Good morning! This is your Alabama Daily News digest for Thursday, January 25, 2018.
1. Criminal crack down
- Attorney General Steve Marshall and local district attorneys have announced the indictments of 11 individuals on multiple drug-trafficking charges.
- The arrests came after a major joint investigation by state, federal and local law enforcement. Watch WSFA’s story from Selma to learn more.
- Marshall also announced he was launching a new violent crime initiative from the Attorney General’s Office. Here’s what he said…
- “It may surprise you to know that Alabama has the seventh-highest violent crime rate in the nation and, in one year alone, that rate increased nearly 13 percent. That is unacceptable. And it’s why our office is committed to making our communities safer through a new Initiative on Violent Crime. We want to duplicate what you see here today. The productive cooperation between every level of law enforcement – state, federal and local – has made this town safer and we want to continue to foster this, not only in Selma, but around our state.”
- Better coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement on violent crime is long overdue. I know of a few other Alabama cities that would benefit from being next on the Marshall’s list.
2. Reads you’ll need
Here’s what’s happening in the Legislature and elsewhere in Alabama politics…
Blueprint now, bills later
- House Democrats unveiled their legislative agenda Wednesday. In their “Clean, Competent & Competitive Alabama” plan, House Dems want teacher pay raises, a focus on workforce development – including dual enrollment, Medicaid expansion to improve healthcare, and making more sentencing reforms part of the greater prison reform conversation. Mike Cason was there and has a story you should read.
- Rep. Elaine Beech’s bill to require day care centers to provide useful information about flu – including how to get vaccinated. Alabama has seen the worst flu season in recent memory. Brian Lyman has a story about the bill.
- Sen. Greg Albritton’s bill to get Alabama probate judges out of the marriage business. House committee approval means it’s one step closer to going to the governor’s desk. Want a committee nose count? AL.com’s Mike Cason has you covered. Also, there were some interesting legal questions about the bill I hadn’t thought about. Read Brian Lyman’s story at The Montgomery Advertiser to get the full picture.
- Rep. Lynn Greer’s bill to extend “Stand Your Ground” laws to churches. He told WSFA many churches are now implementing security plans in the wake of recent church shootings, and this bill offers them legal protections.
s l o w i n g d o w n
- Rep. Jack Williams bill attempting to prevent campus brouhahas by making it specifically against the law to prevent others from expressing their free speech. Brian Lyman has a story on that bill, too. The guy works.
Keeping it Real
- Sen. Tripp Pittman kept it real yesterday opening up a hearing on his bill to de-earmark a small portion of the budget to a cavalcade of opponents from various groups. Check out this quote in Mike Cason’s story: “People talk about unearmarking like it’s an easy way to solve the revenue challenges that we face,” Pittman said. “And that’s anything but the case.”
- Sen. Arthur Orr did some real-keeping of his own. One day after Sen. Orr was praised by liberals for his civil forfeiture bill, he drew their intense criticism for his Medicaid work requirements bill. Orr wasn’t having it. “You would assume there would be a motivation to increase your livelihood through work, but what I’ve seen suggests habitual and chronic dependence that goes back for multiple generations,” Orr said. “Quite frankly, I’m of the opinion that cycle of poverty needs to be broken. We as policymakers should be encouraging work every chance we get.” Yeah, that kind of real talk will get ’em fired up.
- Could Montgomery’s first charter school be open by this coming school year? LEAD Academy has a charter application before the board, and proponents discussed their plans at a public hearing last night. Read Andrew Yawn’s front page story in The Montgomery Advertiser to find out more.
- Don’t forget that Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange is on a mission to overhaul Montgomery Public Schools and a system of charter schools is a key component.
- That’s good BECAUSE ELEVEN MPS SCHOOLS ARE ON THE STATE’S FAILING LIST AND CURRENTLY UNDER A STATE INTERVENTION.
- There’s a grand jury convened in Montgomery. Everybody’s heard about it. Chip Brownlee wrote about it.
3. More Headlines
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Alabama set to execute inmate in ’85 police officer killing.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Trump says he’s open to path to citizenship for dreamers
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Alabama could abolish state marriage licenses
AL.COM – Alabama athletics brought in $174.3 million last year.
AL.COM – Where Alabama lands on list of most dangerous states.
AL.COM – ADEM hearing on landfill that imports human waste moved to larger venue.
AL.COM – Bradley Byrne not backing down from criticism of Senator Doug Jones before government shutdown.
AL.COM – Montevallo receives $3.6 million gift toward College of Business.
AL.COM – Could Toyota and Mazda be considering a merger?
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Standridge files “In God We Trust” Act
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama House passes bill that would end U.S. Senate special elections.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Anger over Doug Jones’ election, not costs, are driving some Alabama Republicans to change the rules.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Judge Debra Jones running for Alabama Supreme Court, Place 1.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Gov. Ivey’s proposed pre-k expansion plan takes another step forward.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – First woman appointed to lead the Alabama Highway Patrol.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Two UA System trustees confirmed by Senate.
ANNISTON STAR – Bill would create felony charge for rowdy protesters.
ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star: Corporate lessons for Alabama.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Preserving the voice of the people is paramount.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump says he would speak to Mueller under oath in Russia investigation.
WASHINGTON POST – GOP lawmakers condemn Trump’s tariff decision.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump puts path to citizenship for some ‘dreamers’ on the table in immigration deal.