Good morning! This is your Alabama Daily News digest for Thursday, January 11, 2018.
1. Polling, history show Moore could face tough sledding if he enters race for governor
- 18 months ago, former Alabama Chief Justice ROY MOORE could have easily been considered the leading contender to become Alabama’s next governor.
- A lot has happened since then, to say the least.
- Alabama Daily News has obtained polling showing Moore’s favorability amongst Republican primary voters is slipping.
- The same survey shows Gov. Kay Ivey with high favorability amongst the GOP electorate.
- Moore has traditionally fared better in primaries with weaker opposition and/or a segmented race (2000, 2012, 2017), but has fared poorly against strong, well-organized candidates (2006, 2010).
- Read my full write up for perspective on how Moore could fare should he decide to enter the governor’s race this year.
- Candidate qualifying closes on February 9th.
2. Soak in that Mazda-Toyota afterglow
- Alabama’s political and economic leadership are basking in the afterglow of the red-hot announcement that Mazda and Toyota are building a $1.6 billion, 4,000-job auto manufacturing facility near Huntsville.
- Who can blame them? Its major news! They had customized Mazda and Toyota cookies at the press conference for heaven’s sake.
- Kim Chandler and Tom Krisher of the Associated Press report the project has Alabama poised to become the preeminent Southern auto manufacturing hub.
- After the official announcement in downtown Montgomery, Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield released details of the state’s economic incentives used to land the project.
- The state offered a total of $380 million in economic incentives, which include non-education sales and property tax abatements, reimbursement for certain capital costs, workforce training, and a $210 million investment credit over ten years.
- Canfield says the state’s new incentives law passed in 2015 ensures companies must produce before cashing in on the state’s incentives.
- Nobody really likes it, but economic incentives are a reality of recruiting major industry and have been for more than 25 years. Alabama wouldn’t have Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, Airbus, Austal and the many thousands of jobs associated with them without the state being willing to offer competitive incentives.
3. What’s happening in the Legislature
- TODAY Rep. David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook) is set to announce a renewed effort to pass his ride-sharing legislation, reports YellowHammer News’ Brendan Kirby. Faulkner’s bill to provide for the proper state regulation of Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies failed to pass last session. Because Alabama does not have a ride-sharing law, Uber workers and customers are at the mercy of incongruous or nonexistent city ordinances.
- SENATE REPUBLICANS are set to unveil their 2018 legislative agenda this morning at 9:30 a.m.
- Details are emerging on the teacher and state employee pay raise proposals Gov. Ivey called for in her State of the State speech. The governor’s budget calls for a 3 percent pay raise for state employees and a 2.5 percent pay raise for teachers. Read Brian Lyman’s report in The Montgomery Advertiser to see how such increases would impact the average worker and how (if) the state can pay for them.
- Rep. Steve Clouse’s bill to require special elections for U.S. Senate vacancies to be scheduled at the next regular election advanced in the House. It’s passage would remove any ambiguity or disagreement over what “forthwith” means when calling a special election for the U.S. Senate.
- Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee – led by Tuscaloosa Rep. Chris England – help put the brakes on two House GOP agenda bills aimed at toughening penalties for domestic violence. Issues expressed over how a vaguely-written statute could lead to problematic enforcement and prosecution were significant enough to send the bills to a subcommittee, slowing their progress in the House.
- The Juvenile Justice Task Force met to reflect on its progress and hope for more in reforming sentencing laws. Read Brian Edwards’ full report The Montgomery Advertiser.
4. Voter ID lawsuit dismissed
- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.
- This is a big deal. The case had been expected to go court soon, but Judge L. Scott Coogler dismissed the case Wednesday saying, “…a person who does not have a photo ID today is not prevented from voting if he or she can easily get one, and it is so easy to get a photo ID in Alabama, no on is prevented from voting.”
- Attorney General Steve Marshall applauded the ruling, saying, “Today’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit is without a doubt the right decision. Alabama’s voter identification law is one of the broadest in the nation with procedures in place to allow anyone who does not have a photo ID to obtain one.”
(Note, all these headlines are available in web form here.)
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Toyota-Mazda plant: Alabama ‘has a plan’ to train 4,000 workers.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – House Judiciary sends crime bills to subcommittee.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Task force hopes to save $34 million with overhaul of juvenile justice system.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – House committee approves bill revising special U.S. Senate election law.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Ivey seeks 3 percent raise for state employees, 2.5 percent for teachers.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Funding proposal would rapidly expand pre-K.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Alabama: The Motor State?
AL.COM – It’s official: Toyota-Mazda announces Alabama factory.
AL.COM – Alabama providing $380 million in incentives for Toyota-Mazda.
AL.COM – It’s ‘a little early to tell,’ but new auto plant could boost Port of Mobile.
AL.COM – Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Alabama voter ID law.
AL.COM – Could 4,000 Toyota-Mazda jobs turn into 16,000 jobs in Huntsville?
AL.COM – South Alabama dangled its own megasite to Toyota and Mazda, but came up short.
AL.COM – For Huntsville, Toyota-Mazda announcement ‘another national championship’.
AL.COM – Location, logistics may have lured Toyota-Mazda to Alabama.
AL.COM – Jefferson County to commit $30 million to downtown stadium.
AL.COM – Trump celebrates Toyota-Mazda decision to pick Alabama.
AL.COM – Contributor Amanda Walker: Privileged kids are the results of successful parents.
AL.COM – Alabama city makes New York Times list of ’52 Places to Go in 2018′.
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: What Alabama needs now is … what he said.
SENATE SKETCHES – “Senate Sketches,” Sen. Hank Sanders’ weekly message to his constituents.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Steve Flowers’ Inside the Statehouse: History may record Sen. Richard Shelby as Alabama’s greatest senator.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – An Alabamian on the TVA Board.
DECATUR DAILY – Construction of auto plant could benefit union workers.
DECATUR DAILY – Toyota-Mazda plant, called “game changer” for area, was the talk of Greenbrier for months.
DECATUR DAILY – Consolation prize outside Limestone: supplier jobs.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Auto assembly plant will affect Shoals.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – The Times Daily: Ivey’s message sets optimistic tone for session.
GADSDEN TIMES – Contributor State Rep. Craig Ford: Legislators shouldn’t ignore infrastructure, education, jobs in election year.
ANNISTON STAR – Bill would raise Alabama’s minimum tobacco use age to 21.
ANNISTON STAR – Head Start links families to food help.
ANNISTON STAR – How northern Alabama lands big industrial projects.
ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star: Serendipity and success in Huntsville.
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