Good morning! It’s Flag Day 🇺🇸! Hope you’re ready for some flag GIFs unrelated to content. Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, June 14, 2018.
1. Maddox has no chill.
Wasting no time
- Walt Maddox says he wants to debate Kay Ivey. He said it election night and now his campaign is saying it again.
- I get it. It’s a shrewd move to go ahead and start talking about debating. If past is prologue, much of the state’s media can feed on this storyline for months.
- Ivey’s team says they’ll be time to talk about debates in the months to come. They deftly dodged the debate stage during the primary, but that might not be as easy to do in the general.
Maybe let’s get through the runoffs?
- Before we get carried away with a story every week about a gubernatorial debate, could we maybe talk a little more about some of the runoff elections that are taking place?
- There’s one for Lieutenant Governor. That job got a lot more important in the last 18 months.
- There’s one for Attorney General, a job that matters almost as much as the governor.
- There’s one for the Supreme Court, for State School Board, for Agriculture Commissioner, and a handful of legislative seats. Let’s talk and write and debate a little more about those before pivoting to the general election.
Questions to answer
- ADN contributor Matthew Stokes has a take on this.
- He thinks Mayor Maddox is a pretty talented candidate and maybe the best one Alabama Democrats have fielded in many years.
- But, Stokes writes, Maddox has some questions to answer about his ideology and worldview. Read Stokes’ latest piece HERE.
- Dale Jackson also has some questions for Walt, though they have less to do with the Mayor and more to do with the media’s treatment of Martha Roby.
2. Medicaid work requirements going forward.
- Speaking of debates, there might not be an issue on which Alabama Republicans and Democrats fundamentally disagree more than the future of Medicaid.
- Alabama’s Medicaid program is going forward with work requirements supporters say will save taxpayer money and ensure services only go toward those who are truly in need.
- Opponents say the new requirements will harm low income families and put many parents in a “catch 22” because getting a job could put them out of reach of benefits.
- The Trump Administration encouraged states to implement cost saving measures like work requirements last year. Sen. Arthur Orr proposed legislation last session and then Gov. Ivey ordered her Medicaid director to put the changes into place.
- Read Mary Sell’s story in the Times-Daily for more details about what’s happening with Medicaid and the work requirements.
- Meanwhile, Sen. Doug Jones is eager for Alabama to expand its Medicaid program.
- He is sponsoring legislation that would mandate reviews showing the cost of states not expanding Medicaid.
3. Alabama-built Navy ship rescues Mediterranean migrants.
- An Alabama-built Navy ship came to the rescue of dozens of migrants stranded in the Mediterranean Sea this week.
- The USNS Trenton, an AUSTAL USA Expeditionary Fast Transport ship, was conducting routine operations when it encountered refugees from the migrant ship Aquarius off the coast of Malta.
- 4o survivors were pulled from the water to safety and 12 bodies were recovered.
- Migrants are fleeing North African countries like Libya in droves, and European countries are finding it difficult to take them in. The Aquarius became stranded at sea when Italy refused the ship entry.
- Despite the horrific circumstances, the rescue operation shows what a value the Alabama-built EFT is for the U.S. Navy, particularly for disaster relief and medical assistance.
- If not for the Trenton’s speed and flexibility, dozens more migrants likely would have drowned.
4. Merrill not happy with fines being waived.
- Secretary of State John Merrill is pretty peeved at the Ethics Commission.
- The Commission last week voted to waive 33 fines levied against candidates and political committees for violations of the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
- As Mike Cason reported, it was the third time the Commission has voted to waive every fine that was appealed.
- In an op-ed this week, Merrill explained his office’s procedures for investigating violations of the law and levying fines. He writes:
The appeal process is in place for a candidate or committees first offense for which someone does not meet the standard as prescribed in state law. If they are a repeat offender, the law requires a monetary penalty be issued by the Secretary of State’s Office. My question to members of the Ethics Commission, members of the media, and the people of Alabama is why do we pass ethics laws and employ an ethics commission if we do not intend to enforce the rule of law? [more HERE]
- Merrill has a point. The laws and penalties are in place to discourage bad behavior. Like when candidates or committees fail to disclose their spending or fundraising until after the campaign is over.
- Maybe the appeals had good reasons. But it’s conspicuous that ALL of them are getting waived and that it’s not the first time.
- On a related note, no word yet from Merrill’s office on whether this suspicious campaign activity from the Attorney General’s race is being investigated.
5. IG report coming.
- Any minute now, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to release his report on whether/how the FBI acted inappropriately leading up to the 2016 election.
- It’s pretty clear that yes, officials in the FBI acted inappropriately in the 2016 election. The Clinton investigation. The Russia investigation. Probably other things we don’t know about.
- We’ll see how far the report goes to criticize behavior within the FBI.
- An IG probe isn’t a criminal investigation. But, if it uncovers some unseemly activity, we could hear some “lock them up” chants.
- It is President Trump’s birthday, after all. And I suspect tons of media coverage about how the FBI acted badly is exactly what he wants.
- Read up on what to expect from the IG report HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Maddox is impressive, but has questions to answer.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – John Merrill: enforce the law or change it.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama-built Navy ship rescues Mediterranean migrants.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Maddox wants to debate Ivey in governor’s race.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawsuits: Congressional maps dilute black vote in three states.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER: Mackey backtracks on MPS accreditation impact.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS: Trump Country: Alabama again tops the list for Trump approval.
DECATUR DAILY – Maddox wants to debate Ivey in governor’s race.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – UNA Trustees approve flat-rate tuition plan.
GADSDEN TIMES – Get ready for Georgia’s tough new hands-free law.
ANNISTON STAR – Access to health insurance regardless of medical condition under fire.
ANNISTON STAR – Jeff Sessions has misplaced his soul.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – MasterBrand throws a sucker punch, but our community won’t go down.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Rosa Parks family home to be offered at auction this summer.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan area boasts best cost of living among the state’s major cities.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Contributor John Merrill: Secretary of State to Ethic Commission: Follow the law or have it changed.
AL.COM – Ivey’s campaign: ‘Plenty of time for decision’ on Maddox debate.
AL.COM – Lawsuit seeks new black majority congressional districts for Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana.
AL.COM – ‘Spotlight’ director acquires rights for ‘S-Town’ movie, reports say.
AL.COM – Mark Sanford’s loss could be lesson for Roby, other Republicans — don’t cross Trump.
AL.COM – Group withdraws request for north Alabama Confederate monument.
AL.COM – 25 most diverse places to live in Alabama.
AL.COM – Consumer group wants investigation of Hyundai, Kia for vehicle fires.
AL.COM – Jefferson State Community College names new president.
AL.COM – Could Trump’s auto tariff threat affect Mazda-Toyota plant?
AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: The courts and the cake.
WASHINGTON POST – Republicans embrace the ‘cult’ of Trump, ignoring warning signs.
WASHINGTON POST – Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the U.S. is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children.
WASHINGTON POST – Scanning immigrants’ old fingerprints, U.S. threatens to strip thousands of citizenship.
WASHINGTON POST – President Trump’s flip-flop on coverage for preexisting health conditions.
NEW YORK TIMES – Republicans in Primaries Absorb Lesson: Cross Trump at Their Peri