Good morning and Happy Friday!
Goodness gracious, this has been a long week.
Speaking of long weeks, Gov. Kay Ivey is in “high spirits and doing well” after undergoing surgery on her broken shoulder yesterday. That means she probably delivered a 40 minute speech the other night in some pain. Hope you feel better, Governor.
Here’s your GIF-tastic Daily News for February 7.
1. Impeachment upshot
- President Donald Trump’s impeachment ended with a reminder of why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi resisted the idea for so long — an acquittal everyone saw coming, followed by a bombastic presidential victory lap and a bump in his poll numbers just as the 2020 campaign officially began.
- Pelosi stood as a bulwark against impeachment for months as pro-impeachment sentiment rose steadily in her caucus, but when Trump’s dealings with Ukraine came to light in September, the floodgates were forced open.
- “Once Ukraine happened, we had no choice but to proceed,” said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. “And had we not (acted), there would have been a huge price to pay politically.”
- Now Democrats have to decide how to navigate the legislative and political landscape that they’ve helped reshape.
- Democratic leaders say despite Trump’s acquittal, the trial trained prolonged attention on his sordid behavior and latched GOP senators to him with their votes absolving him. They say that will weaken their reelection bids of GOP senators in swing states like Colorado, Maine and Arizona.
- Republicans counter that the effort has electrified GOP voters just months before Election Day, citing a Gallup Poll showing Trump with a 49% job approval rating, the highest of his presidency. They say Pelosi made tactical errors that exposed Democrats’ impeachment drive as a blatantly political exercise, in the process weakening more than two dozen House Democrats from Trump-won districts.
- “The President has his highest approval rating since he’s been in office,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. “I can tell you as a poll watcher who’s looking at polls in certain Senate races, every one of our people in tough races – every one of them – is in better shape today than they were before the impeachment trial started.”
- Read more about the political upshot of impeachment from Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor HERE.
2. Lawmakers pitch reserve account for General Fund
- Recent growth in Alabama’s General Fund revenues has some lawmakers wanting to save for future lean years.
- A bill filed Thursday in the Alabama Senate would create the General Fund Budget Reserve Fund.
- “Although we are currently enjoying the benefits of the longest period of growth that I am aware of, we will have an economic downturn – we always do,” Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, said. He’s sponsoring the legislation.
- “Creating a reserve and planning for a rainy day is just good public policy. When we save for a rainy day, we will be better prepared when tough times come.”
- Senate Bill 129 would annually deposit 20% of the ending balance in the General Fund from the previous year into the new fund. At the end of 2019, that ending balance was about $271 million.
- Read more, including details of the bill and reaction from other lawmakers, from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
A message from
Stop The HIT Coalition
Stop The HIT Coalition applauds Senator Doug Jones for:
- Working across the aisle to repeal the Health Insurance Tax
- Supporting small businesses
- Fighting to provide cost savings to 765,000 hardworking Alabamians and millions of Americans across the country
Repeal of the Health Insurance Tax will provide annual cost savings of approximately $500 per family to small business owners and their employees, middle-income families and seniors.
Thank Senator Doug Jones for supporting Alabama Small Businesses and Families.
3. Measure would abolish the State Auditor’s office
- A proposal in the Alabama State House would do away with the Alabama Auditor’s Office and transfer its duties to the Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts Department.
- The auditor’s position is created in the state’s constitution, so abolishing it would have to be approved by Alabama voters through a constitutional amendment.
- With voter approval, Senate Bill 83 from Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Gadsden, would shutter the office when current auditor Jim Zeigler’s current term ends in 2022.
- “As Republicans, we’re all about downsizing government and being more efficient with taxpayer resources,” Jones told Alabama Daily News. “It’s a very simple bill that I think could save some taxpayer dollars and we could use those to fund some other things that are important, like mental health and prisons.”
- Zeigler hadn’t seen the bill Tuesday evening, he said.
- “Usually, if you’re going to file a bill to abolish someone’s office, you send them a copy of it and talk to them about it,” he said. “That hasn’t happened.”
- He’s against combining the office’s work with another department.
- Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
4. Crawford bill would allow colleges to get debtors’ tax refunds
- A bill from Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, would allow the Alabama Department of Revenue to send a person’s state income tax refund to state institutions of higher education to pay outstanding debts.
- Crawford told Alabama Daily News that this will help students get out of debt more quickly and help colleges and universities resolve their own debts.
- “It’s sort of a win/win for the student and the institution of higher education,” Crawford said. ‘It doesn’t discourage further education; it would encourage it.”
- House Bill 60 would add colleges and universities to a 2019 law from Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, that allows a number of different state agencies to collect a person’s income tax refund to resolve debts.
- Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.
5. Dem nomination moves forward
- We still don’t know who won the Iowa caucuses – probably former Mayor Pete Buttigieg or Sen. Bernie Sanders – but the campaign for the Democratic nomination for president rolls on to New Hampshire.
- That state’s “first in the nation” primary election is Tuesday and a big debate is tonight.
- Remember in 2016 when Republicans debated in New Hampshire and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s once hopeful chances for the nomination were spiked by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christy? This is the same debate stage, and the same type thing can happen as candidates are more eager to mix it up.
- Sanders and Buttigieg, enter the night as the top targets, having emerged from Iowa essentially tied for the lead. Those trailing after the first contest — including former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — have an urgent need to demonstrate strength.
- A Monmouth poll shows Sanders surging into the lead at 24%, with Buttigieg right behind at 20%, Biden at 17% and Warren at 13%.
- Read more HERE.
A promotional note from
Alabama Daily News
Does your company, firm or organization need help compiling a report on the legislative activities from the State House?
Let us do the work!
The ADN team is offering a new legislative reporting service during this year’s session.
If you’re interested, shoot me an email at Todd@aldailynews.com.
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – February 3, 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers pitch reserve account for General Fund
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would allow colleges and universities to get debtors’ income tax refunds
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Proposed constitutional amendment would abolish state auditor’s office
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gov. Ivey recovering after surgery for broken shoulder
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s acquittal confronts Dems with election year choices
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democrats prepare for New Hampshire debate as urgency rises
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey wants ‘facts’ on gambling; some lawmakers ready to move forward with lottery
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bills that would deny bail for violent offenders face constitutionality questions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Montgomery occupational tax becomes state issue
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – February 6, 2020
AL.COM – Kay Ivey tries different route than Robert Bentley on new prisons
AL.COM – Forbes puts Opportunity Alabama among best
AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey recovering after surgery for broken shoulder
AL.COM – Trump gives Bradley Byrne a shout-out during post-impeachment acquittal speech
AL.COM – Roy Moore to bring back Ten Commandments monument
AL.COM – Poarch Creek Indians plan $100 million luxury Pennsylvania hotel
AL.COM – For work release inmates, a detour on the road to recovery
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: When good things happen to bad people
AL.COM – Alabama couple gives $1M estate to Kids to Love children’s charity
Montgomery Advertiser – MPS passes resolution seeks property tax increase
Montgomery Advertiser – U.S. Marshals capture Anthony Stoddard wanted in January slaying of Tametrius Richards
Montgomery Advertiser – Damage reported as storms barrel through River Region
YellowHammer News – Michael Bloomberg to address Saturday’s Alabama Democratic Convention
YellowHammer News – Alabamian who helped integrate U.S. Marine Corps dies at 92
YellowHammer News – Ivey undergoes successful shoulder procedure — ‘In high spirits’ and ‘doing well’
Dothan Eagle – Gov. Ivey recovering after surgery for broken shoulder
Dothan Eagle – Trump unleashes fury at impeachment enemies at National Prayer Breakfast
Dothan Eagle – Man arrested earlier this week on assault charges, faces additional charge
Tuscaloosa News – Second lawsuit filed over DCH ransomware attack
Tuscaloosa News – Couple accused of falsely reporting bank robbery to stop police pursuit
Tuscaloosa News – Powell, Warrick among Chamber honorees
Decatur Daily – DCS spending $1 million to add welding academy
Decatur Daily – City official: First steps in Beltline church demolition to begin in days
Decatur Daily – Kristi Hill announces she won’t run for second term on council
Times Daily – Debris clogs storm drain, floods Muscle Shoals neighborhood
Times Daily – Parole denied for man convicted in child porn case
Times Daily – Alabama police officer fatally shot, man charged with murder
Anniston Star – Bills that would deny bail for violent offenders face constitutionality questions
Anniston Star – Ivey wants ‘facts’ on gaming; some lawmakers ready to move forward with lottery
Anniston Star – Jacksonville eighth-graders design debris-removal robot
Troy Messenger – Ward named TPL ‘Tutor of the year’
Troy Messenger – Troy University staying aware of coronavirus
Troy Messenger – Human Society to host ‘greet treat’ Monday at CHCHC
Andalusia Star News – Superintendents: Keep calendars in local hands
Andalusia Star News – Donors needed for new Blue Lake program
Andalusia Star News – Carnley, Younce to represent PowerSouth at 2020 Youth Tour
Opelika-Auburn News – Anderson to take over as APD chief
Opelika-Auburn News – Severe weather threat prompts Lee schools to close
Opelika-Auburn News – AU trustees to vote on Gogue title
Daily Mountain Eagle – Commission, sheriff dealing with littering
Daily Mountain Eagle – ‘I’ve proven I’m qualified to run this city’
Daily Mountain Eagle – Dora High alumni raising scholarship funds
Trussville Tribune – VIDEO: Aerial video of flooding at Trussville Country Club