Presented by
The Economic Development Association of Alabama
Happy Sunday Everyone!
Here is the news for March 24, 2019
1. It's Mueller Time
  • Now that special counsel Robert Mueller’s two year probe into President Trump and Russia’s possible campaign influences on the 2016 election,  it is a waiting game to see what Attorney General William Barr decides to release to the public.
  • It has been hinted at that Barr could even release his first summary of Mueller’s findings today.
  • With the release of his report, Mueller has already said that he isn't seeking any new charges against Trump or his associates.
  • Democrats would like access to all of the report and supporting evidence, but it is unlikely that will happen.
  • That decision will require Barr to weigh the Justice Department's longstanding protocol of not releasing negative information about people who aren't indicted against the extraordinary public interest in a criminal investigation into the president and his campaign.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi already told Democrats that anything but the full report would be “insufficient” and wants to be able to discuss the full report publicly.
  • In any case, Mueller’s drop of the report on Friday with no new indictments was welcome news to those associated with Trump or in his orbit.
  • Trump was unusually quiet on Twitter on Friday even though he has been relentless in his attacks on Mueller’s investigation in the past. Perhaps a sign of goodwill?
  • Trump may not be out of the woods yet though when it comes to legal troubles.
  • There is still the matter of the Justice Department’s investigation in New York over Trump’s hush money payments that were sent to women during the campaign, and federal prosecutors are investigating possible foreign contributions made to the president’s inaugural committee.
  • You can read more about Mueller's report HERE.

2. Cohen Leaves SPLC
  • Just a week after the Southern Poverty Law Center’s founder, Morris Dees, was fired from the watchdog organization, it’s current president Richard Cohen has also announced he will be stepping down.
  • Cohen said in a statement that the board would now be searching for an interim president “in order to give the organization the best chance to heal.”
  • Cohen has also taken responsibility for all problems that have led for the two top leaders of the organization to leave and that in October Cohen approached the board about finding a “new generation” of leadership.
  • The center still hasn’t given any details on exactly why Dees was fired or why Cohen has stepped down now.
  • But other reports, like from the Los Angeles Times say that an assistant legal director resigned in recent weeks over race and gender equity concerns which echo a similar story coming from a New Yorker piece where a former SPLC employee talks about his time working there and the culture of mistreatment and discrimination towards non-white and female staff by the current leadership.
  • The Montgomery Advertiser also recently spoke with four employees at SPLC who also describe a “toxic” workplace environment that created a high staff turnover.
  • Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff for Michelle Obama, has now been sent to conduct an in-depth review of the workplace environment.
  • You can read more about the center’s fallout from Kim Chandler and the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman, Melissa Brown and Andrew Yawn.
Every day, more than 300 men and women across Alabama like us wake up and go to a job where they work tirelessly to grow their communities. As economic developers, we are community-minded individuals with an occupation that focuses on creating jobs and bringing new business to better our communities.

Local economic developers are the quarterbacks for bringing new jobs and prosperity to our communities. The Economic Development Professional’s Safe Harbor Act will continue to put Alabama in the best position to be competitive in economic development.
3. Medicaid Expansion Talks
  • Once the Alabama legislators get back from Spring Break next week, it’s off to the races with budgets, a possible state lottery, and other legislation that is lined up.
  • One issue you'll continue to hear more about is Medicaid Expansion.
  • Word has gotten around that Gov. Ivey and other GOP leaders have had discussions with Democrats about expansion, but no concrete commitments have been made yet.
  • Some leaders like Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh say that the price is just too high for the state to take on right now.
  • House Speaker Mac McCutcheon told reporters on Friday that the “fact-finding” meetings were going on right now, but nothing further at this point.
  • Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to offer possible new sources of revenue to quell the worries about costs, like House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said there were talks about legalizing sports betting as a possible revenue source.
  • It may be a topic that gets seriously addressed in the coming four years now that more GOP members are moving away from political arguments against Medicaid and are now based around economic concerns.
  • Read more about the situation from Kim Chandler HERE.
4. Supersonic aircrafts in AL
  • An Alabama firm is partnering with a Colorado company to build a manufacturing facility that would produce supersonic aircraft.
  • Hoar Program Management of Birmingham will help locate, plan, design and build the facility for Boom Supersonic, which is planning a supersonic commercial airliner for transoceanic routes.
  • Colorado-based Boom Supersonic was founded in 2014, and has announced pre-orders of the Overture from airlines including Japan Airlines and Virgin Group.
  • The Overture is described as a supersonic commercial airliner with travel speeds more than twice as fast as subsonic aircraft.
  • Boom is now assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft which, with test flights, will help refine the design of Overture.
  • A location for the manufacturing facility has not been chosen yet but is expected to be by the end of the year.
  • You can read more about it HERE.
5. Week in Good News
Your Face Could Be on Dexter Avenue

  • An oversized picture of your face could be on Dexter Avenue next month.
  • It’s all because of an international artist named JR who has created the “Inside Out” project where he takes pictures of locals in different cities all across the world and posts them up in sometimes huge displays in their town.
  • It’s meant to give an identity and a voice to the people who live in these communities who may have otherwise gone unnoticed and shows what really makes a community.
  • There’s a film on Netflix called “Faces Places” that explains JR’s whole process and the inspiration behind the whole thing. I highly recommend giving it a watch.
  • You can learn more about how to participate and get your photo taken HERE.

Charles Barkley's Auburn Support on Display

  • Charles Barkley put on a very humorous display of War Eagle pride last night during the Auburn V. Kansas game, in which many fans took notice.
  • It ended up being a pretty great game for Auburn and put them in the sweet sixteen for the first time in 16 years.
  • Congrats to them but what kind of Indiana girl would I be if I also didn't give a friendly shout out to Purdue who also won last night over Villanova in a very satisfying game.
  • Go Boilermakers!
  • You can read more about Auburn's win HERE.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Barr scours Trump-Russia report to see how much to open

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Alabama firm joins project to build new supersonic aircraft

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Lawmakers: Medicaid expansion can’t happen without funding

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Watchdog group’s leader steps down after founder’s firing

AL.COM - Lawmakers scour federal options to avoid future tolls on Mobile, Baldwin drivers.
AL.COM - Birmingham Women’s March draws activists, local groups.
AL.COM - AG alerts Alabamians on fake checks sent from ‘state’.
AL.COM - Columnist Frances Coleman: First-name basis? Not so fast, please.
AL.COM - Contributor Wayne Flynt: Alabama’s Original Sin: Assuming state was pristine white people’s land.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS - State Rep. Sorrell vows to cut government waste by seeking to remove requirement for legal notices to be published in newspapers.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS - Alabama Power, employees continue to support Lee County tornado relief.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY - Officials optimistic about hitting disaster declaration threshold.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY - Officials stress importance of being counted in census.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY - The Times Daily : Medical marijuana bill faces uphill battle.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS - Alabama lawmakers: Medicaid expansion can’t happen without funding.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Common Core, wall bills fuel speculation of Marsh Senate run.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Contributor Vanzetta McPherson: Don't apologize. Just don't do it.
WASHINGTON POST - Trump’s legal troubles are far from over even as Mueller probe ends.
WASHINGTON POST The Washington Post : President Trump should leave the Fed alone.
WASHINGTON POST - ‘A punch in the gut’: Farmers hit by tariffs see crops swept away by flood.
WASHINGTON POST - As we await details of the Mueller report, the battle shifts to the political arena.
WASHINGTON POST - How these grandparents became America’s unofficial social safety net.
NEW YORK TIMES - As Mueller Report Lands, Prosecutorial Focus Moves to New York
LOS ANGELES TIMES - Trump says barbed wire ‘can be a beautiful sight.’ Many border communities disagree.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - How the Mueller report will reshape the 2020 race — unless one side overplays its hand.
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT - Mazda Toyota to Begin Hiring for Huntsville in Fall

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