Daily News Digest – December 13, 2019

Daily News Digest – December 13, 2019

Presented by

the Alabama Bicentennial Commission

 

Good morning!
Careful not to cross paths with a black cat or walk under a ladder today.
Here’s your Daily News for Friday, December 13.

 

 

 

1. Dems delay impeachment vote

  • The House Judiciary Committee abruptly shut down its proceedings late Thursday before expected votes on the two articles of impeachment. The move came after a 14-hour, marathon slog through Republican amendments aimed at killing the charges.
  • A vote on the two charges against President Donald Trump is expected today, when the committee resumes at 9:00 a.m. Central Time.
  • “It is now very late at night,” Nadler said after presiding over the two-day session. “I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these past two days and to search their consciences before they cast their final votes.”
  • However, the extra day was not expected, and Republicans on the panel, blindsided by the move, were livid.
  • When Nadler announced that the committee wouldn’t vote until Friday morning, gasps were heard at the dais, and Republicans immediately started yelling “unbelievable” and “they just want to be on TV.”
  • Republicans say Democrats are impeaching the president because they can’t beat him in 2020. Democrats warn Americans can’t wait for the next election because they worry what Trump will try next.
  • The House is expected to vote on the articles next week, in the days before Christmas. That would send the impeachment effort to the Senate for a 2020 trial.
  • Read more and watch today’s expected vote live HERE.

 

 

2. Vote coming on medical marijuana proposal

  • A vote is expected on a final draft of medical marijuana legislation by next Friday.
  • Members of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Study Commission have until Monday to make any final comments on a draft proposal now circulating among members, and then a vote by the 18-member body will happen via email by Dec. 20, Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, told Alabama Daily News.
  • Melson sponsored the medical marijuana bill that passed out of the Senate in the 2019 session. In the House, lawmakers changed the legalization bill to instead create this study commission. It’s been working since the summer on new legislation.
  • The draft legislation circulated in November contained stipulations for licensing dispensaries, advertisement of the drug, a statewide seed-to-sale tracking system and other regulatory measures.
  • Melson on Thursday said a few changes have been made, including adding the creation of a “compassion panel,” to which people can appeal if they don’t have a condition or illness specified in the bill as qualifying for medical marijuana.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

A message from

the Alabama Bicentennial Commission

Come celebrate Alabama’s Bicentennial on Saturday, December 14th in Downtown Montgomery!
The day will include family activities with exhibitors from all around the state participating in the Bicentennial parade, park dedication and festival, all showcasing Alabama’s communities and honoring her people.
  • 10 a.m. Alabama Bicentennial Parade – Dexter Ave;
  • Noon: Alabama Bicentennial Park Dedication – State Capitol Steps;
  • 1 p.m. Alabama Bicentennial Festival – Capitol Complex & Downtown Montgomery;
  • 4 p.m.Alabama Bicentennial Concert and Finale Presentation – State Capitol Steps.
For more information, visit www.AL200finale.org.

3. Byrne gets Oval Office treatment

  • Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Bradley Byrne met with President Donald Trump this week for an educational choice roundtable discussion at the White House.
  • Trump invited Byrne to the roundtable to discuss the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act that he introduced earlier this year with the support of the Trump Administration, according to a press release. The legislation would give parents nationwide the ability to make more decisions about where their children go to school by building upon the scholarship granting organization model already used in Alabama under the 2013 Accountability Act. In Alabama, a tax credit of roughly $3,500 helps students transfer out of failing schools. Businesses and individuals also get tax credits for donating to a scholarship fund for students.
  • “I thank President Trump for his trust in me to lead his school choice bill in the House, “Byrne said. “Every student deserves a high quality education, and President Trump is making great progress towards improving our education system by putting American students first.”
  • Other participants in the discussion included Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Senator Ted Cruz.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

4. Trade breakthrough coming?

 

  • The Trump administration and China are close to finalizing a modest trade agreement that would suspend tariffs that are set to kick in Sunday, de-escalating their 17-month trade war.
  • A “deal is close,” said Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s head of international affairs, who has been briefed by both sides.
  • Brilliant said the administration has agreed to suspend Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese imports Sunday and to reduce existing tariffs, though it wasn’t clear by how much.
  • In return, Beijing would buy more U.S. farm products, increase Americans companies’ access to the Chinese market and tighten protection for intellectual property rights.
  • The deal awaits final approval from President Donald Trump.
  • Trump took to Twitter early Thursday to declare: “Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!”
  • The president’s comments triggered a daylong rally on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 220 points, or 0.8%.
  • Thursday evening, a senior administration official said a policy announcement regarding China would take place on Friday.
  • Read more HERE.

 

 

5. Tories win big in Britain

  • It’s not Alabama politics or even American politics, but it has been fascinating to watch our neighbors across the pond conduct their elections.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won a thumping majority of seats in Britain’s Parliament — a decisive outcome to a Brexit-dominated election that should allow Johnson to fulfill his plan to take the U.K. out of the European Union next month.
  • With 649 of the 650 results declared on Friday, the Conservatives had 364 seats and the main opposition Labour Party 203.
  • A few hours later, Johnson was whisked to Buckingham Palace to meet with Queen Elizabeth II as part of the constitutional ritual of forming a new government. He is the 14th prime minister to be asked by the monarch to form a government.
  • Which season of The Crown will be recreating that meeting, I wonder?
  • The victory makes Johnson the most electorally successful Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated Johnson on Twitter, and said that “Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new trade deal after Brexit.”
  • If you want a good explanation of what the election was about and why it went the way it did, I recommend this article, which I found enlightening.

 

 

News Briefs

 

Former water official avoids prison on corruption conviction

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A former chairwoman of Birmingham’s water board won’t have to go to prison for her public corruption conviction, a judge ruled Thursday.
  • Jefferson County Circuit Judge Clyde Jones ordered Sherry Lewis during a hearing to pay fines of $30,000 and to perform 400 hours of community service for her conviction on felony ethics charges of using her position for personal gain.
  • The sentence included a suspended prison sentence, and a statement from prosecutors said Lewis won’t have to serve time if she fulfills other aspects of her punishment.
  • Lewis was convicted in October of using the position to obtain jobs for her son, football bowl tickets, lavish meals and alcohol from a contractor. Meanwhile, she voted for the contractor to receive inflated payments from the Birmingham Water Works Board, authorities said.
  • A contractor and a subcontractor are awaiting trial.

Limestone judge faces ethics, financial exploitation charges

  • ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — A north Alabama judge was arrested Thursday on ethics and theft charges, the Alabama attorney general’s office announced.
  • Limestone County District Judge Douglas Lee Patterson faces three felony charges, including using his officer for personal gain. The attorney general’s office said he misused $47,000 intended for juvenile court programs by using it for personal expenses.
  • He is also charged with financial exploitation of the elderly. He is accused of acting improperly during his time as conservator for a nursing home resident who is now deceased. The attorney general’s office said Patterson withdrew about $47,800 of the money in the conservator account for personal use. The theft charge accuses Patterson of using theft by deception to take control of a sum of money, between $499 and $1,500, from an estate of another man for whom he had served as conservator.
  • Court records did not immediately show if Patterson has an attorney representing him.

NTSB blames inadequate work for deadly blast in Alabama

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A federal investigation released Thursday cited inadequate work by an excavation company as the probable cause of a pipeline explosion that killed two people and slowed the flow of fuel to the Eastern Seaboard in 2016.
  • Workers unearthing a Colonial Pipeline Co. pipeline that was carrying thousands of gallons of gasoline near Birmingham failed to plan, coordinate and communicate during the job, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board.
  • Officials said a worker used a piece of heavy machinery to scratch through dirt until a pipeline fitting was damaged, releasing a “wall of gasoline” that caught fire. Such work should have been done by hand, the report said.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.

 

 

Bonus: Podcast drops AlaDems episodes

  • The Reply All podcast – a fairly popular podcast nationally and worldwide, has just released three episodes on the ongoing saga of the Alabama Democratic Party.
  • Of course, we’ve run countless stories about the crazy drama inside the party, but this is an interesting outside perspective.
  • If you’re into podcasts, or even if you’re not, these episodes titled “The Real Enemy” Parts 1,2 & 3 are worth a listen.
  • Listen via Apple podcasts HERE and via Spotify HERE.

 

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After delay, House committee vote today on Trump impeachment

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Commission’s vote on medical marijuana bill next week

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Byrne meets with Trump on education choice scholarship legislation

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US and China near deal that would suspend planned tariffs

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – UK’s Johnson claims Brexit mandate as Tories secure majority

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – NTSB blames inadequate work for deadly blast in Alabama

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama infant mortality rate hits record low

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Taylor gathers ‘conservative squad’ on Fox & Friends

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘You get what you pay for’ Federal judge concerned about ADOC staffing numbers, lesser paid, trained positions

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Chris Cox appointed interim president of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Troy mom sues officers accused of severely beating son

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prosecutors: Man threatened Trump, Putin, vowed to kill kids

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Barr: FBI’s Russia investigation based on ‘bogus narrative’

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – December 11, 2019

 

AL.COM – 3 Houston Co. teachers suspended over text messages leaked online

 

AL.COM – Plantation Christmas event near Tuscumbia ‘racist’, groups say

 

AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: No jail time for corrupt water board member

 

AL.COM – Opportunity Alabama featured in Forbes OZ 20

 

AL.COM – Common Core math ‘eradicated,’ Ivey says, after Alabama school board vote

 

AL.COM – Donors fund bicentennial, including event for officials

 

AL.COM – Clarke County gets $1.6 million grant for sawmill project

 

AL.COM – Republicans send fundraising mailers to Alabama voters that resemble Census forms

 

AL.COM – Limestone County judge accused of stealing from juvenile fund, elderly veteran

 

AL.COM – Alabama still hammering out details for third-grade reading hurdle

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Three teens charged with combined 230 felony theft crimes following 72-hour break-in spree

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man sentenced to 30 years for drug trafficking

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Uncles plead to misdemeanors in case where child chained to stairs, forced to sleep in dog crate

 

YellowHammer News – Univ. of South Alabama provost elected chair of southern college accrediting commission

 

YellowHammer News – Three former NFL players with connections to Alabama charged with healthcare fraud

 

YellowHammer News – Birmingham CEO calls on Congress to quickly ratify Trump’s historic USMCA trade deal

 

Dothan Eagle – Trump criticizes teen climate activist Greta Thunberg day after Time magazine honor

 

Dothan Eagle – Dollar Tree fined for safety hazards at Andalusia location

 

Dothan Eagle – (Update) Carver School on lockdown as safety precaution

 

Tuscaloosa News – Former water official avoids prison on corruption conviction

 

Tuscaloosa News – Christmas parade expected to go on as planned despite rain

 

Tuscaloosa News – Bryant Bank spreads holiday cheer at detention center

 

Decatur Daily – Daikin donation eyed for amphitheater upgrade

 

Decatur Daily – Church building deteriorates as grocery chain waits for lease to end

 

Decatur Daily – Space, funding handicap Lawrence 911 center consolidation

 

Times Daily – Cyclists explain opposition to rumble strips on Natchez Trace

 

Times Daily – Muscle Shoals Middle School taking STEM projects to the community

 

Times Daily – Florence Christmas Parade is Thursday

 

Gadsden Times – Rainbow City man charged with animal cruelty

 

Gadsden Times – Westbrook student recognized for rescuing driver in interstate crash

 

Gadsden Times – New allegations in Boaz child porn case

 

Anniston Star – Ranburne Town Council OKs tax abatement for packaging company

 

Anniston Star – Ranburne Town Council OKs tax abatement for packaging company

 

Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: Get ready for Little unleashed

 

Troy Messenger – Ambulance contract sets accountable standards

 

Troy Messenger – New Crowe’s owner says restaurant to offer classic chicken ‘and more’

 

Troy Messenger – Pioneer Museum’s Ole Time Christmas begins tonight

 

Andalusia Star News – An Andalusia man is arrested after allegedly raping a minor less than 12 years old

 

Andalusia Star News – AARP Alabama Applauds the House for Passing the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act

 

Andalusia Star News – Forest Service honors Andalusian

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police arrest elementary staffer

 

Opelika-Auburn News – New buses, calendar OK’d for Auburn schools

 

Opelika-Auburn News – United Way needs help reaching annual goal

 

Daily Mountain Eagle – Parrish minister asks for help on vandalism

 

Daily Mountain Eagle – Western filmed in Oakman set to premiere

 

Daily Mountain Eagle – Sessions running for national interests, Trump agenda

 

Trussville Tribune – St. Vincent’s East responds to lock down Thursday

 

Trussville Tribune – Man killed in crash with Freightliner in Etowah County

 

Trussville Tribune – NTSB blames inadequate work for deadly pipeline blast in Helena

 

Athens News Courier – Help fight the spread of flu this season

 

Athens News Courier – Snowfall leads to area travel issues

 

Athens News Courier – Help fight the spread of flu this season

 

Sand Mountain Reporter – Sardis City bridge closed | Detour on Whitesboro Road to Son Johnson Road

 

Sand Mountain Reporter – Kilpatrick man arrested for Boaz graffiti, second suspect remains at large

 

Sand Mountain Reporter – Marshall County woman killed in single-car crash

 

WSFA Montgomery – Man talks about chasing Dozier bank robbery suspects

 

WSFA Montgomery – Suspect charged in Thursday morning Montgomery shooting

 

WSFA Montgomery – Member of drug trafficking organization sentenced to 30 years

 

Fox 6 Birmingham – Mail thieves arrested in Cullman

 

Fox 6 Birmingham – How to keep the wrong people from accessing the tech in your home

 

Fox 6 Birmingham – State Board of Education approves new math standards

 

WAFF Huntsville – Triple trouble at Bridge Street and no love at two Decatur McDonald’s: Your December 13th Kitchen Cops report

 

WAFF Huntsville – Man sentenced in 2014 Madison double murder

 

WAFF Huntsville – Hazel Green High School hosting blood drive to help students burned in fire

 

WKRG Mobile – Ozark Officer Shot, taken to hospital

 

WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: AMBER Alert for missing Florida 15-year-old cancelled

 

WKRG Mobile – Suspect shot by officer goes home, not jail, after release from hospital

 

WTVY Dothan – DeFuniak Springs man arrested for 20 counts of child porn

 

WTVY Dothan – Headland Middle School opens Christmas shop for students

 

WTVY Dothan – Early County “Flips the Switch” on new solar farm

 

WASHINGTON POST – House Judiciary Committee abruptly adjourns after marathon debate, will vote on articles of impeachment Friday morning

 

WASHINGTON POST – Congressional negotiators reach tentative $1.3 trillion federal spending deal

 

WASHINGTON POST – House Democrats pass broad prescription drug price bill as election marker

 

NEW YORK TIMES – South Carolina Is the 10th State to Impose Medicaid Work Requirements

 

NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Order to Combat Anti-Semitism Divides Its Audience: American Jews

 

 

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