Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, July 9.
1. Congress returns.
- Congress returns from its July 4th recess today, and there’s plenty of work to do.
- The top order of business? Passing a budget and funding the government.
- The end of the fiscal year on September 30 may seem like a long way out, but it’s actually only 30 legislative days away. And lawmakers seem no closer to passing a budget deal than they were in the Spring.
- Without a topline budget number [302(a)], appropriators are more or less twisting in the wind to write specific funding allocations [302(b)].
- A month ago, Senate GOP leaders voiced their displeasure at budget hawks from the Trump administration coming to the Capitol to talk a big game on freezing spending.
- But those divisions now pale in comparison to the Democratic leadership.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is under increased pressure within her caucus after buckling during the House-Senate border bill negotiations, and speaking candidly about her rabble rousing members in that illuminating Maureen Dowd piece.
- Complicating matters is the fact that automatic spending cuts under the 2011 Budget Control Act are set to take effect, which could mean deep cuts for the military and domestic programs.
- Sen. Richard Shelby, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he’s not going to submit specific spending bills until an overall budget deal is reached.
- Others to watch in this debate are Alabama appropriators Rep. Robert Aderholt and Rep. Martha Roby.
- Read more from Roll Call’s Paul Krawzak HERE and from Politico’s Burgess Everett HERE.
2. Barr charts course for Census question.
- Attorney General William Barr said Monday he sees a way to legally require 2020 census respondents to declare whether or not they are citizens.
- In an interview with the Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to add the controversial census query.
- Barr said he has been in regular contact with President Trump over the issue of the citizenship question. “I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” the attorney general said. He said he believes there is “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”
- Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and members of the state’s congressional delegation have been outspoken in their support of including the citizenship question on the census.
- Many have speculated that Alabama could lose a congressional seat because it is not growing as fast as other states. Marshall and others have argued that states with more lax immigration enforcement should not be rewarded with more seats in Congress.
- The Supreme Court shot down the question last week, but left room for the Trump administration to make a better case for why it should be included.
- Read more HERE.
3. 3M testing for contamination.
- 3M says it is expanding an investigation of possible chemical contamination around its North Alabama plant in Decatur.
- The company issued a statement Monday saying it’s looking at old landfill sites in Morgan and Lawrence counties to test for waste that may include substances called PFAS. The landfills date back to the 1950s.
- The company has operated a manufacturing plant in Decatur since 1961. Earlier this year it settled a lawsuit filed by a North Alabama water system over contamination by chemicals from the same family.
- Federal rules prompted a brief scare in 2016 when the water system told customers not to drink the water because of chemical contamination.
- Decatur’s water system says it knows about the 3M review, and it says its water remains safe to drink.
- “[Decatur Utilities] wishes to remind all Decatur residents that their DU drinking water is completely safe and meets or exceeds all state and federal regulatory standards,” the utility said. “Tests for these chemicals in our water supply have been non-detect, or at near non-detectable levels.”
- Read more HERE.
4. Flexible funds for schools.
- This year, the Alabama Legislature approved about $200 million in “advancement and technology” funds for local schools – a huge increase.
- In the past, these funds have been used to purchase computers, internet infrastructure and the like. However, in 2018 lawmakers gave schools more flexibility with the funds, so they are now being spent on all manner of projects.
- Take, for instance, Dothan City Schools.
- As Sable Riley reports in today’s Dothan Eagle, that system will receive about $2.46 million in advancement and technology funds. Much of the money will be spent on deferred maintenance and other capital improvement projects, system officials said.
- Another use of the funds: hiring more school resource officers, or SROs, to help protect campuses.
- Read Riley’s full report in the Dothan Eagle HERE.
- Speaking of the Dothan Eagle, allow me an aside: Eagle Editor Lance Griffin announced his departure from the paper last week. Lance is the epitope of a newsman and has been a trusted voice in the Wiregrass for more than two decades, covering everything from the Enterprise tornados to BRAC to a big congressional race or two.
- Congratulations to Lance and best wishes as he takes a new ministry role at Ridgecrest Baptist next month.
5. AP News Briefs.
Carbon Hill council members resign after mayor’s homophobic comments
- Two leaders of an Alabama city have resigned after their mayor posted a comment on Facebook about “killing out” socialists, “baby killers” and gay and transgender people.
- But mayor Mark Chambers refused to step down and told residents of Carbon Hill that he plans to run for reelection.
- Protesters staged a die-in and then confronted Chambers during Monday’s meeting, where he sat between two empty chairs.
- Some asked just how he would like to kill them. One carried a sign saying “if you kill me, my ghost will haunt you.”
- The meeting soon ended, with Chambers walking out past a gantlet of people calling for him to resign.
- Read more HERE.
Jay Gogue approved as Auburn’s interim president
- Auburn University’s old president has been approved to come back as its new, interim president.
- Auburn trustees on Monday unanimously approved Jay Gogue to fill the position on an interim basis.
- Gogue replaces Steven Leath, who left in late June after about two years on the job. The university hasn’t publicly explained the reasons for his departure, other than to say both sides agreed to it.
- Gogue was Auburn’s president for a decade ending in 2017, when Leath took over the position.
- The trustees’ executive committee recommended Gogue as interim president last month, and the full board approved his appointment during a conference call.
Teen accused in fatal shooting now charged with manslaughter
- An Alabama teen is now charged with manslaughter in the death of another teen who was shot in the face with a stolen gun.
- News outlets report 16-year-old Jacob Taylor Isbell was initially charged as an adult with assault in the Friday death of 17-year-old Anthony Scott. The charge was upgraded after Scott died.
- Scottsboro police Capt. Erik Dohring says several minors were playing with guns last week and one of the weapons went off, hitting Scott in the face. He says the guns have been linked to a series of weapon thefts in the area. A minor was arrested on a theft charge.
- Isbell was being held at the county jail with a bail of $100,000. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.
Man accused of secretly recording women in gym changing room
- Police have arrested a man accused of recording eight women inside a changing room at a gym.
- News outlets report 32-year-old Brandon Michael Aldridge is charged with 13 counts of aggravated criminal surveillance. Hoover Police Lt. Keith Czeskleba says some women were recorded multiple times at 24e Fitness. Seven of them pressed charges.
- Czeskleba says the investigation began May 15 after a woman saw the reflection of an unknown object in the mirror at the top of a changing stall. Three days later, she saw a phone being held over the partition as she was about to change clothes.
- Aldridge turned himself in Monday and was released after posting bail.
- Court records aren’t yet available to show whether Aldridge has a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Man accused of biting off woman’s finger in fight
- An Alabama man has been arrested after police say he bit off a woman’s finger during a fight.
- News outlets report that 48-year-old Shay Michael Thome of Huntsville was arrested Saturday and charged with first-degree assault.
- Police say the victim knows Thome’s wife, and some men tackled Thome after the woman was bitten. A jail booking photo shows Thome’s face was cut in several places.
- Information about the woman’s condition was not immediately available Sunday.
- Thome was being held in the Madison County jail, and bond was set at $10,000. Online jail records did not show whether he is represented by an attorney.
Hurricane center says tropical depression likely in Gulf
- The National Hurricane Center says a tropical depression is likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of the week.
- Forecasters in Miami said Monday that a trough of low pressure over central Georgia is forecast to move southward toward the northeastern Gulf where a broad area of low pressure will form in a couple of days.
- The forecasters say the system has the potential to bring heavy rain along the northern and eastern U.S. Gulf.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 3M investigating potential contamination in North Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Barr sees a way for census to legally ask about citizenship
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Carbon Hill council members resign after mayor’s homophobic comments
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Potential tolls for Mobile bay bridge spark opposition
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: On freedom and our growing government
AL.COM – Corfman lawsuit against Roy Moore ‘theatre of the absurd,’ court filing says
AL.COM – Toll anxiety rises as Byrne tells town hall that ‘my hands are tied’
AL.COM – Former Auburn University president Jay Gogue named interim president
AL.COM – 3M to test for more chemicals leaking into river in Decatur
AL.COM – Apollo engineer helps woman rise to von Braun’s chair at NASA
AL.COM – German auto supplier opening this week in Montgomery
AL.COM – Alabama immigration law architect Kris Kobach running for U.S. Senate in Kansas
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Public records access is supposed to be free in Alabama. But it cost one business $70,000
Montgomery Advertiser – Funding the city: Do Montgomery’s mayoral candidates support an occupational tax?
Montgomery Advertiser – Florida man pleads guilty to Autauga child sex charge
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man facing meth trafficking charge
YellowHammer News – Living Life On Purpose Episode 3: Interview with Bill and Lisa Bright — founders of the Will Bright Foundation and Restoration Springs
YellowHammer News – Watch: Doug Jones vows to oppose hypothetical future Trump Supreme Court nominee
YellowHammer News – Russians coming to Alabama for Planned Parenthood, abortion benefit
Dothan Eagle – Local officials, residents monitoring tropical system that could develop in Gulf of Mexico
Dothan Eagle – Dothan man charged with stabbing girlfriend
Dothan Eagle – Man accused of ramming vehicle before stabbing victim, arrested
Tuscaloosa News – Man wanted in slaying at Alabama McDonald’s arrested
Tuscaloosa News – 3M investigating potential contamination in north Alabama
Tuscaloosa News – Man rappelling in Alabama falls to his death
Decatur Daily – New homes hinge on council vote on sewer plan that has timeline for developer
Decatur Daily – 3M to test 3 old landfills in Decatur area for hazardous chemical
Decatur Daily – Former Lawrence County High star athlete dies in accident
Times Daily – Freedom From Religion Foundation wants Florence to rescind grant
Times Daily – Police seek suspect in package store robbery
Times Daily – Fourth weekend saw successful festivals, few issues
Gadsden Times – GPD cautions about counterfeit bills in circulation
Gadsden Times – Man faces murder charge in 2018 crash
Gadsden Times – Etowah County/Gadsden NAACP to hold monthly meeting
Anniston Star – Anniston pastor accused of abducting daughter says trip was planned
Anniston Star – Jacksonville council adds new member
Anniston Star – Cleburne Board of Education manages staffing, maintenance bids
Troy Messenger – County raises $7M in jail tax revenue
Troy Messenger – Search for Troy woman missing after boat wreck continues
Troy Messenger – McClaney family hosts blood drive to honor man killed in altercation
Opelika-Auburn News – Photos: Highlights from the US women’s World Cup title win
Opelika-Auburn News – Tuskegee homicide suspect considered ‘armed and dangerous’ now in custody
Opelika-Auburn News – Police: 7 dead in multi-vehicle Interstate 85 crash in Georgia
Daily Mountain Eagle – Bray featured on ‘Moonshiners’ Tuesday night
Daily Mountain Eagle – BSCC recognizes nurse educator in Sumiton
Daily Mountain Eagle – 5-year-old drowns at Memorial Park Natatorium
Trussville Tribune – BREAKING: Jefferson County Deputies searching for robbery suspect in Center Point
Trussville Tribune – Argo Council to hold special meeting on Wednesday to make decision on vacant council seat
Trussville Tribune – POLICE: 3 from Birmingham arrested for shoplifting in Trussville
Athens News Courier – Man wanted in slaying at McDonald’s restaurant arrested
Athens News Courier – Police: Cullman woman with road rage shoots husband
Athens News Courier – Run-in with Pamplona bull made American ‘fear for my life
Sand Mountain Reporter – Claysville classes move to DAR | Marshall County BOE opts to relocate K-4 students, keep pre-K
Sand Mountain Reporter – McRae designated Certified Funeral Service Practitioner
Sand Mountain Reporter – Studio B offers variety of talent outlets
WSFA Montgomery – Man injured in Montgomery shooting
WSFA Montgomery – Ala. cities explore allowing electric scooters
WSFA Montgomery – New restaurants and stores coming to Eastchase Parkway
Fox 6 Birmingham – Protestors stage “die-in” in Carbon Hill
Fox 6 Birmingham – B’ham PD investigating shooting in Wylam
Fox 6 Birmingham – FIRST ALERT: Dangerous heat levels return for Tuesday, monitoring the gulf for possible tropical formation
WAFF Huntsville – Drug trafficking: Pipeline into Alabama
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville police reporting 100 percent arrest rate for homicides in 2019
WAFF Huntsville – Bear seen roaming New Market neighborhood
WKRG Mobile – Tropical Depression likely later this week, Scattered storms and heat today
WKRG Mobile – OK Bike Shop says goodbye to single-use plastics
WKRG Mobile – Stormy weather brings more mosquitos
WTVY Dothan – Documents: Medications illegally prescribed by someone using Dothan doctor’s name
WTVY Dothan – Even more measles cases in the U.S.
WTVY Dothan – City of Tallahassee, Leon County open sandbag locations
WASHINGTON POST – Plaintiffs seek to block Justice Department from changing lawyers in census citizenship case.
WASHINGTON POST – Federal judge blocks Trump rule requiring drug prices in TV ads
WASHINGTON POST – Trump defends environmental record that critics call disastrous
WASHINGTON POST – Treasury could breach debt ceiling in first half of September, much sooner than previously thought
NEW YORK TIMES – Maureen Dowd: It’s Nancy Pelosi’s Parade