice’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democrat Sinema’s views on climate, tax bill unknown
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court certifies ruling ending Trump border policy
AL.COM – Tuberville sees no problem with Pelosi’s Taiwan trip, would ‘love to see’ Biden go
AL.COM – Shelby, Tuberville vote against toxic burn pits healthcare for veterans
AL.COM – Alabama electronic voting machine lawsuit set for Montgomery court hearing
AL.COM – ‘Powder keg’: Racism allegation, calls for decorum stir meeting ahead of Mobile redistricting vote
AL.COM – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey noncommittal on GOP proposal for closed primary
AL.COM – Tuberville: Prohibit Chinese Communists from purchasing US land
AL.COM – Alabama Hyundai child labor allegations part of much larger problem, groups say: ‘The laws are so weak’
AL.COM – Alabama seeing fewer ICU patients this COVID wave
Montgomery Advertiser – Biden administration pledges support for Lowndes County wastewater solutions amid sewage crisis
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery City Council changes rules for food trucks
Montgomery Advertiser – ADOC ‘cannot confirm’ if Joe Nathan James Jr. was fully conscious before his execution
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Experts encourage parents to build relationships with School Resource Officers
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Why the latest Equifax glitch shows the importance of watching your credit score
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – School bus drivers a large priority for Tuscaloosa school districts
Tuscaloosa News – ADOC ‘cannot confirm’ if Joe Nathan James Jr. was fully conscious before his execution
Tuscaloosa News – Kangaroo on the loose in Tuscaloosa County; public warned not to approach
Tuscaloosa News – Back to School 2022: What to know about the changes to teacher certifications in Alabama
Decatur Daily – Osprey seeing less old litter as cleanup work continues
Decatur Daily – Former sports stars McClain, Mostella arrested in Moulton on drug charges
Decatur Daily – Hartselle City Schools names Buettner interim superintendent
Times Daily – Attempted murder suspect’s trial delayed
Times Daily – Trial date set for Rogersville murder suspect
Times Daily – Sheffield man pleads guilty to several animal cruelty charges
YellowHammer News – Tuberville on PACT Act: ‘It’s not the right bill that we need’
YellowHammer News – AG Marshall: Biden is advancing a ‘radical agenda’ on ‘the backs of children’
YellowHammer News – Gov. Kay Ivey awards $316K in grants to support victims of domestic violence
Gadsden Times – Etowah County Schools look toward new infrastructure, enhanced SRO presence in new year
Gadsden Times – ADOC ‘cannot confirm’ if Joe Nathan James Jr. was fully conscious before his execution
Gadsden Times – Back to School 2022: What to know about the changes to teacher certifications in Alabama
Dothan Eagle – Minnesota man charged in deadly Wisconsin river attack
Dothan Eagle – Stephen King testifies for government in books merger trial
Dothan Eagle – EXPLAINER: Is Alex Jones’ trial about free speech rights?
Opelika-Auburn News – Producer Janet Yang elected president of film academy
Opelika-Auburn News – Yankees’ Gallo sent to Dodgers after disappointing year, Tiger Woods turns down millions for LIV Golf, and more trending news
Opelika-Auburn News – Kansas voters resoundingly protect their access to abortion
WSFA Montgomery – James Hardie expanding Prattville facility
WSFA Montgomery – Feds announce water infrastructure initiative in Lowndes County
WSFA Montgomery – Suspect dead after deputy-involved shooting in Elmore County
WAFF Huntsville – Decatur woman to celebrate her birthday with 11th annual blood donor party
WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Schools prioritizing safety entering new year
WAFF Huntsville – Chairman Dale Strong presents annual state of the county address
WKRG Mobile – Vin Scully, Dodgers broadcaster for 67 years, dies at 94
WKRG Mobile – Dixon wins Michigan GOP governor primary, to face Whitmer
WKRG Mobile – Takeaways: Abortion backlash in Kansas, Greitens’ collapse
WTVY Dothan – New technology in school buses adds extra layer of safety
WTVY Dothan – Eastern Kentucky flood relief: Ways you can donate
WTVY Dothan – Child’s discovery leads Alabama police to 2 bodies, arrest
WASHINGTON POST – Kansans resoundingly reject amendment aimed at restricting abortion rights
WASHINGTON POST – Several election deniers backed by Trump prevail in hotly contested primaries
WASHINGTON POST – Nancy Pelosi meets President Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan condemns planned Chinese drills
NEW YORK TIMES – Live Updates: Kansas Voters Rush to Defense of Abortion Rights
NEW YORK TIMES – Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit Risks Undermining U.S. Efforts With Asian Allies
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Waver Ahead of Earnings, Services Data
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Nancy Pelosi Visits Taiwan in Defiance of China: Live Updates
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Kansas Votes to Protect Abortion Rights in State Constitution
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