The 7 Things You Should Be Talking About Today
1. 1.6 billion dollar Toyota/Mazda plant coming to Alabama bringing with it 4,000 jobs
— The auto giants will build a facility in Limestone County, near the Interstate 565.
— Incentives have not been made public but they will be substantial.
— 300,000 vehicles will be produced annually at the plant, which will open in 2021.
2. Gov. Kay Ivey says the state is moving in the right direction at State of the State address
— The Governor’s speech focused on moving forward after a tumultuous 2017, claiming “The ship of state has been steadied.”
— The state’s economy was a major focus of the speech, highlighted by the state’s 3.5% unemployment rate.
— She laid out an agenda for the legislative session that includes pay raises for teachers and state employees.
3. New proposed budget includes pay raises for teachers and state employees
— A one percent raise for teachers will cost an estimated $5 million; legislators must also factor in retirement costs for these employees as well.
— Governor Kay Ivey’s budget included $92.5 million for pay raises for education employees, and $14.4 million for state employees.
— No matter what Ivey proposes, expect Democrats to demand more. This is an election year and Democrats must super-serve the wishes of the Alabama Education Association in order to remain competitive.
4. A Federal judge has decided he will give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program new life
— A federal judge from San Francisco banned the Trump administration from ending the controversial program that protected illegal immigrants from deportation.
— The judge says the program must continue until all litigation involving the program in complete, which allows DACA-recipients to continue to renew their work permits.
— The Department of Justice responded by stating, “DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend these benefits to this same group of illegal aliens. As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress, and was susceptible to the same legal challenges that effectively ended DAPA.”
5. President Donald Trump showed a willingness to cave on DACA in a surprising on-camera negotiation meeting
— The president acknowledged he would be willing to “take the heat” for reneging on some campaign promises on immigration.
— Trump also acknowledged the physical border wall is not necessary across the entire southern U.S. border.
— Surprisingly, the president also expressed a willingness to discuss legal status for 11 million illegal immigrants, even using the phrase “comprehensive immigration reform.”
6. Democrats love standing in schoolhouse doors
— Senator Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) has filed a bill in the legislature making it harder for local school districts to be created.
— The bill is a response to Gardendale citizens breaking away from the Jefferson County’s school system and forming their own school system.
— Under the bill, a city would need 25,000 residents to sign a petition to leave a county system instead of the current law that requires a minimum of 5,000 residents.
7. Fusion GPS testimony made public
— Against the request of other judiciary committee members, Sen. Diane Feinstein made testimony public during an ongoing investigation.
— In the testimony, Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson told the committee former British spy Christopher Steele went to the FBI with concerns about Russia’s interference with the Trump campaign; he also briefed reporters.
— In testimony, Simpson’s attortney, Joshua Levy, said that someone had already been killed because the publishing of the dossier.