Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, May 27.
1. Sessions challenges Tuberville to debates
- In case you forgot, there’s an election taking place 48 days from now.
- To put that in perspective, it was mid-January when the same time remained in the original primary campaign. Combine that with the pent up energy from the pandemic and things are starting to heat back up.
- Fresh off a Memorial Day weekend Twitter feud with his former boss, Jeff Sessions is challenging Senate opponent Tommy Tuberville to a debate. Actually, he’s wanting five debates ahead of the July 14th GOP runoff.
- “It is time for you to stop running away, and face me and the voters of Alabama,” Sessions wrote in the challenge to Tuberville.
- Of course, Sessions himself resisted calls for a debate back when he was the frontrunner in the primary.
- One of the oldest rules in politics says that if you’re winning, you don’t debate unless you absolutely have to. Why? Because there’s little to gain and much to lose.
- Leading in the latest round of polling, it is safe to say there is nothing for the former Auburn football coach to gain by debating the former Attorney General of the United States, and so now he is resisting the call for debates.
- “If coaching taught me anything, it’s that you don’t let the losing team dictate the game when you’re sitting on a lead,” Tuberville said.
- The question is whether resisting a debate starts becoming a big enough problem in voters’ minds to cut into a frontrunner’s lead. That used to be a real concern, but I tend to think that given today’s lazy voter mindset, it won’t be a problem.
- But Sessions will make his case.
- “If watching you coach taught me anything, it’s that you’re no good at sitting on a lead,” Sessions quipped back on Twitter. “That’s why you finished 5-7 and 4-8 in your last seasons at Auburn and Cincinnati. If you are too weak to debate, you do not deserve to represent the people of Alabama.”
- That one hit a little close to home for this Tuberville-era Auburn grad.
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
2. Alabama farmers can now apply for federal aid
- Alabama farmers who have suffered losses because of the coronavirus outbreak can now apply for aid through an up to $16 billion federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
- The money is being administered by the Farm Service Agency and applications can be submitted through Aug. 28
- A press release from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, which is helping with applications, said the program specifically targets producers who have suffered a 5% or greater price decline, as well as losses, because of market supply chain disruptions.
- “The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged many of our farmers into more difficult situations,” Jessica Kelton, an Extension Farm and Agribusiness Management team leader said in the written statement. “So many producers were already struggling after a dry year with an uncertain market. Now, there are a lot of producers with wasted products because of the market declines related to the pandemic.”
- Ken Kelley, an Alabama Extension economist, said the aid comes at a time when many livestock and dairy producers are seeing prices well below 10-year averages, even as consumers see higher prices in grocery stores.
- “There were significant supply chain and processing issues earlier in the spring,” Kelley said. “However, the U.S. was and is amid record production of beef, pork and poultry. The issue was not availability of animals, but the logistics of processing and movement.”
- Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate on Tuesday told Alabama Daily News that most commodities in the state have been effected by COVID-19 and processing slowdowns.
- Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
3. Congress shifts attention to overhauling small business aid
- Deadlocked over the next big coronavirus relief bill, Congress is shifting its attention to a more modest overhaul of small-business aid in hopes of helping employers reopen shops and survive the pandemic.
- Bipartisan legislation that would give small employers more time to take advantage of federal subsidies for payroll and other costs is expected to pass the House this week, as lawmakers return to Washington for an abbreviated two-day session.
- Yet absent from the agenda is formal talks between congressional leaders on the next phase of the federal coronavirus response. Democrats have already pushed a $3 trillion-plus measure through the House, but negotiations with the GOP-controlled Senate and White House have yet to begin.
- “We can’t keep propping up the economy forever,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday in Lexington. It was one of his first public appearances in his home state of Kentucky since mid-March because of the pandemic.
- “The ultimate solution is to begin to get back to normal,” he said. “There are three things that are essential to have full normalcy — testing, treatment and vaccine.”
- Senate Republicans are divided on the next steps and wary of another sprawling negotiation where Democrats and the White House call the shots. They are also split on a central element — how much aid to provide state and local governments in coronavirus response after earlier relief bills totaled almost $3 trillion.
- Also, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office announced it was filing a lawsuit Tuesday against the new system of proxy voting. Approved by House Democrats earlier this month, the first-of-its-kind rules change will be in practice this week as dozens of lawmakers sign up to have another Member of Congress vote on their behalf so they can avoid travel to Washington. Republicans call it unconstitutional.
- Full story from Andrew Taylor and Lisa Mascaro HERE.
4. DOJ defends Alabama’s absentee ballot rule
- Alabama’s requirement to have witnesses sign an absentee ballot is not a violation of the Voting Rights Act, the U.S. Department of Justice argued in a brief Monday.
- The Justice Department filed the statement of interest in a lawsuit that contends Alabama’s election procedures jeopardize the health of voters — especially older and black voters and those with disabilities — during the coronavirus outbreak.
- The Justice Department said Alabama’s absentee witness requirement does not violate the Voting Rights Act. The department did not take a position on any of the plaintiffs’ other claims.
- Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement that while the act outlaws certain practices that deprive the right to vote because of race and other protected traits, it “does not outlaw all voting-related requirements enacted by the states.”
- “Alabama’s witness requirement for absentee ballot envelopes does not violate (the Voting Rights Act) …. it is not a literacy test, it is not an educational requirement, and it is not a moral character requirement,” the Justice Department filing said.
- The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program filed the lawsuit on May 1.
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
5. News Briefs
Police arrest Alabama man sought in triple slaying
- DANVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Officers have arrested a man wanted in the killings of his estranged wife and two others, police said Tuesday.
- Decatur police said Carson Ray Peters, 58, was in custody, but they didn’t immediately release details of his arrest. Another person also was in custody, police said in a news release.
- Decatur police said Peters, 58, was accused of capital murder in the shooting deaths of Teresa Lynn Peters, 54, and two others on Sunday night in Morgan County, near Danville.
- Officers also arrested a woman they described as possibly accompanying Carson Peters, but details were not immediately available.
- Carson Peters filed for divorce from Teresa Peters in January and moved out of their home, news outlets reported. Court documents show Teresa Peters filed a motion on Thursday to hold Carson Peters in contempt of court, claiming he locked her personal belongings and the air conditioning units from their home inside a shed and left with the key.
- The motion said Teresa Peters “has been unable to obtain her personal belongings for a few months and there is currently no air conditioning in the home,” WHNT-TV reported.
- Police said they believe Carson Peters killed James Edward Miller, 55, of Lacey’s Spring, and Tammy Renee Smith, 50, of Danville, alongside his estranged wife on Sunday. A fourth person was wounded and hospitalized.
2 bodies found on Alabama coast near search area
- ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — Searchers have found two bodies on the Alabama coast near where crews have been searching for two Louisiana men who went missing in the surf.
- WALA-TV reports that authorities in Orange Beach say a body washed up Tuesday morning at Gulf State Park, and a second one was found later in Gulf Shores.
- The remains were found after two swimmers were last seen near Perdido Pass on Sunday night. Authorities identified the missing men as 22-year-old Darius Robinson and 28-year-old Ryan Guy, both of Louisiana.
- Around the same time they went missing a third swimmer was found floating face down in the water by boaters. A person identified as 28-year-old Jasmine Brundy was taken to a hospital in Pensacola, Florida and remains in critical condition.
- Police say the three were together.
Supreme Court refuses case of condemned Alabama inmate
- MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Tuesday to consider the appeal of an Alabama death row inmate convicted in two slayings.
- Without comment, the justices rejected a legal challenge by Taurus Carroll, 42.
- Carroll was convicted in 1998 of killing Betty Long in her family’s laundry business in Jefferson County in 1995 when he was 17. He was initially sentenced to death, but that sentence was converted to life without parole after the capital sentence was overturned on appeal.
- While in prison, Carroll was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the killing of fellow inmate Michael Turner at St. Clair County prison in 2012. Turner was repeatedly stabbed after Carroll accused him of taking a cellphone, court records show.
- Carroll’s attorneys have argued that he is intellectually disabled from landing on his head when he was thrown off a balcony as a child. He is on death row at Holman Prison in Atmore.
Poll: Half of Americans would get a COVID-19 vaccine
- Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
- That’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine against the coronavirus that has sparked a pandemic since first emerging from China late last year. But more people might eventually roll up their sleeves: The poll, released Wednesday, found 31% simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another 1 in 5 said they’d refuse.
- Health experts already worry about the whiplash if vaccine promises like President Donald Trump’s goal of a 300 million-dose stockpile by January fail. Only time and science will tell — and the new poll shows the public is indeed skeptical.
- “It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
- Full story HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sessions challenges Tuberville to debate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama farmers, producers can now apply for federal aid
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congress shifts attention to overhauling small-business aid
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justice Department defends Alabama absentee ballot rule
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poll: Half of Americans would get a COVID-19 vaccine
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will there be a special session? Opinions vary but issues are plenty
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama unemployment system glitches cause claims issue
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – National cemeteries missing flags, ceremonies amid pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump honors fallen soldiers as nation battles against virus
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 1st deadlines for laid-off workers to get health insurance
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – May 26, 2020
AL.COM – Majority support mandatory face masks, national poll shows
AL.COM – Birmingham mask ordinance extended to May 29
AL.COM – Alabama adds 700+ coronavirus cases, 4,743 in last 14 days as testing ramps up
AL.COM – Canfield: China gobbled up Mercedes imports from Alabama
AL.COM – U.S. Space & Rocket Center announces reopening date
AL.COM – Birmingham Race Course adding more machines for eventual reopening
Montgomery Advertiser – Teen charged with murder in Lowndes County shooting
Montgomery Advertiser – Three men shot in separate Memorial Day shootings
Montgomery Advertiser – DOJ: Witness requirement on Alabama absentee ballots not Voting Rights violation
Tuscaloosa News – Escaped prisoner captured in Northport
Tuscaloosa News – PARA to offer summer camp for children
Tuscaloosa News – Company owner of 2 killed workers had been cited 27 times
Decatur Daily – Capital murder suspect, alleged accomplice arrested
Decatur Daily – Decatur council members have private session over 3M litigation
Decatur Daily – Man charged with threatening Morgan sheriff, family
Times Daily – Tuscumbia City Hall set to reopen June 1, tentatively
Times Daily – Lawrenceburg weather radar will help protect the Shoals
Times Daily – Muscle Shoals Sound Studio is reopening for tours June 2
Anniston Star – Anniston High and JSU alum helped push back pandemic in New Jersey for two months
Anniston Star – Vote gives steady income to industrial development board
Anniston Star – Two Anniston men get prison time for sex crimes
Gadsden Times – Etowah records 11th COVID-19 death
Gadsden Times – Reopening Gadsden rec facilities will depend on rehiring
Gadsden Times – Georgia woman rescued after going over Little River Falls
YellowHammer News – DoJ files argument that Alabama’s absentee voter process does not violate Voting Rights Act
YellowHammer News – Ivey awards 14 broadband grants — ‘COVID-19 pandemic compounded just how necessary these services are’
YellowHammer News – Trump features Calhoun Community College graduate in White House ceremony honoring class of 2020
Dothan Eagle – Abbeville-based Great Southern Wood to sponsor Talladega race
Dothan Eagle – Man arrested after police say he attempted to cash bogus check
Dothan Eagle – Juvenile arrested in Jackson Honda Dealership burglary
Troy Messenger – County sees over 20 new cases
Troy Messenger – Local facility sees increase as nation struggles to contain nursing home outbreaks
Troy Messenger – Nursing home reports new COVID-19 cases
Andalusia Star News – LBWCC employee tests positive for COVID-19
Andalusia Star News – AHS Foundation honors Kennedy with large scholarship
Andalusia Star News – Brundidge fought valiant battle, inspired others
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police arrest suspects in separate shootings
Opelika-Auburn News – ‘Memorial Day looks a little different’: Cities livestream remembrances of fallen veterans
Opelika-Auburn News – Police reports from May 26
Daily Mountain Eagle – Sessions challenges Tuberville to debate
Daily Mountain Eagle – Scott embraces creativity with footwear designs
Trussville Tribune – DeMarco: State on lookout for unemployment fraud claims amidst pandemic
Trussville Tribune – Country megastar Alan Jackson bringing ‘small town drive-in’ concerts to Alabama
Trussville Tribune – Morning Update: Alabama adds nearly 700 COVID-19 cases since Monday morning; deaths move to 566
Athens News Courier – MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: APD reports 2 shootings, no injuries or arrests
Athens News Courier – Family Resource Center helping those affected by COVID-19
Athens News Courier – IRS searching for homeless, others for impact payments
Sand Mountain Reporter – Ainsworth says state’s COVID-19 response good | Shares updates with Albertville Rotary
Sand Mountain Reporter – Etowah Health Department offering COVID-19 drive thru testing
Sand Mountain Reporter – Road to recovered | Locals open up on arduous battle with COVID-19
WSFA Montgomery – Danville triple murder suspect, accomplice arrested
WSFA Montgomery – Fundraiser underway to benefit family of fallen Auburn officer
WSFA Montgomery – 15-year-old charged with murder, victim identified
Fox 6 Birmingham – Some Jefferson County businesses manage waiting to reopen
Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox concerned by jump in COVID-19 cases
Fox 6 Birmingham – New survey: 1 in 5 teachers won’t return to the classroom this fall
WAFF Huntsville – Unclear if PPG layoffs impact Huntsville facility
WAFF Huntsville – UAB enrolls patients in phase 2 of groundbreaking study aimed at fighting COVID-19
WAFF Huntsville – Deputies see uptick in vehicle burglaries in west Madison County
WKRG Mobile – Crowne residents to move into sanitized wing as more residents test ‘double-negative’
WKRG Mobile – 8 more ADOC staff members test positive for COVID-19
WKRG Mobile – Milton teen accused of setting bucket filled with kittens on fire
WTVY Dothan – Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity looking for donations
WTVY Dothan – Dothan City School Pre-K teachers and students say goodbye
WTVY Dothan – Fifth arrest made after more than 50 vehicle burglaries
WASHINGTON POST – Trump calls mask wearing ‘politically correct,’ Biden calls him a ‘fool’
WASHINGTON POST – A third of Americans now show signs of clinical anxiety or depression, Census Bureau finds amid coronavirus pandemic
WASHINGTON POST – Top HHS watchdog being replaced by Trump says inspectors general must work free from political intrusion
NEW YORK TIMES – Hunger Program’s Slow Start Leaves Millions of Children Waiting
NEW YORK TIMES – Twitter Refutes Inaccuracies in Trump’s Tweets for First Time
NEW YORK TIMES – A Pandemic Bright Spot: In Many Places, Less Crime
Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)