Good morning and Happy Friday! There’s good news: we made it to the end of the week and college football is now only two months away. Here’s your Daily News for July 6, 2018.
1. Pruitt resigns.
- No, not the Tennessee football coach.
- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned. President Trump announced via Twitter that he had accepted his resignation.
- Pruitt has been the focus of intense scrutiny from news media for strange behavior and ethical lapses.
- Sources inside the White House say the president was finally persuaded by top staff to cut Pruitt loose after so much withering criticism became a major distraction for the administration.
- One final story to break was CNN’s Kaitlan Collins’ report on how Pruitt asked President Trump to appoint him Attorney General in the place of Jeff Sessions. Collins’ reporting was later confirmed by EPA staff in congressional testimony.
- Deputy EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will assume the top job in an acting capacity.
2. Marshall returns to campaign trail.
- Less than two weeks after losing his wife in a tragic suicide, Attorney General Steve Marshall is returning to the campaign trail.
- He might not have much choice, as the run-off election is 11 days away and opponent Troy King resumed his campaign activities earlier this week.
- Marshall released a letter of thanks for “the outpouring of love and support my family has received.”
“As we move forward, I am choosing to honor Bridgette’s memory in all that I do. Right now, that means getting back to work and continuing to serve the people of Alabama.
“It’s been an honor to be your Attorney General and I am committed to finishing strong in this race. I pledge to keep my campaign focused solely on the issues at hand.”
- The Marshall campaign also released a closing television ad titled “Courage,” which you can watch HERE.
3. Roby touts Ag credentials.
- U.S. Rep. Martha Roby demonstrated her influence on farming issues by hosting House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway in Alabama yesterday.
- Roby’s opponent, former Congressman Bobby Bright has made agriculture a talking point in his campaign, pledging to seek a spot on the House Agriculture Committee if elected. He has accused Roby of “giving up critical seats” on the Agriculture and Armed Services Committees.
- In 2015, Roby had to set those assignments aside when she picked up a much more influential spot on the Appropriations Committee.
- In offering his endorsement of Roby, Conaway said the agriculture community needs more farm-friendly voices on appropriations who can influence how those Farm Bill dollars are allocated year to year.
- I doubt the race is decided over committee assignments, but having the Ag Committee Chairman and the Alabama Farmers Federation in your corner is a good thing as far as farmers go.
- Read more HERE.
4. Hands free Alabama?
- State law already bans texting while driving.
- But, what about Facebooking while driving? Twittering? Tindering?
- There are plenty of things we do on our phones that are a dangerous driving distraction that the texting statute might not cover.
- And, with so many hands-free devices and connections, it isn’t hard to make or answer a phone call while keeping your hands on the wheel.
- That’s why Georgia recently moved to ban drivers from handling a cell phone in any capacity.
- Could Alabama do the same? Lily Jackson takes a look at that prospect in her latest piece for AL.com.
- It was Sen. Jim McClendon that sponsored the original texting ban (back when he was in the House) and it took him years to get it passed. That was before the iPhone really took off and we all lost our minds.
- This past session, McClendon and the Legislature enacted a lawthat made sure anyone convicted of DUI must use an interlock device before operating a vehicle.
5. Two tax things.
- This week the Department of Revenue announced it will be implementing the Supreme Court’s online sales tax ruling by requiring out-of-state retailers to register for Alabama’s Simplified Sellers Use Tax program by October 1.
- Before the ruling, the program had been voluntary. Advisable, but voluntary.
- Here’s the statement from DOR:
While this rule technically was effective January 1, 2016, its validity was in question pending the outcome of the Wayfair decision.
Because Wayfair removed the constitutional impediments to the rule, it will be enforced going forward. Remote sellers with annual Alabama sales in excess of the rule’s $250,000 small seller exception should register for the Alabama Simplified Sellers Use Tax Program (SSUT) and begin collecting no later than October 1, 2018.
- Dozens of private schools were recently dropped as options for students using Alabama Accountability Act scholarships.
- The schools, 57 of them, did not meet the accreditation standards required by law and administered by the Department of Revenue.
- Well, it is called the accountability act, after all.
- Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund Director Lesley Searcy says 23 of the schools had scholarship recipients and efforts are underway to find new schools for those students, which total 135.
- Read Trisha Powell Crain’s full report for AL.com for the whole story.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marshall returns to campaign trail.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ag Chairman on Roby: ‘we really need her back in Congress’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – EPA Administrator Pruitt resigns
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fed officials discuss rate hikes that could slow growth
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US-China tariffs: What’s behind them, who stands to be hurt?
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Reality TV show wants to chnge the world, starting with Montgomery.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Police gather data for proposed youth curfew.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Houston County expected to add five new school resource officers.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Family dispute may have led to fatal shooting.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama aims to turn Supreme Court ruling on online sales into revenue.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama ranks first in fast food restaurants per capita.
DECATUR DAILY – States shouldn’t criminalize poverty.
DECATUR DAILY – Immigration policies hit home for some Decatur residents.
DECATUR DAILY – Allegation in divorce records become issue in statewide runoff.
GADSDEN TIMES – Curbside alcohol pickup pending in Alabama.
ANNISTON STAR – New law requires device for convicted drunk drivers.
ANNISTON STAR – Questions JSU must answer about assault investigation.
ANNISTON STAR – Editor Phillip Tutor: President Trump’s Alabama slammer.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Auburn University, local communities have a close bond that could be closer.
AL.COM – Georgia woman says daughter was raped by JSU athlete.
AL.COM – EPA to investigate Alabama’s environmental agency.
AL.COM – Alabama mom seeking kidney donor for 4-year-old son.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: The gross reckoning of an Alabama politician on the take.
AL.COM – Steve Marshall resumes AG campaign in wake of wife’s death.
AL.COM – Alabama 2nd among states affected by tariffs, U.S. Chamber says.
AL.COM – Airbus, Bombardier celebrate; Alabama plant could be on fast track.
AL.COM – Could Alabama copy Georgia and order drivers to put down their phones?
AL.COM – 2 Alabama cities are among the top 50 in the U.S. losing population.
WASHINGTON POST – As Trump’s trade war starts, China retaliates with comparable tariffs of its own.
WASHINGTON POST – Scott Pruitt steps down as EPA head after ethics, management scandals.
WASHINGTON POST – Republicans on Russia trip face scorn and ridicule from critics at home.
NEW YORK TIMES – How Andrew Wheeler, the New Acting E.P.A. Chief, Differs From Scott Pruitt
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Assails Critics and Mocks #MeToo. What About Putin? ‘He’s Fine’