Around the South for Dec. 22: AL, AR & FL

Alabama: Shelby nixes ban on Russian engines. US Sen. Richard Shelby (R), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has amended the year-end spending bill to allow the United States to import Russian-made rocket engineers used to launch military satellites, reports USA Today. Shelby said the ban should be lifted until “an equally reliable US-built alternative engine is available.” A rocket factory in Decatur,AL, employs some 800 people ……. Arkansas: Cotton opposes sentencing leniency.US Sen. Tom Cotton (R) has joined other lawmakers in opposing the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Reform Act. Some 40 former senior federal law enforcement officials oppose the Act, reports Power Line, contending that it would, among other consequences, “reduce penalties for armed career criminals.” ……. Florida: Rubio lax in stumping? In a front-page article, the Washington Post contends that GOP activists are “alarmed” that Marco Rubio, despite his stellar debate performances, has shown “seeming disdain for the day-to-day grind of retail politics,” noting, among other things, that he cuts short the Q&A portions of his town hall meetings …….