7 Things: Autopsy ratchets up the tension in Birmingham, Mike Rogers opposes government contract awarded to an Alabama company, Alabama home values take a hit on the coast and more …
7. Alabama-based religious broadcaster wins its battle with the federal government over religious liberty
— The Birmingham-based Eternal Word Television Network has struck a deal with the Federal government, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to stop trying to force EWTN to provide Obamacare mandated birth control and abortifacients as healthcare.
— This battle has raged for more than seven years. The Trump administration abandoned the case against EWTN, clearing the way for the settlement that allows the Catholic organization to practice their faith without running afoul of Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
6. Senator Doug Jones praises Robert Mueller’s investigation but sidesteps impeachment talk
— Jones called Mueller’s investigation “very professional” and “incredibly efficient,” while drawing on his experience as a prosecutor saying people should not “jump to conclusions.”
— Jones told reporters impeachment isn’t on his mind yet, saying, “I don’t think anybody needs to be thinking about that.” He added, “I think Robert Mueller needs to finish his work.
— Restaurant owners are reporting a 30 percent slump in business as tourists and visitors cancel trips to the tourist hotspot for fear of getting trapped in Mexico should the crossing close again and because of the general uncertainty of the crowd that has gathered south of the American border.
— Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) joined the migrants and helped five asylum seekers gain access to the United States. She tweeted, “I was able to successfully assist 5 asylum seekers – 2 unaccompanied minors, a mother and her 9-year-old child, and a young man with a serious medical condition – into the United States.”
4. Alabama homes have lost billions in value on the coast; Experts cite sea level rise
— Researchers at the non-profit First Street Foundation and Columbia University found that coastal Alabama cities homes have lost a lot of value. Mobile Bay’s property values have gone down $46.7 million. Gulf Shores’ property values have dropped $26.1 million, Mobile’s $25.9 million and Dauphin Island’s $22.9 million.
3. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-3) comes out against the awarding of a major contract to an Alabama firm
— Alabama’s United Launch Alliance was awarded a nearly $1 billion contract to develop a launch vehicle for future national security space missions. Rogers wants the bid process changed, which could lead to another company working on the program.
— The move seems somewhat odd for a congressman to oppose an award to a company based in his own state, but Rogers has long believed the federal government should take a bigger lead in this arena. He explained, “It has led me to call, along with President Trump, for the creation of the Space Force. This letter was simply an oversight of this program in my subcommittee’s jurisdiction.”
2. Neither Hoover PD nor ALEA will release the tape of the Riverchase Galleria shooting until the investigation is complete
— Monday’s deadline, placed by Hoover officials, came and went without a released video showing the events of Thanksgiving that led to the death of Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr., but Hoover announced they remain “committed to cooperating with ALEA in order to maintain the integrity of their investigation.”
— ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor sent a letter to the city urging them to show patience, Hoover’s police chief released a statement on his request explaining their decision making, saying, “He has specifically asked that we do not release any potential evidence as it may not only jeopardize the integrity of the case, but also complicate or delay their efforts.”
— The results of a private autopsy by the Bradford’s family and their representatives at a press conference showed Bradford was shot three times from behind, which led to claims that Bradford was “murdered.” They demanded charges should be filed against the officer who shot him. they made it clear there would be consequences if it did not happen soon, calling the situation a “powder keg”.
— Protest “leader” Carlos Chaverst Jr. took to social media in an attempt to provoke a reaction from those angry over the shooting, threatening to put police officers’ names online (some of which took place in a since removed video), say “F**k peace, we want justice for EJ. They murdered him” and threatening to release the name and address of the officer involved in the shooting today at noon.