Daily News Digest – June 5, 2019

Daily News Digest – June 5, 2019
Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, June 5.


1. Justices question ethics law’s clarity.

  • Taking up the appeal of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard yesterday, the Alabama Supreme Court heard arguments from the Attorney General’s office and Hubbard’s defense lawyer about whether his ethics convictions should be upheld.
  • Much of the dialogue focused on the clarity of the state’s ethics law, particularly as it pertains to which individuals are responsible parties under the law.
  • The law says anyone who hires or directs a lobbyist is a “principal,” but that definition gets a little vague when it comes to associations, foundations and large companies whose board members might never have contact with the organization’s lobbyists.
  • Justices questioned the state’s new Solicitor General Edmund LaCour about that at length.
  • “There’s got to be something the average person understands,” Justice Mike Bolin said. “’If I cross this line, I lose my liberty.’ That’s what concerns me.”
  • The AG’s office is in a bit of a tough spot here, on the one hand arguing to the Court that the law is plenty clear to uphold these convictions, but on the other working with the Legislature to try to update the law to improve clarity.
  • But, not every conviction hinges on the definition of “principal.”
  • Kim Chandler was at the Court, and you can read her full story HERE.
  • Brian Lyman was, too, and his full write up for The Advertiser is HERE.
  • So was Mike Cason, and his story is HERE.

2. Booze bill review.

  • Most every session, the Legislature sees several bills related to the production, distribution, sale and consumption of alcohol.
  • As Brian Lyman has noted, each time such a bill comes up, a lawmaker is constitutionally required to quote former State Rep. Alvin Holmes, who famously asked, “what’s wrong with the beer we got?”
  • This year was no different, as many bills were introduced to alter, one way or the other, Alabama’s labyrinth of libation laws and booze bureaucracy.
  • Some passed, like Rep. Reed Ingram’s bill giving wet counties and municipalities more flexibility on authorizing Sunday sales.
  • Some failed, like Rep. Terri Collins’ bill to authorize home wine delivery.
  • ADN’s Caroline Beck has a full write up on what happened to the alcohol related legislation, which you can read HERE.


3. GOP not okay with latest tariff threat.

  • n a rare confrontation, Republican senators are declaring opposition to President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs on all goods coming into the U.S. from Mexico. But it’s unclear they have the votes to stop him, and Trump said they’d be “foolish” to try.
  • All sides, including officials from Mexico meeting with Trump negotiators in Washington this week, remain hopeful that high-level talks will ease the president away from his threat. But with the tariffs set to start next Monday — and Trump declaring them “more likely” than not to take effect — fellow Republicans in Congress warned the White House they are ready to stand up to the president.
  • At a lengthy closed-door lunch meeting at the Capitol, senators took turns warning Trump officials there could be trouble if the GOP-held Senate votes on disapproving the tariffs.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday with understatement, “There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that’s for sure.”
  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas went further.
  • “Deep concern and resistance,” is how he characterized the mood. “I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment to securing the border, but there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.”
  • Read the full story HERE.


4. New podcast on the block.

  • Podcasts are all the rage, you know.
  • I just appeared on the brand new 1819 podcast from the Alabama Policy Institute to discuss the recent legislative session.
  • The show is hosted by API’s Pepper Bryars, and the format allows plenty of time for a thorough, uninterrupted conversation of the major bills.
  • We did a lightning round detailing what passed, what failed, and why.
  • Pepper also asked about my background, work in politics, and how Alabama Daily News got started.
  • If you’re about to take a drive, download the episode on iTunes HERE or Stitcher HERE
  • By the way, for those who have asked when our next “In the Weeds” podcast will be up, it should be this week. Thanks for your patience!


5. News Briefs.

Rain chances increasing for parched Alabama, Georgia
  • Forecasters say rain chances are increasing in Alabama and Georgia, where drought conditions are worsening after weeks of dry weather.
  • The National Weather Service says rains spreading eastward will increase the chance of rain in both states through early next week. Some areas could get as much as 6 inches of rain, and rainfall projections of 4 inches are common.
  • The U.S. Drought Monitor says more than 90 percent of Georgia is abnormally dry or in a moderate drought, and more than 40 percent of Alabama has the same problem.
  • Forecasters say the dry weather has been caused by a subtropical high that cut off the flow of moisture into the region, leading to record high temperatures. Some places haven’t received rain in nearly three weeks.
Former Alabama councilman pleads guilty to sodomy
  • Former Daleville City Council member Marvin Wise pleaded guilty to second-degree sodomy during a court appearance Tuesday.
  • Other charges including possession of child pornography were dismissed.
  • Wise was arrested in 2017 after serving a few years on the five-member town council.
  • A judge sentenced him to seven years in prison, but prosecutor Kirke Adams says Wise is asking for probation and remains free on bond.
  • Wise’s plea came after prosecutors had asked a judge to revoke the man’s bond because he allegedly sent a birthday card to his victim.
Child killed in deck collapse at Alabama home
  • A 2-year-old child is dead after a deck full of people collapsed at a home near Birmingham.
  • News outlets quote fire officials as saying about 10 people were on a deck behind a home when the structure collapsed late Tuesday.
  • Authorities say the people fell about 9 feet.
  • A 2-year-old child was pronounced dead at a hospital, and two other children were taken to another hospital with injuries that officials describe as minor.
  • Authorities haven’t released the names of the child who was killed or anyone else who was involved.
Mobile to host ‘American Idol’ auditions
  • Auditions for the upcoming 18th season of “American Idol” will include stops in several Southern cities.
  • The show will hold auditions in Mobile, Alabama, on Aug. 20, the second of 20 stops between New York on July 23 and Detroit on Sept. 10.
  • Stops in neighboring Southern states include Tallahassee, Florida and Macon, Georgia, both on Aug. 23; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Aug. 25; Columbia, South Carolina on Aug. 26; and Knoxville, Tennessee on Aug. 29.
  • While in-person auditions will be possible at those stops, online auditions can be submitted at www.americanidol.com/auditions. The site also allows registration for the in-person auditions.
  • Last season, country music singer Laine Hardy of Livingston, Louisiana, won.
Landrith pushes back against Elon Musk’s Air Force accusations
  • RedState writer George Landrith is pushing back against billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s accusations against the Air Force of wrongdoing in awarding rocket development contracts to Blue Origin, Northrup Grumman and United Launch Alliance.
  • Once under seal, Musk’s lawsuit is now public with proprietary information redacted. It alleges the Air Force’s Launch Service Agreement was “wrongly awarded” the funds “to a portfolio of three unproven rockets based on unstated metrics.”
  • Landrith, who has written about space and missile contracts for some time, says not so fast.
  • “Musk’s delay tactics, though, aren’t serving him well. His strategy to postpone the LSA is only generating increased scrutiny toward SpaceX,” Landrith writes.
  • “Likewise, Musk’s lawsuit against the Air Force is creating the perception that SpaceX understands national security better than the U.S. military. And with SpaceX’s ongoing, public, and embarrassing [Quality Assurance] crisis, SpaceX is not in a position to be dictating terms. Musk would be wise to recognize that the Air Force does indeed know best, and that his public crusade against them isn’t doing his company any favors.”
  • Read the full piece HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justices question ethics law’s clarity
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature approves Sunday alcohol sales bill, says no to home delivery of wine
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP senators line up against Trump’s 5% Mexico tariff plan
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House sends long-delayed $19.1B disaster aid bill to Trump
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – June 4, 2019
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Steve Flowers: Legends of Girls State
AL.COM   – Justices question AG’s office about Mike Hubbard conviction
AL.COM  – Protective Life closes on $1.2 billion acquisition
AL.COM  – Alabama mayor defends comments on ‘killing out’ gay and transgender people, ‘baby killers’
AL.COM  – Methodists reject apology for keeping same-sex wedding ban
AL.COM  – Maryland official behind Alabama boycott will decide fate of Montgomery contract
AL.COM  – These 4 Alabama nursing homes have a ‘persistent record of poor care’
AL.COM  – In Baldwin County, ‘bad timing’ clouds Beach Express toll
AL.COM  – $2.9 million grant boosts Thomasville medical facility
AL.COM  – Every Alabama university ranked by how many of their students graduate
AL.COM  – Alabama universities are excited about hemp research
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Alabama court to decide if ignorance of the powerful is excused.
Montgomery Advertiser – At Hubbard hearing, Alabama Supreme Court justices suggest ethics law may be vague
Montgomery Advertiser – Trump dismisses British protests as ‘fake news’ as thousands march against him in London
Montgomery Advertiser – U.S. Marshals arrest man wanted in May robbery
YellowHammer News – Alabama’s Protective Life closes $1.2 billion acquisition, largest in company history
YellowHammer News – Byrne supports investigations into Russian meddling, not presidential campaigns
YellowHammer News – Opelika mayor endorses Byrne for Senate
Dothan Eagle – Daleville council member pleads guilty to sex charge
Dothan Eagle – Arrest warrant issued for suspect in Gordon’s weekend stabbing
Dothan Eagle – August jury trial set for man facing multiple sex crime charges
Tuscaloosa News – Mississippi authorities release names of 8 killed in crash
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa News wins 35 awards in APME contest
Tuscaloosa News – 2 children among 4 killed in Alabama crash
Decatur Daily – Officials: Guns not banned at Point Mallard; shooting suspect arrested
Decatur Daily – Exhibit-packed Cook Museum to open Friday
Decatur Daily – Council votes to demolish home despite daughter’s pleas
Times Daily – Rain on the way starting Wednesday
Times Daily – Fire department brings donkey ball to Central
Times Daily – Student, community input will steer RiverLine project in the Shoals
Gadsden Times – Brookhaven Drive home heavily damaged by falling tree
Gadsden Times – Rainbow City man arrested for false report
Gadsden Times – AARP seeks nominations for community service award
Anniston Star – More than $1.5 million generated by Noble Street Festival this year, study says
Anniston Star – Heflin City Council hears of Coleman Street hazard
Anniston Star – Spending OK’d for first phase of a temporary City Hall
Troy Messenger – IAC reception ‘cultivates conversations’
Troy Messenger – Allen reflects on first session as state representative
Troy Messenger – Kids Fishing Day to be held on Father’s Day weekend
Andalusia Star News – Tax funded many extras
Andalusia Star News – Speaker: Women Who Care wants office here
Andalusia Star News – Swimming lessons are keeping her busy
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika City Council approves library project
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn City Council approves Wright Street project
Opelika-Auburn News – Drug raids lead to multiple arrests in Tallapoosa County
Daily Mountain Eagle – Mulch available in Dora, thanks to storms
Daily Mountain Eagle – Sumiton increases sales tax to help roads
Daily Mountain Eagle – Engineer: Airport Road work will be on and off
Trussville Tribune – Accused Trussville Cracker Barrel shooter out on bond
Trussville Tribune – UPDATED: Interstate reopens after crash on I-59 North in Trussville stops traffic
Trussville Tribune – Clay father who lost son speaks at Freedom from Addiction Coalition Breakfast in Trussville
Athens News Courier – COUNTY COMMISSION: Resident questions lack of waste disposal
Athens News Courier – Tourism group honors Athens-Limestone professionals
Athens News Courier – Local lawmakers reflect on tumultuous session
Sand Mountain Reporter – Car catches fire on US Highway 431
Sand Mountain Reporter – Albertville’s own Swiss chocolatier | Local couple’s European vacation takes unexpected twist
Sand Mountain Reporter – Tour the Guntersville Museum Vintage Map Exhibit
WSFA Montgomery – Ala. mayor offers to resign after posting controversial comments about homosexuals, democrats on Facebook
WSFA Montgomery – MHP releases names of 8 killed in head-on collision in Kemper County, Miss.
Fox 6 Birmingham – 2-year-old killed, 2 other children injured in deck collapse
Fox 6 Birmingham – B’ham police arrest suspect in Tuesday night homicide
Fox 6 Birmingham – Caught on camera: Man struggles to take large box in porch piracy gone wrong
WAFF Huntsville – Man arrested in kidnapping of special needs woman in Fayetteville; victim safe
WAFF Huntsville – Spelling champ Erin Howard returns home to Huntsville
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville teens claim attack on Flint River; family to pursue civil and criminal cases
WKRG Mobile – 1 dead, 6 injured including pregnant woman in Robertsdale crash
WKRG Mobile – Florida deputy wounded in shooting
WKRG Mobile – NWS holds Tropical Town Halls in Northwest Florida
WTVY Dothan – Hearing reveals details of Kountry Kennels investigation
WTVY Dothan – Dothan City School parents learn more about code of conduct
WTVY Dothan – Howell School Project makes progress toward new purpose
WASHINGTON POST  – Government argues for halt to youth climate lawsuit, saying there is no constitutional right to a stable climate
WASHINGTON POST  – Senate planning bipartisan effort to block Trump’s emergency arms deals benefiting Saudi Arabia
WASHINGTON POST  – House passes immigration bill to protect ‘dreamers,’ offer a path to citizenship
WASHINGTON POST  – Fed is prepared to act to save U.S. economy from trade war, Powell says
NEW YORK TIMES  – Senate Republicans Warn White House Against Mexico Tariffs
NEW YORK TIMES  – Mexico’s Foreign Minister to Meet With Pence in Effort to Avoid Trump Tariffs



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